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FiveThirtyEight says if Ohio State wins, they’re in

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Take that with whatever sized grain of salt you wish.

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

According to FiveThirtyEight’s College Football predictions model, after this weekend, Ohio State could be as high as an 80% favorite to make the playoff.

- FiveThirtyEight.com

Well, last night’s College Football rankings show took what was already a convoluted situation and made it even worse. There were things to support both sides of the argument about whether Ohio State should or shouldn’t make the playoff field if they walk away from Indianapolis with the Big Ten title.

Sitting at No. 8, Ohio State’s chief rival for the fourth spot appears to be a one-loss No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide — a team that will be idle this weekend after failing to make the SEC title game. Committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said that the committee saw little difference between teams ranked 5-8, insinuating that should Ohio State do something this weekend to separate itself (a la winning a conference title), they should have an advantage over the Tide.

According to FiveThirtyEight, if the Buckeyes knock off the Wisconsin Badgers, they will be a 58% favorite to claim the final spot, regardless of the other outcomes of Championship Saturday.

The only situation in which the Buckeyes do not have a majority is if chalk holds, and No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Auburn, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 10 USC, and No. 14 UCF all win. In that case, OSU will still have the plurality advantage with 37% over USC’s 33% and ’Bama’s 29%.

According to the data analytics site, Ohio State’s best chance would be if Clemson, Auburn, No. 11 TCU, No. 12 Stanford, and UCF all won. That would put them at an 80% likelihood to earn a spot (not necessarily the fourth). This scenario would also mean that a non-conference champion Alabama would be most likely to get in as well, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Now, there is a not-unpopular perspective from Buckeye fans making the rounds that while most would love for OSU to make the playoffs, because (as we learned in 2014-2015) you can’t win if you aren’t in, some are worried that this team might not be able to compete with the other semifinalists. And no one wants a repeat of last year’s Clemson skunking.

Either way, the first step for the Buckeyes is to win on Saturday against Wisconsin. Now, if only FiveThirtyEight had a data-driven prediction as to who would start at quarterback for Ohio State, we’d be getting somewhere.


Sam Hubbard, a fourth-year junior who will soon get his degree from Ohio State, went through the Buckeyes' Senior Tackle ceremony last week. So this is most likely his final year with the program.”

-Bill Landis, cleveland.com

Look, I respect Hubbard for saying, "I'm not sure what I'm gonna do next year. I'm just focusing on winning a Big Ten Championship, but it's an opportunity I didn't want to pass up if I do make that decision. But I'm totally up in the air. I have no idea what I'm doing yet."

I get it, like his coach, he doesn’t want to talk about anything that could distract from the task at hand, and that is beating Wisconsin and winning the Big Ten title.

I also understand that this is likely not an uncommon practice for non-seniors to participate in Senior Tackle, especially since Urban Meyer moved it to a private ceremony. But, since a rogue OSU social media manager posted (and then deleted) the video of Hubbard’s “last” hit, it has become something that must be addressed with as much “coach speak” and feigned uncertainty as possible.

But let’s be real. Barring an injury or something else unforeseen, Hubbard is gone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He has been out of high school for at least three years, making him eligible for the NFL Draft. So, if he thinks that moving on is in the best interest of him, his career, and his family, then that’s all that should matter.

However, Hubbard has been with the team for four years, and reportedly will graduate in December. So there is practically nothing that anyone can criticize him for if he left before his eligibility expired (although, I’m sure some will find something to complain about). The only bad part of this whole situation is that he can’t just come out and say he’s gone... because he is... and good for him.


“Because these were three quality opponents, how Ohio State played just in this tournament is relevant to study compared to the first four games, all of which were against sub-100 teams as ranked by KenPom.com. With that in mind, here’s what the cumulative stats from the PK80 tell us.”

-Adam Jardy, The columbus Dispatch

Ohio State basketball’s trip out west to Portland was a big step for Chris Holtmann’s young team. They got their first real taste of big-boy competition, and the crucible of the PK80 showed what the strengths and weaknesses of the team are.

The most glaring thing that the Buckeyes will need to address is how to get more consistency out of their veteran leaders, Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate. While both had spurts of productivity on offense, if Ohio State is going to compete in the Big Ten, these two will need to provide the foundation for a functioning offense, not just occasionally contribute to it.

The basketball Bucks can’t rely on junior C.J. Jackson or freshman Kaleb Wesson, and especially not Andrew Dakich, to be the scoring bedrock of the team. Clearly the opponents’ defensive focus will almost always be on Bates-Diop and Tate, but they are going to need to find a way to get buckets if OSU is going to have any chance at respectability this year.


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