This was the wildest college football season the world has ever seen, and in a year chock-full of upsets, the only way to avoid being defeated was to simply not play. Worked out pretty well for the Buckeyes who haven’t played since Nov. 17.
After being shocked by Illinois at home in Week 11, Ohio State fell from No. 1 in the BCS Standings to No. 7. But after finishing their season with a rivalry win over then-No. 21 Michigan, they jumped up No. 5. Since then No. 1 LSU lost to Arkansas, No. 2 Kansas lost to No. 4 Missouri, No. 1 Missouri lost to No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 2 West Virginia lost to unranked Pittsburgh. And just like that, the Buckeyes are back atop the BCS and in the title game.
Of course, having 50 full days between games can have disadvantages as well. Look at what happened last year when OSU had an identical 50 idle days before getting thrashed by Florida for the giant crystal football. The Gators were riding just 36 days of rest. The Tigers will be coming into this year’s title game with just 36 days off since playing Tennessee in the SEC title game.
And while we could bitch and moan for weeks about why LSU grabbed the No. 2 slot over Virginia Tech, Georgia and Oklahoma (heck, we’ll even throw in undefeated Hawaii to humor all you WAC nuts), it would just be a waste of breath. The BCS is what it is, which an injustice to competitive athletics and the game in general, but it is the system we’re stuck with, so we might as well accept the fact that this is the match-up going down in the record books and move on already.
The `rest vs. rust’ debate will be something to contemplate in the weeks leading up to this national championship showdown. Ohio State played every week for 12 consecutive weeks, there is no way a sudden seven week vacation can improve their timing, chemistry or in-game, real time decision making ability.
LSU is facing a similar, yet less drastic, situation coming in the weeks ahead, but they have the advantage of playing in a winner-take-all, pressure-packed SEC Championship game and they’ve also had the `benefit’ of fighting for their lives – twice – following loses to Kentucky and they again to Arkansas.
Sitting in the shadows might have been the best plan for making it to the top of the rankings in this wacky season, especially for the Buckeyes, but having actually survived the wild finish of this wacky season on the field might prove more beneficial come game time. But don’t worry; we’ve still got 35 days to think about it.
[AZCentral.com]: LSU to face Ohio St. for national title
[WBIR.com]: It’s Ohio State vs. LSU for national championship