There was a time in Ohio State Buckeyes history when a perfect season and a Big Ten championship would have been more than enough to garner the inside track to a national championship. Former OSU coaches Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel combined for three such unbeaten and untied campaigns (1954, 1968 and 2002) during their respective tenures in Columbus, and in each case it led to a recognized national title at season's end.
This has not been the case for Urban Meyer. His 2012 club finished 12-0 but was ineligible to win the BCS championship and finished third in the AP poll. Meyer's 2013 team is currently 10-0 but recently dropped from third to fourth in the AP poll, a move that served as an impetus to close the BCS rankings gap between the Buckeyes and the Baylor Bears to an extraordinarily thin margin that could disappear in Week 13.
This decline may be causing the Buckeyes to be overlooked as a BCS title contender, but doing so would be a mistake.
For starters, we may not have seen the last upset of a top national title contender this season. In particular, Alabama and Baylor will face some tough challenges over the next few weeks.
But more importantly, while Ohio State's lack of schedule strength could ultimately cost it a shot at a BCS title, the Buckeyes have put together a championship-caliber season so far in nearly every phase of the game. I'm not advocating putting them ahead of Alabama or FSU, as those teams are more deserving based on who they've beaten, but the Buckeyes are a worthy title participant, should they get the opportunity. Here's why.
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