COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State won’t have to wait much longer to find out its fate.
The College Football Playoff selection committee will announce its four semifinalists at 12:30 ET on Sunday. ESPN will broadcast the selection show, which will run from Noon-4 p.m. ET.
Where will the Buckeyes end up? Here’s our breakdown of what awaits the No. 2 team in the country.
MOST LIKELY DESTINATION(S): Ohio State is likely bound for the College Football Playoff. There is only one potential scenario in which Buckeye fans would have to sweat, and it’s outlined below in the “what would hurt” section. Of the two playoff games, the most likely one is the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama, in the incredibly likely event that it beats Florida, would be the No. 1 seed. For geographic purposes No. 1 Alabama would play in the Peach Bowl.
The most likely scenario is that Ohio State would finish as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed and play in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. If the Buckeyes drop to No. 4, however, they’d play in Atlanta.
OTHER POSSIBLE DESTINATION: In the incredible unlikely event the Buckeyes are bounced from the playoff, the Orange Bowl would be the landing spot. As far as consolation prizes go, there are worse spots than south Florida.
RECORD: Ohio State finished the regular season 11-1 (8-1 Big Ten, tied for first in the East Division). The Buckeyes lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with Penn State.
WHAT WOULD HELP: If Penn State loses to Wisconsin, the playoff spot is a done deal. It also wouldn’t hurt to have Clemson lose just to ensure the Buckeyes don’t fall to the No. 4 seed, where they’d likely have to play Alabama in the semifinal.
WHAT WOULD HURT: There’s pretty much only one worst-case scenario. If Alabama, Clemson and Washington all win, that’s likely three playoff spots locked up. The Buckeyes likely won’t be passed by Wisconsin, given that they beat the Badgers (on the road) and had one fewer loss in the regular season. However, big losses by Oklahoma and Wisconsin could cost the Buckeyes two top-10 road wins. If Penn State beats the Badgers by a significant margin, and Ohio State’s schedule doesn’t look as impressive, there’s a chance the Nittany Lions bump the Buckeyes. It’s still a slim one given the five-spot gap between the two teams, but that’s the nightmare situation in Columbus.
Sept. 3, vs. Bowling Green: W, 77-10
Sept. 10, vs. Tulsa: W, 48-3
Sept. 17, at Oklahoma: W, 45-24
Oct. 1, vs. Rutgers: W, 58-0
Oct. 8, vs. Indiana: W, 38-17
Oct. 15, at Wisconsin: W, 30-23 (OT)
Oct. 22, at Penn State: L, 24-21
Oct. 29, vs. Northwestern: W, 24-20
Nov. 5, vs. Nebraska: W, 62-3
Nov. 12, at Maryland: W, 62-3
Nov.19, at Michigan State: W, 17-16
Nov. 26, vs. Michigan: W, 30-27 (2OT)
LAST SEASON’S BOWL RESULT: Ohio State beat No. 8 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, 44-28. The Buckeyes finished the season with a 12-1 record.