Another weekend, another round of pure chaos in college football.
In a weekend that saw the first, third, sixth, and ninth ranked teams all lose, a path just reopened for Ohio State to get back to the College Football Playoff.
Let’s analyze this, shall we?
Notre Dame, who was in the top four heading into this weekend, just got blown out by Miami. They now have two losses and with no conference championship to lean on, the Fighting Irish are completely eliminated from playoff contention.
Georgia got exposed on the road this weekend against a now 8-2 Auburn team. The way I see it, both of those teams will be eliminated from the playoffs if the Alabama Crimson Tide continue to roll. In that scenario, Auburn would suffer their third loss of the season and be way out of contention and Georgia would be a two-loss team without a conference title to their name and the Buckeyes would certainly be ranked ahead of them.
That only leaves five teams ranked ahead of Ohio State.
Alabama would be a lock for the playoff if they beat Auburn and Georgia as well as being SEC champions.
Now on to Oklahoma. If the Sooners win out, they would be a lock for the playoff with a Big 12 title and only one loss. If they were to lose in the Big 12 championship to an Oklahoma State or TCU rematch, that would put the Sooners at 11-2 and no conference title. Now, that would mean a two-loss, conference champion Oklahoma State or TCU but I truly believe the committee would put a two-loss conference champion Ohio State team in ahead of either of those two teams.
Wisconsin is a nonfactor for the Buckeyes if they beat them in the Big Ten Championship game. A two-loss Ohio State would jump a one-loss Wisconsin no question. Ohio State would have a better resume than Wisconsin, they would have a head-to-head win over the Badgers, and a conference championship to their name.
The last situation that the Buckeyes have to address before they can solidify a spot in the playoff is the ACC.
The only two teams from the ACC left with a shot at the playoff are undefeated Miami and one-loss Clemson. The perfect scenario for Ohio State is to have Miami win the ACC, solidify their own spot in the playoff, and then Clemson would fall by the wayside, leaving the fourth and final spot for Ohio State.
In the case that Clemson ends up beating an undefeated Miami in the ACC championship, Ohio State would have to compete with a one-loss, non-conference champion Miami team who’s only loss would come to a final four team in their conference championship game. In that scenario, I think it would be a toss-up for the committee as to who they would take.
The perfect scenario for Ohio State is for Alabama, Miami, and Oklahoma to all win out. If that happens, everyone else would be essentially knocked out of playoff contention and the Buckeyes would secure the fourth and final spot if they win out.
There is one last thing that would really help Ohio State validate themselves in the eyes of the committee if it does come down to a toss-up is to beat the living hell out of their final three opponents for this season: Illinois, Michigan, and possibly Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.
If all of the aforementioned things happen, the Buckeyes would be the first-ever two-loss team to make it into the College Football Playoff, and with the way they just played against Michigan State, they might have a pretty good shot of winning the whole thing too.