In just over 24 hours “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers will face off in Indianapolis. What’s on the line? A Big Ten Championship of course, but if only it were that simple in college football! This game has a plethora of high level implications depending on the result that can impact both these teams end of season goals and outlooks moving forward towards 2020. We will take a look at just what kind of implications reside off this game for both programs.
Big Ten Championship Game Implications
Scenario One: Ohio State Wins Big
Lets say this game is essentially a repeat of what happened in the regular season and the Buckeyes pull away and win by a wide margin. This would cement their status as the #1 team in the playoff rankings. They would prove again they are to date the most complete team in the country, and would give the committee no reason to slot them down a rank. Now if LSU were to handle Georgia in similar fashion that could create a bit of a dilemma. But for scenario purposes, Ohio State wins big they will remain #1.
This is an enormous advantage. As long as LSU dispatches of Georgia, this would allow for Ohio State to play vs one of Utah, Baylor, or Oklahoma depending on this weekend’s results. Usually, the playoff rankings didn’t have much meaning between 1-4. This is not one of those years. Not having to play Clemson in the opening round is easily the biggest prize in the playoff rankings. If you’re new to college football this year, one thing to know is there is a very large gap between the third best team and the fourth best team this season. Think Ohio State doesn’t already know that? Expect Ohio State to try and lay it on Bucky, as much as Paul Chryst tries to prevent that from happening.
Likelihood of Occurrence: 65%
Scenario Two: Ohio State Edges Out Wisconsin, LSU Wins BIG vs Georgia
This scenario is also entirely possible. Lets say Ohio State escapes a valiant effort, meanwhile LSU takes the Bulldogs out to the shed and disposes of them in Atlanta. Both performances could reverberate through to the committee and send shock-waves to the playoff rankings come Sunday midday. With a great performance LSU could very well jump to #1 even if Ohio State plays well in victory. If they struggle? All bets are off. The committee likely has contemplated these very scenarios so it will be interesting to see where their heads are at. Both teams have great wins. But LSU will have the two best wins in the country if they win on Saturday. If the Buckeyes struggle at all to pull out the victory against the Badgers, a swapping of spots will happen.
Now you may argue that while LSU has the better overall wins, Ohio State has looked like the more complete team. You can say that is true with sufficient evidence, but it should not be to say that LSU is dependent on their offense putting up big numbers. The biggest misconception to LSU is that they have a bad defense. The Tigers have been bit by the injury bug all season. This has led to some pretty eye popping number for opposing teams offensively. However, they seem to have found something in the mauling of Texas A&M this past weekend. Led by a talented secondary, Ed Orgeron’s crew has the speed and athleticism to compete with any offense. A strong performance by them coupled with a weaker than expected performance from the Buckeyes in Indianapolis could result in a seeding swap.
Likelihood of Occurrence: 30%
Scenario Three: Wisconsin Upsets Ohio State
“So you’re saying there’s a chance?”
Slim. But yes there is a chance this could happen. Currently the Buckeye’s are double digit favorites over the Badgers but who’s to say they can’t put the perfect performance together to take the down Chase Young and company?
Okay so if this does happen what are the implications. Well lucky for Ohio State, you’re still making the playoff. Even if Georgia beat LSU, the Buckeyes would at worst drop to the four spot. They have every measurable, rank, and eye test that matters to stay ahead of the Pac 12 or Big 12 champion. They’ll be in regardless of the outcome of this game. The only thing that would be hurt is their seeding, which certainly matters this season.
As for Wisconsin, what would this mean?
Simply put. Everything. It would ensure a trip to the Rose Bowl (which they deserve even if they lose), and would be one of the great upsets in college football in the last decade. If they didn’t lose to Illinois, we’d still be talking about their potential playoff chances. But they did indeed lose to the Fighting Illini, so the Rose Bowl will have to suffice for them. Still, it is one heck of a consolation prize and they’d likely face a top 10 opponent in either Utah or Oregon depending on the outcome.
Will it happen though? Well, never say never!
Likelihood of Occurrence: 5%
In conclusion, Ohio State is in the playoff no matter the result. They have much to play for still as seeding is everything in this years playoff. Win big and you avoid Clemson. Fail to impress coupled with an LSU win, and you’ve got a date with Dabo iSwinney and Clemson in what will be an epic playoff semi final for whomever has to play them.
As for Wisconsin, win and they’ll be partying all the way to Pasadena.
Enjoy Championship Weekend!