Game 12 Recap: Michigan 45 – Ohio State 23
The Ohio State Buckeyes fall 45-23 to Michigan at home, giving them their first loss of the season, and their second straight loss to their rival. This defeat cost them the Big Ten East championship, and a chance to win the Big Ten title in Indianapolis next week, where the Wolverines will play Purdue for the Stagg Trophy.
There is still a small chance for the Buckeye to make the College Football Playoff, but they will need some help getting there. Georgia beat their rival Georgia Tech at home, and will play LSU next week in the SEC Championship Game. If LSU were to lose to A&M today, or to Georgia next week, they would be out of the discussion. Michigan is a lock to make it, even potentially without a win in the Big Ten title, because they would have any tie-breaker over the Buckeyes, so Ohio State might have to root for the Wolverines to win their second straight Big Ten Championship next week. TCU needs to beat their opponent next week in the Big 12 Championship game, and would earn the 3rd spot. So it then comes down to who would be the 4th seed. right now, there are 6 teams with a punchers chance, and the only two teams Ohio State should be rooting for to lose this week or next week is USC and LSU. The Trojans play Notre Dame tonight, and if the Irish could somehow win tonight, Ohio State fans should feel pretty good about their chances to make it. If not, and USC wins out, then that is most likely you’re playoff field assuming LSU loses with Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC.
I know this is a bit of an optimistic spin to what we watched today in the Horseshoe. Any loss to that team up north feels like the sky is falling scenario because of all that was on the line. You can point your fingers to the secondary giving up multiple big plays in their air, after shutting down Michigan’s run game to just 10 yards in the first half. You could also question Ryan Day’s play calling, and questionable decisions to punt and settle for the field goal when down by 11 points in the 4th quarter. You could also say that Day just got out-coached. All of those things can be true. Buckeye fans are going to hear about it for the next weeks as the penultimate playoff rankings come out on Tuesday. They are also going to hear it for the next 12 months if they miss on the playoffs for the second straight year, while their rivals make it in their place. You will also start to hear that the Big Ten might now start to run through Ann Arbor until the Buckeyes take that back.
It will be rough, it will be a process to move forward. A good way to cope if they do miss out is to now shift to basketball season, which our writer Jason Harris does a fantastic job covering, and they are traveling to play Duke on November 30th.
Normally this post is a recap of the game, but even for me, I just need to process how I need to process it, and accept it was not our best game, and we have no one to blame but the team who wore Scarlet and Gray who just got outplayed the second half. Urban Meyer had this happen to him too (Purdue and Iowa anyone?) but the thing is he never lost to Michigan, Tressel only lost 1 in 2003, and now Ryan Day is 1-2 in his three games against them.
Good news for futurists, this same set up does not ruin Ohio State’s playoff chances once we move to 12 teams! Bad news is Desmond Howard is about to be insufferable, and at this point has that right.
How are you all coping? Feel free to comment below. Win or Lose, Go Bucks.