Kirk Herbstreit on Ohio State football's CFP chances: 'Who else is there?'

Colin Gay
The Columbus Dispatch

After Utah's win against No. 4 USC in the Pac-12 championship Friday night, ESPN's "College GameDay" analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit had one simple question when it came to that final spot in the College Football Playoff.

Which team could it be other than Ohio State?

"Everybody that watched that game against Michigan, it feels weird to promote a team after the way that looked," Herbstreit said. "But who else is there? There's nobody else there."

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Ohio State lost its final game of the 2022 season against Michigan 45-23, keeping the Buckeyes out of the Big Ten championship for the second-straight season. But with only one loss, the Buckeyes are likely to slide into the Playoff after the Trojans earned their second loss Friday night.

To "College GameDay" host Rece Davis, it's not a question of if Ohio State makes the top four, but where.

"I think the field is set," Davis said. "The question will be the order."

Could Ohio State football move up to No. 3?

With the top three teams in the College Football Playoff ranking currently undefeated — Georgia, Michigan and TCU — Davis brought up the idea that Ohio State could pass the Horned Frogs if TCU gets "blown out" by Kansas State in the Big 12 championship Saturday.

Both are non-champions, he said, with blowout losses in their final game before bowl season.

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But to ESPN analyst and former Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard, Ohio State is firmly in the No. 4 spot no matter what.

"At least TCU played in a championship game," Howard said. "Ohio State's game came at home, a blowout against your biggest rival. I don't see them being equal."

Former Georgia linebacker and "College GameDay" analyst David Pollack said the CFP committee will not want to put Ohio State up against Michigan in the playoff semifinal again, and could affect where teams are ranked.

But former Indianapolis Colts punter and "College GameDay" analyst Pat McAfee said the questions of Ohio State's success in the Playoff depend on that Michigan loss.

"Were they not as good as we thought they were and Michigan exposed them, or did they have a terrible game because ... they made too much of it and mentally they laid an egg?" McAfee asked.

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