OSU moved up to No. 6 in the BCS rankings, but the Cowboys absolutely are out of contention for the championship game. And OSU can blame Alabama.
The one (longshot) way for the Cowboys to make the Big Bowl was for Alabama to beat Auburn and then, likely, to win the SEC title game.
The Cowboys’ problem now is that even if both Ohio State and Florida State lose Saturday, which is unlikely but possible, I suppose, two insurmountable forces would remain ahead of OSU: 1. The SEC champion, either Auburn or Missouri; and 2. Alabama.
Bama slipped to No. 4 in the BCS. But no way would an 11-1 OSU jump an 11-1 Alabama. Just not going to happen.
OSU’s wins this year actually are as good as Bama’s. Maybe better. OSU beat Baylor in Stillwater, which is about the same as Bama beating LSU in Tuscaloosa. OSU won at Texas, Bama won at Texas A&M. Again, about the same (don’t believe it? A&M and UT are next to each other in the BCS, 24th and 25th). Bama beat Virginia Tech, OSU beat Kansas State. Bama beat Ole Miss, OSU beat Texas Tech. Again, close to the same.
But an 11-1 Cowboys would have beaten OU, and Alabama doesn’t a good counter for that. So the Cowboys have an edge. Then you compare the lone defeat. OSU lost at West Virginia in an inexplicably bad performance. Alabama lost to now-third-ranked Auburn on a wild rally in the final 32 seconds that included two Auburn touchdowns, one on a flukish play that ranks among the great finishes in the history of American sport.
And besides, like it or not, you’ve got the names. Alabama and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have made progress on the political front, but not that much progress. Bama would be picked ahead of OSU. And with the SEC title game matching teams ranked third (Auburn) and fifth (Missouri), each at 11-1, OSU’s chances are vamoosh.
By the way, what are Alabama’s chances? The Crimson Tide needs both Florida State and Ohio State to lose. I’d give the Seminoles a 90 percent chance of beating Duke in the ACC title game. I’d give Ohio State a 70 percent chance of beating Michigan State in the Big Ten title game. Giving Bama a 3 percent chance of reaching the Big Bowl.