First of all, I'd like to start out with the fact that I do not agree with everything (most?) of what I say here, so please check your vitriol at the door. This post is merely intended to start a discussion. Alright, let's start the show...
Ohio State should be ranked behind Oregon and Florida State. Why, you ask? Well, why not? The primary issue OSU fans have with the rankings is the arbitrariness of them. I often hear that the only reason the SEC teams are ranked as highly as they are is because the teams are ranked highly in the preseason. It's,as I saw one LGHL writer tweet a while back, "eight SEC teams are ranked so highly, because they play eight SEC teams that are ranked highly." (That's not an exact quote, but I don't remember who said it, and if someone on twitter wants to sue me for copyright infringement, I welcome it.)
This argument has merit. Why should Mizzou have been ranked so high after knocking off only (at the time) #7 Georgia and #22 Florida, when, as it turns out, neither of those teams are nearly as impressive as we initially thought? (In fact, it is true that both of those teams are currently sitting at 4-3 and not looking very good.)
I agree that those teams were very much over-ranked and did not deserve the record they sported at the time Missouri defeated them. This argument, however, boils down to the illegitimacy and arbitrariness of the preseason rankings. I mean, let's be real, if Georgia hadn't started the season as #5, would they have still been ranked so highly even after losing to Clemson (who, by the way, has not turned out to be as unbeatable as originally expected)? Similarly, would Florida have been ranked even #22 if they hadn't started out the season #10?
These are truly legitimate questions; however, do they truly help Ohio State fans' argument for their team deserving a higher ranking? I argue no.
As mentioned above, the higher ranking boils down to arbitrariness of preseason rankings. We hear it every year that preseason rankings should be done away with and no rankings should really matter until the BCS rankings come out. The BCS, in fact, was weary of these issues, so those rankings are not released until later into the season. Of course, these biases are still factored into the BCS rankings, due to the fact that the human polls are weighted into the BCS rankings. Thus, the BCS, and ultimately, Ohio State's chances of playing in a National Championship, ultimately are affected by these early biases.
Why are we angry though? If we didn't have these "arbitrary" preseason rankings, would Ohio State be in a better place? Do any of us really think that OSU would currently be ranked above either an Oregon team whose closest game thus far has been a 24 point beating of Washington State or a Florida State team that's dominated teams by almost 40 points a game? I would hope not. (Note, that I'm leaving Alabama out of this discussion, because although I'd rather play Alabama right now than FSU, no one will be considered a legitimate National Champion without first going through the best team in the SEC.)
The truth is that our arguments against FSU and Oregon being ranked higher than OSU are the only reason why OSU is ranked as highly as it is in the first place--preseason, arbitrary rankings. Yes, Ohio State has gone on a 20-game win streak; yes, we've done everything asked of us. BUT, we have not done it in the same manner that the other elite teams have (here, FSU or Oregon).
Ohio State has lacked the consistency of those other teams, and honestly, without our arbitrary #2 ranking in the polls, does any one of us really think we'd be ranked above even Baylor, let alone Oregon or FSU? I don't think so... We have benefited as much as we have been burdened by the preseason rankings, and although I would love to see OSU in the top 2 right now and sitting pretty to go to the National Championship game, I know why we aren't.
Even though I think we could beat any team in t he country, OSU simply has not performed the same way the other top teams have. If we should direct our frustrations at anything, it's the rest of the Big Ten (yes, I realize Wisconsin was "given the business," but we just have to deal with it). We need a Georgia or a Florida or a Clemson that's ranked highly in the preseason polls so we can beat up on them and gain some ground. (Shoot, I don't even care if it's an unfounded high ranking at this point; I just want a highly ranked team at the beginning of the season. Let's start scheduling Notre Dame or Michigan at the beginning of the season, since they always seemed to be ranked so highly. We just need something here...)
At this point though, the best we can hope for is (1) both FSU and Oregon to lose at least one game, (2) time to jump forward a year so we are into the playoff format, or (3) every one of our remaining teams to go undefeated until they lose to use by 60+ points to get style points and jump the teams above us. Unfortunately, the first two contingencies are much more likely than the last, so we are stuck praying for teams to lose or praying for fundamental physics to change...