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Ohio State’s path to College Football Playoff becoming much easier to see

As the weekly Twitter outrage ensues following the College Football Playoff committee releasing another set of rankings, there’s a message we’d like to give to Ohio State fans…relax.

Don’t worry so much.

Step away from your smart phones, tablets and other instruments of outrage.

Take a step back and look towards the future, because I promise you it’s a very bright future indeed. So bright that there’s nearly College Football Playoff light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, you see one-loss Mississippi State sitting in a position to get a rematch with No. 1 Alabama today, but do you really think it’s going to stay that way in three weeks time?

We’ve heard a lot of talk from the members of the CFB Playoff committee about how much they’ll look at conference championships as a factor.

The last time we checked, of the three teams fighting for that final playoff spot after this past weekend, only Ohio State has its own destiny in its hands to win a conference title. Mississippi State needs to win out and have Alabama lose and according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, TCU has a massive uphill battle to overtake Baylor for the Big 12 final with just a 22 percent chance to Baylor’s 74 percent chance.

Oh, and for once there’s no way you can talk about SEC bias and ESPN’s love for the conference. Just look to former Georgia Bulldog David Pollack and what he had to say (via @11W):

While it may be tempting to panic because you see a potential Big 12 champion ahead of you, let’s compare schedules heading forward for a moment.

TCU goes on the road to Texas and then hosts Iowa State to end the season — not exactly two teams with resumes that will help TCU boost themselves.

On the flip side, Ohio State has two regular season games that may not help much in Indiana and Michigan. However, there could be some major help on the way in the form of a red-hot Wisconsin Badgers team.

They moved up four spots this week from No. 20 to No. 16 after a blowout win over Nebraska, who moved back to No. 23 thanks to the loss. A win over a third Top 25 team (should Minnesota somehow stay in the Top 25) in five games sure would make an emphatic statement to the selection committee.

Then there’s the case of Mississippi State, who are potentially the biggest hurdle to an Ohio State playoff berth. However, fast forward three weeks when Mississippi State is likely sitting at home watching someone else (Alabama) play for an SEC title, while the Big Ten title game features two top 15 (if not top 10) teams.

Let yourself imagine this scenario if you will — Ohio State wins out, Wisconsin wins out and the Buckeyes blow the doors off of Wisconsin to go undefeated in Big Ten play. That would mean impressive wins over two of the other top three teams in the conference on the road and on a neutral field.

How does the committee take that resume, compare it to the best win for Mississippi State (a slumping Auburn team) and say that’s better than what OSU has done?

Sure, the committee could shun the Buckeyes in favor of Mississippi State, but OSU would have one heck of an argument to make to said committee given it’s body of work in the final month of the season.

What is perhaps most clear is that fans, pundits and writers need to adjust to what the College Football Playoff committee rankings really mean. This committee isn’t giving us an “if the season ended today” scenario, but what they are doing is giving an honest evaluation of whom they see as the best teams in college football to date.

That’s an important distinction, because there’s a difference between being the best team in Week 13 of the season and actually getting in to the playoff come the first Saturday in December.

So, before you go all outrage over being two spots out of the rankings in Week 13 of the college football season, please remember there’s plenty of help still to come Ohio State and the Big Ten’s way.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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