Dienhart: Ohio State deserving of No. 2 ranking

Dienhart: Ohio State deserving of No. 2 ranking

As I suspected, Ohio State ascended from No. 3 to No. 2 in the BCS standings following its win at Michigan and the loss of BCS No. 1 Alabama to BCS No. 4 Auburn on Saturday.

In the just-revealed BCS standings, the Buckeyes are behind No. 1 Florida State. Auburn moved from No. 4 to No. 3 in the BCS standings. Alabama is No. 4. The Buckeyes have a .950 BCS score; the Tigers have a .923.

The fact Ohio State is 12-0 and Auburn is 11-1 is the primary reason why the Tigers didn’t leap over the Buckeyes, as some thought may happen after Auburn’s big win over the top-ranked Crimson Tide. Auburn’s loss was to LSU.

[ MORE: Ohio State moves up to No. 2 in BCS Standings ]

Even if Auburn topples Missouri (No. 5 in the BCS) in the SEC championship game this Saturday, Ohio State should remain at No. 2 if it beats Michigan State (No. 10 in the BCS) in the Big Ten title game. And that would punch the Buckeyes’ ticket to the BCS championship game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., at the Rose Bowl.

OSU’s foe figures to be Florida State, as long as it beats Duke in the ACC title game this Saturday.

Ohio State last played in the BCS Championship after the 2006 and 2007 seasons, losing to Florida and then LSU. The Buckeyes won the Big Ten’s last national title, upsetting Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2002 season.

[ MORE: Urban Meyer won’t suspend ejected players | Marcus Hall tweets apology ]

Florida State has played in the BCS title game after the 1998, 1999 and 2000 seasons, the first three years of the BCS. The Seminoles lost to Tennessee in 1998, beat Virginia Tech in 1999 and lost to Oklahoma in 2000.

If Michigan State loses to Ohio State in Indianapolis this Saturday in the Big Ten title game but still is ranked No. 14 or higher in the final BCS standings, the Spartans are likely to be tabbed to fill an at-large BCS bowl slot. MSU never has gone to a BCS bowl, and last went to the Rose Bowl after the 1987 season. A close loss to OSU may keep MSU in the top 14. A blowout loss to the Buckeyes?

[ MORE: Michigan State vs. Ohio State: This is what good football looks like ]

If Michigan State beats Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, the Big Ten won’t have a team in the BCS title game. And, under that scenario, the Spartans would go to the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes still would figure to be a BCS at-large team as long as they ranked in the Top 14 of the final BCS standings. A close loss to the Spartans would figure to keep OSU in the top 14.

Stay tuned. There’s a lot of football left to be played—and a lot of crazy things still can happen.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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