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November 26, 2012

Buckeye players pine for AP national title

Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer made it almost nine minutes and to the final question of his first post-Michigan press conference before being asked the question that everybody knew was coming.

"Here we go," Meyer said with a smile, before the reporter asked what was an inevitable question.

If the Buckeyes, who capped off a perfect season with a 26-21 victory over the Wolverines on Saturday, are college football's only unbeaten team, should they be considered for an Associated Press national championship?

Diplomatic in his answer, Meyer declined the opportunity to pine for votes for his team, but he also didn't dismiss the idea that the Buckeyes are one of college football's best.

"You know, I don't know enough," the first-year OSU coach said in an attempt to avoid making any controversial headlines with his opinion. "The quote I'd like out there is I think this team could play and compete with any team in the United States of America as of now."

It remains unlikely- very unlikely, in fact- that the Buckeyes will be considered for an AP national title, but the final question posed to Meyer on Saturday remains a complicated one.

Along with Notre Dame, who has already clinched a spot in the BCS National Championship Game, Ohio State is just one of two undefeated teams remaining in college football, but will not play in another game this season due to a postseason ban that was handed down as a result of NCAA violations committed by members of the 2010 Buckeyes squad and former head coach Jim Tressel. With a strength of schedule that ranks just 41st in the country and no conference championship or bowl game to add to its resume, it seems all but impossible that Ohio State would be voted ahead of the winner of January's BCS title game.

Even though their chances are slim, and their coach opted not to acknowledge the possibility of a split national championship, that didn't stop OSU players from making their case to be recognized as college football's top team.

"Absolutely, yeah," OSU senior defensive end Nathan Williams said when asked if the Buckeyes should be considered for an AP national title. "We're undefeated. We couldn't have done any better. That's all I've got to say about that."

Junior wide receiver Corey Brown also clamored for voters to boost the Buckeyes in the AP poll, pointing out that their undefeated mark is even more impressive when you consider that just a year ago, the OSU program was wrapping up its first losing season in 23 years.

"Coming back here and being able to sweep the Big Ten and sweep the non-conference- I mean, if we ain't No. 1 now, I don't know what we are," Brown said.

Like his coach, fullback-turned-linebacker Zach Boren declined to go to in-depth when talking about where the Buckeyes should ranked at season's end, but that didn't stop him from asking for some help.

"Whoever's got a vote, vote us No. 1," Boren pleaded, with a smile.

But while this season isn't likely to produce any trophies for the Buckeyes other than the Big Ten Leaders Division title that they earned last weekend with a win over Wisconsin, that won't stop Meyer from doing all that he can to make sure that this year's team is remembered as one of the best in Ohio State history.

"We're 12-0. I'm going to see to it when you walk into that Woody Hayes facility this team will never be forgotten," Meyer said. "They deserve that."



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