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Around CFB: Historic karma threatening to dash Ohio State's playoff hopes

December 2, 2020
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There are two well-known expressions that may apply to Ohio State’s hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff.

1. What comes around goes around.

2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

First, a quick Big Ten history lesson:

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
This year’s Michigan-Ohio State game is in serious jeopardy as COVID-19 plagues both teams.

In 1973, Michigan and Ohio State fought to a 10-10 tie. Both finished 10-0-1. Big Ten Commissioner Wayne Duke left it up to the conference athletic directors to vote on which team would appear in the Rose Bowl.

The athletic directors — including Michigan State’s, unsurprisingly — voted 6-4 in favor of Ohio State. That added even more animosity to the blood feud. The Wolverines, who missed a 48-yard field goal with 1:06 remaining, felt they had been, well … screwed.

Fast forward to the present.

Ohio State appears to be the best team in the Big Ten, but the Buckeyes (4-0) have had games against Maryland and Illinois canceled amid COVID-19 concerns.

Big Ten rules require teams to play at least six games to qualify for the conference championship game. The Buckeyes, still having COVID-19 issues, are hoping to play Michigan State on Saturday.

However, Michigan, which is scheduled to play Ohio State next week, is now having COVID issues of its own.

If Michigan is forced to cancel that game, Ohio State could be left short of the minimum games necessary to play for the conference championship.

ESPN College Football Analyst Kirk Herbstreit, once an Ohio State quarterback, went as far as to suggest Michigan would purposely duck the Buckeyes just to prevent Ohio State from playing for a championship.

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State’s last game was against Indiana on Nov. 21. It is unlikely the Buckeyes play this week vs. Michigan State.

“I still think Michigan waves the white flag and doesn't play Ohio State next week,” Herbstreit said on ESPN’s College Football Rankings show on Tuesday night.

He later offered an apology, but his sentiment is a growing concern among Buckeyes faithful.

If Michigan doesn’t play, Ohio State could be left out of the Big Ten championship and, presumably, the College Football Playoff.

What comes around goes around.

Look for the Big Ten to do everything possible to ensure its primary cash cow meets the requirements to play in the conference championship game.

Even so, whether Ohio State deserves to be among the four teams in the playoff field is up for debate.

The Buckeyes are currently ranked fourth, but CFP chairman Gary Barta suggested that ranking is precarious. He said the committee gave serious consideration to moving fifth-ranked Texas A&M (6-1) ahead of the Buckeyes.

“What I can tell you is there was discussion in the room about putting both Ohio State and Texas A&M in that fourth slot,” Barta said. “The firepower and the explosiveness of (Ohio State’s) Justin Fields and Master Teague and Garrett Wilson, all those offensive weapons, the fact that they did beat the No. 12 team the last time they played. It was discussed that they played four (games), and Texas A&M has played seven. That certainly was discussed.

“When it comes to Texas A&M, defense is what the committee sees and is most impressed with when it watches Texas A&M. They have a heck of a defense. They beat No. 6 Florida. They only lost to Alabama.”

“When it comes to Texas A&M, defense is what the committee sees and is most impressed with when it watches Texas A&M. They have a heck of a defense. They beat No. 6 Florida. They only lost to Alabama.”
- CFP chairman Gary Barta

If considering the overall resumés of Ohio State and Texas A&M, there really is no comparison — and not just because of the number of games.

Ohio State’s best victory was over No. 12 Indiana. A&M’s is over No. 6 Florida. A&M needs a victory this weekend over Auburn (5-3).

Auburn has more victories than Nebraska (1-4), Penn State (1-5) and Rutgers (2-4) do combined. Ohio State has played all three.

Michigan State is 2-3. Michigan is 2-4. Even if Ohio State plays its remaining games regular-season games, the Buckeyes would have just one victory over a winning team.

Still, some say Ohio State passes the “eye” test. That’s because the Buckeyes have scored at least 38 points in all their games, while A&M had a poor offensive showing in its 20-7 victory over LSU.

But Ohio State has allowed 25 points to Penn State, 27 to Rutgers and 35 to Indiana. Ohio State is ranked 117th nationally in pass defense.

Ignoring that is clear proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

It also brings up another well-known expression.

Love is blind.

Heisman watch (If my ballot was due today)

1. Kyle Trask, Florida, QB: The Gators’ senior completed 21 of 27 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-10 victory over Kentucky. He’s thrown at least three touchdown passes in each of Florida’s eight games this season. Overall, Trask has passed for 2,810 yards and 34 touchdowns with three interceptions.

2. Mac Jones, Alabama, QB: The race is getting tighter after Jones passed for 302 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-13 rout of Auburn. Jones has thrown 11 touchdown passes in the last three games. Overall, he’s passed for 2,728 yards and 23 touchdowns with three interceptions.

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
After missing two games with COVID-19, Trevor Lawrence returned to lead Clemson to a huge victory over Pitt.

3. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, QB: After sitting out a month because of COVID-19 related issues, Lawrence showed no signs of rust. He passed for 403 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-17 rout of Pittsburgh. In seven games, he has passed for 2,236 yards and 19 touchdowns with two interceptions.

4. Breece Hall, Iowa State, RB: Hall is second in the country with 1,260 rushing yards. He averages 6.3 yards per carry and has 15 rushing touchdowns. That’s one less than the national leader — Najee Harris of Alabama. Last week, Hall rushed for 135 yards and scored two touchdowns on 20 carries as the Cyclones narrowly escaped Austin with a 23-20 victory. Before the Texas game, Hall had exceeded 100 rushing yards and scored at least one touchdown in every game. He has had six multiple touchdown games.

5. Justin Fields, Ohio State, QB: When he plays, Fields has proven to be a strong — perhaps leading — Heisman contender. The problem is getting a chance to play. The Big Ten’s late start combined with recent COVID-19 issues has limited Fields to just four games. He’s passed for 1,208 yards and 13 touchdowns with three interceptions. He’s also rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns.

Predicted Playoff Participants

1. Alabama: The Tide’s defense has allowed just three touchdowns in the last four games combined. Their offense has scored 26 touchdowns in the same span.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
A Clemson-Notre Dame rematch looms large and will likely have large implications on the playoff’s field.

2. Notre Dame: The unbeaten Irish are still boosted by that victory over Clemson. Quarterback Ian Book has produced at least 327 yards of total offense in each of the last three games.

3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes might not play enough games to qualify for the Big Ten championship. Until they’re actually eliminated from consideration, assume the Buckeyes will win the Big Ten championship and get in the playoff.

4. Clemson: Assume Trevor Lawrence will play in an ACC Championship Game rematch with Notre Dame. Assume Clemson will win in that case.

This week’s games to watch

No. 5 Texas A&M at Auburn: The Aggies need to look good to stay on the cusp of the playoff, but they’ve lost three straight to Auburn.

No. 4 Ohio State at Michigan State: This game doesn’t project to be close. That is if it’s played. Ohio State desperately needs to play.

No. 12 Indiana at No. 16 Wisconsin: It’s a matchup of ranked teams. Indiana could back its way into the Big Ten championship game if Ohio State doesn’t play.

No. 14 Northwestern at Minnesota: Northwestern needs one more win to guarantee a trip to the Big Ten championship game. One more loss and its faint playoff hopes vanish.

Liberty at No. 18 Coastal Carolina: These teams are a combined 18-1. Unbeaten Coastal Carolina has already played a better schedule than BYU. This matchup only enhances the Chanticleers resumé.

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Discussion from...

Around CFB: Historic karma threatening to dash Ohio State's playoff hopes

3,801 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 9 mo ago by sharpdressedman
Big_Boat85
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AG
Ags also have just one victory over a winning team
SEC Champs
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AG
Quote:

Love is blind.

Olin dropping truth bombs.
sharpdressedman
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"Look for the Big Ten to do everything possible to ensure its primary cash cow meets the requirements to play in the conference championship game."

Yep. OSU is the daddy of the BIG.
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