Friday, January 21

College Football Rankings: What Ohio State’s Loss To Michigan Means For Alabama, Cincinnati And More

Fortunately, the streak finally ended. Michigan has beaten Ohio State.

It’s a momentous occasion for the Wolverines faithful, who packed Michigan Stadium to watch their team beat Ohio State 42-27. It’s arguably the biggest win of Jim Harbaugh’s era in Ann Arbor, if not long before he arrived in 2015. And it wasn’t a talentless Buckeyes squad, either: the Wolverines, in fifth place, they simply mistreated the No. 2 team in the country, closing out the Big Ten East championship and eliminating the Buckeyes (10-2) from college football playoff contention.

Speaking of which: Welcome to the table, Michigan.

MORE: Ohio State vs. Michigan Live Score, Updates, Highlights from 2021 ‘The Game’ Rivalry

With this victory, the Wolverines are in contention to make their first place in the college football playoffs. A victory in the Big Ten championship game against Wisconsin or Iowa is all that stands between them and the playoffs.

However, victory is not great just for the Wolverines. Other teams watched this demonstration with great interest. With that, here’s what Michigan’s win over the Buckeyes in the latest set of college football playoff standings should mean:

Rankings reflect top 25 from week 12 college football playoffs

MORE: Michigan, Ohio State enter halftime fight in Michigan Stadium tunnel

Alabama (10-1)

Previous range: 3

Alabama has yet to beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Either way, you shouldn’t care about the result of “The Game.” Crimson Tide still needs to beat the Tigers and then No. 1 Georgia in the SEC championship game to make the playoffs. A loss in either one would eliminate them from the fray. As it is now, expect Alabama to remain No. 3 in the country (assuming a win on Saturday) heading into conference championship weekend.

Cincinnati (12-0)

Previous range: 4

The Bearcats are now the only Ohio team capable of making the playoffs. Cincinnati was able to overcome a shaky second half after a dominant first half and beat East Carolina 35-13. That doesn’t mean much in the penultimate set of rankings, as it appears the Bearcats’ playoff hopes will hinge on the AAC championship game against No. 24 Houston and the SEC championship game between No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 Alabama. If the Bearcats and Bulldogs win on Saturday, it would be difficult, but not impossible, to keep Cincy out. As it is now, expect the Bearcats to stay at No. 4 while the Wolverines jump to No. 2.

Michigan (11-1)

Previous range: 5

A big win equates to a big jump in the Wolverines’ rankings. Expect Harbaugh and company to jump all the way to No. 2, replacing the Buckeyes after their 42-27 victory at the Big House. With this victory, Michigan is just one game away from making the playoffs. A win over Wisconsin or Iowa, no matter how close, should guarantee entry. The question would then change who the Wolverines play in the semifinal: a Georgia win over Alabama in the SEC title game would likely place Oklahoma State or Cincinnati as the No. 3 team. However, a Crimson Tide win would likely. it would leave the Bulldogs at No. 3, a great reward for the Big Ten champions.

MORE: NC State rallies for 2 TDs in 26 seconds to win rivalry game against North Carolina

Notre Dame (10-1)

Previous range: 6

The Fighting Irish continue to compete for the postseason, if only on paper. But that loss to the Bearcats is big, and it would take a significant amount of chaos over conference championship weekend to secure a playoff spot. If Notre Dame beats Stanford to finish the season, it will likely move up to fifth overall, replacing Michigan. If Chalk wins during the conference championship weekend, there the Fighting Irish should remain outside the top 4 in the final set of ratings.

Oklahoma State (10-1)

Previous range: 7

Oklahoma State is in a prime position heading into Conference and Bedlam championship weekend. The loss of the Buckeyes should it will be enough to move the Cowboys one spot, to the second team out of the playoffs. That’s assuming a win over No. 10 Oklahoma on Saturday. If Mike Gundy and company can beat the Sooners in Stillwater, Oklahoma, then they will eliminate them from the Big 12 championship and the playoffs entirely. A win next week against No. 8 Baylor, who beat Texas Tech on Saturday to stay alive in the conference title race, would give the Cowboys a second top-10 win in as many weeks. That would spark a meaningful discussion about his playoff eligibility.

Oklahoma (10-1)

Previous range: 10

The Sooners are in a decidedly less advantageous position than their rivals. This committee hasn’t given Lincoln Riley and company much thought, even when they were undefeated – that loss to Baylor was a massive blow to their playoff hopes. A win over the Cowboys would go a long way in improving their chances, but they may still lag behind the Buckeyes in the latest set of rankings. The next question, then, is whether Oklahoma could turn around and do it again in the Big 12 title game. It’s a paradoxical situation in which winning keeps you alive and at the same time weakens your playoff résumé, a situation the Sooners would be happy for the selection committee to look at.

Ohio State (10-2)

Previous range: 2

The championship season is over for the Buckeyes. They have no chance of either the Big Ten or the playoffs after Saturday’s loss to the Wolverines, their first since 2011. What does that mean for the Buckeyes going forward? Assuming the selection committee doesn’t punish them too much, a drop to No. 8 in the rankings is certainly doable, then a place in the Rose Bowl against Oregon, Washington State, or Utah is probably the way Ryan Day and his team end up. the season.

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