Let’s start this off by saying what a win that was Saturday afternoon against Michigan. I think I can speak for all saying that game had me on the edge of my seat. At times, I didn’t think I was going to make it through the duration of the game; I was having mini heart attacks left and right. But all is well in Columbus after the Buckeyes’ walk-off double overtime win thanks in part to Brooklyn’s finest, Curtis Samuel. With the win over Michigan, the Buckeyes have completed their regular season at 11-1 and will wait for the committee to decide when their next game(s) will be. With the win, the College Football Playoff will have another shakeup this week.
We’ll start with the Crimson Tide. After their 30-12 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl, they head to the SEC Championship game against Florida this Saturday. Alabama has been dominate this season, and even if they somehow lost to the Gators, they would still be in the Top 4. One team down.
After the big win against our arch rivals, the Buckeyes should still be seeded second come the College Football committee rankings. They held a slight lead over Michigan last week and should continue to hold the second seed comfortably. As all Buckeye fans know, they will be idle this week as the third and fourth best teams in the conference in Penn State and Wisconsin will battle for the Big Ten Championship in Indy this Saturday. Two teams down.
Next up are the Clemson Tigers. They dominated South Carolina 56-7 on Saturday and should be the third seed these upcoming rankings. They’ll play the Virginia Tech Hokies this Saturday for the ACC Championship where they should be heavily favored. If Clemson comes out on top, they will no question be in the Top 4 come playoff time. Three teams down.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Michigan was the three seed coming into the week but lost (again) to the Buckeyes. They shouldn’t realistically fall very far; they lost on the road in double overtime against the second-ranked team in the country in a rivalry game. After all, they didn’t drop at all in the rankings after losing to Iowa, but that week was chaotic. I think they should be the fourth seed coming into this week, but I doubt it happens like that.
I expect the committee to have Washington ranked fourth after their beat down of rival Washington State on Friday afternoon. Washington will be facing Colorado in the Pac 12 Championship in a matchup of Top 10 teams. This is a huge opportunity for both teams to add a signature win to their resume in what is a pretty bad Pac 12 conference.
So my Top 4 for this upcoming week I believe should be Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Michigan. However, Championship Saturday is going to alter this, but here are my predictions. I think Alabama handles Florida easily and gets the one seed. Clemson beats Virginia Tech handily and gets the three seed. Washington beats Colorado in a close one and Wisconsin edges out Penn State. So where does that leave Ohio State?
Going off resume, Ohio State 100% deserves to get in. They have three wins over the current Top 10, and beat Nebraska when they were in the Top 10, and lost to a current Top 10 team in Penn State in overtime on the road in a hostile environment. Counting the Nebraska win as a Top 10 win and the Penn State loss as a Top 10 loss contradict each other since Penn State was unranked when the Buckeyes lost to them and the fact that Nebraska is not in the Top 10 anymore.
So I’ll say the Buckeyes have a great 3-1 resume against the current Top 10 with another quality win against Nebraska. You cannot leave the Buckeyes out with a resume like that. Plus, we all know the type of ratings Ohio State generates for television.
But what happens if Penn State beats Wisconsin, they’d deserve a spot in the playoffs, correct? I’d say yes. I do not believe Penn State is one of the four best teams in college football, but they’ve played as well as anybody as of late and deserve a spot. In this scenario, I believe Penn State would get the four seed and play Alabama and Ohio State would draw Clemson.
So that means I am leaving out the Pac 12 winner, specifically Washington. Assuming they beat Colorado, that is their marque win. That same Colorado team would now have three losses. After that, their next best wins would be against most likely unranked Utah and Washington State following their losses this past week. The committee puts a ton of value in winning your conference, but it would be criminal to put Washington in over a Buckeye team based off their resume. I don’t even think Washington is the best team in their conference, for what it’s worth. If they had to play USC again this week, they’d lose for a second time to the Trojans.
Let’s flip some of these scenarios. Say Colorado beats Washington, do they deserve a spot? I still say no. Their best win would be Washington, who would have most likely not beaten an end of the season ranked team. Even winning their conference, I couldn’t even justify them being ranked higher than Michigan since the Wolverines beat them early in the season. Say Wisconsin beats Penn State, do they deserve a spot? In this scenario, I think they would replace Penn State as the four seed against Alabama where the Buckeyes would still be the two seed. Resume and the head to head win over the Badgers keep the Buckeyes ahead of them to me.
What if the Pac 12 winner gets in, what Big 10 team would get to the playoffs then? I still think it would be the Buckeyes. Penn State fans would be angry due to the head to head win over the Buckeyes. They’d have two big wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin, with a loss to Michigan. Ohio State would have wins over Michigan, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. I think the Oklahoma game is the deciding factor winner for the Buckeyes here. I think the Sooners roll over Oklahoma State this week and ‘win’ the Big 12 conference. And if Wisconsin were to win, I do not believe the win over Penn State would be enough to replace the Buckeyes has the Big 10 representative due to losses to both Ohio State and Michigan.
With all that said, I think the Buckeyes will be in no matter what. Many sports writers are in agreement saying that Alabama and Ohio State and unequivalently the top two teams in college football and I believe that. Come Championship Saturday, Buckeye fans should be rooting for Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, and Colorado. If Virginia Tech can beat Clemson, that will knock the Tigers out of the playoffs making it easier for the committee to justify two Big 10 teams in the field of four. The loser of Washington Colorado will be eliminated and like I said before, I do not see Washington kicking the Buckeyes out of the playoffs if they win the Pac 12 championship.
The committee’s job is to pick who they feel is the best four teams in college football. That doesn’t mean they pick who they feel are the four most deserving. There’s a huge difference.
This an exciting time upon us Buckeye fans.