COLUMBUS, Ohio – Bring on Alabama. Florida State, too.
Ohio State receiver Evan Spencer made it clear Monday he believes the Buckeyes are better than No. 3 in polls and the Bowl Championship Series standings.
Spencer had a chance to watch two-time defending national champion Alabama and second-ranked Florida State on TV last weekend while the Buckeyes had an open date.
“I guess I’m a little biased, but I think we’d wipe the field with both of them,” said Spencer, a junior who is the son of Tim Spencer, former Ohio State and NFL player and coach. “That’s just my bias speaking.”
Spencer didn’t directly mention Florida State. Asked if he was referring to the Seminoles, he said, “Whoever.”
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer took a different approach to making it known he thinks the Buckeyes deserve a chance to play for the national title.
Meyer said he voted the Buckeyes (9-0 overall, 5-0 Big Ten Conference) No. 2 on his USA Today coaches poll ballot — behind Alabama but ahead of Florida State.
“I believe we have Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State,” Meyer said of his ballot. He couldn’t remember the order of the next two teams, between Stanford and Baylor.
Asked for his rationale in voting that way, Meyer said, “I had us (No.) 2 all year. I just think we’re playing like one of the top teams in the country right now.”
The coaches’ poll is used in the BCS standings formula.
The Buckeyes are a confident group going into a game at Illinois on Saturday. The Illini (3-6, 0-5) have lost 19 consecutive Big Ten games, while Ohio State owns the nation’s longest winning streak at 21.
Ohio State has dominated the Big Ten over the past two years, winning close games and blowouts alike. That has worked against the Buckeyes, since many voters — both in media and among the coaches — believe the Big Ten has fallen on hard times in terms of talent.
For much of this season, the Buckeyes have been the lone Big Ten team ranked among the top 15 in the polls.
The Southeastern Conference, meanwhile, has won the last seven national championships, with Alabama winning three of the last four. The Crimson Tide and Atlantic Coast Conference team Florida State, which has powered its way back to national prominence this season, are both unbeaten. The top two teams in the BCS standings will play in the national-championship game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6.
Meyer said the bar is raised as the season builds to a crescendo. “The message is, you have to play great,” he said.
• Receiver Tevin Reese of No. 4 Baylor will miss the rest of the regular season. He had surgery on his dislocated right wrist; the injury occurred during the Bears’ 41-12 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday.
Baylor coach Art Briles called Reese “the fastest receiver in America.”
• It appears Nebraska senior quarterback Taylor Martinez has played his last snap for the Cornhuskers.
Martinez’s father, Casey Martinez, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that his son has a “debilitating injury” near the ball of his left foot that occurred in the first week of the season and could take until February or March to heal fully.