The speculation and what-ifs are the talk of the town, except for one place.

With a 48-3 thrashing of Michigan State and helpful results around the country last weekend, Ohio State has resurrected its College Football Playoff chances.

But coach Urban Meyer might as well have put his fingers in his ears, closed his eyes and covered his mouth when that subject was broached Monday at his news conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

“There will be zero conversation around here, especially when you guys talk to the players,” he said. “There will be zero conversation about what happened before and what will happen in the future. Zero.”

That applied even when Meyer was asked about Ohio State having hope for something greater than a Big Ten championship, which appeared to be the Buckeyes’ ceiling after a 55-24 loss at Iowa.

“Zero conversation about it either way,” Meyer said.

His sole focus, and that of his team, Meyer said, would be on this week’s game against Illinois, starting with Tuesday’s practice. That’s not surprising. Meyer is always on guard for a letdown, and he clamps down particularly hard when Ohio State faces an inferior opponent. Illinois is 2-8 and winless in Big Ten play.

But as much as Meyer might want to ignore the playoff talk, the Buckeyes’ chances have become plausible again after last weekend’s results. No. 1 Georgia got blown out at Auburn, as did No. 3 Notre Dame at Miami. No. 9 Washington lost at Stanford, which probably ends the Pac-12’s hopes of getting a playoff bid.

That’s not to say the Buckeyes don’t need help if they handle their business by beating Illinois and Michigan and then Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.

But there’s a real possibility that a two-loss team could make the playoff for the first time. If the Buckeyes win out, they could have a strong case to make if the selection committee doesn’t view the Iowa game as a disqualifier.

The most straightforward path for Ohio State would be for Alabama, Miami and Oklahoma to win out. That would entail the Crimson Tide beating Auburn in the Iron Bowl and Georgia for the SEC title, Miami handing Clemson its second loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game and Oklahoma winning the Big 12.

Even if that happens, the Buckeyes are no sure thing. Clemson and Georgia would also be two-loss teams, and if their second losses came in close games, the committee could favor either of them over Ohio State.

Notre Dame doesn’t have the benefit of playing in a conference title game, but its two losses — the other was by one point to Georgia — are against good enough competition that it would keep the Fighting Irish in the conversation.

But Ohio State would have a strong case to make as well — again, depending on how much the committee is willing to overlook the Iowa game. It would have beaten Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin. It would have won the Big Ten title. The committee values league championships, even if that wasn’t enough in 2016 for Penn State to get a spot ahead of Ohio State.

If the Buckeyes finish strong, they’ll probably pass the eye test as well. They vaulted ahead of TCU in 2014 because of their dominating performance against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Ohio State probably doesn’t need to win 59-0 like it did three years ago over the Badgers, but the more convincing the wins there are the next three weeks, the better.

Just don’t ask Urban Meyer about it.