The first edition of the final Bowl Championship Series standings confirmed what many had already suspected about the Ohio State football team – the Buckeyes still have work to do in their quest for a national championship berth.
Ohio State (.855) debuted at fourth when the rankings were released tonight. Two-time defending national champion Alabama (.984) opened at No. 1, followed by Florida State (.935), which is coming off a 51-14 win at Clemson, and Oregon (.932). Missouri (.822) opened one spot behind OSU at fifth.
Ohio State senior tailback Carlos Hyde, perhaps sensing that his team wouldn’t be among the top two teams in the initial listing, dismissed the rankings before they were even released.
“I don’t think I’m going to pay attention to it, because they never give us our credit, so there’s no point,” Hyde said after the Iowa game. “We’ll just focus on our next opponent.”
The Buckeyes’ two best wins to date, Northwestern and Wisconsin, are both absent from the BCS top 25, and OSU will receive almost no help from out-of-conference foes or the remainder of its schedule. Aside from a potential Big Ten title game matchup against No. 24 Nebraska, No. 22 Michigan is the only OSU foe to earn a spot in the BCS rankings. The criticisms regarding Ohio State’s schedule haven’t affected players, however.
"I can get on here and start mothereffing people about it, but I don't make the schedule,” junior tight end Jeff Heuerman said. “I can't change it. My opinion isn't going to get us rated higher in the BCS, so right now, all we can do is focus on winning all of our games and winning out the rest of the year. Those guys that do that (voting), we'll leave the mothereffing to other people for that.”
Ohio State’s fate was sealed when the polls were released this morning. In both polls that count for two-thirds of the BCS vote, the Buckeyes came in at fourth. The USAToday coaches’ poll rankings dropped OSU from third to fourth, while OSU remained at fourth in the second edition of the Harris Poll. The Buckeyes held steady at fourth in the Associated Press Top 25, as well, although that poll has no bearing on the BCS standings. In all cases, Ohio State was jumped by Florida State in the wake of its overwhelming victory against Clemson.
For now, Ohio State is worried solely about continuing its 19-game winning streak under Meyer and improving as the season begins to wind down.
"Personally, I really don't worry about the rankings,” junior wide receiver Devin Smith said. “I just worry about us getting better each and every week, and I felt that we took a step back in the first half (against Iowa) and we took a step forward in the second half. If we just work hard and continue to get better, I think the sky is the limit for us."