ICYMI: Ohio State is No. 6 in the latest playoff rankings, and by Saturday I'll be more than ready to ride with destiny.
STANFORD MUST FALL. One Ohio State foe that could take the final ticket to the backdoor playoff portal is Stanford. Two losses (to Northwestern and Oregon) in tow, the Cardinal trails Ohio State but faces Southern California for the Pac-12 title.
Some say if Stanford wins then Ohio State is out.
The team that could wind up crashing this party is the one currently sitting just one spot behind the Buckeyes: No. 7 Stanford (10-2).
While the Buckeyes will be sitting at home this weekend, the Cardinal have a chance to add two more notches to their resume: another Top 25 win against No. 20 USC and, most importantly, a conference championship. Furthermore, Stanford would then claim eight wins over bowl-eligible Power 5 teams, five of those with eight or more wins. Ohio State, by contrast, owns four and one, respectively.
It stands to reason an 11-2 Pac-12 champion with that considerable a resume would be able to supplant the 11-1 non-champion sitting right above it.
Let's hope the USC Trojan experience—fight on, baby!—goes better than last week when our impromptu Penn State bandwagon went off a cliff like the O'Doyle family (peace be upon them) in East Lansing. The wreckage is still smoldering.
I like USC's chances better than I did Penn State's.
That said, the playoff committee will have a decision on its hands. Bias points noted, but does anybody think Stanford is better than Ohio State? Stanford needs a rout, but even then we'd be talking about the waxing of a four-loss team.
The good news, however, is Stanford pales in comparison to Ohio State as a #brand. I've seen commenters say they don't want to get into the playoffs that way. Why? Immortality is at stake, and it's not like Ohio State should apologize for being good and fostering brand equity.
I don't care if Ohio State gets in because B1G champion Iowa gets ensnared in an ethanol money laundering scheme. Just let the local team into the fray, and I promise you they'll handle the rest.
BLACK TAR, BLUE TAR... IT'S ALL BAD. Another contender for the backdoor portal is North Carolina. Of the two, the Tar Heels are the lesser threat. As an Ohio State fan, I'm legally barred from complaining about other team's early-season aberrations (Heels opened the season by giving South Carolina one of its three wins), but I'm not barred from complaining about trash scheduling.
Reece Davis started ESPN's selection show on Tuesday by saying that the teams were originally supposed to play this season, which immediately sounded wrong. I knew Ohio State in August of 2014 had canceled a planned series with North Carolina that was supposed to be played in 2017 and 2018. I'd forgotten that the first game of that series was originally planned for 2015.
In November of 2012, Ohio State announced several schedule updates, one of which was moving a 2015 North Carolina game to 2018. The Buckeyes said it was at North Carolina's request. It wasn't until August of 2014 that North Carolina announced how it filled the holes on its 2015 schedule, with FCS teams North Carolina A&T and Delaware.
It's clear what North Carolina's intentions were there. There are plenty of teams ranked between North Carolina A&T and Delaware, and some of them are even in the FBS. Will the committee reward scheduling hijinks like that? Because it shouldn't. Ohio State's résumé will be better, pound for pound.
What's unfortunate is North Carolina beating Clemson is more likely than Florida beating Alabama. Again, it will come down to if the committee wants the four best teams or conference champions.
If it's the latter, though, why only four spots for five power conferences?
ADIOS, ASH? Chris Ash is reportedly a "strong" candidate for Syracuse's vacancy, but it could be more advanced than that.
Here's a (naturally) since-deleted tweet from Syracuse junior wide receiver Brisly Estime:
I understand some of the appeal to Syracuse, but Ash could've held out for a better job. It wouldn't be optimal to lose him after two years, but that's all Meyer requires of his assistants. (The silver lining: His replacement's job description will be "watch 2014-15 Ohio State defensive film ... and do that.")
If it does transpire, I hope my lightweight Orange fandom turns out as fruitful as my lightweight Houston fandom.
NO TURN UP TO BE FOUND AT THE SCHOTT. Ohio State men's basketball lost its fourth game in as many swings last night to No. 10 Virginia. It was a closer-than-expected loss, which is nice, but the atmosphere was not becoming.
I'm always befuddled by people bored by sports who, through some divine chain reaction of events they couldn't control, end up at sporting events.
It's easy to blame the fans, but Mark Titus kicked some post-loss truth:
Best arenas boost energy/excitement just by walking in. OSU's does opposite. Caters to families/kids and alienates diehards. This is result.— Mark Titus (@clubtrillion) December 2, 2015
Fact of the matter is this: If Ohio State were No. 7 last night, the Schott would've been rowdier. Buckeye basketball fans will show up if the product is good.
BUCKEYES TO THE SENIOR BOWL. The Senior Bowl used to be a B-List event, but not anymore. Scouts agree it's a great venue to showcase talent. Two former defensive teammates are attending.
Noah Spence is the first confirmed 4th-year junior to be invited to the Senior Bowl. 4th-year juniors must have degree to earn an invitation— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) December 1, 2015
Great to see Noah Spence on the brink of realizing his NFL dream. Hope he has a solid team around him too. Wealth offers plenty of pitfalls, let alone for somebody in lifelong recovery.
Maybe he can console in Joshua Perry. That's who I'd ask. I bet Perry and his team already laid down his wealth management plan. That's why we'll all work for him one day.
THOSE WMDs. Meet Tumblr's 15-year-old secret keeper... The agonizing deaths of beached whales... In a global market for hacking talent, Argentina stands out... The cruel tutelage of Kevin Garnett... The fake Army of World War II... The ghosts in our machines.