TEXAS, Sporting Alert – The Big Ten championship race has finally opened up, but not in a good way for Ohio State, following their, yes, “shocking” defeat to rivals Michigan State on Saturday.
The Buckeyes went into the battle as double-point favourites to win the game, but stink it up and fell 17-14 at home to the Spartans.
That defeat has put a massive dent in Ohio State’s (10-1) quest to win back-to-back titles, as the defending champion no longer control its own destiny in the race for a college football playoff top four place.
BIG TEN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE
At the moment, both Michigan and undefeated Iowa who look well set to play in the Big Ten championship game, are ahead of the Buckeyes, who were not only losing for the first time this season, but also had its 23 game winning streak snapped.
The victory was a welcoming one though for the Spartans (10-1, No. 6 AP, No. 9 CFP) who have won six of the last seven clashes against top 10 teams and have rebounded nicely since the 39-38 loss to Nebraska earlier this month.
It also means that a victory over Penn State this coming weekend would earn them a place in the Big Ten championship game against the Hawkeyes (11-0, No. 3 AP, No. 5 CFP) with a college football playoff place more than likely up for the taking.
Of course it doesn’t look good for Urban Meyer and Ohio State, which also have internal issues to deal with, following the recent comments from star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who called out the coaching staff for a barrage of shocking play calls on offense.
Nevertheless, the defending national champion is still not totally out of the playoff race and will be preparing with the same intensity for the weekend clash against Michigan.
Remember a win for the Buckeyes over the Wolverines (9-2) and a Michigan State defeat to Penn State will see Meyer side advancing to the Big Ten championship game.
If they manage to get that far, Ohio State would hope to face an undefeated Iowa side, as a win there would boost their college football playoff place.
It is still a very long way to go, though, as results from other conferences could also change what happens to the Big Ten semifinal berth.