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Can Ohio State make College Football Playoff appearance in Year 1 of the Ryan Day Era?

Early predictions are pointing to ‘yes.’

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Ohio State vs Washington Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

“But after the Buckeyes barely missed out on a CFP spot in Urban Meyer’s final season, they should have a good chance to cap Ryan Day’s debut campaign by returning to the CFP for the first time since 2016.”

Forbes’ David Ching on the five teams that could make the CFP next season

On Monday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide were humbled by the Clemson Tigers in the season finale of the College Football Playoff chase. The Tigers dominated, going on a 30-0 scoring run en route to a 44-16 win in Santa Clara, California.

It was the worst loss of the Nick Saban era at Alabama, but, the Crimson Tide are still a favorite for next year’s CFP. Once again, early prognosticators have both Dabo Swinney’s defending champion Tigers and Saban’s squad in next year’s playoff.

But, who else could be making the trip to the CFB’s version of the final four? Some have said Georgia. Some have said Texas. And some have said Ohio State.

The cast of characters that Ryan Day, who enters his first true season at the helm of the program, is rich. Justin Fields has transferred to the program, and could be an immediate impact if he plays. Even if he doesn’t play and has to sit out, he could do wonders on the practice squad, as his dual-threat nature would make any defense better.

Day has added and subtracted from the coaching staff. Greg Schiano and Bill Davis are gone; Al Washington and Greg Mattison, who were Michigan men a year ago, are now officially on the staff. We’ll get, hopefully, a new-look OSU defense—and that could mean the difference.

Granted, the program will have to move on from Dwayne Haskins, who announced his intentions to enter the NFL Draft, but just like last year, the Buckeyes had to move on from J.T. Barrett—and everything seemed to work out okay.

Now the question becomes: Do the Giants make a play for Haskins? General manager David Gettleman said last week the team is still in the “evaluation process” and while he wouldn’t commit to Eli Manning for 2019 he did say the 38-year-old quarterback “can still make NFL throws -- he’s still got it.”

CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson on where Dwayne Haskins could be drafted

Speaking of Haskins, now that he’s declared for the pros, it’s time to figure out where he could go. There’s a couple options that look intriguing—and one of them may send him back to The Big Apple.

At No. 6 are the New York Giants. Currently, they have Eli Manning at the helm, but after a 5-11 season, who knows how much left is in the tank for the two-time Super Bowl winner. Last season, the Giants were thought to be picking a quarterback in the first round; instead, they drafted a running back in Saquon Barkley. Barkley has showed his game-breaking ability in just his rookie season. So, with the RB position filled and wide receiver Odell Beckham in the fold as well, all you need is a QB to sling the ball downfield, right? If that’s the case, the Giants may be pulling Haskins off the board at No. 6.

But, as we know, draft day gets people in a panic. Teams trade up, teams move down, and teams make questionable picks. If the Giants don’t take Haskins, then the team (currently) one spot behind them may come calling.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are just a year removed from an AFC Championship Game appearance, but regressed heavily this season—going 5-11 as well. Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler were not the answer this year, so they may looking for a QB. If so, the options are slim. That’s not great news for the Jags if Haskins comes off the board before No. 7; on the flipside, it’s great news for the Buckeye record setter.

With Justin Herbert staying at Oregon, Kyler Murray looking to move to the MLB permanently, and Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence not being eligible to turn pro, Haskins will be the crown jewel of the QB class this season.

No matter where he goes, he’ll be making bank.

“Dobbins is typically a man of few words, but he doesn’t hold back his true feelings in public or hesitate to speak his mind. In both of his seasons so far with the program, Dobbins has been critical of the College Football Playoff selection committee,”

J.K. Dobbins on Ohio State winning the title next season | By: Austin Ward (Letterman Row)

Someone who still at OSU is J.K. Dobbins. Even though the La Grange, Texas, native has torched defenses in his two seasons in Columbus, he hasn’t been to a College Football Playoff semifinal. A Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl win are nice, but they didn’t end with a chance to play for the championship.

Dobbins hasn’t been pleased with the selection committee’s choices over the past couple years—and there are some valid points there. Next season, though, he’s laid down the gauntlet, saying that Ohio State is going to win the championship, as the headline suggest in Austin Ward’s piece on Letterman Row.

He’s a 1,000-yard rusher for the scarlet and gray, and could even be a Heisman contender by next October. Even after seeing Clemson destroy ‘Bama on the national stage, this kind of confidence is something you’d like to see from someone who could be a leader on the offense next season.

The schedule looks favorable for OSU next season, with the exception of Penn State and Michigan at the end of the year. Those may be the only two hurdles the Buckeyes have if they want to punch their ticket to either the Peach or Fiesta Bowl semifinal.

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