Ohio State Football: OSU's BCS BFFs

Ohio State's grass-eating new best friend, Les Miles - Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This last year of the BCS era of college football looks like it is shaping up to be a disaster, with multiple undefeated teams messing things up. Unless everyone loses. The Buckeyes will need some help to get to Pasadena. Here's who to root for to make it happen.

Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette has never been the kindest place for the Buckeyes to play a game.  It isn't that the denizens of that fair football tract have ever been particularly great at the sport, or have a rabid, loud fan base that can make the walls of the place shake, even if they're breaking out the all-black helmets for the game.  For some reason, West Lafayette has always been a sort of Twilight Zone for the Buckeyes, with close games, close wins and close losses dominating the narrative whenever the Buckeyes travel to central Indiana.

All told, this next trip to West Lafayette should be easier done than said, with the opening line for the game starting at 31-points in Ohio State's favor.  After demolishing a good Penn State team by almost half-a-hundred, that 31-point line should be easy to come by.  But then again, the game is at Purdue.  And anything can happen, and typically does against the Boilermakers.  The one thing that must happen, however, is a Buckeye win, if Ohio State has any dreams and aspirations of playing for a national championship.

The two paragraphs written above will be very similar to the lede of every article written about the Buckeyes over the next few weeks, particularly if Urban Meyer, Braxton Miller and Company continue to win game after game after game.

The BCS, in its current form and in its final year, all but requires one team go unblemished to make its championship game, save for the mess of 2007.  This year might be the year that all hell, successfully rather than unsuccessfully in terms of wins, finally breaks loose, and more than three teams complete their years unbeaten.  It is looking very, very possible, with Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor all coming from different conferences, and all with cases of their own as the best participant in college football's national championship argument.

With that in mind, and with any playoff still a year away, let's take a look at the rest of the year for those teams, so we can determine proper rooting interest with regard to what Ohio State needs to go to Pasadena a week after the Rose Bowl, rather than on New Year's Day (rankings reflect most recent BCS rankings).

1. Alabama

Remaining Schedule

  • 11/9 vs. Louisiana State
  • 11/16 @ Mississippi State
  • 11/23 vs. Chattanooga
  • 11/30 @ Auburn
  • 12/7 SEC Championship Game

Ohio State fans should love

LSU going away.  With two losses already on their schedule, LSU is pretty much out of the picture, but can still dictate things for other teams.  Tough to beat Alabama at home, but Johnny Manziel did it so why not Zach Mettenberger?

Else, root for chaos in the SEC East, and for their division's representative to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.  It's hard to imagine the BCS will vote in a two-loss SEC Champion, a one-loss SEC East Champion (i.e. Missouri) or a one-loss SEC Runner Up (i.e. Alabama).

And don't sleep on the Chattanooga Mocs!*

*do sleep on them; Alabama will win that game by 70.

2. Oregon

Remaining Schedule

  • 11/7 @ Stanford
  • 11/16 vs.Utah
  • 11/23 @ Arizona
  • 11/29 vs. Oregon State
  • 12/7 Pac-12 Championship Game

Ohio State fans should love

Stanford is the obvious pick here, as that would throw a huge wrench into the Pac-12 North Division, and if Stanford won out, would keep the Ducks out of the title game.  But the one Buckeye fans should really look at is the pre-Thanksgiving tilt against Arizona.  Let's assume Oregon beats Stanford and Utah.  The rivalry game against Oregon State will loom large, but a road trip to Tucson would have a lot of potential as a trip-up game.

Unfortunately, it means rooting for this guy.  Pick your poison.

3. Florida State

Remaining Schedule

  • 11/2 vs. Miami (FL)
  • 11/9 @ Wake Forest
  • 11/16 vs. Syracuse
  • 11/23 vs.Idaho
  • 11/30 @ Florida
  • 12/7 ACC Championship Game

Ohio State fans should love

Here's why the BCS is so interesting and infuriating.  Miami (FL) is undefeated, but ranked seventh in the current BCS standings.  A win at Florida State for the 'Canes might be enough for The U to jump over Ohio State, or at least into the conversation.  No, Buckeye fans have to root for the Seminoles to win a close game this weekend in Tallahassee.

Where Buckeye fans should turn is to the 11/30 game against Florida.  Florida is a tire fire of a team, just ask the likes of SB Nation's most prominent Gator fan, Spencer Hall.  But rivalry games are unpredictable and maybe, just maybe, the team that Urban Meyer left for dead can help his new side get to the championship game.  Imagine that, and start practicing your Gator Chomp.

6. Baylor

Remaining Schedule

  • 11/7 vs. Oklahoma
  • 11/16 vs Texas Tech (at The JerryDome AT&T Stadium)
  • 11/23 @ Oklahoma State
  • 11/30 @ TCU
  • 12/7 vs. Texas

Ohio State fans should love

Like Missouri last week, the Buckeyes have to watch their back for teams coming from behind.  This week, it's the Baylor Bears.

Of the teams listed, Baylor's is probably the most difficult schedule, as the Bears will have to go on the road for three straight weeks after the big home date with Oklahoma.  Since the Big XII doesn't boast another nationally relevant squad (Oklahoma is 10th in the BCS, but already have a loss to their name), it might be easiest for fans of The OSU to root for the other OSU, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.  If Baylor navigates to that game still undefeated, a loss to Oklahoma State, even on the road, will be one of those late in the season losses that should keep the Bears behind the Buckeyes when all is said and done, and something Baylor has a bit of recent history with, as well.

Now all of this presupposes that the Buckeyes are going to take care of business, win in the Twilight Zone this weekend, beat the holy hell out of Illinois and Indiana, destroy Michigan and close the year off against Michigan State (or eq.) in the Big Ten Championship.  None of that is automatic, and you can bet that there are plenty of other teams' fans becoming even bigger fans of the Boilers, Illini, Hoosiers and Wolverines as we speak.

But that's the world in this, the last year of the BCS.  Where Ohio State has to root for two other OSUs, a former Michigan head coach, and the two teams who most recently beat it in the BCS national championship game.

The playoff can't get here soon enough.

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