One of these days, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer will take a beating. It will get ugly, and don’t feel sorry for him. The beating might come at the hands of Alabama, Florida State or Oregon in January.
But it might not come at all this season, because even if the Buckeyes run the table in the Big Ten, as expected, they could be on the outside looking in at the Bowl Championship Scam title game.
The cleverly named College Football Playoff does not begin until the 2014-15 season, when the top four teams meet in two semifinals, probably to be sponsored by Cialis and Viagra. (It’s now a requirement for every televised football game to include at least 10 commercials for erectile dysfunction drugs.) The playoff will come a year too late for a couple of teams, one likely being Ohio State.
So, for now, all Meyer can do is massacre each impotent opponent in the Buckeyes’ path in an effort to score style points in the BCS’ dysfunctional system.
“Meyer has no problem running it up on anyone,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “He’s the bully of the Big Ten.”
Ohio State is a 32-point favorite at Purdue on Saturday, and if the line looks inflated, it is for good reason. This is another take-no-prisoners game for Meyer, and oddsmakers are taking that factor into account.
The Boilermakers took the Buckeyes to overtime on the road last year. Meyer is 20-0 at Ohio State, and that was his luckiest win. It was something near a miracle. But this time, it’s a gross mismatch.
Purdue has a clueless first-year coach and a freshman quarterback who has put a total of seven points on the board in the past two games. Meyer is going to West Lafayette, Ind., looking to hang 70 on the scoreboard.
Last week, the Buckeyes stuck it to Penn State 63-14, and with a 49-point lead in the third quarter, Meyer challenged a first-down call on the field. It was classless, and Nittany Lions coach Bill O’Brien was furious.
This is not a rip job on Meyer, however. Ohio State’s strength of schedule — Illinois, Indiana and a mediocre Michigan team are the leftovers on the table — won’t impress Bill Snyder, so margin of victory is Meyer’s only weapon. He needs to win and win really big to have any chance of making a case against Alabama, Florida State and Oregon in the court of public opinion.
That’s the current state of college football, and handicappers have to be aware of the bully effect. The Buckeyes, No. 4 in the BCS standings, need blowouts, so beware of the ’dog even when the point spread seems pumped with helium. The line against Purdue probably isn’t high enough.
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller will be throwing deep while Meyer throws petty challenge flags in the fourth quarter of another slaughter.
The line on the Miami-Florida State rivalry game is almost staggering by comparison. The No. 3 Seminoles are 21½-point home favorites over the Hurricanes, 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the BCS standings.
“This deep into the season, it might be the highest point spread ever against a team ranked in the top 10,” Bogdanovich said. “Florida State looks like the 49ers, is drawing huge money and people keep betting them. It’s the ’dog or nothing, and I’m going to pass because I’m not high on Miami.”
The Hurricanes, 10th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 17.7 points per game, have a shot to stay in it, but if they get blown away don’t be surprised.
Jameis Winston, the Seminoles’ redshirt freshman quarterback, is smooth and talented enough to start this week for about 10 NFL teams. He has completed 69.9 percent of his passes for 2,177 yards and 23 touchdowns with four interceptions.
“Winston looks like the real deal, that’s for sure,” Bogdanovich said. “I’d like to be his agent.”
Most books in Las Vegas are posting lines on potential BCS title game matchups and adjusting the numbers weekly. Here’s how the board looks at the Golden Nugget:
▶ Alabama (-3) against Oregon; Alabama (-6½) against Florida State; Alabama (-9½) against Ohio State; Oregon (-6) against Florida State; Oregon (-9½) against Ohio State; Florida State (-4½) against Ohio State.
There are scenarios including Baylor, too, but the Bears’ remaining schedule is no picnic and that’s a debate for another day, if at all.
“I’m hoping Oregon gets through. I don’t really want to see Ohio State-Alabama,” Bogdanovich said. “I would rather see Florida State-Oregon, and get Alabama out of there. I’m tired of Alabama.”
Meyer might get beat up and bullied by the Crimson Tide, Ducks and Seminoles, but we might not get the chance to see it.
Next year, when the cleverly named College Football Playoff is introduced, we’ll let the real experts like Condoleezza Rice sort out the mess.
■ CLOSING NUMBERS — After a rare winning (2-1) college week — see the R-J video as evidence — here are five shots for Saturday (home team in CAPS):
Georgia (-3) over Florida; Miami (+21½) over FLORIDA STATE; Michigan (+5½) over MICHIGAN STATE; TEXAS TECH (-2) over Oklahoma State; New Mexico-SAN DIEGO STATE (Over 56).
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports betting columnist Matt Youmans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. He co-hosts “The Las Vegas Sportsline” weekdays at 2 p.m. on ESPN Radio (1100 AM). Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.