While most of the BCS conversation focuses on Alabama, Oregon and Florida State, today we take a look at two other undefeated teams from power conferences who could slide in to the mix if things fall in to place. But which one has the better shot, Ohio State or Baylor?
The Case for Ohio State
The Buckeyes appear right now to be the odd-team out of the top contenders conversation, which for now focuses on Alabama, Oregon and Florida State. Given the strength of schedule arguments and the national perception of the Big Ten, Ohio State is stuck in a bad spot when it comes to the BCS title conversation. But they are the team most likely to slide in at the first opportunity any team may slip up, but there is already talk of a one-loss Alabama or Oregon staying ahead of an undefeated Ohio State team at the end of the season. Do you buy that? It doesn't seem like it given the responses we have seen already. The Buckeyes at 13-0 would be likely to get in ahead of a 12-0 Baylor, at least according to the responses we have seen.
Simply put, Ohio State does not have as much traffic sitting in the way.
@CrystalBallRun Ohio State. They need fewer teams to lose to get their shot.— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) October 28, 2013
There is also the part of the process in which politics and bias come in to play. While the thought of an Alabama-Oregon championship seems sexy right now, what if Oregon and Florida State do happen to take a loss in the regular season, and what if Ohio State and Baylor remain undefeated? Could the allure of an SEC-Big Ten title game between two of the top programs in the sport be deemed a sexier match-up compared to Alabama-Baylor? Yes, absolutely.
@CrystalBallRun Ohio State. SEC vs B1G is more compelling for voters. OSU will also have a better resume— Nate Kaminski (@phonehand) October 28, 2013
If you think some voters won't take that in to consideration, think again.
Here is what some of our staff had to say about Ohio State.
Allen Kenney: There are actually two important parts to this question. First, assuming both teams win out, who gets in? Given that Baylor still has dates with Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas, TCU and Oklahoma State, it wouldn't shock me if the Bears end up jumping the Buckeyes in that scenario. On other hand, that final slate also makes Baylor more susceptible to a loss, which would be a dagger to either team's hopes. Therefore, I'd be inclined to put my money on OSU.
Kevin Causey: Baylor has killed everybody they've played so far but they've only beaten two teams that currently have winning records. Those two teams? You guessed it: Buffalo and Wofford. Wofford! The next three weeks for Baylor are all against top 25 teams and sooner or later this Bears team will slip up because their schedule is back-loaded. Ohio State's toughest games are behind them and while they will still get challenged, it's much more likely that they will go undefeated. And if both of these two teams go undefeated, who do you think the voters will side with? A team with the pedigree of Ohio State (who will have just beaten Michigan and won a Big Ten Championship Game) or a Baylor team that has never been there before?
Andy Coppens: There is one factor no one is pointing out...Urban Meyer. He's a difference maker for the Buckeyes who were becoming prone to losing games they shouldn't have before his arrival.
I'm not saying it isn't possible, but Meyer's track record tells me he wins games he's supposed to. A quick look at the rest of OSU's schedule tells us they are supposed to win the rest of its games.
Baylor hasn't even come close to playing its toughest games and I could see it losing once or twice in the coming month.
The Case for Baylor
Ohio State's winning streak has to come to an end at some point, right? That is certainly what Baylor fans will be pulling for. The longest winning streak in Ohio State history is 22 games, which was snapped by Michigan. As mentioned already, Ohio State certainly has the easier path when you look at the schedule, but Baylor will have the better chance to prove something down the stretch as well. A quick glance at Baylor's schedule shows three games against ranked opponents coming up followed by a road game against TCU and a home game regular season finale against a Texas team that is currently undefeated in Big 12 play. Ohio State's next three opponents have combined for one win in Big Ten play, but the Buckeyes will get a Michigan team and who knows who in the Big Ten championship game.
Baylor is right behind Ohio State in the human polls but is lagging behind the pack in the computer rankings. Is Baylor capable of running the table at this point? We'll find out over the next three games, which could be the top of the mountain for Baylor at this point. If they can get through the next three games unscathed, perhaps the computers will start closing the gap.
Just one member on our staff dared to stick up for Baylor, but did so in the interest of playng the other side.
Aaron Torres: For the sake of playing devil's advocate, why don't I go ahead and say Baylor. Look, we all know that if both teams win out, it'll be the Bears that are more likely to make the title game, yet no one seems to think they actually will. So I guess the question is: Why can't they win out?
Yes they haven't beaten the elite of the Big XII yet, but look at that schedule. Of their four "tough" games remaining on the schedule, three of the toughest (Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas) are all at home. TCU can't beat anyone in this conference, pretty much anywhere, so they're a wash even with Baylor traveling to Ft. Worth. And although history says otherwise, this year's incarnation of Oklahoma State seems incapable of putting up points at the rate needed to beat Baylor; Oklahoma State has scored more than 33 points against one team from a "power-six" conference this year...and that was against a 1-6 Iowa State team last weekend.
And while we're on the subject of Baylor, remember this: Historically they've actually been a much better team in November and December, than September and October. In the last two years, they've gone a combined 11-1 in the last two months of the season, as opposed to 7-7 in the first two months.
It's a scary thing to think about, but, in theory, Baylor's best football could be ahead of them.
Take A Pick
You've heard what we have to say, now it is your turn. Share a comment below with which team you think has the better shot to reach the BCS Championship Game and explain why. You can also tweet us @CrystalBallRun or share your thoughts on our Facebook or Google+ pages.