"Playoffs? We're talking about playoffs? I just hope we can win a game"
It's almost as if Jim Mora was foreshadowing the 2018 buckeyes. I'm sure there is a large portion of fans that don't want to even talk playoff scenarios because of the recent play of this team. Yes, if this team doesn't make drastic changes, this post will be obsolete because they will lose multiple games the rest of the year.
However, if the buckeyes do turn things around, they might still need a little bit of help in order to make the playoffs. Some of these may be common sense, some you may disagree with. Regardless, I thought I would outline my personal #hottake on what OSU fans should be rooting for the rest of the season. The list is in order of importance.
1. Ohio State winning out. Including winning the Big Ten Championship Game
-If this doesn't happen, the rest is obviously mute
2. SEC- Root for Alabama to win out
-While rooting for Alabama and Nick Saban seems blasphemous, the buckeyes need it to limit the SEC to only 1 playoff spot. If Alabama wins out, that's pretty much guaranteed as every other team in the SEC would have at least 2 losses, as Alabama would have beaten LSU and the Florida/Georgia winner from today.
3. Root for Notre Dame to lose
-Notre Dame will be favored big the rest of the way with their front loaded schedule. They do have some interesting games left @Northwestern and @USC that they could trip up. An undefeated ND is in the playoff automatically. Some think Notre Dame could be a candidate to still get in the playoff with 1 loss. In my opinion, a power 5 conference champion with 1 loss gets in over 1 loss ND every time.
4. Big 12- Root for chaos with Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas losses
-Over the course of the last decade, if the Big Ten Champion has the same number of losses, they have generally been regarded as being better than the Big 12 champion. With the current state of the Big 10 West, and how bad the loss was to a 4-4 team in Purdue, I think you need the Big 12 to all have 2 losses. If Texas, Oklahoma, or West Virginia were to wind up with 1 loss, they would have marquee wins on their resume over each other, including one of them the very last week in the Big 12 championship. While the buckeyes have the opportunity to get a huge resume boost with a win over Michigan, their Big Ten championship opponent will likely be pretty lowly ranked. Which leads to number 5....
5. Big 10-Root for Iowa to win out.
-As this is being written, Wisconsin has been blown out by Northwestern. This leaves Iowa (6-1) as the only team remaining in the Big Ten West with less than 3 losses (Iowa and Penn State just kicked off). If Iowa and OSU were to win out, then you set up a top 10 matchup to compete with the Big 12 on championship weekend. An OSU win over Michigan could jump the Big 12 leaders before championship weekend, and it would be tough for the Big 12 to re-jump OSU if they would beat a top ten team the same week.
6. Big 10-Root for Purdue and teams a 12-1 OSU would have beaten
-The better your opponents look, the better your resume looks at the end of the year. Purdue sits at 4-4 after their loss to Michigan State today. While that loss is never going to be considered a "good loss" because of the opponent and margin of loss, maybe it looks slightly better if Purdue can finish 7-5 than it does if Purdue finishes 5-7.
7. ACC-Root for Clemson to lose
-This one is ranked pretty low on the list for two reasons. One, Clemson's schedule the rest of the way is an absolute cakewalk so the likelihood of it happening is very small. Two, even if Clemson were to lose, they might still get in over a 1 loss OSU. Still couldn't hurt.
Long story short... You need #1 to happen first. And based off the performance of this team, that's not happening unless some drastic changes happen. If that somehow happens, then out of #2, #3, and #4, you need TWO of the THREE to happen.
Any disagreements? I'll sit back and wait for the "#BeatNebraska" and "LOL Playoffs? we can't even beat Purdue!" comments.