College football is a funny sport. One week you’re rooting against one team, and depending on who your favorite school is, the next you might be rooting for the team you just spent all week rooting against. Such is the case for the Ohio State football team and their fans. After defeating Notre Dame in thrilling fashion, a week ago in South Bend, Indiana, Buckeye Nation now finds itself rooting for Notre Dame for the remainder of the season.
If Ohio State wins all 12 regular season contests and the Big Ten Championship, then it doesn’t matter how many games Notre Dame wins or loses, the Buckeyes will be in the College Football Playoff. However, if Ohio State loses a game somewhere along the way, which history tells us will be the case, then having an 11-1 Notre Dame team who defeated both Clemson and USC along the way will be a major resume builder for the Buckeyes.
It adds more value to last week’s win if the opponent you beat on the road is also being considered for the CFP. Plus, there is no way the committee would be able to justify putting the Irish in over the Buckeyes if both teams are 11-1 due to the fact that Ohio State holds the head-to-head win between the two schools.
In a scenario where USC finishes as 12-1 Pac-12 Champions, but their one loss is to Notre Dame, then once again, it would be hard to put the Trojans in over the Buckeyes. This is another reason why last week’s victory was so big for Ohio State in the grand scheme of things.
Having Notre Dame win out is an advantage for the Buckeyes, which is why beginning this week, Ohio State fans will start rooting for the Irish. Last year, after the Irish fell to Ohio State to open their season, they then proceeded to follow that up with a second loss, that one to Marshall in stunning fashion at home. Notre Dame will have a much tougher task this season following their loss against Ohio State as they go on the road to Durham, North Carolina to take on 4-0 Duke, who is ranked 17th in the AP Poll.
It has been well-documented that teams do not fare well in their next game after playing the Ohio State football team. Playing the Buckeyes takes a physical and emotional toll on a team. Many times a school looks at Ohio State on their schedule as their Super Bowl for the season. They put so much time and effort into playing against Ohio State, that as soon as that game is over, the very next game is a letdown.
It has happened once again this season, this time to Western Kentucky, who has followed their loss at Ohio Stadium with two more losses in a row. Both conference opponents Troy and Middle Tennessee State were victorious over WKU. Now the Hilltoppers sit at 2-3 on the season and it all started with a loss to the Buckeyes.
Notre Dame will look to avoid that same pitfall and avoid a second straight loss. If you are an Ohio State football fan, it is in your best interest to root for Notre Dame to get back on track and help make that win last week look even better as the Buckeyes look to build their resume for the CFP.