COLUMBUS, Ohio -- No matter how dominant the defense looked in a shutout or how powerful the spread offense continues to be, the bottom line remains unchanged.
Ohio State isn’t climbing any higher until it gets some help.
The Buckeyes held steady at No. 4 for the third consecutive week when the BCS standings were unveiled on Sunday night, with yet another blowout win doing nothing to change their fate. Ohio State did everything it could to impress the voters and computers, but beating up on hapless Purdue 56-0 on Saturday on the road was never likely to be enough on its own to give the Buckeyes a boost, leaving them waiting for Alabama, Florida State or Oregon to miss a step and lend them a hand.
“We’re just trying to win every game,” Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier said after the easy victory. “At the end of the day, all the rest is going to solve itself.”
The Buckeyes are keenly aware of what’s required of them in the equation to get to the national title game, but the math isn’t working out too well ahead of them at the moment.
After some less-than-impressive wins early in the season, Ohio State has started pouring on style points in lopsided decisions over Penn State and Purdue following the release of the first BCS standings as it became even more obvious that it didn’t have complete control of its postseason destiny. But after closing some ground last week and pulling within .0381 in the composite formula, the margin behind No. 3 Oregon actually increased to .0715 coming out of the stomping of the Boilermakers, making it clearer than ever what Ohio State needs to make a move.
The Buckeyes are starting to get some assistance within the Big Ten thanks to Michigan State rising in the rankings up to No. 17, emerging as a potential opponent for the conference championship and perhaps improving their strength of schedule in the process. And a home win over Wisconsin looks better in hindsight with the Badgers still holding on at No. 24 in the latest standings.
But those are relatively minor favors for the Buckeyes at this stage. The help they need is the same heading into their second bye week as it was two weeks ago.
This week, though, the straight-forward formula doesn’t require Ohio State to show any of its own work. But like every other week, even if it doesn’t have to win on an off date, the only path forward is still a loss or two elsewhere.