All it took was one potentially season-defining win for Ohio State. Because of it, the 13 members of the College Football Playoff selection committee will finally have a debate — and it should be a good one.
Oklahoma or Ohio State? Two teams that have been defined as much by their flaws as their biggest wins.
For three straight weeks, we have stared at the same top four: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Michigan. That will likely change Tuesday in the committee’s fifth of six rankings, as Ohio State’s 62-39 home win over rival Michigan on Saturday should knock the Wolverines out of the fourth spot, opening the door for No. 5 Georgia to move up. In the bigger picture, though, No. 10 Ohio State thoroughly embarrassed Michigan, setting the stage for the fourth spot to boil down to a difficult decision on Selection Day if both the Buckeyes and Sooners win their conference titles. Or maybe both will be left out.
Should Alabama lose a close game to Georgia in the SEC championship game, the Bulldogs likely would finish in the top four as SEC champs, but the committee also would consider one-loss runner-up Alabama for a semifinal spot at the expense of both the Big 12 and Big Ten champions.
Where the Buckeyes and Sooners are ranked on Tuesday could foreshadow the fourth spot on Selection Day. It won’t be a definitive answer, but it certainly would shed some insight into which way the committee might lean on Dec. 2. The Big 12 championship game will be an opportunity for Oklahoma to show the committee it can beat Texas and avenge its only loss of the season, which was to the Longhorns 48-45 on Oct. 6. Should Texas win again, the Big 12 likely would be eliminated from consideration, as the Longhorns have three losses this season.
Ohio State’s last chance to impress the selection committee will be against a ranked Northwestern team in the Big Ten championship, and how both OU and Ohio State look on Saturday — dominant or fortunate — could matter.
Ohio State has spent all season trailing Oklahoma in the CFP rankings and was also jumped by undefeated and No. 9 UCF last week, but the Buckeyes just manhandled the committee’s No. 4 team, outplaying the Wolverines in what was easily their most impressive performance of the season and on the biggest stage. Dwayne Haskins became the first player to throw for five touchdowns against Michigan. Ever!
Haskins said the Buckeyes showed “we some bad boys.”
“We’re explosive, we’re gonna make some plays and, honestly, we’re blessed, man,” Haskins said after the game. “We have a lot of ball to play left, and we can get so much better. That’s the scary thing about it, and once we get it all figured out, we’ll be pretty dangerous.”
It was arguably the first time this season that Ohio State remotely resembled a top-four team. The Buckeyes have been heavily criticized for their 49-20 loss at unranked Purdue, a team that finished…