Erickson: Ohio State sill in mix to crash Big Ten party

first_imgThere’s no better storyline than David beating Goliath. David is this little scrawny underdog that becomes a hero, and how can you not feel all warm and fuzzy inside afterward?But does anyone ever think about Goliath? I mean he’s probably not feeling all that confident at the time and could probably use a friend or a strong shoulder to cry on. Or at least a good, “That’s ok, buddy. You’ll get him next time.”Wisconsin’s win over Ohio State was probably the best weekend I’ve ever experienced in Madison, but just think about how depressing that bus ride home was for Ohio State.Many of you may not care with all the animosity and general feelings of extreme hatred most Badgers have for the Buckeyes, but if they have any hope of making it back to the Rose Bowl this year they’ve got some work ahead of them. Not to mention hoping fate is on their side.With a single loss to Wisconsin, Ohio State landed itself in fourth place initially and now finds itself in third.There’s absolutely nothing they can do to directly change their circumstances for the better.Winning out the rest of the season is the only way to ensure a strong BCS ranking, but other than that they can only hope Michigan State will lose at least one game – the more the better – which I’m perfectly OK with, but also a Wisconsin loss or two.About the only way Ohio State can have any influence over their BCS hopes is a win on the road against Iowa. Not only is the game on the road, but it’s against an Iowa team that will most likely be looking for revenge after the overtime loss they took last year at the Horseshoe. This loss also resulted in Ohio State’s trip to the Rose Bowl rather than Iowa.They may have to beat Iowa to keep any hope for another Rose Bowl alive, but Ohio State will be praying for an Iowa win this weekend over No. 5 Michigan State. For right now that seems about all the Buckeyes can do.The Buckeyes’ bowl game selection isn’t looking too bright at the moment. Despite the loss to the Badgers, ESPN blogger and football reporter Adam Rittenberg thinks it could very well be the Badgers who get the short end of the stick when all is said and done.In a blog posted on the 25th entitled “Breaking down Wisconsin’s BCS problem” Rittenberg gives three scenarios of how the season could play out. With some MSU losses, UW could find itself in it’s first Rose Bowl in ten years. I don’t hate the idea, but Rittenberg also decides to give us two more scenarios, the last one of which lands Ohio State ahead of both Wisconsin and Michigan State and on its way to a consecutive Rose Bowl appearance.Luckily for Ohio State, if all three teams end the season with one loss, the Big Ten tiebreaker comes down to BCS rankings. In the event that there is a three-way tie and two of the teams didn’t play each other – in this case Ohio State and Michigan State – the team with the highest BCS ranking gets the berth into a BCS bowl game.Now if Michigan State wins out none of this matters, but if they lose just one game chances are they’ll fall farther in rankings behind both Ohio State and Wisconsin because the rest of their Big Ten schedule isn’t too difficult, with games against Minnesota and Purdue.Due to a tougher schedule by one game, Ohio State would luck out and most likely be ranked higher than Wisconsin giving them a berth into a BCS bowl game, while Wisconsin would get another trip to Florida for some other less significant bowl game.If Wisconsin had scheduled just one tougher team over UNLV, San Jose State, Arizona State or Austin Peay, Ohio State’s win over Miami wouldn’t even be an issue. Wisconsin’s huge upset win over Ohio State would have had even bigger and better implications for their BCS bowl hopes.Ohio State has to win out. It has to beat an Iowa team who might as well be ready to kill if it takes a loss to Michigan State next week. It also has to face Minnesota on the road, but hosts Penn State and Michigan. If it were ever truly worthy of its No. 1 ranking Ohio State shouldn’t have any issues with the rest of the season. Like I said before, it’s biggest challenge will be at Iowa, but they haven’t exactly been the strongest team all season everyone expected them to be.When all is said and done, don’t be surprised if Ohio State comes out ahead of Wisconsin in the polls if both teams finish the season without any more losses. The Buckeyes just have to hope someone can take down the Spartans for another trip to the Rose Bowl. Even with that little Badger blemish on their schedule they are still in the mix for a Big Ten Championship. Lucky them.So the Buckeyes may not be the poor old Goliath who no one cares about when David becomes a hero. But in this mess of a season, the sad fact for David is that Goliath is probably going to win in the long run.They may be helpless for now, but fortune seems to be on the Buckeyes side.last_img

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