Ohio State destroyed Michigan to make a massive statement in the College Football Playoff chase. What does it all mean to the college football world?
Lots of things left to happen, and plenty of parts of this puzzle that still need to fit, but …
After this 62-39 win over Michigan, if Ohio State beats Northwestern to go 12-1 with a Big Ten championship, if Alabama beats Georgia in the SEC Championship, the Buckeyes are almost certainly going to get into the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma fans will scream and yell, and UCF people will spit their argument into the wind, but even with the brutally ugly loss to Purdue, and even with all of the problems throughout the season, Ohio State just hung 62 on the board against the No. 1 defense in college football. If the Buckeyes roll through Northwestern without any sort of a hiccup, yeah … in.
So here’s how this probably works. Assuming that Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame get the job done and are all unbeaten, Ohio State just whacked around the No. 4 team in the country in what now is the best win by anyone – even over the Notre Dame victory over the Wolverines – this season.
12-1 Big Ten champion Ohio State would almost certainly get the nod over 12-1 Big 12 champion Oklahoma – but it would be a fight. If Georgia beats Alabama, though, Clemson would be the No. 1 seed, then Notre Dame, then Georgia, then Alabama.
However, there can’t be any slip against Northwestern. The Buckeyes have to do a 59-0 on the NU like they did against Wisconsin in the 2014 Big Ten Championship. That punched the ticket to the College Football Playoff … and the national title.
THAT’S the Ohio State we’ve all been waiting for. That’s the switch that was flipped on at just the right time. That was the argument all year. As bad as things were at times, the Buckeyes were still 10-1, and they still had everything there to play for. They had their shot, and they were brilliant.
Michigan couldn’t generate a lick of pressure on Dwayne Haskins, and he was able to do whatever he wanted with his deep passes, averaging close to 11 yards per throw. He completed 19-of-30 passes for 218 yards and five touchdowns against a defense that wasn’t giving up a thing, and he ran for 34 yards, too.
No, Jim Harbaugh isn’t overrated. No, he’s not on a hot seat – at least in a being fired sort of way – and no, this doesn’t take away from everything else Michigan has done all season long. It was a really, really bad game against a team that finally focused and played its best game all season long.
Chris Olave? The freshman was an afterthought all season, and then he wore the Michigan defense as a hat, catching two passes for 48 yards and two touchdowns.
The rest of the Buckeye receivers showed off their speed and brilliance, with Parris Campbell catching five passes for 114 yards and a score, and taking a carry 78 yards for a touchdown. It all worked.
Before getting banged up late, Shea Patterson wasn’t bad. He completed 20-of-34 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns with a pick, but early red zone issues were costly. The offense put up 401 yards and 28 first downs, but for once this year, the Michigan D let the team down.