Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, December 7, 2014
Ohio State?s convincing 59-0 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game last night served as an impressive closing salvo in its argument to be included in the College Football Playoff. Apparently, the selection committee was impressed, as the Buckeyes were tabbed to play in the inaugural postseason event.
Ohio State is the No. 4 seed and will take on No. 1 Alabama in a national semifinal game at the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Win that, and the Buckeyes will battle the winner of the No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Florida State clash in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas, for the national championship.
The Buckeyes are 12-1, currently riding an 11-game winning streak-with nine triumphs vs. bowl-eligible teams–since falling at home to Virginia Tech in the second game of the season. Ohio State was dominant after that confounding loss to the Hokies, winning many games in convincing fashion by scoring 49 or more points seven times.
The Buckeyes also tallied big wins at No. 8 Michigan State, at No. 25 Minnesota and vs. No. 13 Wisconsin last night. And OSU beat bowl-eligible teams in Navy, Virginia Tech; Cincinnati; Maryland; Rutgers; Penn State; Illinois.
Without a doubt, the Buckeyes had a resume that stacked up favorably with other contenders, edging out Baylor and TCU for the final slot. The Bears had the strongest case of any team that didn?t make the playoff after winning the Big 12 and knocking off No. 9 TCU, No. 15 Oklahoma and No. 9 Kansas State yesterday. Baylor also had wins vs. bowl-eligible teams in Texas, WVU and Oklahoma State.
Ohio State also showed the committee it still was an elite team even without injured quarterback J.T. Barrett, who suffered a season-ending broken ankle last week vs. Michigan. Cardale Jones stepped in and delivered a game MVP performance vs. the Badgers on Saturday night. This all was enough to overcome that aforementioned ugly loss to what turned out to be a 6-6 Virginia Tech club in the second game of the season. And it also was enough to overcome playing in what many perceived to be a weak Big Ten.
The Buckeyes will be aiming for their first national title since 2002, when they stunned Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl. That is the last time a Big Ten has won the national title. The Buckeyes played for the title after the 2006 and 2007 seasons but lost to Florida and LSU, respectively. OSU also won national titles in 1954, 1957, 1961, 1968 and 1970.
Urban Meyer led Florida to national titles in 2006 (beating OSU) and 2008, so this is familiar territory for him. In fact, it?s why he came to Columbus: To be the best.
Ohio State is 0-3 all-time vs. Alabama, losing to the Crimson Tide, 35-6, in the Sugar Bowl after the 1977 season; 16-10 in the 1986 Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J.; 24-17 in the Florida Citrus Bowl after the 1994 season.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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