Ohio State Football: Does the Big Ten’s poor start affect the Buckeyes’ playoff chances?

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Parris Campbell
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Parris Campbell /

A look at the slow start by the Big Ten and its potential impacts, if any, on the Ohio State football team’s CFP resume.

Ohio State had been the cut and dry favorite to represent the Big Ten in this year’s College Football Playoff until the Zach Smith saga arose. Over the course of the month of August, the narrative for the Buckeyes shifted to where analysts doubted if they could even reach the conference title game.

The likes of Penn State and Wisconsin were chosen over Ohio State to reach the sport’s biggest stage; then on came kickoff and the Buckeyes have not looked back since. If there were any outstanding questions regarding the legitimacy of the 2018 Ohio State football team, they answered them for you and proved they are still the team to beat heading into week four.

However, we will get a head-to-head answer next Saturday in State College as the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions collide under the lights.

As a whole, the Big Ten conference has looked less than stellar to open the season as multiple teams have suffered shocking defeats to far lesser opponents. Most recently, Wisconsin was stunned by BYU at home by a score of 24-21.

Michigan State, a team that was highly rated entering 2018, looked abysmal in a loss to Arizona State a few weeks ago as well as in their opening win against Utah State. Michigan looked less than impressive in a loss to Notre Dame in week one. Nevertheless, the Wolverines are starting to find their identity on offense which will begin righting the ship.

Also worth noting, Penn State was almost left speechless as Appalachian State walked into Happy Valley and took them to overtime giving the Nittany Lions all they could handle. Finally, Nebraska has begun the Scott Frost era with an unexpected 0-2 record. Exhale.

What everyone needs to realize is that it is only week four and there is plenty of football left to be played. The poor start and disappointment by many of the teams in the Big Ten will only carry weight on the conference champion if these trends continue throughout the entirety of the season.

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For the sake of the scenario, let’s say Ohio State wins the Big Ten East Division, since they are in fact the favorite, and defeats Wisconsin in the title game. The Buckeyes will have beaten TCU and two of the three, if not all of Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan to bolster their resume for a potential playoff bid.

The likelihood of the Buckeyes missing out on the CFP again would be incredibly slim, despite the records of their opponents. The Big Ten is currently the second best conference in the country and will have a representative in the playoff unless an unforeseen turn of events takes place and mass chaos strikes.

To put it simply, win and you are in. If Ohio State takes care of its business and controls what only it can control then they will be a sure selection by the committee come December.

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As we near Selection Sunday the paths and scenarios will all become more clear as the hypotheticals and murkiness will subside. For now, it is time to enjoy one of the greatest sports the world has to offer and let the chips fall as they may.