CRUSADERS MAKE PLAYOFFS, BUCKEYES WISH FOR THEM
Two football games in Columbus Saturday resulted in two blowouts for the home team. I'm sure you all know about OSU's 48-7 drubbing of Northwestern, but the Capital Crusaders cruised to a 48-10 victory over Wilmington College. The win lifted Capital to 8-2 (7-2 OAC) and tied a school-record eight wins set in 2003. They were hoping for a chance to set a new record (9), but they knew the only way to do that would be to get an at-large playoff bid.
At 1 p.m. today, we found out they will get that chance. The Crusaders will play in the NCAA Division III playoffs for the first time since 1987 at noon Saturday at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. North Central, like Capital, got an at-large bid, also, and finished 9-1 (If Capital hadn't blown their fourth-quarter lead against Otterbein, the Crusaders would probably be hosting this game, but that's another story.) I had orignally said that Cap would have to go 9-1--with its one loss being to Mount Union--to have a shot for an at-large bid. However, this year the NCAA expanded the playoffs to 32 teams. Under the old system, the Crusaders might be on the outside looking in. Nonetheless, this is a great opportunity for the team and the school.
North Central finished the season ranked No. 15 and Capital finished No. 21. Since Capital was able to beat ranked teams in Ohio Northern and John Carroll and hang with Mount Union, I would say this is a very winnable game. The atmosphere will probably be great at the game, so depending on the decisions of the illustrious Chimes staff, I may be covering it.
This Ohio State Buckeyes elated me in their domination of Northwestern Saturday. Though I will concede Northwestern has a weak defense, I haven't seen the OSU offense click that well since last year's Alamo Bowl. 350+ rushing yards as a team is something we all could get used to. Of course, I could shamelessly rub in the victory to a loyal reader who happens to pull for the Wildcats, but I won't because I recognize that NW legitimately beat a struggling OSU last year, and I remember how rotten it felt. I expected a much closer game, but the Buckeyes' performance exceeded all of my expectations. To be honest, the losses to Penn State and Texas hurt even more now. This team, in a system where there are still no playoffs, is out of the National Championship loop, yet they are playing so well I believe they could beat anyone in the nation. They could definitely beat USC. I hope the Buckeyes win out if for no reason than the athletic department with all of its clout would hop on the pro-playoffs bandwagon.
Oh, and in my "winning out" scenario, the Bucks would get a win this week that's just a little important. If you ask a lot of Buckeye fans, "The Game" is the National Championship.