Ohio State is the only undefeated team in the Big Ten and it doesn't even matter. I mean they aren't eligible for the coaches poll and they aren't eligible for any postseason play, but they still could win the Big Ten's Leaders Division after running their record to 8-0 in an overtime victory on Saturday afternoon in Columbus. Seeing this season unfold so far it honestly begs the question - Is this the luckiest team in America?
Today's 29-22 victory could well be considered a microcosm of the entire season for Ohio State. They were down early and late and it took a miracle or two for them to pull off the win. Yet here we stand 8 weeks into the season and somehow a team that lost their biggest offensive weapon (really their only offensive weapon), quarterback Braxton Miller, during the later stages on Saturday managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat again and avoid a two game losing streak to Purdue.
Realistically Ohio State could've lost 6 games already this season, yet here they stand as the lone undefeated team in the Big Ten.
Don't believe that we could be talking about a 2-6 Ohio State team? Let's explore their games this season then shall we?
Only wins over Miami (OH) and Nebraska can be classified as blowout victories. So that leaves us with 6 games on the docket so to speak.
Following the season opening beat down of the Redhawks were UCF and despite the 31-16 score this game was far closer than it seemed and it took Braxton Miller's magic to turn this game from a loss to what seems like a comfortable win on the surface.
Then there's the games against Cal and UAB, both teams that are actually bad and actually led over the Buckeyes.
Cal gave the Buckeyes all they wanted, leading 21-20 and tying it at 28-28 before falling 35-28. Cal never let the Buckeyes get away and literally if it weren't Miller time for tOSU they don't win, as he had a hand in all 5 touchdowns for Ohio State. That's right a Cal team that's currently 3-5 overall and 2-3 inside the Pac 12 nearly came into The Horseshoe and stole one from the vaunted Ohio State Buckeyes.
Then you have UAB, which is currently 1-6 overall and 0-3 in Conference-USA, yet the Blazers led both 9-0 and 12-7 early into the 2nd quarter. If it weren't for 14 unanswered points the rest of the quarter from Miller and Zach Bohen this game was actually close all the way.
We haven't even gotten to the Big Ten schedule in which they won 17-16 at a totally inept Michigan State team, allowed Indiana (yes, I said Indiana) to nearly upset them at home, and then you have today. So, if a play or two go the other way you have a football team that sits 1-3 in conference play and isn't even talked about since they can't play for the Big Ten Championship this season.
Some may say that's a sign of a good team, you know you've heard the argument a thousand times - Good teams find ways to win games they aren't supposed to. But is that really the case with this Ohio State team, or are they doing it with smoke and mirrors against teams that aren't very good?
Let's face it, who have they really beat so far? Nebraska? You mean the same Huskers team that nearly lost to Northwestern earlier on Saturday and hasn't beaten a team worth their salt outside of Lincoln? Sorry, color me unimpressed by that win.
So, what's been the common denominator in all of these close victories? Well, up until Saturday it was clearly the play of Braxton Miller. He's had a hand in 21 of 39 touchdowns for the Buckeyes so far this season. Yes, that's right he's personally responsible for over 50% of the points put up by Ohio State.
On Saturday the Buckeyes actually showed they could do it without Miller, or so Buckeye fans may have you believe. What the rest of the college football watching world saw was a team that once again got lucky as Kenny Guiton stumbled and bumbled down the field against a worn out and listless front four from Purdue.
Sure, credit Guiton for the poise and the presence he had, but isn't that something a junior should possess? Especially one that competed with Miller for the starting job all offseason? But, at the same time anyone watching that game Saturday saw a Purdue team that was totally gassed and also unlucky in the way of calls.
All of that lends me to believe this actually is the luckiest team in America. At some point you have to figure that luck runs out though, no?
No matter what has happened to this point in the season I will say one thing is for certain, if this team doesn't have Braxton Miller for a full game they are in serious trouble. If the injury he sustained on Saturday is as bad as some are fearing then his status for Saturday has to be in serious jeopardy and that spells trouble for tOSU.
This team still needs to prove they can actually beat a real football team on the road for me to believe it's nothing more than Braxton Miller's amazing play and a lot of smoke and mirrors. That chance comes fast and furious as they turn around to face a Penn State team that is undefeated in conference play and must do so on the road. Win there and against the Badgers in a few weeks and you'll make a believer out of me, but until then yes Buckeye Nation - your team is the luckiest team in America.