Each week, we’ll break down something that happened during the Ohio State game (and occasionally other games) that we’ll be talking about for a while—you know, the silly sideline interactions, the awful announcing and the weird storylines that stick with us for years to come. We’ll also compare each of these happenings to memorable moments in pop culture, because who doesn’t love a good Office reference?
First of all, happy birthday to the greatest mascot of them all!
Next, if you just look at the final score of the Ohio State vs. Penn State game, you might not realize the drama, anxiety, and fright that defined much of the first three-plus quarters. A la every iteration of the Halloween franchise, we always know Michael Myers is going to show up and wreak havoc on our protagonist, but that Laurie Strode will eventually emerge victorious.
That was once again the case Saturday, as the Buckeyes faced their toughest battle of the year. The defense allowed the most points of any game all season and the offense had their second-lowest point total of the year. Naturally, the margin of victory was the narrowest of any game except for the Buckeyes’ matchup against Notre Dame to open the season.
After watching (or maybe not watching) the game, it was clear to most that a road win in a tough environment—and one in which Ohio State showed resilience being down late in the game—was an indicator of success for the Buckeyes rather than a cause for concern. That leads us to a bizarre AP Poll, in which Ohio State and Tennessee are squarely tied at the No. 2 spot behind Georgia.
There hasn’t been a tie in the AP Poll since November 14, 2004, when Auburn and Oklahoma were also tied for No. 2 behind USC. My initial thought on seeing the poll, to channel Donovan McNabb in 2008, was that I didn’t know you could have a tie.
Eagles and Bengals tie 23-23.— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 27, 2020
In 2008, those two teams also tied, officially making Donovan McNabb aware of the fact that NFL games can end without a winner. pic.twitter.com/LQwAFnmWnY
For Ohio State, it means there was not enough cause to warrant them moving down, but an impressive win for Tennessee was enough to boost them up.
The first College Football Playoff rankings are scheduled to come out this week, and all signs indicate that the initial CFP poll will look very different from the AP’s preseason rankings. What that means is that early season polls are a bunch of hocus pocus; meaningless chatter that distracts from on-field storylines.
Of course, polls are helpful in gauging relative aptitude, but absent some games under teams’ belts, they’re merely an embodiment of unfulfilled expectations. Kind of like candy corn. Because how bad can candy be? As it turns out, real bad.