COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football fans should not take for granted a tough road win over a bowl-eligible team this late in the season.
Georgia had to do it too, Saturday, holding off Kentucky 16-6 on the road. Tennessee couldn’t do it, imploding with a 63-38 loss at South Carolina.
The Buckeyes did not play their sharpest game at Maryland on Saturday. Other championship-caliber OSU teams have gone on the road in the Big Ten in the recent past and left with a loss. It should not be overlooked that this team, even when it falters, keeps a distance between itself and the losses at Iowa in 2017 and Purdue in 2018 that essentially ruined seasons.
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None of that had much influence on my Associated Press Top 25 ballot. Georgia still looks like the most complete team with the very best wins on its resume. Ohio State gets a performance edge over Michigan for now, but we’ll know for sure on Saturday. TCU, improbably, keeps finding a way to sneak unscathed through a tough schedule.
We didn’t get 1 vs. 2 in The Game, as we did in 2006. The eyes of college football will still be on Columbus on Saturday. That game means more this season because this OSU team, even when vulnerable, keeps the next tier of the Big Ten at arm’s length.
NATHAN BAIRD’S WEEK 13 AP TOP 25 BALLOT
1 Georgia 11-0
2 Ohio State 11-0
3 Michigan 11-0
4 TCU 11-0
5 USC 10-1
6 LSU 9-2
7 Penn State 9-2
8 Clemson 10-1
9 Tennessee 9-2
10 Alabama 9-2
11 Washington 9-2
12 Oregon 9-2
13 Utah 8-3
14 Notre Dame 8-3
15 Florida State 8-3
16 Kansas State 8-3
17 UCLA 8-3
18 Tulane 9-2
19 UCF 8-3
20 Cincinnati 9-2
21 North Carolina 9-2
22 Texas 7-4
23 Oregon State 8-3
24 Purdue 7-4
25 Louisville 7-4
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