EAST LANSING, MI — With many questioning their lack of style points, down three starters on the offensive line, with head coach Ryan Day back in Columbus due to COVID-19, the short-handed No.4 Ohio State Buckeyes made a statement in routing Michigan State, 52-12
With two games cancelled vs. Maryland and Illinois, and a lot of outside noise from the national media over narrowing escaping the upstart No.12 Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State came out in force in playing their second game in 28 days in dominating the over-matched Spartans early and often.
With 23 players sidelined and not available, projected top-five pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, QB Justin Fields had to overcome both a makeshift offensive line and errant high snaps from current guard, Harry Miller filling in at center in place of Josh Meyers. Meyers along with tackles Thayer Munford and Nicolas Petite-Frere were unavailable, and thanks to the Buckeyes dominant performance, were not needed in East Lansing Saturday afternoon.
For the game, Fields went 17-24 for 199 yards, two touchdowns while also rushing for 104 yards on 13 carries for two TD’s. A dual-threat QB that is sure to go high in the NFL Draft, Ohio State has one of the nation’s top offenses, but–as they did vs. Indiana–show a tendency to take the foot off the gas.
In East Lansing, that did not happen. Question is, will it improve their standing in the eyes of the CFP committee?
With No.5 Texas A&M and No.6 Florida hot on their heels and the Aggies earning a tough 31-20 win on The Plains at Auburn, and the Gators set to play long-time foil, Tennessee, the ultimate nightmare that is keeping many awake down in the 614 area code is the thought of the Buckeyes being left at the CFP altar and jumped by either Florida or Texas A&M.
Currently 5-0 with a potential game vs. Michigan and a date in the B1G title game, the Buckeyes strength of schedule ranks a paltry 77th compared to Texas A&M (8th) and Florida (35th), with both having quality wins on their resume. How things play out down the stretch will determine where the Buckeyes will ultimately land.
Now, if their is some 2020-level chaos in which all three teams above Ohio State lose, and/or No.3 Clemson knocks off No.2 Notre Dame in the ACC title game and the No.1 Crimson Tide loses in Atlanta to No.6 Florida, then the floodgates to hell will have indeed been opened wide.
If 2020 is going to 2020 the CFP playoff field, what better way to do so then unleashing one last round of craziness and total unchecked craziness. How such a scenario might effect Ohio State remains to be seen, but the Buckeyes are the masters of their fate, and if they continue to win the games that they DO play and win, nothing will stand in their way of returning back to the playoffs where they belong.