Ohio State Within Striking Distance of Playoff Birth

The Buckeyes rose to No. 8 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, behind Clemson, Auburn, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia, and Miami. Penn State and USC rounded out the top 10 behind the Buckeyes. Importantly for OSU, in a call with press after the rankings were released College Football Playoff selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said that, “There’s very little separation between teams 5 through 8.” That’s a good sign for the Buckeyes: if all the favorites win this weekend (Clemson, Oklahoma, Alabama, USC, OSU), OSU’s resume will be evaluated against one loss Alabama and a two-loss conference champion USC for the final playoff spot. In that scenario, Ohio State has a 35% chance to make the playoff, USC 35%, and Alabama 29%, according to FiveThirtyEight. The bottom line remains that if Ohio State wins Saturday, by any margin, they have a good shot of qualifying — but the more impressive the Buckeye victory, the better.

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