Ohio State sits one spot outside of the top four in the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings.
Following their 45-23 loss to Michigan over the weekend, the Buckeyes are now the fifth-best team in college football in the eyes of the CFP committee behind Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC. Ohio State is the first team out, just ahead of Alabama, who checked in at No. 6.
With Ohio State ranked fifth, the committee has made it clear that the team does not control its own destiny regarding reaching the playoffs. For the Buckeyes to finish as one of the top four teams and play in a CFP semifinal on New Year's Eve, it’s likely either Texas Christian would have to lose to No. 10 Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship or Southern California would have to fall to No. 11 Utah in the Pac-12 Championship.
Ohio State has one of the best résumés in college football, with a 21-10 win over No. 21 Notre Dame in its season opener and a 44-31 road victory over No. 8 Penn State in Happy Valley. But it now has a blemish with its home loss to Michigan, who checks in at No. 2 as one of three undefeated teams left in college football, along with Georgia and TCU. The committee will have to weigh whether the Buckeyes' strength of record is enough to warrant a spot in the top four if any of the top four teams lose this weekend.
For now, Ohio State will be in a holding pattern as it waits to find out if it can catch enough breaks to sneak into the College Football Playoff or whether it will finish its season in a non-playoff bowl instead.
Here are the full CFP Top 25 rankings: