The good news for Ohio State is that the Buckeyes moved up one spot in the latest USA Today coaches’ poll and now sit just one spot outside the Top Two.
The bad news? The object in OSU’s rear-view mirror is much closer than they would like it to appear.
Baylor jumped to No. 4 in the coaches’ poll following Missouri’s Week 8 loss, 83 points behind Ohio State. After Week 9, the gap had shrunk a bit to 70 points. Following the Bears’ impressive win over Oklahoma and the Buckeyes’ bye, the margin from No. 3 to No. 4 is all the way down to 25 points.
As Baylor has games left against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State (No. 10 in this week’s poll) and Texas (reentering at No. 24) to go along with TCU, and Ohio State would play no one of consequence until the Big Ten championship game — apologies, Michigan; not so much Illinois, Indiana — the Buckeyes are in serious jeopardy of being leapfrogged in the coaches’ poll and, in all likelihood, the BCS standings as the computer numbers that currently favor the Buckeyes will skew more toward the Bears. The importance, of course, is that the team sitting at No. 3 would be primed to, provided they continue winning, slide into a BCS title game spot should either Alabama or Florida State falter.
Speaking of which, the Tide, as they have been since the preseason poll was released, is again No. 1 this week. Thanks to Oregon’s loss to Stanford, the Seminoles are now at No. 2. Alabama received 58 first-place votes, up from 54 a week ago, while FSU added one and now claims the other four.
The Ducks, which held five first-place votes after Week 10, slid down five spots to No. 7. The Cardinal and Clemson each moved up one spot to Nos. 5 and 6, respectively.
The most precipitous tumblers of the week were Oklahoma and Miami. Each came in nine spots lower than the week before, the former down to No. 17 thanks to its 29-point loss to Baylor and the latter to No. 23 courtesy of an 18-point loss to unranked Virginia Tech. LSU, coming off its loss to Alabama, exited Week 11 at No. 18 after entering No. 12.
The only other teams to move up or down more than two spots were South Carolina, Louisville, Fresno State, UCLA and Michigan State, which are all up three positions to Nos. 12-16, respectively.
It should also be noted that, yet again, the coaches have one-loss Louisville, which lost to one-loss UCF, ahead of the Knights. Excellent work
football support staff sports information directors coaches.
Texas Tech (No. 23) and Notre Dame (No. 25) each dropped out, replaced by Texas and Minnesota (No. 25).