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Alabama opens as 9-point favorites against Ohio State in 2014 College Football Playoff semifinal at the Sugar Bowl

We knew the College Football Playoff semifinal would be a tough test for Ohio State. Now we know how Vegas sees the matchup.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

How valuable is now lost for the season Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett? We learned last week, it was around a touchdown, per Vegas...And then the actual Big Ten Championship Game went down.

With third string Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones ensuring OSU didn't miss a beat, Ohio State went on to shock college football fans nationally and lay waste to Wisconsin in a historic Power 5 conference championship game performance. After being announced as one of four teams still alive for the national championship in the first ever College Football Playoff, Vegas set odds on the Buckeyes' sure to be tough task of taking of No. 1 seed Alabama, with the Bucks looking up at a 9-point opening point spread.

There's no question anytime you're going against Alabama on a neutral field (particularly giving Nick Saban anytime to prepare), you're in for a long evening, but if there's one upside for the Buckeyes, it's that Alabama's offense philosophically isn't exactly a nightmare matchup. The skill position players occupying said hybrid offense on the other hand? Well that's a whole other matter.

Urban Meyer is 4-0 against the spread now as an underdog. If Ohio State wants to continue their march in what's been an improbable season, they'll have to move to 5-0.

The College Football Playoff semifinal at the Sugar Bowl kicks off Thursday night, New Year's Day, at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.