Some pundits said Ohio State needed a statement win over the Wisconsin Badgers in order to make it to the College Football Playoff. After a 59-0 over the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten championship game, the Buckeyes made a big statement for the College Football Playoff committee.
It’s performance on Saturday night was exactly enough to win over the majority of the selection committee on Sunday morning, as they earned the final spot in the four-team playoff.
The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes will take on No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day, and it has itself to thank for that. What it did to the Badgers on Saturday night left very little doubt as to just how good this team is.
Having a third-string quarterback throw for 257 yards on just 12 completions and also put up three touchdowns through the air certainly helped.
So did watching running back Ezekiel Elliot gash one of the best rush defenses in the country for 220 yards and two touchdowns.
Add in shutting down the Heisman Trophy campaign of Melvin Gordon, who had just 76 yards on 26 carries, and you have a picture of just how complete the Buckeyes can be at their peak.
The magnitude of the 59-0 dismantling the Buckeyes put on the Badgers was huge, as committee chairman Jeff Long admitted it was the part of OSU’s resume that put it over the top.
Sure, you can make a case for Baylor and TCU out of the Big 12, but neither of them own a dismantling of a foe the caliber of Wisconsin. None of them took a top 15 team and made them feel embarrassed to have been on the field that Saturday.
Ultimately, the committee showed us that what happens each and every Saturday matters. Who you play and how you win matters too. It also matters what you did in September and November, something that didn’t seem to be the case in the BCS system.
Jeff Long notes in news conference that Ohio State “steadily moved up in our rankings” all season. Again, it’s how you finish.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 7, 2014
Now it is about getting the job done on the field, something the Big Ten desperately needs to repair a worn out reputation.