When Ohio State’s football team left Iowa after being thrashed 55 to 24, their playoff chances appeared to be completely gone, but there they were in late November with a chance to persuade the selection committee to put them in.
The Iowa loss did have a substantial impact on the Buckeyes’ absence from the college football playoff, but the team’s failure to look dominant during the last two weeks of the season had just as much of a role. After Ohio State beat Michigan State 48-0, it appeared as if they were ready to make a run similar to that in 2014 when they imposed their will on each team they played late in the year, but they did not.
I understand that Michigan always plays Ohio State tough especially at the Big House, but almost every other top ten team would roll the Wolverines by at least 20 points. Ohio State did not do this, and they needed the heroics of freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins to sneak by Michigan, who at times looked like the better team.
Michigan did not win a game this year against a Big Ten team that had a winning record, their starting quarterback appeared to struggle to throw the ball to his own team, and you need your backup freshman quarterback to save you? That’s not a top four team.
A week later Ohio State had the chance to impress the nation once again in the Big Ten Championship against an undefeated Wisconsin team, and they were somewhat impressive but not enough to compensate for a 31 point loss to a mediocre Iowa team. If Cardale Jones beats Wisconsin by six points instead of 59 in 2014, the Buckeyes would not have advanced to the playoff, but Jones captured the attention of the entire country with that performance and essentially forced the committee to put him and his teammates in.
By no means did Ohio State look bad last night, but they just weren’t dominant enough. They lived off big plays on offense, and senior quarterback JT Barrett made some critical mistakes like his first quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown, which kept the game competitive, and that was the issue; they needed to, at the very least, win by double digits.
I know the Iowa loss was ugly, but if Ohio State took care of business down the stretch and did it in a dominant fashion, they would be the fourth team, not Alabama, and there would not have been much debate.