Would Ohio State have eliminated Michigan from the College Football Playoff by winning the game?
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For Ohio State Football and Michigan, last week’s blowout win was the exception to their 2022 norm.
TCU, which needed a field goal as time expired for a 29-28 win at Baylor, had another gnawer just dump another gnawer on the pile. According to College Football Playoff Chairman Boo Corrigan, the difference between controlling a win and pulling a win from the jaws of defeat is the main reason why OSU, Michigan and TCU were in that order after Georgia in the show on Tuesday.
“Every week we go through it and make sure the first thing we do is look at 1-4 and compare it to the previous week’s games and the offense and defense,” Corrigan said.
“Ohio State’s record, Michigan State’s record, TCU is 8-0 against teams above .500 and impresses the committee. When we look at their ability to come back in games where OSU and Michigan pretty much didn’t (need to).”
The winner of Saturday’s game at Ohio Stadium will all but seal a playoff spot (apologies to whoever exits the Big Ten West at Lucas Oil Stadium). The underdog could join them as previous stalwarts like Tennessee continue to fall by the wayside.
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Obviously, Ohio State can’t be in the business of emergency plans. he controls the destiny he’s been chasing for nearly a full calendar year since Michigan upended last season’s playoff berth with a 42-27 win in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes certainly want to avenge that game, but the win also secures the Big Ten East and sends them to Indianapolis as the top favorite in the conference championship game.
Still, while no rankings other than the last really matter, the progress over the last four weeks suggests that an OSU win could add some value. If the Wolverines win, OSU’s better non-conference schedule will give it a better chance to atone for Saturday’s loss and make the playoffs.
If the Buckeyes win, Michigan’s lack of respect in non-conference play could leave it vulnerable to being on the wrong side of the opener on Selection Sunday.
The committee ranked LSU No. 5. It’s a doomsday scenario for the loser of the game, because if LSU beats undefeated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, both will be in the playoff.
The committee is concerned about USC’s defense for good reason. Even with a one-point deficit on the road at No. 14 Utah, the committee still left the Trojans behind two-loss LSU. However, with Saturday’s game against Notre Dame and the Pac-12 Championship against Oregon or Washington (likely), USC could soon have four ranked wins. That will leave a one-loss Michigan team that has only beaten Penn State at home in the dust.
Clemson is probably upset that it was left at No. 8 after two losses to Alabama. However, the Tigers can still become the ACC champions with one loss. The wins list already includes No. 16 Florida State and No. 25 Louisville, while ACC championship rival North Carolina is ranked No. 17.
Ohio State would also be vulnerable in some of these comparisons if Notre Dame hadn’t begun to rebuild with such urgency over the past few weeks. The Irish moved up to No. 15 on Tuesday night, giving OSU two top-15 wins after their road win at Penn State.
Again, the Buckeyes are not schadenfreude as a motivator. After missing out last season, they’ll be happy to go the win and you’re in goal route. However, with the game just days away, it’s becoming clear which team is best to sneak in if things don’t go their way on Saturday.
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