Tomorrow is the last week of regular college football action, this season has gone by in a flash. Of all the games tomorrow, two stand out with respect to the national championship picture, Missouri-Oklahoma (Big 12 Championship) and West Virginia-Pittsburgh (100th edition of the Backyard Brawl). The scenario is pretty simple, if both Missouri and West Virginia win, they will play for the national championship in January. If one of the teams lose, Ohio State will take their place in that game. If both teams lose, Ohio State and Georgia would likely play for the championship.
As much as I’d like to see Ohio State in the championship game (who doesn’t want to see their team play for all the marbles?) I can’t muster any righteous indignation to make a case that Ohio State deserves to be in the game more so than Missouri or West Virginia, if they win their games this weekend. Regardless of your position on the present system, everyone can agree that the ingredients to play in the championship game are well known: play an adult schedule (Hawaii 2007 and Auburn 2004), don’t lose late (Ohio State 2007 and Kansas 2007), and don’t lose more than one game (LSU 2007 and USC 2007).
I think it all comes down to expectation and perception at the end of the day. If you had come from the future and said to me “Ohio State will be 11-1, having lost one game by 7 points, and the team is headed to the Rose Bowl and still has a chance of making it to the championship game” in mid-August, I would have been overjoyed. Read my season preview for Ohio State if you don’t believe me. Want to know disappointment? What about USC and LSU? These teams were “mortal locks” to play for the championship in August (you can tell because the talking heads continue to make excuses for each team and continue with the perspective these teams would destroy any opponent they played at present – uh, not so much.)
So where does this leave us? Ohio State’s most likely destination is the Rose Bowl (gang, I see both Missouri and West Virginia taking care of business this weekend.) What in the world is wrong with that? USC is the most likely opponent, that will be a great game to see. In this most unusual of college football seasons, I take my hat off to the over-achieving Buckeyes (and Mountaineers, Tigers, and Rainbows.) However the bowls shake out, it should be interesting to see the results. And particularly, the results on Conference Strength.Tweet