Ohio State likely made the College Football Playoff and the internet is mad about it

Ohio State was given an early Christmas present Friday night when the Utah Utes defeated USC 47-24 in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Lincoln Riley’s Trojans jumped out to a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter and appeared to be on their way to a dominating victory that would easily seal their spot in the College Football Playoff. Instead, Caleb Williams fumbled and Utah would outscore USC 44-7 the rest of the way. Now with two losses and no conference title to show for it, the Trojans will be pushed out of the top four in Sunday’s final rankings in favor of the Buckeyes.

Of course, the timeline was immediately filled with Ohio State fans, happy that their team would now have a chance at redemption. On the other hand, there were also their fair share of Grinches who thought the Buckeyes would go through the backdoor into the CFP after their last performance against Michigan. While I understand the frustrations out there, I’m here to tell these people that they’re angry about the wrong things.

The biggest complaint I’ve seen from annoying national media members like Dan Wolken is that USC was penalized for playing an extra game against a top-ranked opponent when Ohio State should have had the week off. On paper this may seem true, but in this particular case there is more than meets the eye.

A quick look at USC’s resume reveals that the Trojans were lucky to even be here in the first place. Their regular-season schedule — which saw them miss the conference at both Oregon and Washington — didn’t have a ranked win until the final two weeks of the regular season, when they picked up a three-point win over UCLA (ranked 17th). final CFP rankings) and an 11-point win over Notre Dame (21st). They also lost to Utah (then 20th, now 11th) on the road and had a few one-point wins over lesser opponents (Oregon State, Arizona and Cal) – though the Beavers finished the season in that spot. well (15th).

Let’s compare that to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have the same 11-point win over Notre Dame as the Trojans, but add a 13-point win over Penn State, a team currently ranked No. 8 in the nation. While the rest of their schedule wasn’t exactly a killer lineup, they took care of business by beating every team by double digits leading into the Michigan game. Their only loss, albeit a bad one, was to the current No. 2 team in the nation in the regular season finale.

But how do these two teams stack up on the field? Despite all the hype surrounding Lincoln Riley’s high-flying offense led by Caleb Williams, USC is ranked 5th nationally, just one spot ahead of Ohio State (499.8 YPG) to the Buckeyes’ 6th (492.7). OSU is actually better offensively, ranking No. 2 in the nation (44.5 PPG) just two spots behind USC (41.1). There is no competition on defense. The Trojans were one of the worst defensive units in the entire FBS, ranking 102nd allowing 415.1 yards per game. Ohio State, on the other hand, is 12th, allowing 303.9 yards per game.

So it was Ohio State that was better going into championship weekend. If USC were to avenge their loss to Utah and win the Pac-12, they would be outright ahead of the Buckeyes on Sunday. Instead, the Trojans couldn’t add that final bullet point to top OSU. It’s not that they’re being penalized for playing the game extra hard, and anyone who thinks so is looking at it from the wrong angle. That was USC’s chance prove That they belong in the CFP and that they aren’t just turnover chance traders with flashy QBs. They did not cope with the work.

Now, if all goes according to plan, is there a chance Ohio State gets swept by Georgia in the first round? Absolutely! I still have zero faith in Ryan Day to adequately prepare his team for a big game and not cover his pants with terrible play calls in crunch time. That being said, you should be mad at the system, not the Buckeyes. Unless you want to reward a two-loss Alabama team with no impressive wins on the year, there’s no other team that has positioned itself to take that No. 4 spot. If the roles were reversed, you wouldn’t see many people rooting against the Tide to make the College Football Playoff.

At the end of the day, we won’t be worrying about any of these topics once the College Football Playoff field expands to 12 teams in the not-too-distant future, so there’s no point in bothering about it. Ohio State will either get a chance to beat the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, or get a chance to avenge their loss to Michigan – or both, if things go their way! What they will do with this opportunity remains to be seen, but as it stands, the Buckeyes are the only team in the country with a real argument for that finals spot.

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