Is there reason for Ohio State fans to be afraid when the Buckeyes travel to Norman for Saturday’s game against No. 14-ranked Oklahoma?
It depends how superstitious you are, but there could be at least one factor working against the scarlet and grey this weekend that has nothing to do with the play on the field.
Since the BCS era began in 1998, the Buckeyes are 31-20 in games against top-15 opponents, including a 10-5 record in BCS bowls, Big Ten Championships, College Football Playoff games and New Year’s Six bowls.
Of those five losses, four have one thing in common: They were televised by Fox Sports.
Ohio State is 1-4 in big games that have been broadcast by the TV network, and the losses have been some of the most painful for the Buckeyes in recent memory.
Here’s a quick rundown, in chronological order:
2007 BCS National Championship
The Fox Sports curse, if you will, began Jan. 8, 2007, in Glendale, Arizona. The Buckeyes were highly favored against Urban Meyer and Florida, and they came in 4-0 all-time in BCS bowl games.
Then Fox outbid ESPN for the rights to all but the Rose Bowl, and the Gators chomped Ohio State 41-14 in the first national championship of that deal.
2008 BCS National Championship
Ohio State looked for all the world to be headed to the Rose Bowl — where it could have avoided Fox — when it finished the regular season with a 14-3 win over Michigan.
2009 Fiesta Bowl
For the third year in a row, Ohio State had a chance to make a mark against another blue-blood program on national television. This time, Colt McCoy and No. 3-ranked Texas broke Buckeye hearts in the dying seconds of an instant classic.
2013 Big Ten Championship
Four years passed before Ohio State played another marquee game on Fox, but is it a coincidence that — after 24-straight wins — the network broadcasted the first loss of Urban Meyer’s tenure?
2014 Big Ten Championship
Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 0. Did Cardale Jones break the Fox curse when he threw three touchdown passes in his first start, sending Gus Johnson into hysteria and the Buckeyes into the College Football Playoff?
We’re about to find out.
Johnson, Joel Klatt and Shannon Spake will lead the Fox Sports broadcast team in Norman on Saturday night.