It all comes down to this weekend.
What looked impossible two weeks ago could become probable by Saturday evening.
The Buckeyes were seemingly out of the playoff picture after an overtime win at Maryland, but now with a win against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship, and maybe a couple of other very possible outcomes, Ohio State could be headed for the College Football Playoffs.
What needs to happen for the Buckeyes to get there?
You can Google for the answers, or you can stay right where you are and get information from me that could be just as accurate, if not less so.
Let’s see who you should be rooting for this weekend in order to get your Buckeyes to the playoffs.
Friday November 30
Pac 12 Championship Game (Santa Clara, CA)
Teams: #17 Utah (9-3, 6-3) vs. #11 Washington (9-3, 7-2)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Washington
This game won’t impact Ohio State’s playoff chances, so you’ll just be rooting for the team you’d rather watch Ohio State possibly play in the Rose Bowl. For me, that’s Washington. Sure, there’s the Urban Meyer – Utah angle, but Washington is the higher-ranked team and a win over the Huskies would further your argument that the Buckeyes were jobbed more than a win over the Utes would. And you know when you argue with people, you want as much firepower as you can get. They don’t call you “Snopesy McSnopesalot” at work for nothing. They call you that because you are very, very smart and also because they really just do not like you. You think they are intimidated by your intelligence, but they actually just think you’re an arrogant jerk. This game is a rematch of a 21-7 Washington win earlier in the season.
Washington 28 – Utah 24
Saturday December 1
Big XII Championship Game (Arlington, TX)
Teams: #14 Texas (9-3, 7-2) vs. #5 Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Texas
Face it, you have been a Tom Herman fan since his days at Rice and when he got the job at Ohio State, you knew you would be in his corner forever. And nothing he has done since has changed your mind. If Texas wins this game, then the Buckeyes probably don’t need to win pretty. If Oklahoma wins, then Ohio State is going to have to put a big number on Northwestern. As such, you are rooting for Herman and the Longhorns just as you have been ever since he took the job last year. Oklahoma is looking to avenge their only loss this season, but don’t worry because as we’ve seen in the last week, Revenge Tours are generally overblown. Oklahoma is 4-1 this season when giving up at least 40 points. I’m not sure anybody else can say that, nor would they want to.
Oklahoma 45 – Texas 34
AAC Championship Game
Teams: Memphis (8-4, 5-3) at #8 UCF (11-0, 8-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Memphis
You are cheering for Memphis because you are so tired of people talking about how Orlando barbecue is the best barbecue in the world. Sure, it may be top seven, but there is no way it’s as good as Memphis or Carolina or Tiffin barbecue. (Tiffin barbecue is just bologna sandwiches, but it comes with a side of Ballreich’s, which moves it up the list.)
UCF 38 – Memphis 27
SEC Championship Game (Atlanta, GA)
Teams: #1 Alabama (12-0, 8-0) vs. #4 Georgia (11-1, 7-1)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Alabama
You are cheering for Alabama, which means that you are going to have to get rid of all of the sleeves on your shirts and you’ll have to learn the theme song to Mama’s Family. You want Alabama to win because it just makes things easier to figure out. There is a consensus out there that says if Alabama loses, then they’d still make the playoffs. I hate consensuses. Only Alabama can have their losses excused before they even happen. I don’t expect this to be their mulligan, and if it is, the Buckeyes might just be out of the playoffs even though they’d have an argument against both Oklahoma (strength of schedule/defense) and Notre Dame (same number of wins, common opponents, conference title)
Alabama 30 – Georgia 17
MWC Championship Game
Teams: #25 Fresno State (10-2, 7-1) at #22 Boise State (10-2, 7-1)
Time (TV): 7:45 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Fresno State
You are cheering for Fresno State because if you ever decide to leave home, you’ve always liked the thought of living above a pool hall in Fresno, just like your parents did and their parents did before them.
Boise State 27 – Fresno 23
ACC Championship Game (Charlotte, NC)
Teams: #2 Clemson (12-0, 8-0) vs. Pittsburgh (7-5, 6-2)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Pittsburgh
I have heard people who think Clemson is in even with a loss, so it apparently won’t matter who you root for. It’s not like Pitt is gonna jump Ohio State with a win. I think. Actually, I’m not gonna put anything past this committee. I don’t know, call me old fashioned, but I think teams should have to pay for losing late in the season.
Clemson 38 – Pittsburgh 24
Big Ten Championship (Indianapolis, IN)
Teams: #21 Northwestern (8-4, 8-1) vs. #6 Ohio State (11-1, 8-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Ohio State
If Oklahoma wins, the Buckeyes probably have to better OU’s victory margin by at least two touchdowns to have a shot. Northwestern’s style of play doesn’t really lend itself to things getting out of hand. Their largest margin of defeat was 14 points in a 21-7 loss to Duke in week two. Since then, they have had a 3-point loss to Michigan and 10-point loss to Notre Dame. If this is a clingy game for 60 minutes, then you’re going to want to have had Texas win earlier in the day. The good news is that the Buckeyes will have an idea of what they need to do. The bad news is that that may add extra pressure on every series. If they are trying to make the playoffs instead of beat Northwestern, they may not end up doing either.