Ohio State vs Minnesota B1G Championship Would Be CFP Qualification Game


It appears that we could have two College Football Playoff contenders from the Big Ten conference, when all is said and done, with Minnesota now replacing Penn State as “the other team” in the mix with Ohio State.

The Buckeyes, who rolled 73-14 (no, this score is not a typo) against pathetic Maryland on Saturday, are #1 in the current CFP rankings (the first of which came out last week), but #2 in the AP and coaches poll (which were updated yesterday. Meanwhile LSU (#2 in the playoff ranking, but #1 in AP and Coaches) beat Alabama (#3 in the playoff ranking) this past weekend while undefeated Minnesota handed Penn State (#4 in the playoff), their first loss of the season the same day.

In other words, we’ll see a shake-up in the CFP rankings tomorrow night, and with it a fluctuation in the championship odds. You can be sure that OSU and LSU will be among the national championship favorites once the rankings come out and the odds are updated. LSU, led by Heisman trophy favorite Joe Burrow, made a statement this past weekend, with a resume win that’s as impressive as possible.

Bama have more playoff appearances, five and total playoff wins, six than any program in the brief history of the format. You can’t rule them out completely as of yet, as the Crimson Tide are the only program to have qualified for every playoff since the tournament inception in 2014.

However, Ohio State looks more dominant than any team in the country right now, as they’re not just winning- they’re absolutely bludgeoning everybody. They’ve outscored their opponents 459-77 this season, and 296-51 in conference play.
pat fitzgerald
Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald, who lost to the Buckeyes 52-3 close to a month ago, hailed the Buckeyes as the best team in the nation back then. Today, at his weekly news conference, he hailed the effort of first year coach Ryan Day and star tailback J.K. Dobbins.
“I think Ryan’s done a great job. Their guys are playing at a very high level from the standpoint of consistency,” said Fitzgerald

“What jumped out to me on tape was the play on Dobbins. He was off-the-charts on tape. They’re playing really fast and they have great players on defense. Great players.”

Ohio State is 2-1 all time in the history of the playoff, having qualified twice and won the initial prize, beating Bama and Oregon along the way.

OSU has three more regular season games (Penn State and Michigan will both provide a resistance) and should they win out, their Big Ten conference championship opponent could be Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers still have to get past Iowa and Wisconsin in order to get there, but P.J. Fleck’s men could find themselves in Indianapolis, on December 7th, with a chance to win and get in to the playoff. It’s hard to believe given how soft their early season schedule was, and how much Minnesota struggled with their non-conference opponents, but UM is here now, as they made a huge statement on Saturday.

If the Gophers stay perfect (and absolutely no one saw this coming), as do the Buckeyes, then the conference title game becomes a de facto elite eight game, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the final four/playoff.

And the loser of this hypothetical game, if all the scenarios play out, could have a chance as well- depending on who things shake out with the SEC front-runners.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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