This afternoon the Ohio State Buckeyes beat Illinois on the road, 60-35. The win left the Buckeyes 10-0 and winners of 22 games in a row.
But, for commentators, winning just isn’t enough these days. Sure, the Buckeyes won . . . but. But, Illinois stinks. But, the Big Ten stinks. But, the Buckeyes let Illinois score 35 points. But, the Buckeyes led by less than two scores in the fourth quarter before putting the game away. But, the Ohio State offense had to punt the ball more than they have in weeks. But, but, but!
To the ESPN commentators, college football these days is all about “style points.” If you’re not one of the top two teams in the BCS rankings, just winning isn’t enough. You’ve got to pulverize your opponent, grinding them into the ground while at the same time showing the speed, skill, and flair that might cause wary voters to think that you belong on the same field as one of the top two teams. And if you give up 35 points to a dreadful team like Illinois, well, you’re just not cutting it in the style category.
This all seems very silly to me, and largely a media effort to stir up pointless controversy and increase their ratings and website hits. Oregon won with a lot of style . . . until they got manhandled. Clemson showed a lot of style . . . until they got trounced. I’d rather see the Buckeyes try to work on things and continue to improve — and win, of course — rather than just trying to score as many points as they possibly can.
Just win, baby! Win, and let the chips fall where they may. There are still a lot of games to be played, and talking about “style points” seems awfully premature.