Buckeyes, Playoff Hopes on Life Support!

November 29, 2023

Andy Billman

Can the Buckeyes sneak back into the College Football Playoffs Top 4

Currently Ranked 6th

Ohio State’s last-minute attempt to upset No. 2 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday hit a snag when Wolverines defensive back Rod Moore intercepted Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord on the Michigan 22-yard line with 25 seconds left, securing a 30-24 win. The defeat seemed to put Ohio State’s College Football Playoff hopes on ice, but is that the end of the story?

In the updated College Football Playoff Rankings released on Tuesday night, Ohio State surprisingly claimed the No. 6 spot, ahead of No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Alabama. While both Texas and Alabama have upcoming conference championship games, the Buckeyes, with only one loss, already boast the most favorable defeat among realistic CFP contenders.

What Needs to Happen?

Surprisingly, there’s still a viable path for Ohio State to secure a CFP spot, and it doesn’t require complete chaos. Rather, it hinges on a specific set of outcomes.

Firstly, No. 4 Florida State must lose to No. 14 Louisville in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday. A one-loss Florida State without a conference championship and an injured quarterback wouldn’t surpass the Buckeyes. The Seminoles are mere 2.5-point favorites over the Cardinals, making this domino likely to fall compared to the others.

Next, No. 3 Washington must defeat No. 5 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday. Despite two losses, both to the undefeated Huskies, a Ducks victory over Washington would not position them above Ohio State. Oddsmakers are less confident, with Oregon being a 9.5-point favorite despite the earlier head-to-head result.

No. 7 Texas must also be removed from the equation, and No. 18 Oklahoma State aims to accomplish that in the Big 12 Championship Game. Though a long shot, the Cowboys, led by Doak Walker Award finalist Ollie Gordon II, are 14.5-point underdogs to the Longhorns. Yet, counting out Coach Mike Gundy when he feels disrespected is not advisable.

Lastly, No. 8 Alabama must lose to No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game for Ohio State’s CFP path to be sealed. The Crimson Tide, 5.5-point underdogs in a rematch of the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship, stand as the final hurdle.

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