COLUMBUS, Ohio (CBSMiami) – The Ohio State Buckeyes have run roughshod over the Big Ten Conference this year and stand one win away from claiming the Big Ten Championship.
The question is: will that be enough to get the Buckeyes to the BCS Championship Game?
OSU survived with a 42-41 victory over arch-rival Michigan on Saturday after the Wolverines missed a two-point conversion in the final minute of the game. That fueled the fire that OSU may be a bit overrated, despite an undefeated record.
The Buckeyes’ offensive prowess isn’t in question as OSU averages 48.2 points per game and has scored 79 touchdowns in 2013. What may surprise is that the Buckeyes are even more lethal outside of the confines of the Horseshoe (OSU’s stadium).
In five road games this year, Ohio State has averaged 50 points per game and done it while only kicking four field goals in those games. However, it those road games were against teams with a combined record of 18-42 in 2013.
The Buckeyes have also beaten just one team that’s currently ranked in the BCS Top 25, the Wisconsin Badgers, who OSU beat at the end of September.
The Buckeyes are one of the most efficient teams in the country on the ground. OSU averages 321.3 yards per game and has rushed for 40 touchdowns this season, which are both tops in the Big Ten Conference.
Ohio State’s passing offense is ranked only seventh in the Big Ten, but the Buckeyes have thrown for 35 touchdowns to just seven interceptions and average 209.3 points per game. Overall, OSU averages 530.5 yards per game, roughly 7.3 yards per play, according to cfbstats.com.
Part of OSU’s perceived weakness is the strength of schedule, or lack thereof. Since the calendar turned to October, the Buckeyes have played just one team with a winning record in the final three months of the season, the Iowa Hawkeyes who finished with a 4-3 record from October-December.
Three of OSU’s opponents since October have compiled a 2-21 record to end the season (Northwestern, Purdue, and Illinois).
Still, the Buckeyes are one of two power conference teams that remains undefeated this year, the other being Florida State.
Ohio State, though, has its eyes on the big prize, the BCS Championship. The Buckeyes will have to win, and win big, over Michigan State in this Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game to guarantee a shot at the BCS title, presumably against Florida State.
If Ohio State wins a close game and either Auburn or Missouri blows out the other in the SEC Championship Game, an argument will be made that the one-loss SEC team should play for the championship over an undefeated Buckeyes team.
OSU can’t control that part of the conversation, they simply have to win on Saturday and let the chips fall where they may. Right now, the Buckeyes are staring at a trip to Pasadena to play the Seminoles for the national championship; where OSU is actually headed will only be written after this Saturday.