The Buckeyes’ playoff fate hung in the balance heading into this weekend coming off last week’s loss to Michigan. But as it turns out, enough chaos unfolded in the last 72 hours that not only did our beloved Bucks make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, but there is the possibility of vengeance against TTUN in the biggest game of the year.
Stop to consider – what if The Game were the National Championship game? (I think I personally deserve this as the Natty is on my birthday mere blocks from my apartment, so I will need OSU to do me a favor and beat Georgia in the first round).
How did we go from outside looking in to back on the inside without setting foot on the field? Let’s unpack this week’s conference championships.
Utah v. USC — Pac-12 Championship Game
Buckeye fans like myself were face first in a bowl of guac thinking our playoff hopes were all but over. There was no way USC would lose to Utah AGAIN right? RIGHT?
Utah decided to throw us a bone and curb stomp the Trojans, 47-24, to become the Pac-12 Champs. USC took an early 17-3 lead, and then Utah’s defense found its groove, rattling the Trojans and tying it up before heading into the half. By the end of the game, Caleb Williams was basically hobbling around after being smacked around for two quarters. He’s not a Heisman contender for nothing though – he was still in it to win it. But USC as a whole never really got its mojo back after the half, and Utah’s hunger proved too much.
I do still think Williams will win the Heisman, but maybe take my predictions with a grain of salt, because I would have predicted that USC would be out for blood on Friday, both to avenge their Oct. 15 loss to the Utes and to seal a playoff berth. Instead, they cracked the door for the Buckeyes.
Kansas State v. TCU — Big-12 Championship Game
The chaos continued, and the Buckeyes’ playoff door opened wider when the Horned Frogs – who went into this game undefeated – lost in overtime to Kansas State, 31-28. That’s right, the three-loss Wildcats handed the Horned Frogs their only loss of the season.
It came down to inches — six to be exact. That’s how short TCU fell in its attempt to punch in an overtime touchdown. To be honest, it’s remarkable that such a small margin made the difference when TCU had been basically tossed down a well earlier in the game. Even with the loss, these Horned Frogs proved they deserve to be in the playoffs if for no other reason than they clawed their way out of that well to tie it up. Max Duggan rallied his team when it wasn’t looking good, and even though they didn’t come away with the win, it made it hard to ignore this team.
And knowing what we know now, that this TCU team is Michigan’s next opponent, aren’t we all Horned Frogs fans at the moment?
Clemson v. North Carolina — ACC Championship
This game was boring. As expected, Clemson won, 39-10. They are still not a playoff-caliber team, especially after losing to South Carolina to pick up their second loss of the year. Next.
LSU v. Georgia – SEC Championship
Oh sweet LSU. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you. And you really did try. But this game was pretty much all Georgia all the time, with Stetson Bennett leading the undefeated Dawgs to a 50-30 victory with a season-high four touchdown passes. LSU didn’t do itself any favors. There was a messy missed field goal that Georgia returned for a touchdown because the Tigers didn’t realize the ball was live.
Then Christopher Smith, who had already returned that missed field goal for a 96-yard Bulldog touchdown, deflected an LSU pass off the helmet of an LSU receiver, leading to an interception.
By the time LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels re-injured his ankle late in the second quarter, Georgia had already established dominance. Backup quarterback Garrett Nussmeier did everything he could to keep the Tigers in the game, but it wasn’t enough, with the Dawgs proving why they hold the No. 1-seed going into the playoffs.
The bad news for them? The Buckeyes are hungry for a rematch against TTUN, and they have to go through Georgia to get it.
Purdue v. Michigan – Big 10 Championship
When TTUN wins, we don’t acknowledge it here in Buckeye Country, except for how it pertains to us. This time, their 43-22 win over the Boilermakers means that with one more win apiece, the Buckeyes could potentially rematch the Wolverines for THE most important game: The Natty.
Beyond that, we don’t discuss Wolverine wins, so I won’t be adding anything further.
Honorable Chaotic Mention:
This insane post from ESPN that drags Alabama in the pettiest way, and FOR WHAT? Made my whole day. Still laughing. Hope you are too.