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Can Ohio State still make the College Football Playoff after loss to Michigan?

The Buckeyes came close in the Big House, but fell one possession short. Is there a path for them to reach the College Football Playoff?

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes fell to the Michigan Wolverines for the third consecutive season on Saturday. With the loss the Buckeyes move to 11-1 and are eliminated from Big Ten Championship contention as the Wolverines will head to Indianapolis to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the conference title game. If UM win there — and they likely will — Michigan is headed to the College Football Playoff.

OSU lost The Game by a score of 30-24, but the Buckeyes never held the lead. They were chasing Michigan for most of the game aside from a short tie at 17-17 in the third quarter. Michigan looked dominant, and while the Buckeyes reached the College Football Playoff last season after losing The Game, this may not have been the most convincing argument to let that happen for a second season in a row.

Returning wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was the star for the OSU offense, grabbing 118 yards and a touchdown. Running back TreVeyon Henderson led the team in rushing yards and grabbed a rushing TD. Last year’s Buckeyes lost by a much larger margin than this year’s team did, falling 45-23. But there is a lot of competition at the top this season, and Ohio State will need to make their case against several other one-loss teams.

If Alabama wins the Iron Bowl and beats Georgia in the conference championship, both of those one-loss SEC teams will likely rank ahead of OSU. If Texas wins the Big XII, that’s another one-loss team that will rank ahead of OSU. Oregon and Washington would each have a case if they win the Pac-12, and that doesn’t even mention Florida State in the ACC. Ohio State’s path to the final four is not a clear one, but Buckeyes fans can expect a New Years’ Six bowl on the horizon.

But what if? Best path for OSU

  • Georgia beats Alabama
  • FSU loses to Florida or Louisville without now-injured starting QB Jordan Travis
  • Texas loses Big XII to Oklahoma State
  • Washington loses Apple Cup to Washington State, Pac-12 Championship to Oregon

At that point, Georgia-Michigan-Washington-Ohio State might be the lineup that makes the most sense in the CFP.

Ohio State’s hopes are not quite dead yet, but Buckeyes fans will need to pray for chaos as their path is razor-thin.