We’re approaching the first game in the month of November for the Ohio State Buckeyes. With that being said, the forecasts are becoming a little clearer as to where the Bucks will be headed in the postseason.
Sitting as the No. 10 team in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, the Scarlet and Gray aren’t out of the hunt for one of the final four playoff spots. It’ll be an uphill battle, but they’ve done it before.
Let’s take a look at where five outlets (SB Nation, ESPN, CBS Sports, Sporting News, and Phil Steele) have the Bucks going when the dust settles. Bowl projections are a fluid situation, but it’s always fun to see who’s forecasting OSU to go where.
|Jason Kirk||Rose Bowl vs. Washington State|
SB Nation’s Jason Kirk has the Buckeyes facing the air-raid offense of Washington State in the Rose Bowl. That means he has OSU dropping the game against Michigan, who’s slotted as his No. 3 team in the CFP — and playing No. 2 Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Kirk also has Penn State sneaking into the New Year’s Six party, playing LSU (and the fighting Joe Burrows) in the Fiesta Bowl.
|Kyle Bonagura||Rose Bowl vs. Washington State|
|Mitch Sherman||Rose Bowl vs. Utah|
Over at ESPN, both football forecasters Kyle Bonagura and Mitch Sherman have the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. The only difference is the opponent.
Utah is currently 6-2, and have remaining games against Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado and BYU. This week’s contest against the Sun Devils is on the road, as is their Nov. 17 meeting with the Buffaloes. It appears Sherman has the Utes winning out; additionally, Sherman has Wazzu to the Fiesta Bowl.
For what it’s worth, Bonagura has Utah in his Fiesta Bowl projection.
Both have Michigan in the Cotton Bowl versus Alabama, with the Crimson Tide winning and advancing to the National Championship Game.
|Jerry Palm||Rose Bowl vs. Utah|
Jerry Palm at CBS Sports is also going with the Buckeyes-Utes in the “Granddaddy of Them All.”
With Utah as his Pac-12 champion, Palm has the Cougars of Washington State in the Peach Bowl against Kentucky. Also, the CBS Sports forecaster has the defending national champions the UCF Knights in the Fiesta Bowl against Georgia.
Michigan is in his playoff, facing ‘Bama in Arlington, Texas. Only UM and OSU made New Year Six projections from the B1G this week in Palm’s forecast, though.
|Bill Bender||Rose Bowl vs. Washington State|
So far, it’s 5-of-5 for Ohio State-to-Pasadena. Bill Bender at Sporting News put the Buckeyes against the Cougars in his Rose prediction after Week 9.
According to Bender, Penn State will be going back to the desert to play West Virginia, while Michigan is projected to take an L against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.
|Phil Steele||Orange Bowl Semfinal vs. Alabama|
If we were treating these bowl projections like they do the picks on “College Gameday,” Phil Steele would pull the “Not so fast my friend” phrase made famous by Lee Corso.
Steele has Ohio State traveling to Miami for a playoff contest against Alabama. In his other playoff matchup in Jerry World, Clemson would be taking on Notre Dame. However, Steele has Bama v. Clemson for all the marbles.
A noted college football guru, Steele has all sorts of numbers and stats on each team. You can subscribe to his stat package ($) and see all the numbers. I can attest that his stuff is in-depth and high quality, and is a must-have if you like the stat side of college football.
|Erick Smith||Cotton Bowl Semifinal vs. Alabama|
And lastly, Erick Smith at USA Today has the Bucks in the semifinals against Alabama as well. Instead of the Orange, it’s back to AT&T Stadium for the third time in two seasons for OSU.
Notre Dame-Clemson are in his Orange Bowl, and, unsurpringly, he has Nick Saban vs. Dabo Swinney Part IV in Santa Clara, Calif., in the title game.
Ya Boy, Geoff
|Geoff Hammersley||Rose Bowl vs. Washington State|
Right now, Ohio State is the CFB version of Bitcoin. One day, they are riding high and you believe the sky’s the limit; then when things go bad, you can’t believe it’s all falling apart and you’re walking around the living room, mumbling the word “frauds.”
I can see OSU going as high as the playoff, or as low as the Citrus Bowl. Correcting the course after Purdue will decide what happens. If they come out angry and blast Nebraska back into the Tom Osborne years, then follow that up with a return to fundamentals against Michigan State and Maryland, I think they’ll have the upper-hand against Michigan. If they dig their heels into the ground and refuse to make wholesale changes, then it could be a squeak by the Huskers, and a potential loss to the Spartans before the run-in with UM.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the college football gods have assembled a scenario where it’s very likely the Rose Bowl will be the floor. This weekend’s game of Michigan-Penn State will put PSU’s New Year Six dreams on the backburner — thus elevating OSU as the favorite to land the tie-in for a bowl — or create a situation where the Buckeyes and Wolverines will battle it out for the Big Ten East title, and potentially a playoff berth.
Outside of those three B1G teams, Iowa is the only other one ranked. They have to play Purdue this weekend in West Lafayette, and if they lose that game, they are pretty much out of the picture for a NY6 game. Northwestern and Wisconsin would be in the driver’s seat for the West, but as three-loss teams, they don’t seem like they would defeat whomever comes out of the East.
If Michigan wins the Big Ten and punches their ticket to the playoff, then it’s up to the Rose Bowl as to who they’d want. Using that scenario, Iowa would have three losses (at a minimum) and OSU would have two losses. Even if the Buckeyes dropped the game to Michigan State and ended the season 9-3, this line in the bowl selection process may come into play:
Rose Bowl Game has sole discretion on replacement team, and will generally select highest-rated available team, but will take into consideration final College Football Playoff rankings, head-to-head competition, division champions and most recent Rose Bowl Game appearances.
Putting on the Rose Bowl selection member hat, I’d pick either Ohio State or Penn State to fill the role left by Michigan. But, since Penn State played in Pasadena a couple seasons ago—in a losing effort—and lost to the Buckeyes earlier this season, I would be leaning heavily on the Buckeyes for the spot. That’s just my two cents.
Where do you think Ohio State will end up for a bowl game?
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College Football Playoff (Orange Bowl or Cotton Bowl)