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KTSW Sports: Auburn or Ohio State?

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Written by Warren Schorr

Everyone take a step back and take a deep breath. Is everyone okay now?

After one of the most exciting days in college football on Saturday I hope everyone has recovered by now.

With the regular season over, college football heads into championship week in the final season of the BCS and chaos is ensuing. Alabama lost this week to their bitter rival Auburn on a missed field goal returned for a touchdown, essentially ending their chances at a third consecutive national title. The Tide losing has opened the debate for what team should join Florida State in the final installment of the BCS National Championship game.

The debate does not start with Florida State. If the Seminoles beat Duke on Saturday night in the ACC Championship game, which they should since they are favored by 29 points, then they will play in Pasadena on January 6th.

The debate cranks up when talking about who should join the Seminoles in the title game.

Should the undefeated Ohio State take the second spot or should a one-loss SEC Champion occupy that spot? Let’s take a deeper look into the BCS and if there really is a chance that Auburn could jump Ohio State.

The BCS is made up of, the computers; coaches’ poll and Harris poll, all being a one-third of the formula. Ohio State is a solid second in all three areas. For Auburn, it is going to be very tough to jump Ohio State if both teams win. According to ESPN’s BCS guru, Brad Edwards, Auburn needs to get 75% of the second place votes in both polls to pass the Buckeyes. Right now the Tigers have 25%. That’s a lot of voters changing their votes, which I don’t see happening.  So if Ohio State wins there is a really, really good chance they will play for a national title but that doesn’t stop the debate.

The debate currently sweeping the nation is, “Should a one-loss SEC champion leapfrog over an undefeated Ohio State?” Boy oh boy has the politicking from the Auburn camp already started. One thing about politicking, right now, for the Tigers is that they seem to be overlooking a very good Missouri team that has not lost a game when their starting quarterback James Franklin has played.  Auburn Athletic Director, Jay Jacobs, said on SportsCenter, that it would be un-American if an SEC team were not in the title game. Un-American, I think, is a little overboard but I get it. You want to make a grandiose statement about your team. Auburn is 11-1 with their one loss being against a three-loss LSU team on the road and they also beat the No.1 team in the country, something nobody else can say.

Their strength of schedule is ranked 36th, and that’s pretty good as well. They also won games on a Hail Mary against an underachieving four-loss Georgia team and scored a touchdown with 20 seconds left against a 6-6 Mississippi State team. Those wins never get brought up as “escaped”, because it’s the SEC they’re never questioned at all.  The case for Auburn is primarily based on previous success of the SEC having the last seven national champions and considered the best conference in the nation.

The Buckeyes are on a 24 game win streak. Yes, that’s right they have not lost a game since the 2011 Gator Bowl against Florida. Yes, they play in the Big Ten, but something should be said for going unbeaten in an automatic qualifying conference.  Ohio State’s strength of schedule is ranked 63, which is middle of pack in Division 1. They, at times, have not looked very dominant, but are still doing enough to win, just like Auburn. Since their schedule is relatively weaker, they get scrutinized. But they have also dominated inferior opponents.

Their offense behind the two headed running attack of running back Carlos Hyde and quarterback Braxton Miller is arguably the best in the nation. They can score with anyone in the country, but their defense does have holes, mainly in the secondary since senior safety Christian Bryant broke his ankle midway through the season. If Ohio State does win Saturday and go undefeated they should be rewarded for that incredible feat. It’s so hard to win each week with the growing pressure of knowing that if you lose the dream of a national title is over.

While reading, it does seem that I have not made a very strong argument for the Bucks, but that’s because I feel that being undefeated is enough to validate them playing in the game.

Going into the final weekend of the season, if Ohio State and Florida State win they will face off for the crystal ball. If one of them slips up, then the SEC champion, either Auburn or Missouri, will play. If both OSU and FSU lose, then boy do we really have BCS chaos with probably Alabama playing in the title game.

Just enjoy the games this weekend and don’t let any of the lobbying in the SEC get to your head because it probably won’t matter in the end.

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