COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State is No. 1 and some Buckeyes fans are probably feeling torn. Being No. 1: Is that good or bad?
On one hand, who wouldn't want their favorite team acclaimed as the best in the land? Then again, things haven't turned out so well recently when the Buckeyes were leaders of the pack.
The Buckeyes (6-0), ranked second all season to Alabama, took advantage of the Crimson Tide's 35-21 loss at South Carolina to ascend to the top spot in the latest Associated Press rankings released Sunday.
The Buckeyes won AP titles in 1942, 1954, 1968 and in Tressel's second year on the job in 2002. That last team sidestepped a season of close calls while going 14-0, winning seven times by a touchdown or less. But that team wasn't No. 1 until the very end, capping a season of drama with a Miami 31-24 upset in double-overtime over top-ranked Miami.
The Buckeyes then spent all the 2006 regular season atop the AP poll. With Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith leading the way, they rolled through 12 opponents.
There were many who did not think Florida, which slipped through the year with a 12-1 record, could compete with the Buckeyes in the Bowl Championship Series title game in Glendale, Ariz. After Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, those assumptions seemed on the mark.
But Ginn was injured by a teammate during the ensuing end zone celebration and it was the unbeaten Buckeyes who didn't belong in the title game. Florida destroyed them, 41-14, with Smith and a star-studded offense of future NFL players amassing just 82 yards of total offense.A year later, the Buckeyes were again No. 1 in the final regular season AP poll — but this time they needed lots of help.Ranked No. 1 most of the season again, Ohio State plummeted to eighth in the BCS rankings after a stunning 28-21 loss at home to Illinois on Nov. 10. But all the teams in front of them lost in upsets or conference championship games and the Buckeyes found themselves atop the BCS poll heading into the bowl season.
The Jan. 7, 2008, BCS title game at the Louisiana Superdome was another debacle for Ohio State. Again the Buckeyes got off to a fast start, taking a 10-0 lead, before twice-beaten LSU ran off 38 of the next 45 points to coast to a 38-24 victory.
"It's a disappointment for our fans," Ohio State wide receiver Brian Hartline said after that loss. "Everyone has supported us and did a great job of traveling. I wish I could put them all in one room and apologize to them."
That final poll of the 2007 regular season was the last time Ohio State was No. 1 in the AP rankings.
"The No. 1 ranking just means that, more than ever, we're in control of our own destiny," defensive end Cameron Heyward said.
Looming next is a huge game at No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday.
"The Buckeyes know what it's like to have a target on our back, especially since we are now well into Big Ten play," Tressel said.
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