Ohio State Benefits from Florida State Precedent, Nabs Number 4 Playoff Slot


Dec 6, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones (12) runs with the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten football championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Update: 12:45 pm, 12/7/2014

Ohio State has nabbed the Number 4 playoff slot and will play Number 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on January 1.

If the Ohio State Buckeyes and their fans want some encouragement as they look toward today’s College Football Playoff selection (ESPN, 12:30 pm ET), they need only look to the current season for recent precedent to support OSU’s case.  After demolishing the Wisconsin Badgers 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Buckeyes can pin their hopes on the case of the 2014 Florida State Seminoles.  

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In the “old” days of college football polls and the BCS, undefeated teams did not generally lose their ranking from week-to-week to a one- or two-loss team, except under extraordinary circumstance.  In this first incarnation of the College Football Playoff Rankings, the undefeated ‘Noles have been leapfrogged not once, but twice, by one-loss teams in the span of a couple of months.

In Week 11 of the college football season, Florida State beat a mediocre Virginia team, while Oregon routed Number 17 Utah.  In the CFP poll that Sunday, Oregon jumped from fourth to second, while FSU stayed at three (Auburn lost).

Then, just last week, Number 4 Mississippi State lost, while TCU killed Texas and Florida State was underwhelming in a home win against Florida.  The result: TCU rose to Number 3, and Florida fell to Number 4.

Yesterday, TCU won big, Florida State won small again, and Ohio State was emphatic in their win under third-string quarterback Cardale Jones.

If any team were in jeopardy of falling out of the golden four, it would seem to be FSU, on the bubble at Four and having again not trounced an opponent.  But the Big 12 doesn’t have a championship game, and TCU actually lost the conference based on its head-to-head loss to Baylor.  Both Baylor and TCU have soft schedules that aren’t any tougher than the Buckeyes.

So, a case could be made for Ohio State to jump over either Florida State or TCU, or both of them.  If the committee sees fit to make just one of those happen, the Buckeyes are in the playoffs, and you’ve got to think that would be an attractive draw for national advertisers.

With some built-in wiggle room and financial motivation, the odds favor Ohio State coming up Roses … or Sugar cubes.