Ohio State's 59-0 rout of Wisconsin on Saturday night in the Big Ten Championship Game now leaves the College Football Playoff Selection Committee with some serious questions to ponder in terms of whether the Buckeyes should be included in the Top 4 when the rankings are revealed this afternoon.
There are many reasons as to why the Buckeyes should be deemed one of the four best teams in the country right now, but there is one big reason that might keep them on the outside looking in.
Ohio State's Sept., 6 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech is ominously hanging over the Buckeyes' head and is the only reason Ohio State's name hasn't been written in pen in the Final Four. But should it be such a dark cloud on the Buckeyes' season as most are making it out to be?
The Ohio State team that took the field that night at The Horseshoe is light years different from the team that just demolished the 13th ranked team in the country in the Big Ten Championship Game. Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett was making just his second start against one of the tougher defenses in the country, just a few weeks after being named the starter following Braxton Miller's second shoulder surgery, and it showed.
Since then, the Buckeyes have won 11 straight games behind one of the most high-powered offenses in the country. The most complete of those wins came just a week after Barrett went down against Michigan and the third-string quarterback coming into this year, Cardale Jones, was called upon against one of the best defenses in the country. Ohio State looked like they didn't miss a beat on offense. It is awfully tough to right now say Ohio State isn't one of the four best teams in the country.
Since the Virginia Tech loss, some of the notable accomplishments for the Buckeyes:
-- A 50-28 win over AAC co-champions Cincinnati
-- A 49-37 win at current No. 8 Michigan State
-- A 31-24 win in the elements at Minnesota
-- An emphatic 59-0 win over No. 13 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, the first ever shutout in a Power 5 conference championship game
During the 11-game winning streak, Ohio State failed to reach 40 points in only two of those victories. As if that wasn't enough, the Bucks are ranked No. 3 in the vaunted F/+ rankings, the gold standard for predictive statistical analysis based college football rankings. While subjectivity takes the place of the computers in our new postseason format, Las Vegas also has the Buckeyes as the country's third best team.
One has to think the Big 12's lack of a "one true champion" could lead to a "split the baby" scenario with the Buckeyes getting the nod instead. If Ohio State is somehow left out, they'll have a more than serious gripe about it.