What did the wild Saturday do for the Big Ten’s College Football Playoff hopes?
Well, four Big Ten teams can still think about making the playoffs — and CBS Sports’ predicted a CFP team from the Big Ten won’t even be a division champion.
At least that’s what CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm thinks.
Palm projects Wisconsin to beat Penn State for the Big Ten championship. What would that mean for the Big Ten’s playoff hopes? Well, Palm thinks the Badgers would be left out … for Ohio State.
Keep in mind that winning a conference championship is not a requirement to be a part of the College Football Playoff. I believe the committee would still put Ohio State in the playoff in this scenario, but instead of seeding the Buckeyes second, Ohio State would get the fourth seed. I think it’s a much more interesting discussion for the committee if Penn State ends up as the Big Ten champion.
Palm has No. 1 Alabama-No. 4 Ohio State and No. 2 Clemson-No. 3 Washington for his College Football Playoff, so he has two teams that lost Saturday still making the CFP. But, as he notes, an 11-2 Penn State as the Big Ten champion could make for some debate.
Where does that leave Michigan? While Palm hasn’t had Michigan in his top 4 at all this season, he said the loss doesn’t change much — if the Wolverines win out. Palm said a 12-1 Michigan team with a Big Ten title would make the CFP.
With Ohio State predicted to make the playoff, Palm has three other Big Ten teams in a New Year’s Six game: Wisconsin in the Rose vs. Utah, Penn State against San Diego State in the Cotton Bowl and Michigan against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.
Here’s where Palm has the Big Ten teams this bowl season:
- Ohio State: College Football Playoff vs. Alabama
- Wisconsin: Rose Bowl vs. Utah
- Penn State: Cotton Bowl vs. San Diego State
- Michigan: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville
- Nebraska: Outback Bowl vs. Auburn
- Iowa: Music City Bowl vs. Arkansas
- Indiana: Foster Farms Bowl vs. USC
- Northwestern: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Pitt
- Minnesota: Holiday Bowl vs. Washington State
- Maryland: Quick Lane Bowl vs. Boston College
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson as his four playoff teams, though that’s just at this moment. He also lists Wisconsin and Penn State in his “next four in contention.”
How seriously should Penn State be considered?
Schlabach on Penn State:
The Nittany Lions get the nod over Oklahoma for now because of their 24-21 win over Ohio State on Oct. 22. They won 45-31 at Indiana and should cruise in their final two games against Rutgers (road) and Michigan State (home). If Penn State wins out, Ohio State can’t win the Big Ten East. But if Michigan wins out, the Wolverines claim the division title.