Ohio State didn’t play last weekend, but the Buckeyes were one of the biggest losers in the College Football Playoff race.
Sidelined by COVID-19 positive tests that have hit players and coach Ryan Day, Ohio State saw its matchup against Illinois canceled, leaving the team with just four games played and just two weeks left before the Big Ten title game. If the Buckeyes aren’t healthy enough to face scheduled opponents Michigan State or Michigan or if either of those two teams are shut down, then OSU will not meet the Big Ten criteria to play in the championship game.
Another blow came with Northwestern’s loss at Michigan State. The prospect of beating an unbeaten opponent in the Big Ten title game is gone, meaning the resume for the Buckeyes may not be as strong as other teams. That assumes Ohio State is eligible to play for the conference championship. It could result in the Buckeyes being stuck as a No. 4 seed should they finish unbeaten and make the CFP field.
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Alabama and Notre Dame look secure in their playoff spots. The Crimson Tide and Fighting Irish look comfortable of making the field even with losses in their respective conference championship games. Clemson needs to beat Notre Dame in the ACC championship to secure its spot.
There’s two changes in the New Year’s Six with Northwestern and Oregon dropping out. Moving up are Texas A&M and Southern California. Games in the final three weeks could further shuffle those spots.
The bowl lineup for the postseason stands at 35 games with the status of the Las Vegas Bowl uncertain. Teams in bold have accepted berths.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bowl projections: Ohio State has uneasy hold on final College Football Playoff spot