Ohio State's late bid to upset No. 2 Michigan on Saturday in Ann Arbor came to a screeching halt when Wolverines defensive back Rod Moore picked off Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord on the Michigan 22-yard line with 25 seconds to play to ice away the 30-24 win. In theory, the Buckeyes' bid for the College Football Playoff was put on ice as well. Or was it?
Ohio State found itself ranked No. 6 in the Texas and No. 8 Alabama. The Longhorns and Crimson Tide both play conference championship games this weekend, while the one-loss Buckeyes are already in the clubhouse with the best loss among the realistic CFP contenders.released on Tuesday night, ahead of No. 7
There is still a path for the Buckeyes to make the CFP, and it doesn't even include total chaos. They just need a very specific set of dominoes to fall.
First thing's first. No. 4 Florida State has to lose to No. 14 Louisville in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday. A one-loss Florida State without a conference championship and an injured quarterback would have no chance of being ranked ahead of the Buckeyes. The Seminoles are only 2.5-point favorites over the Cardinals, so the chances of this domino falling are high compared to the others.
No. 3 Washington has to take care of No. 5 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday. A Ducks team that has two losses, both to the undefeated Huskies, will not be ranked above Ohio State. Oddsmakers don't feel as confident in this one, however; Oregon is a 9.5-point favorite over Washington despite the head-to-head result from earlier this season.
No. 7 Texas needs to get out of the way as well, and No. 18 Oklahoma State would be happy to oblige in the Big 12 Championship Game in what will be the Longhorns' last conference game before jumping to the SEC next season. This is a long shot, but not a "no shot." Doak Walker Award finalist Ollie Gordon II and the Cowboys are 14.5-point underdogs to the Longhorns, but never count out coach Mike Gundy when he's being disrespected.
Finally, No. 8 Alabama has to fall to No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game for Ohio State's path to the CFP to be complete. The Crimson Tide are 5.5-point underdogs to the Bulldogs in what is a rematch of the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship.
The entire scenario for the Buckeyes to have a legitimate chance at making the four-team field is outlined below:
1. Georgia (13-0)
SEC Championship Game vs. No. 8 Alabama
2. Michigan (13-0)
Big Ten Championship Game vs. No. 16 Iowa
3. Washington (13-0)
Pac-12 Championship Game vs. No. 5 Oregon
4. Florida State (12-1)
ACC Championship Game vs. No. 14 Louisville
5. Oregon (11-2)
Pac-12 Championship Game vs. No. 3 Washington
6. Ohio State (11-1)
7. Texas (11-2)
Big 12 Championship Game vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State
8. Alabama (11-2)
SEC Championship Game vs. No. 1 Georgia
Simply put, Ohio State would be the least-objectionable option for the No. 4 seed. Florida State would be the only other team with any sort of argument. But, again, the Seminoles' resume would pale in comparison to the Buckeyes.