Montgomery, AL —
Alabama certainly has it better than the other participants in this year’s beauty pageant. Jumping into the serious discussions are Baylor, which improved its standing after Thursday night’s thumping of Oklahoma, and a “We- get-no-respect” Ohio State team.
Despite being unbeaten (8-0) and ranked fifth in the country, Baylor wasn’t being included in championship talk. That now changes – at least for a while. Coach Art Briles’ offensive juggernaut has scored 488 points in eight games, but the Bears do face a season-ending grind. Still on the schedule are Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas. The Big 12 doesn’t have a championship game.
Now don’t forget about Ohio State. The Big Ten isn’t shooting on all cylinders these days, but it’s hard to find much fault with how the Buckeyes have fared since Urban Meyer came to town. Arriving in 2012, Meyer and Ohio State have marched to 21 consecutive victories. The question from Columbus is clear: How do you leave a team out of the national championship that has gone undefeated over two seasons?
Ohio State has easily winnable games against Indiana, Illinois and Michigan on its schedule. The Big 10 championship, perhaps against Michigan State, could be interesting, though. At this point there’s no reason to bet against the Bucks. All of that said, Ohio State is going to need a couple of breaks if it hopes to be playing for the crystal ball.
Other top-notch teams remain on the outside just waiting for a late-season misstep by someone so they can make a last-minute claim.
Besides the four major unbeatens (sorry Northern Illinois and Fresno State), there are still a dozen one-loss teams waiting in the wings – Auburn, Clemson, Central Florida, Louisville, Houston, Ball State, Miami, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Stanford and, oh yes, Oregon.