COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State’s players got four full days off thanks to a weekend without a game, and in the process they moved up one spot, to No. 3, in the BCS standings behind Alabama and Florida State.
Asked in the team’s regular Monday interview period how he felt about Alabama and Florida State, Ohio State wide receiver Evan Spencer said he thinks the Buckeyes “would wipe the field with both of them, but that’s just my bias speaking.”
It took that quote all of about 22 seconds to make its rounds.
The BCS standings say the Buckeyes, even if they can remain unbeaten, are likely going to need help in the form of a loss by either Alabama or Florida State to get a shot at the other. There’s a lot of football left, starting with Ohio State’s game Saturday at Illinois, and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is asking his players to stay in the moment.
When Meyer addressed them Monday morning, he might not have said anything as strong as Spencer did. He didn’t sugarcoat anything, either, about his team’s situation.
“We talked about the nation, the BCS, the state of the union, as we do every week,” Meyer said. “It’s not about style points, but we have to play great.”
Meyer said his message to his players remains “to win the (next game), but the message is you have to play great. You are held, to be even mentioned with those other teams, (to a high standard), to be careful what you wish for. That means you have to practice and play at a certain level. We practiced at a very high level today and we all expect them to play and they expect to play at a very high level because you’re in the same breath with some very, very good teams. To maintain that status you have to play very well.”
Meyer revealed that he’s been voting Ohio State No. 2 all season in the coaches poll and admitted his team is using its current outsider status as motivation.
“There’s so much football to be played,” Meyer said. “I just told those guys, I’ve been in this situation before and you have nothing to do with nothing, other than get ready to go play.”
The Buckeyes started the season at No. 2 in the coaches poll, were passed by Oregon in Week Three and dropped to No. 4 in Week Nine after Florida State won convincingly at Clemson. Ohio State moved up to No. 3 in this week’s poll — and in the BCS standings — after Oregon lost to Stanford.
“At times I don’t get to watch everybody, so (the ranking) sometimes puts you in a hard position,” Meyer said. ‘This last week I did get to watch everybody. There are some very good teams in the country, and I believe we’re a very good team.
“Do we have to win with the style points? No. You have to play great, though, or you’ll no longer be in the same breath with those other teams.”