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What we discovered in Huge Ten: Ohio State, Wisconsin primed for playoff run

5 issues we discovered after a comeback that was so bewildering, the profitable coach requested: “What the heck simply occurred?”

1. Two Huge Ten groups are primed for a playoff run. Ohio State’s hopes had been on life help Saturday afternoon. Then got here a rally that caught everybody unexpectedly, particularly coach City Meyer.

“Wow,” he mentioned after the Buckeyes’ 39-38 victory over Penn State.

The School Soccer Playoff choice committee will launch its first rankings at 6 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN. Alabama and Georgia will open increased than Ohio State. Notre Dame has to as effectively. The Irish’s resume is filled with high quality victories (Michigan State, USC, N.C. State). And its loss was a one-pointer to undefeated Georgia.

Will the committee rank Ohio State increased than Clemson? How about Oklahoma, which left Ohio Stadium with a 31-16 victory? That recreation looks as if endlessly in the past, given the Buckeyes’ unbelievable offensive resurgence, nevertheless it occurred. And what about Miami, undefeated however unworthy of a lot respect?

The Buckeyes would make an important case as a 13-1 Huge Ten champ. They nonetheless play three profitable groups: Iowa (5-Three with a victory over Iowa State), Michigan State (6-2) and Michigan (6-2). In the event that they management these video games and take out Wisconsin on a impartial subject within the league title recreation, they’d be laborious to disclaim.

2. It doesn’t matter the place the committee ranks Wisconsin. The Badgers have a easy path to a semifinal berth within the Cotton or Orange Bowl. (Easy as in simple to grasp, not simple to execute.) Win out and make the playoff. The Badgers not have to fret about dropping out to an undefeated staff from the Huge 12 (thanks, Iowa State, for taking out TCU), and the Pac-12 has no threats.

Positive, you may paint a nightmare situation by which two SEC groups make it (Georgia beats Alabama within the convention title recreation) plus a one-loss Notre Dame, after which the committee has to debate between Wisconsin and one-loss ACC champ Clemson.

Wisconsin godfather/athletic director Barry Alvarez not serves on the committee, however there isn’t any approach they’d dis his 13-Zero Badgers, who not less than tried to schedule a troublesome non-league recreation (at BYU, which went 9-Four final season) and shouldn’t be demonized for a Huge Ten enlargement that left the schedule devoid of Ohio State or Penn State within the common season. A minimum of they’re prone to get to face the mighty Buckeyes in Indy.

Three. The primary rankings shall be clear as mud. With so many high quality one-loss groups and tricky-to-evaluate undefeated ones with gentle schedules (Wisconsin and Miami), there received’t be a lot that separates the groups ranked from about No. Four to 13.

If I had been on the committee, right here’s how I’d rank the highest 16: 1. Alabama; 2. Georgia; Three. Notre Dame; Four. Clemson; 5. Wisconsin; 6. Oklahoma; 7. Ohio State; Eight. Washington; 9. Penn State; 10. Miami; 11. TCU; 12. Oklahoma State; 13. Virginia Tech; 14. Iowa State; 15. Central Florida; 16. USC. (By the way in which, I cease at 16 as a result of Ohio State was ranked 16th within the preliminary rating in 2014 and rose all the way in which to Four.)

Robust name between Wisconsin and Ohio State. The Badgers’ eight-game resume is like Ohio State’s — excluding the Buckeyes’ loss to Oklahoma and win over Penn State. Is it higher to be Eight-Zero with no unhealthy losses or nice wins, or to have one in every of every? At this level I’d vote the Badgers increased as a result of Ohio State barely beat Penn State — and it got here at dwelling. However I’ve Ohio State a smidge increased within the energy rankings as a result of in the event that they performed tomorrow on a impartial subject, I’d give the Buckeyes a slight edge.

Four. They don’t say “Heisman” in Columbus. Meyer mentioned “the H-word is suitable” after J.T. Barrett accomplished his closing 16 throws Saturday evening. He related on 33 of 39 passes regardless of drops by Marcus Baugh and Okay.J. Hill on good throws.

Barrett additionally refused to say “Heisman” after the sport, sounding extra like Jimmy Butler, who appreciated to name himself “the child from Tomball, Texas.”

Mentioned Barrett: “I’m just a bit cat from Wichita Falls, Texas. Individuals don’t even know the place it’s on the map.”

5. Some Northwestern followers are torn. They’re loving the return of the “Cardiac Cats.” They admire how a staff that seemed terrible at Duke and lifeless in opposition to Penn State has surged to 5-Three after extra time victories over Iowa and Michigan State.

And but they’re petrified profitable season — maybe Eight-Four or 9-Three — will imply established order for an offense that actually hasn’t clicked since 2012. Sure, Northwestern now ranks fourth within the Huge Ten in whole offense (398.5 yards per recreation) and fifth in scoring (27.6 factors per recreation). However these stats are skewed by the overtimes.

Northwestern scored 10 in regulation in opposition to Iowa and 17 in opposition to Michigan State and ranks 10th within the league in yards per play, at 5.1. That’s the cash stat.

tgreenstein@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

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