COLUMBUS, Ohio — Despite its most uneven performance of the season on Saturday, Ohio State still did enough to hold onto its ranking in the latest polls released Monday.
In their 38-17 win against Indiana, the No. 2 Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) showed signs of problems that could plague them going forward — primarily slow starts and penalties. Meanwhile, the three other teams in the AP top-5 chasing after them all won in dominating fashion, particularly No. 4 Michigan (78-0 winner at Rutgers) and No. 5 Washington (won at Oregon 70-21).
The Wolverines and Huskies did gain ground on the Buckeyes in votes — Washington also leapfrogged loser Houston in the Coaches Poll —but couldn’t overtake Ohio State. The Buckeyes remained No. 2 in both the AP Top 25 and the Coaches Polls.
Previous rankings (Coaches/AP): No. 2/No. 2
New rankings (Coaches/AP): No. 2/No. 2
Last result: 38-17 win against Indiana
What it means: Ohio State survived a disappointing performance — if a 21-point win could ever be called such — combined with big wins from three of the best programs in the country. Now, the Buckeyes get a chance to state their case to either strengthen their hold on the No. 2 spot or make a run at Alabama’s No. 1 ranking with Saturday night’s showdown at Wisconsin. A win would give Ohio State a top-10 road win against a team that beat LSU and narrowly lost to Michigan. There will be plenty of other opportunities this season for OSU to prove its worthiness, but this will be one of the best.