Last week, it seemed as though the Ohio State Buckeyes had not shot to make their third College Football Playoff in four years. After their embarrassing loss at Iowa, all hope seemed lost. Just one week later, after dominating Michigan State, the scarlet and gray still (somehow) have a shot at making the Final Four. In the committee’s third rankings of the season, Ohio State moved up from No. 13 to No. 9 Tuesday night.
Third Rankings: Top 2️⃣5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/hRECD5Ninw
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 15, 2017
Passing Penn State was expected given that Ohio State beat the Nittany Lions, but passing teams like USC and TCU already could be very important later down the road, especially if all three teams win out.
After the newest rankings were revealed, College Football Playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt explained why the Buckeyes are where they are. The committee was quite impressed with the dominate win over the Spartans but those two blowout losses to Oklahoma and Iowa are still hanging over their heads and may eventually cost Ohio State in the end.
“(The) selection committee was extremely impressed with the win and the manner of which the win came about against Michigan State last week,” he said. “The win over Michigan State, the win over Penn State are two victories that the Selection Committee continues to be impressed with, but there again, the two losses to Oklahoma and Iowa also weakened the resumé at this particular time.”
In order to be the first two-loss team to make the Playoff in its four-year history, the Buckeyes will not only have to win their final two regular season games against Indiana and at Michigan, but they will also have to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game and (most likely) hope that Alabama, Miami, and Oklahoma win out as well. Obviously, a big upset would help to one of the top teams would help, but having those three teams win out is the most likely scenario. Given the remaining matchups this season, no matter what, three teams ahead of Ohio State will lose, and that doesn’t count the Badgers, who will likely go against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship.
At this point, all Ohio State can do is dominate their opponents and hope that other games work out in their favor. With two losses, it could be tough to make the Final Four, but this is the first year that a two-loss team has a legitimate shot of making the Playoff. If things (somehow) work out, the Buckeyes could see themselves with the No. 4-seed and headed to the Sugar Bowl, the exact same scenario they had when they won the national championship in 2014 with third-string quarterback Cardale Jones.