Coming off an impressive 63-14 win against Penn State on Saturday, Ohio State held firm to its No. 4 ranking in the BCS standings, which were released Sunday night.
The Buckeyes remained on the outside of the BCS title chase, but they made a big dent in the gap between themselves and the three teams they’re chasing. Alabama (.994) increased its stranglehold on the top spot, while new No. 2 Oregon (.952) and Florida State (.921) flip-flopped in the listing. After coming it at .855 in the initial ranking, OSU increased its BCS rating to .884 – not that players were concerned.
“We don’t worry about it,” senior safety C.J. Barnett said in postgame interviews after the Penn State win. “Honestly, we just focus on the task at hand and next week that will be Purdue. All the other stuff will take care of itself at the end of the season.”
Ohio State leads No. 5 Stanford (.792) by nearly one-tenth of a point, while unbeaten Baylor (.765) and Miami (.756) follow in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Clemson (.669), Missouri (.610) and Oklahoma (.606) round out the top 10 of the standings.
No other Big Ten teams were ranked among the top 20, but three of OSU’s conference foes managed to squeeze their way into the final five spots. Michigan (.188) came in at No. 21, followed one spot later by Michigan State (.181). Wisconsin (.099) listed at 24th.
The Buckeyes’ weak schedule – Michigan and Wisconsin are the only two OSU regular-season opponents among the top 25, although OSU could face Michigan State in the conference championship – certainly dominated the narrative of the first rankings. Even after plastering the most points on Penn State in more than a century, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer denied that a desire for “style points” played a role in the thrashing.
“I think it helps (the team’s national perception),” Meyer said. “That was certainly not our mindset. Our mindset is to find a way to win this game against a very talented team. We had a lot of respect for a team that had some momentum going into this game.
“I think the players here, nonstop, that’s the way we address it. What we’re worried about is finding a way to win the game, and things usually work out. So I think our guys, I’d be disappointed if I said that’s our focus. That’s not our focus.”
Ohio State stayed put at No. 4 in both polls that factor into the BCS, the USAToday Coaches’ Poll and the Harris Poll. In both listings, however, the Buckeyes lost ground despite pounding Penn State. Ohio State went from 2,321 votes in the Harris Poll to 2,301 and fell from 1,382 votes to 1,375 in the coaches’ poll.
However, the computers were much kinder to Ohio State in the second week of the BCS, as the Buckeyes average computer rating jumped up from .790 to .880. The most favorable of the six computer formulas put the Buckeyes at No. 3, while another had them as far down as No. 8.