There’s an argument to be made that if the NCAA wanted to get the four best teams in college football into the playoff, they could save a lot of time and energy by outsourcing the job to Las Vegas. Now, that’s not likely to happen for both practical and optics-based reasons. And it shouldn’t because the playoff, as currently constituted, is merit-based and not judged as a showcase for the sides with the highest ceilings.
That’s a shame for Ohio State who showed this afternoon exactly what they’re capable of when focused. The Buckeyes entered the Horseshoe as perplexing 17-point favorites over suddenly resurgent Michigan State. Suckers like myself couldn’t figure out how that was possible considering last week’s disaster in Iowa City.
A few minutes into the game, it was clear. Urban Meyer’s team dismantled the Spartans, 48-3, in a bloodbath that wasn’t as close as the 45-point final spread suggests. J.T. Barrett was efficient, J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber ran free, and the Buckeyes defense neutered their Big Ten East rivals.
Ohio State is currently 13th in the playoff rankings. At 8-2, they need some chaos to get back into serious contention. There are some who think they have no business climbing back into the conversation. The Buckeyes still have hope in the real world. Wins over Michigan and a potentially unbeaten Wisconsin would boost a body of work in need of boosting. If they destroy the Wolverines and Badgers like they destroyed the Spartans, they eye test will speak volumes.
That’s part of the reason that Ohio State fans should feel frustrated. Meyer’s side is capable of doing this every week and yet twice this year they’ve laid eggs (Oklahoma and Iowa). Winning either of those games would have allowed control of their own destiny at this point.
A Vegas-based consortium could slot them in as one of the four best teams on paper and yet they haven’t proven it on the football field. It’s a good problem to have, but still a problem.