Despite not being eligible for a BCS National Title or Big Ten championship, the Ohio State Buckeyes made their case for a No. 1 final ranking in the Associated Press poll with a 26-21 victory over rival Michigan on Saturday.
The team ranked No. 1 in the final AP poll is named the Associated Press national champion, which is the only championship designation the Buckeyes are eligible for this year after NCAA sanctions banned the team from postseason play this season. Ranked No. 4 in the AP poll, with a few breaks, the top spot is attainable for undefeated Ohio State.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Braxton Miller went 14-of-18 for 189 yards and a touchdown in the win, which completed Ohio State’s sixth perfect season. The Buckeyes’ defense stepped up in the second half, forcing three turnovers after halftime. Michigan managed just 60 yards in the second half.
The Huffington Post reports Ohio State ends its season at 12-0 overall and 8-0 in the Big Ten. Michigan’s regular season is over at 8-6 overall and 6-2 in the conference. The Wolverines are a lock to make a bowl, but a minor one.
Drew Basil’s 28-yard kick with 8:12 left in the third quarter gave Ohio State a 23-21 lead. Basil matched a career high with four field goals made in the contest before a crowd of 105,899, the largest to ever see the rivalry game when played in Columbus, Ohio.
The undefeated 2012 season ended as Ohio State honored the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 National Championship team led by Jim Tressel, who was in attendance. It was a bit of an ironic moment as the crowd roared its approval for Tressel, even though it was violations under his tenure that led to Ohio State’s current bowl ban.
(Photo by Bob Strickley)