COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The noise is getting louder, and ignoring it is pretty much impossible.
So, since it might take more energy for Ohio State to tune out the conversations about where it stacks up nationally, the Buckeyes had their own chat about the rankings that might provide a filter for the volume and allow them to simply move on to the next topic.
The release of the first BCS standings provided as good of a time as any for what coach Urban Meyer refers to as his version of the "State of the Union Address," a chance to address where the Buckeyes stand and wrap their arms around the opportunity that's in front of them. But once that address was over on Sunday night, Meyer and the Buckeyes were quickly turning the page and diving back into a plan designed to keep them in that conversation.
"It's the first time that I do talk about polls, because they're going to hear it since this BCS thing came out," Meyer said. "And my comment was that we are, indeed, in the mix. Embrace it. In the mix for what? Don't worry about it. We are in the mix, though.
"People think very highly of you. Maybe some people don't. You just have to go out and be the best team on the field on Saturday, not in the country."
That weekly goal is particularly relevant for the Buckeyes as the field of unbeaten teams starts to shrink and the programs jockeying for the two spots in the national title start having their resumes compared with each other.
For No. 4 Ohio State, that's largely been an argument it can't win considering the national perception of both its nonconference schedule and the Big Ten as a whole right now, and it also hasn't exactly been stacking up style points in competitive wins over Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa since league play opened. But Meyer has hammered home his message that the Buckeyes can't get caught up trying to outshine Alabama or Florida State when it's on the field with teams like Penn State on Saturday night. For OSU, the only thing that truly matters at the moment is keeping its record flawless.
"He’s mentioned it, but there’s not been a lot of focus on it," right tackle Taylor Decker said. "We just need to go out and show what we can do at this point. I think guys are aware of it, but we just need to focus on going out there and winning games. If we don’t focus on the teams we’re playing, we’re playing against some good teams and that can hurt us if we’re not focused and preparing each week for each team.
"[Meyer] definitely keeps us focused on the task at hand, and he mentioned [the BCS] just because it’s going to be talked about and will kind of put us in the spotlight a little bit."
Like the increase in volume, the spotlight is only going to get brighter if the Buckeyes keep winning. But it will only take one slip up in the plan for success and the bulbs might be switched off completely.