How Ohio State could still make the College Football Playoff after Michigan loss

Ohio State v Michigan
Ohio State v Michigan / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

After Ryan Day led Ohio State to the program's third consecutive loss in The Game to rival Michigan, the Buckeyes won't be playing on conference championship weekend. With that loss, some fans immediately assumed, especially with so many contenders still alive at this point in the season, that Ohio State lost doubly to Michigan, both on the scoreboard and losing their College Football Playoff chances.

On Tuesday night, though, the new CFP rankings -- the penultimate Top 25 before Selection Sunday on Dec. 3 -- were released. Ohio State dropped from No. 2 to No. 6. And that leaves the door at least slightly ajar for the Buckeyes to get into the College Football Playoff.

What do the Buckeyes need to happen for that to even be a conversation, though? Let's take a look!

How Ohio State can still make the College Football Playoff

Obviously, with Ohio State not playing on conference championship weekend, the Buckeyes do not control their College Football Playoff destiny. However, there is still a path with the right losses that could make Ryan Day's team still part of the conversation.

Having said that, it is a narrow path for OSU.

Put simply, Ohio State needs Georgia (No. 1) to beat Alabama (No. 8), Oklahoma State were to beat Texas (No. 7), Washington (No. 3) were to beat Oregon (No. 5) again, Michigan (No. 2) were to beat Iowa, and Louisville were to beat Florida State (No. 4), that would be the one path for the Buckeyes to be in the mix for the Top 4 and actually have a valid argument.

In that scenario, it would be a lock that Georgia, Michigan and Washington were in the College Football Playoff field as undefeated conference champions. However, every other result would leave that fourth spot highly up for debate.

Texas, Oregon and Alabama would almost surely be eliminated from College Football Playoff contention as two-loss teams that also lost in their conference championship game. That would then leave a debate within the Selection Committee between Ohio State and Florida State at 11-1 and 12-1, respectively.

With the Jordan Travis injury, though, you have to believe that the Committee would be looking for any reason to get FSU out of the Playoff field. Losing to a two-loss Louisville team that lost to a bad Pitt team and middling Kentucky team would not be a good loss by any stretch for the Seminoles, certainly much worse than Ohio State losing to the No. 2-ranked team in the country. Thus, the Buckeyes might be seen as the better option for the No. 4 seed in the CFP.

Is that the overall likely outcome? Absolutely not. Texas is more than a two-touchdown favorite against Oklahoma State while Oregon is a nine-point favorite over Washington. Then you have a Louisville team that would need to win after some truly head-scratching performances this season.

But for Ohio State fans channeling Lloyd Christmas, I am indeed telling you there's a chance -- even if it's one-in-a-million.

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