COLUMBUS — Earlier in the season, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said that he may have to create some sort of bowl-like situation for his Buckeyes since they were banned from post-season play in 2012 by the NCAA.
With OSU undefeated at 10-0 (6-0 Big Ten), with just two games to play this season, you would think the first-year Buckeye boss would certainly have something creative up his sleeve in terms of motivation — a carrot, if you will.
However, Meyer said Monday during his weekly press luncheon that there just isn't any need for gimmicks or faux bowl games. He loves right where his team is at from a competitive and spirited standpoint going into Week 11.
"Haven't had to" Meyer said. "I kind of like my guys. They're competitors right now. They're competing in the classroom. There's rewards at the end if they compete. If not, there's a non-reward or whatever at the end.
"They've developed. There's some gifted competitors already in the group, (John) Simons of the world, and there's some maybe average competitors that have become competitors.
"So, no, we've had zero discussion about it. We're doing the best we can to play a very good team on the road (at Wisconsin)."
Meyer admits, though, that he sort of dreams about what could be of this year's team if it weren't for the sanctions.
"You know, I could lie to you and say that I don't (think about what could be)," Meyer said. "Every once in a while, but not as much as I thought. I'll hear it and read it once in a while, and I have good friends in the profession that will make a comment, and I'll think for a second. But then I go back to knowing exactly who we were, and you go back to how we've won and who we are right now, and we're pretty fortunate where we are. Let's find a way to get No. 11.
"I tried years ago not to control what we can't control. We've got to have a really good Tuesday practice. We can control that. We can't control anything else."
Although the Buckeyes cannot be ranked by or compete for a BCS title this season, they do have a chance to be named the Associated Press national champions — albeit an improbable one.
Ohio State is one of only four FBS schools still undefeated and are currently ranked No. 6 by the AP. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they would have to have some overly impressive wins against Wisconsin on the road and at home against Michigan, as well as losses from each of the five schools in front of them to have any shot of taking the top spot at season's end.
But again, the chance is still there. The Buckeyes could use the AP as its "carrot."
So, is Coach Meyer thinking of using this as motivation?
"For some reason, I have not even addressed that these last few weeks because I just like our team meetings, man," Meyer said. "We're going and we're talking about practice, we're talking about how to stop one of the most potent run games in America (Wisconsin) and how they have 300-pound plus defensive tackles. I used to have state of the unions. I think that's probably what you remember when I told you that. I did talk about that in the past.
"Our guys know where they're at. We're good. I really like coaching this team right now, and that's not worrying about the nonsense.
"We haven't really discussed it."
Neither has anyone else.
But if the Buckeyes can handle the Badgers and Wolverines in the final two weeks of the season, and those currently above them in the poll can hit a road bump — just ask Alabama if that's possible — Meyer won't have to discuss it ...
The voters will!