Cumberland Times-News

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November 17, 2013

Iron Bowl frenzy; Baylor or OSU?

(Continued)

MOVING UP

Baylor slipped past Ohio State and into No. 3 in the latest Top 25. For Buckeyes fans, it’s just another slight. For Bears backers, a small bit of vindication for a team that started the season unranked and has now matched the best ranking in program history. The Bears were No. 3 in 1953.

Baylor has 1,351 points and Ohio State has 1,343 in the poll after the Bears beat Texas Tech 60-34 and the Buckeyes won 60-35 at Illinois.

The gap between the two has been shrinking for weeks, though the Buckeyes held on to third in the BCS standings Sunday night — but for how much longer? Still, it does seem like an odd time for Baylor and Ohio State to switch spots.

The Buckeyes got sloppy against a bad Illinois team, but otherwise continued to plunder the Big Ten.

Baylor is coming off its best two victories of the season against Oklahoma and now fading Texas Tech, which has lost four straight.

Neither Baylor nor Ohio State has played a particularly daunting schedule. Ohio State’s rates No. 72 in Division I according to Sagarin ratings. Baylor’s is No. 85. Wisconsin is the best team either has faced, and the Buckeyes beat the Badgers 31-24 back in late September. The Bears continue to lead the country in margin of victory (43.8). Ohio State is at 30.6.

The Bears play No. 11 Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday, their toughest test yet. Win that, and they could start pulling away from the Buckeyes, who have won a school-record 22 straight games but get graded on a tougher scale than any team in the country.

MOVING IN

Sorry Coach K, but Jabari Parker and your latest stellar Duke basketball team will have to share top billing in Durham, N.C., for a few weeks with David Cutcliffe and Blue Devils football.

No. 25 Duke moved into the rankings for the first time since 1994 after crushing Miami 48-30 on Saturday. The victory also puts the Blue Devils in control of the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal division race.

If the Blue Devils (8-2) win their last two games (at Wake Forest and at North Carolina), they’ll play Florida State in Charlotte for the ACC title on Dec. 7.

Just getting there would be enough to make a case for Cutcliffe as coach of the year.

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