By ROSS BISHOFF
So, wait, let me get this straight: Ohio State is still alive for the college football playoffs?
How did that happen?
A week after getting trounced by Iowa, the Buckeyes rebounded to squash Michigan State and now, somehow, someway, have a legit shot at making the playoffs.
Good Lord, college football, I can’t figure you out anymore.
One week ago, for the first time in my life, I was telling everyone how legit Notre Dame was and I looked like a legit moron a couple days later. But no lie, after years of calling them the most over-rated program in college football, I was finally willing to give credit to Brian Kelly and the Irish.
And then “The U” stomped on them. It was overwhelming and bloody and sent the Irish from No. 3 to No. 9 in the AP and Coaches polls.
Also a week ago, I was ready to believe in then-No. 1 Georgia. And then, 40-17 at Auburn happened.
Next thing you know, the currently eighth-ranked Buckeyes are back in the conversation for the playoffs. And not just back, but honestly eyeing a chance at landing in the top four by season’s end.
I’m sure by now all you Ohio State, and college football fans, have broken all this down already, but for those who haven’t, here goes nothing.
OSU is eighth in the nation. Alabama and Auburn are ahead of them, they still have to play. If Auburn loses that game, it gives them three losses. Alabama would probably also meet Georgia in the SEC title game, which might knock Georgia out of Ohio State’s path.
Miami and Clemson are currently in the AP/Coaches polls’ top four. Those two teams meet Dec. 2. If Clemson loses, that’s two losses and probably would drop them out of the conversation. A Miami loss, especially a close one, may not kill the Hurricanes’ hopes, however.
That leaves Oklahoma, which should win out. But in the Big 12, who the heck knows? And then there’s unbeaten Wisconsin. If Ohio State wins out, beating Michigan, then beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game, what are we looking at?
There are so many, many, many possibilities of course. For instance, what happens if Auburn beats Alabama? And either Auburn or Georgia wins the SEC championship game. Do two SEC teams make the playoffs?
Could USC make a leap?
It’s a crazy mess of course and should be fun the rest of the way. However, for Ohio State fans, the point is, if the Buckeyes win out and get help, it’s very possible Urban Meyer is back in the playoffs as a two-loss team with a Big Ten title under its belt.
That seems crazy to me after the Buckeyes got put down hard at Iowa and to Oklahoma in Columbus, no less, but there’s a very real path to possible here.
And why is that exactly?
Again, because college football has become what fans want: Crazy and unpredictable. That keeps us all watching and talking about it every day.
From week-to-week, you really have no idea what is going to happen. Saturdays are literally becoming the central sports day on everyone’s calendar.
The NFL is dull.
Hockey and the NBA don’t really matter until spring.
And college hoops don’t heat up for most of us until February.
So from now until the national championship game on Jan. 8, college football has a monopoly on our attention.
Whether you love it or not, it sure beats the old days when four or five programs in the entire nation ruled the country.
Number of the Week: 15
Marion Local, which meets Coldwater in a Division VI regional final game Friday, has not been scored on in 15 straight quarters. The last team to score on the Flyers is St. Henry on Oct. 20.
Quote of the Week: “We’ve been playing in ‘we can’t lose’ situations since we lost to Fort Recovery in September. So we were ready, we were prepared.”
New Bremen volleyball coach Diana Kramer after her team beat St. Thomas Aquinas this past weekend for the Division IV state volleyball championship.