Ohio State's spread-covering defensive touchdown on the final play of its 40-30 win against Northwestern shifted an estimated $100 million from sports books to gamblers.
For the love of Las Vegas and their national title hopes, the Buckeyes need to begin phasing out the suspense. They have navigated the just-win-baby meat of their regular-season schedule and arrived at the creamy, just-win-by-50 filling. Beginning with Iowa after a bye Saturday, OSU will be at least two-touchdown favorites in each of its next five games against teams with a combined 14-12 record.
The Buckeyes have two more chances for quality wins: Nov. 30 at No. 18 Michigan and the Big Ten championship game. They need to use the other dates to distance the perception between themselves and the rest of a receding conference. Look at Oregon. Computers say the No. 2 Ducks have played a lesser-ranked schedule (94) than OSU (84), but they've looked so good doing it that no one seems to care.
OSU has the talent to compete with anybody on any given Monday night in Pasadena. They just need to earn their shot, which means being more than perfect and hoping the winners of the ACC, Pac-12, and SEC are not.
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