By Teddy Greenstein
Distributed by MCT
The opponent will be about as challenging as its next five. Or so goes the prevailing wisdom.
The 6-0 Buckeyes will next face Iowa and Penn State at home, then Purdue and Illinois on the road, followed by a home date against Indiana. Not one ranks better than 45th in the Sagarin ratings.
So Buckeyes fans are starting to debate Ohio State’s chances of playing for the BCS title.
If the Buckeyes win out, beating Michigan in the season finale and the Legends division winner in Indianapolis, they will still need help.
And that’s appropriate, given that Ohio State's best non-league win came at 1-4 Cal and that the Big Ten ranks fourth or fifth nationally, about even with the Big 12 and behind the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC.
The first batch of BCS standings won’t be released until Oct. 20, but CBSSports.com analyst Jerry Palm currently projects Ohio State as No. 5, dragged down by a computer average of 8.3.
The top four are Alabama, Clemson, Stanford and Oregon. And Florida State is a hair behind Ohio State.
So assuming the SEC champion grabs one spot, Ohio State likely will need Oregon, Stanford, Clemson and Florida State to lose at least one game.
Clemson and Florida State meet Oct. 19. Oregon and Stanford lock horns Nov. 7.
Ohio State is averaging 46.8 points and has been solid against the run, but coach Urban Meyer called the Buckeyes’ pass defense “very alarming right now.”
Northwestern’s Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian combined to complete 25 of 31 passes against the Buckeyes on Saturday.
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