Bowl Projections: Buckeyes Back In The Playoff Picture

On November 11, 2007, the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes suffered a shocking loss at home to unranked Illinois. They plunged to #7 in the polls, and with only one regular season game left, and in a system where only the top two teams made the title game, their championship hopes seemed dead. They needed an incredibly unlikely series of insane upsets to even have a chance.

Exactly 10 years later to the day, the 2017 Buckeyes took the field against Michigan State in a very similar situation. Coming off a shocking loss to unranked Iowa, they sat at #13 in the playoff rankings with only two regular season games left. Even with a four-team playoff field, they looked like a real longshot. Their national title odds dropped to 80-to-1.

Then something funny happened. The Buckeyes put #12 Michigan State in a blender and pushed “liquefy” for three hours. #9 Washington had already lost the night before. Auburn destroyed #1 Georgia. Miami blasted #3 Notre Dame. Oklahoma smoked #6 TCU.  All of a sudden, instead of needing to leap-frog a nearly-impossible nine teams to get into the playoff, they’ll enter next week likely needing to jump a more reasonable number like five.

Two of them will play in the Iron Bowl. Two more will play in the SEC title game. Two more in the ACC title game. OSU should have a shot at one in the Big Ten title game. That’s four who are guaranteed to have a loss if the Buckeyes win out. Ohio State’s national title odds now stand somewhere around 12-to-1.

One week after OSU was humiliated by the Hawkeyes, they were… somehow… legitimately back in the playoff picture. Viva chaos! Viva college football!

There is still work to do. OSU must take care of business against Illinois and Michigan, and then knock off Wisconsin to win the Big Ten. It wouldn’t hurt if Alabama beat Auburn and Georgia and definitively knocked both of them out of the playoff picture. Go ahead and fashion a homemade turnover chain, because you’re hoping Miami takes out Clemson in the ACC title game as well. Even if all of that happens, there are no guarantees that OSU lands in the final top 4.

But 10 years after the Buckeyes were crossing their fingers and hoping a 4-7 Pitt team could upset #2 West Virginia in Morgantown, possibly needing help from someone like Alabama this month doesn’t seem like too much of a reach.

With two regular season games and conference title game weekend on deck, where could the Buckeyes end up playing in the postseason? Here’s a look at a variety of updated projects. ESPN has two different projections, so they are listed twice.

SB Nation: Sugar Bowl (#4 seed in College Football Playoff) vs. #1 Miami

Sporting News: Cotton Bowl vs. Notre Dame

CBS Sports: Citrus Bowl vs. Mississippi State

ESPN: Orange Bowl vs. Clemson

ESPN: Fiesta Bowl vs. USC Peach Bowl vs. UCF

11 Responses

  1. I actually agree with tom and said the same in a comment yesterday that OSU is crazily not out of the playoff picture and we have to unfortunately root for alabama to knock out auburn and georgia –totally realistic….if OSU wins out and looks good doing in like 2014 alabama and miami and OK win out (or they lose twice but I highly doubt that)..then that should leave USC to contend with (if they even win out, which is no guarantee at all)..I say an OSU tam that whooped MSU and if they do beat scUM and unbeaten WIS team, gets in over USC..OSU just needs to take care of their own business but a playoff berth could realistically be out there for the taking.

  2. You never know. After the loss to Illinois in 2007 I thought the Buckeyes had no chance to play for the NC, but chaos ensued. Still a lot of football left to be played this season. I hope they keep running the ball as well as they did yesterday and win out, and we’ll see how it all plays out.

  3. No. No. No. They do not deserve to be selected over Iowa; and if the Buckeyes do get selected, the whole CFP system will be correctly labeled a beauty contest .

    1. Ron- there are 2 separate issues here, so ‘ll do my best to make them crystal clear before you jump down my throat:

      1) the author is NOT claiming OSU “deserves” to be in the playoff if they win out. Instead, he outlined scenarios which could see them through. None are easy, and they all involve OSU winning out with other teams falling.

      2) IOWA deserves to get in over OSU with a MINIMUM of 4 losses? Time to lay off the meth, Ron.

      Obviously, lots of football left to be played- but your Iowa comment is nuts.

  4. SEC winner is in. ACC winner is in. Big 12 winner is in. Southern Cal will get in over Ohio State. A 2nd SEC team could get in over Ohio State. It’s not happening. Stop it…

    1. Usc.. The Trojans.. who have they beat.

      They got squashed by irish…whom got spanked by the Hurricanes..

  5. We whip the next three teams, AL wins out Miami wins out, Oklahoma wins out we’re in, if one of those 3 loses, they will beat us out as the 4th team in

  6. I’ll be honest, if the Buckeyes who got drubbed by Oklahoma or blown out by Iowa are the ones playing, I don’t WANT them in the Playoff. However if it’s the Buckeyes that just blew out Sparty that show up then bring on the chaos! Problem is, we won’t know until it’s too late! GO BUCKEYES! Annihilate the Illini!

  7. Clemson plays the “F’ing Citadel next week! That should finally/hopefully drop them a spot! Go Canes, Roll Tide and Go Badgers!

    1. Charlie; Next week Bama plays Mercer, Auburn plays LA Monroe, so it’s cup cakes b4 the big day, put OSU on that list with a visit from the Fighting Illini. We do need WISKY to win out though.

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