Texas, Alabama and Florida State Wins Effectively Eliminate Ohio State from College Football Playoff Contention

By Dan Hope on December 2, 2023 at 3:37 pm
Emeka Egbuka at the end of the Michigan game
Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network

Ohio State’s College Football Playoff hopes appear to be over.

The Buckeyes didn’t get the help they needed from another OSU as Texas defeated Oklahoma State, 49-21, to win the Big 12 Championship Game.

Former Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers played a big role in closing the Buckeyes’ road to the playoff, breaking a Big 12 Championship Game record by throwing for 452 yards and four touchdowns to lead Texas to victory.

Going into Saturday, Ohio State needed three things to happen to have a real shot to make the CFP. If Oklahoma State defeated Texas, Georgia defeated Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and Louisville defeated Florida State in the ACC Championship Game, the Buckeyes would have had a strong case for receiving the No. 4 seed in the playoff for the second year in a row despite losing to Michigan last weekend.

None of the three ended up happening.

In the biggest upset of the day, Alabama defeated Georgia, 27-24, to hand the Bulldogs their first loss since their 2021 SEC Championship Game loss to the Crimson Tide.

Florida State kept its undefeated record intact by defeating Louisville, 16-6, to improve to 13-0 on the season.

Now, the selection committee faces the toughest choice it’s ever had to decide which four teams should make the CFP. But that debate won’t include Ohio State, who is likely to finish seventh in Sunday’s final rankings.

While the Longhorns were ranked seventh in this week’s CFP rankings, one spot behind the sixth-ranked Buckeyes, they’ll almost certainly jump Ohio State with a 12th victory and a conference title. The same is true with Alabama, who was ranked eighth in this week’s CFP rankings.

Michigan is likely to be the No. 1 seed after beating Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game to improve to 13-0 while Washington is likely to be the No. 2 seed after beating Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game for its own 13th victory. The debate for the last three spots is expected to come down to Florida State, Texas and Alabama, with Florida State holding a 13-0 record and Texas holding a head-to-head win over Alabama but the Crimson Tide arguably holding the season’s best win over Georgia, who was ranked No. 1 entering conference championship weekend.

With Ohio State now out of that conversation, it could potentially play in any of the other four New Year‘s Six bowls. While the Orange Bowl looked like Ohio State’s most likely destination entering the SEC Championship Game, that spot is now likely to go to Georgia or Alabama unless both make the CFP, which would leave the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Peach Bowl as options for the Buckeyes.

The official College Football Playoff selections will be made at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. Ohio State will find out its official bowl destination at 2:30 p.m. Sunday when the non-playoff New Year’s Six bowl matchups are announced.

Editor’s note: This article was updated throughout the day to reflect the results of each conference championship game.

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