At the halfway pole Ohio State fans can only watch and hope…for a clean finish by a “good” Buckeyes team, and a stumble by one or two others perceived to be “great”.
Based on the competition afforded by the Big Ten, the post-season and and championship fortunes of the Ohio State Buckeyes are anchored firmly in the “maybe” category. At the midway point of the season, with Iowa coming in this Saturday, as a fan it’s a good idea to be realistic…if you don’t want your hearts broken.
Urban Meyer considered his position over the weekend…how his team measures up with the best of the rest, nationally.
“I think we’re right there,” he said earlier Monday. “I think we’re a good team. You wonder where you stack up, but then you click right back in and start worrying about your own business.”
What he says without actually saying it is…that while the Buckeyes are a good football team there’s really no way of determining against the likes of upcoming Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois and Indiana of just how good they are. Penn State had a rousing overtime win against Michigan on Saturday, but even the casual observer would have watched that game and seen areas of strength and deficiency for both teams. And the same can be said for the rest of the Big Ten, including Ohio State. A lot of teams do some things well. Few, if any, do everything well.
For his own part Meyer talks continually about the need for more explosiveness on offense.
And after the Northwestern game he addressed an issue on the other side of the ball when he admitted the play of the secondary has been “alarming”.
Still, in BCS terms the Buckeyes are in hunt, which is about as satisfying as kissing your sister…until you realize just how many others think your sister is pretty cool. Ranked 3rd and 4th this week the Bucks can honestly say they haven’t done anything wrong, or untoward to the point of being dismissed altogether. Their worst offense, if you want to make the point…is guilt by association.
Eight SEC teams are among this week’s Top 25 nationally. The Big Ten has, count ’em, two…Ohio State, and Wisconsin, at #25. Not strong. Even Michigan, with one loss, can’t crack the group.
But hey, 6-0 is 6-0. Urban Meyer can’t worry about the rest of the Big, except when he plays them. And Monday he was singing the praises of an Iowa team and it’s ability to defend against the running game.
“We’re in there trying to figure out how to run on this defense,” said Meyer, citing the Hawkeyes’ defensive front four as one of the best in the Big Ten. But Iowa is another example of a team with a strength here, and a deficiency (or two) over there.
But as long as the Buckeyes win no one can question their record, irregardless of deficiency. As Meyer says every week, “We do the best we can. We have to improve.” 12-0 is going to get you noticed at the finish line, that much is sure. What’s not sure at this point…how many 12-0’s will there be? Alabama, Oregon, Clemson, Florida State, Missouri, UCLA?
Just stay in the hunt. Be patient. Someone’s bound to stumble. For now, 6-0 is a good place to be!