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On My Hill: Seriously, it’s time to rank Ohio

You may have seen a sign in the background of College Football Gameday last week in Columbus that read ‘RANK OHIO’. That sign was from me, and I trekked across a sea of dozens of thousands of Ohio State fans as possibly the only person in the city wearing green and white. Fans jeered and laughed at my sign, but I was dead serious.

It’s about time the Ohio Bobcats are ranked in the College Football Playoff Top 25.

Ohio has far and away been the best team in the Mid-American Conference, and it hopes to show that off in the conference championship against the Toledo Rockets this weekend. Their offensive unit ranks first in the MAC in total yards, yards per game, passing yards, points scored and points per game. 

The trio of quarterback Kurtis Rourke, freshman running back Sieh Bangura and wide receiver Sam Wiglusz is one of the most lethal in football. Rourke was named MAC MVP and Offensive Player of the Year and earned the Vern Smith Leadership award. Bangura was named MAC Freshman of the Year, and Wiglusz was voted onto First Team All-MAC, one of nine Ohio players to make an All-MAC team. Tons of credit can also be given to head coach Tim Albin, who was named the MAC Coach of the Year. 

Rourke has been spectacular this season. He is 16th in passing yards and tied for 18th in the country in touchdowns, despite missing the last game of the regular season with a torn ACL. He threw for 537 yards against Fordham, setting a program record, and produced a stellar 25/5 touchdown to interception ratio. He’s spearheaded an offensive unit that is 32nd in the country in total yards and 33rd in yards per game. 

His backup, CJ Harris, is no pushover, either. Harris stepped up in Ohio’s most recent game against Bowling Green with four total touchdowns. Harris’ ran all over the Falcons, rolling in for three touchdowns on the ground. Ohio will have to lean on him to win the conference but he proved he’s more than capable of leading this team.

Now, Ohio isn’t exactly statistically in the top dogs of defense in the country. However, it’s been a different story over the last six weeks. The early season included games against tough out of conference teams and a forgettable game against Fordham. Since Oct. 15, Ohio has held each of their opponents to no more than 24 points, with an average of 18 points per game. If they were able to hold their stellar second-half defense for the length of the full regular season, the team would be tied for 10th in points allowed with Penn State and Alabama. 

Ohio has yet to beat a ranked team, but has beaten two bowl-eligible teams, and can add more if victorious against Toledo. Without necessarily a quality win, ‘quality losses’ are an unofficial litmus test for where a football team stands. The three teams Ohio fell to in the regular season were all solid. 

Penn State was one of them, currently ranked eighth in the country for the college football playoff. Then an overtime loss to Kent State, who fell to the No. 1 team in the country, the University of Georgia. Kent State tied for dropping the most points on Georgia all year, and Georgia is Top 5 in just about every defensive statistical category. Ohio’s other loss came to the Iowa State Cyclones, who played much better than their record indicated, as they suffered numerous close losses to ranked opponents. 

Ohio can strengthen its case if it emerges a conference champion this weekend and a bowl game against an undetermined opponent to close out the season. The name is out there, though. It was voted the 25th best team in the country by two voters for the official rankings. The #RankOhio movement has grown on Twitter and the Bobcat Bandwagon won’t stop until they’re officially nationally recognized. 

Christo Siegel is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Christo by tweeting him at @imchristosiegel.

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