INDIANAPOLIS — Was it enough? That is the question some people began wondering just after the end of Ohio State’s 22-10 win over Northwestern on Saturday in the Big Ten football championship game.
Was a sometimes bumpy ride of a game enough to earn Ohio State one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff when this year’s bracket is revealed at noon Saturday?
The people with the most to win or lose in that decision seemed confident after Saturday’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day said, “People can say what they want. They have their opinions. I’m not going to talk about other teams because I think we have enough to talk about positively about our own program.
“But I’ll say this, if we have an opportunity to play anybody in the country one game I’m going to take the Ohio State Buckeyes. I feel strongly about this team. We’re made of incredible character and they’ve been through so much.”
Quarterback Justin Fields was equally confident of a trip to the playoffs, though in fewer words.
Asked if OSU deserved to be in the playoff, he said, “Do we deserve to be in the playoff? Yes. Because we’re one of the top four teams in the country.”
Linebacker Justin Hilliard’s reply to the question of if Ohio State will be a playoff team could be boiled down to one word. “Absolutely,” he said.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald also thinks the Buckeyes should be a playoff team.
“I think they’ve got as much talent as anybody to go play for a national championship. They’re the Big Ten champion. I believe they should be in the final four and I look forward to the day we can be there,” he said.
The College Football Playoff selection committee has kept Ohio State in its top four teams despite the Buckeyes having three games canceled.
It is hard to imagine that they would drop the Buckeyes out of the top four teams now after winning a game when it kept them in the top four in weeks they didn’t play.
The glass is half empty argument would be that Ohio State’s close win over Northwestern won’t help the Buckeyes because some selection committee members might have wanted a dominant win to validate their high ranking of a team that played just six games.
The class half full argument would be that No. 4 Ohio State beating No. 14 Northwestern in a close game shows that the Wildcats were a worthy opponent and that a win over them in a conference championship game should add to OSU’s resume rather than subtract from it.
The bottom line is it would be equally shocking, or maybe even more shocking than losing to Northwestern would have been if Ohio State is not one of the four playoff teams.