Column: Ohio State enters playoff on a high note


The suspense will be over at 12:15 this afternoon. Ohio State will know who it will be playing in the College Football Playoff where that game will be.

The four teams are almost a certainty now. Ohio State, LSU, Clemson and Oklahoma appear to be in after Oregon’s win over Utah in the Pac-12 championship game and LSU’s win over Georgia in the SEC championship game.

Ohio State was viewed as already in the playoff regardless of whether it won or lost before its comeback 34-21 win over Wisconsin. It would have been highly unusual for a No. 1 team to completely drop out of the top four.

It seems unlikely a two-loss team could climb into the top four in the rankings. But it is important to remember the playoff selection committee can do whatever it wants.

Another question that will be answered is how the final four teams will be ranked, which determines the first-round pairings.

If Ohio State holds on to the No. 1 spot, it would play the No. 4 team, probably Oklahoma. If LSU’s 37-10 win over Georgia, who came into the weekend in the No. 4 spot, impresses the selection committee it could climb to No. 1.

That means Ohio State could end up playing Clemson, one of the most dominant team in the College Football Playoff the last five years. Clemson has won two of the last three national championships.

Ohio State will also find out whether it will be playing in Phoenix or in Atlanta in its College Football Playoff semifinal.

NOTES:

OKUDAH OUT, THEN RETURNS: Ohio State’s standout cornerback Jeffrey Okudah left the game in the first quarter with what Fox’s broadcast of the game said was a possible head injury. He returned to the field in the second half. Wyatt Davis, who might be OSU’s best offensive lineman, left the field with an injury in the second quarter. He also returned in the second half.

MILESTONE: K.J. Hill passed David Boston as Ohio State’s career leading in pass receptions with a third-quarter catch that gave him 192 in his four years at OSU at that point in the game.

MILESTONE, PART 2: Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor went over 6,000 yards rushing for his career in the first half.

UNDEFEATED CHAMPION: Ohio State became the first team to come into the Big Ten championship game with an undefeated record and win it. The three other teams who came into the game unbeaten (Ohio State in 2013, Iowa in 2015 and Wisconsin in 2017) all lost.

NO BRENDON WHITE: Junior safety Brendon White was listed on Ohio State’s travel roster but was not at the game in uniform, according to the website Letterman Row. It said that was confirmed by Ohio State but no reason was given

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Jim Naveau

Staff Columnist