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So here’s the only real question – what it enough?
When the committee members pull out their iPads and put TCU next to Ohio State in a side-by-side comparison, how will this win compare with TCU’s utterly dominant 30-7 win over Gophers? Probably not.
It’s a different situation and under different circumstances, but the 12 committee members are human beings, and while they’ll each look at things differently, but still, fair or not, when trying to compare apples to oranges, this win over the Gophers just wasn’t quite the same, even though it was a road win in the cold and snow – as opposed to the home victory for the Horned Frogs.
J.T. Barrett was phenomenal, and the offense did what it needed to do to control the game early on, but coming off the Michigan State win, and considering the total and complete snubbing by the committee – putting the Buckeyes eighth and TCU fourth – Ohio State had to come out roaring and had to destroy the No. 25 team.
Style points count now, and OSU has to demand that the committee members take notice. Considering the schedule hasn’t been that great, and with the Virginia Tech loss always going to be thrown back into their faces, the Buckeyes were good, but they weren’t necessarily PUT THIS TEAM INTO THE PLAYOFF NOW! amazing. However, though, it’s not fair.
Minnesota is a good, sound, tough team that’s getting better, and is improved since the TCU game, but it’s still going to be a hard sell.
Ohio State got the win over a ranked team, and that should be good enough. Unfortunately, in the new world, it wasn’t.
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Admit it. You thought this might be the week that Ohio State fell into a gopher hole. The weather. The opponent. The week after the signature performance to upset Michigan State. Surely, the Buckeyes themselves would now be on upset alert, and they were for a half. But like all championship contenders, OSU regrouped at halftime to exert its dominance of Minnesota over the final 30 minutes. J.T. Barrett showcased—again—why he’s going to run away with First Team Freshman All-American honors, and the defense carried its weight after getting punched in the gut a few times by Gopher RB David Cobb. Yeah, Minnesota made things interesting late, a credit to the players and the staff for not fading, but the Buckeyes never trailed in this one.
Ohio State solidified its status as the class of the Big Ten, and beating Minnesota by only a touchdown changes nothing in the playoff chase; the Buckeyes are going to need help no matter what to move higher in the rankings. TCU? The Frogs’ case to be ahead of OSU got even stronger, by virtue of a more impressive win over the Gophers, but still not so much that they should be ahead of Baylor.
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Ohio State won, but it was anything but a beauty pageant type of affair.
In the game of résumé building, the Buckeyes have to make a brawny impression each and every week as it tries to sprint to the finish line. And while there were big plays and another special game by quarterback J.T. Barrett, there were far too many turnovers and penalties that kept this game from being a statement for the College Football Playoff committee.
With both the Gophers and Buckeyes playing TCU this season, this game will be compared from a common-opponent standpoint, and might be a difference-maker with the razor thin margin of one-loss teams still in contention.
But is it fair?
The circumstances surrounding TCU’s contest early in the season versus Minnesota and Ohio State’s performance today are completely different. Urban Meyer had to keep his team from experiencing a let-down after the big win against Michigan State, and also had to battle the elements of wind, cold and snow. It affected the team’s performance, but OSU got out of a potential Alcatraz scenario, all things being considered.
Still, the reality is that Ohio State had the run of play, was clearly the better team and had every opportunity to put up a big-time scoring margin against a ranked opponent on the road when it mattered most. It failed to do so.
There won’t be a soul in the college football universe, that’ going to look at all of the variables surrounding this game, and instead will focus on the overall scores between TCU and OSU. That means the only favor the Buckeyes did for themselves was to simply win. Plain and simple.
With two more favorable matchups at home to go in the regular season, there’s really only one last opportunity to place an exclamation point on the season when the Buckeyes likely head to Indy for the Big Ten title game.
The cruel reality for Ohio State fans is that the chances of playing for really big things in January are going to hinge squarely on other teams tripping on their own shoelaces than what the scarlet and gray can show the rest of the way.
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