Ohio State still alive for playoff spot but needs some help

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback J.T. Barrett
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback J.T. Barrett /

Two losses suddenly doesn’t look as bad now for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Ohio State is one win removed from their gruesome, 55-24 loss at Iowa after dominating No. 12 Michigan State for a decisive, 48-3 victory. Thanks to some help from atop the College Football Playoff hierarchy this weekend (we’ll talk about them in a minute), the Buckeyes playoff run is suddenly very alive.

There are just two-to-three weeks left in the college football regular season, depending on your team’s status. Each team has two games left on their regular season schedule, but after that, it’s conference championship time. Lacking a better answer, Ohio State must win-out.

The route ahead starts easy, then gets dangerous as the Buckeyes will be in a war.

Remaining on the schedule; a home game against Illinois, then a trip to see Michigan, and if they win BOTH games, the Buckeyes will face undefeated No. 8 Wisconsin in Indianapolis, IN (Big Ten Championship Game).

Currently, FiveThirtyEight gives the Buckeyes a 62% chance to make the field if they win-out, but that’s without calculating the schedule of others. With those kinds of odds, this team has something to play for down the stretch.

What about the rest of the field? Let’s look at some situations brewing in the Top 12-range.

In the SEC, No. 2 Alabama (10-0) faces a hot, No. 10 Auburn (7-2) team on the road on November 25th which determines the SEC West Division Championship; whoever wins is likely to face the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (9-1), who took their first loss of the season against Auburn this weekend.

Theoretically, two SEC teams could make it if the championship game comes down to the wire. However, it’s hard to picture a three-loss Auburn team in the field. Furthermore, it’s hard to picture Georgia losing two-of-four down the stretch and making the field.

Mark Alabama, Georgia, or Auburn as one of the four, so consider all three are still alive for a run. 

After sitting pretty at No. 3 for the last two weeks, Notre Dame found themselves battered by No. 7 Miami giving the Irish their second loss; they’re likely out-of-the-mix. 

As for the No. 7 Miami Hurricanes, they’re cruising on an undefeated season but face No. 4 Clemson (9-1) on December 2nd. So, in all likelihood, one of the two is in knocking the other one out of contention. 

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Solidifying their spot this weekend by defeating No. 6 TCU was the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners, who are likely to win out with just Kansas and West Virginia left on the schedule. But they will still have to play the second-best team in their conference Championship. However, they have already defeated the two teams next on the list, No. 15 Oklahoma State, and TCU.

In the Pac-12, No. 9 Washington knocked themselves out this week after losing to Stanford 30-22 late Friday night. The truest threat left could be No. 11 USC (7-2) but it’s hard to imagine a team with the same record as Ohio State but lacking a marquee win will jump the Bucks.

It’s not the most comforting chance in the world, but it’s certainly very realistic.

So, that’s your field. Feeling pretty good about the Buckeyes’ chances? I know there’s an undercurrent of hope on this campus right now, especially after watching forty-percent of the top-ten fall this weekend.

Next: Wide receiver target Kamryn Babb

After the Iowa loss, fans took on a wind of hopelessness. Thanks to others falling this weekend, JT Barrett’s senior campaign is still, very, very alive.