Southern Cal's season is now in the hands of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Okay, maybe that's a little over the top. Of course USC needs to beat the rest of their opponents -- none of whom are currently ranked in the Top 25. But assuming they do that, they also need Ohio State to start looking like a top-tier team... because their title hopes depend on it.
Chris Dufresne of the LA Times is among the first to float the notion that an undefeated USC could miss the title game, ala Auburn of 2004.
Good as it looks, there is no guarantee that going 12-0 is going to get USC to the BCS title game.
Georgia, at 13-0, could not possibly be denied, nor could any other 13-0 SEC champion.
On another flank, the Big 12, enjoying one of its best years, is the second-strongest league this year behind the SEC.
The Big 12 this week boasts four teams in the AP top 10, led by Oklahoma at No. 2.
Wouldn't you think a 13-0 champion from that conference would trump USC?
Frankly, FanHouse's answer to that question is "Yes". An undefeated/one-loss SEC or Big 12 champion will have a much stronger case to play in Miami.
USC was counting on Ohio State looking the part of a top-tier team in their Coliseum Collision tilt, but easily destroyed the Bucks... too easily, in fact. Ironically, had the game been a bit more competitive, say, 35-28 instead of 35-3, USC would likely have gained more momentum, building its championship resume with a marquee win against one of the best teams in college football.
Instead, Ohio State has become one college football's biggest laughingstocks. Their loss to USC punctuated twin title game losses that have indicted the Big Ten as among the weakest of BCS conferences. The Buckeyes have struggled against inferior competion twice this year; most recently, the Bucks' home game against the Men of Troy (nyuk, the other Troy) wasn't decided until the fourth quarter. Bottom line, everyone thinks the Bucks suck. And until USC beats a team that doesn't suck, their title hopes are far from guaranteed.
Given that Penn State might be the class of the Big 10 in 2008, and Michigan can only improve under Rich Rodriguez, USC fans must nervously root for Ohio State to win out to bolster their championship dreams.