Ohio parties like it’s 1968: Bobcats in Top 25 for first time in 44 years

Dr. Saturday

Ohio barely squeezed into the Associated Press poll this week, grabbing the No. 25 spot. The Bobcats aren't going to be a BCS buster. They don't appear anywhere in the top 25 of the just-released BCS standings despite being undefeated.

Those are minor complaints for the Bobcats. This week is a celebration for Ohio, which is ranked for the first time since 1968.

Coach Frank Solich has done a great job building a program that hasn't really been on the college football map for decades (Eric Adelson outlined the transformation a month ago). Ohio has a great quarterback in Tyler Tettleton and an explosive running game led by Beau Blankenship's 135.9 yards per game. The Bobcats made a statement in Week 1 by beating Penn State (a win that looks a lot better after Penn State has won four of its last five games) and has rolled to a 7-0 start, with four wins coming by a touchdown or less.

This is a program that hasn't had a season like this in many of their fans' lifetimes. In 1968, Ohio went 10-1. That was the same year Ohio State won the national championship, which sums up the Ohio football story pretty well.

In 1968 the Bobcats climbed as high as No. 16 in the polls and were 10-0 before a season-ending loss to Richmond. They finished 20th in the final AP poll and won a MAC championship. That was their last MAC title.

Another conference championship is possible this year. Ohio leads the MAC's East Division, along with Kent State, at 3-0. Ohio plays at Kent State to finish the regular season on Nov. 23. The MAC Championship Game will be played a week later.

While getting in the Top 25 is a great achievement for Ohio, Solich doesn't want his team stopping now.

"I couldn't be happier for our team," Solich told the school's website. "Breaking into the Top 25 is a great accomplishment, but we still have a long ways to go toward accomplishing all the things we set out to do at the start of the season."

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