FOX Sports College Football Analyst
INDIANAPOLIS — As No. 2 Michigan was approaching its second Big Ten championship in years, a gentleman who works as an event staffer at Lucas Oil Stadium pulled my coat.
“RJ!” he said.
Slightly caught off guard, I turned around to see him. After a few greetings, he showed me the Ohio state logo on his phone’s lock screen.
Then he asked, as if to divulge a secret.
All he wanted was a chance.
Can Ohio Beat Georgia?
RJ Young dives into the College Football Playoff Semifinal game.
In his face, and that of Ohio State fans across the country, when the college football playoff selection committee ranked the Buckeyes fourth and deemed fit to extend invitations to the national semifinals. I can only imagine a floating relief.
It doesn’t matter to those fans that just two weeks ago the Buckeyes embarrassedly lost at home to Michigan State for the first time since 2000. It doesn’t matter to them that the Buckeyes haven’t won a Big Ten title since 2020. (OK, it matters too.)
But they knew their resumes were the strongest of the teams vying for the final playoff spot. I knew I was one of two remaining and had 11 wins by Thanksgiving.
Final College Football Playoff Rankings:
- 1. Georgia (13-0)
- 2. Michigan (13-0)
- 3.TCU (12-1)
- 4. Ohio (11-1)
- 5. Alabama (10-2)
- 6. Tennessee (10-2)
- Peach Bowl: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Ohio State
- Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 TCU
They also knew that quarterback CJ Stroud had a Heisman Trophy finalist. When your defense works well, you play the best match against the best the sport has to offer.
And most importantly, USC, the CFP’s main rival for the fourth spot, lost the Pac-12 title game to Utah State, ensuring the conference was shut out of the CFP for the sixth year in a row. .
Utah manager Kyle Whittingham even thought of saying “you’re welcome” to OSU manager Ryan Day after Utah’s successful defense of the league title.
Thanks to these factors, Ohio State now has what every competitor in the world wants: a second chance. And this time, I doubt they’re messing around.
Every hand has been called into the deck for the Buckeyes to win their first national title in the Ryan Day era, and if the Buckeyes are perfectly healthy for the first time since 2014, every hand will do their part. I have to. In Week 1, they will face defending his national champion Georgia in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
But that means a healthy Jackson-Smith-Nigba, a healthy Treveyon Henderson, and a defense moving forward from the ego-damaging loss handed to Michigan in the latest edition of The Game.
If the Buckeyes can effectively upset the Bulldogs’ home game of Georgia, they could face Michigan for the national championship.
And I’m sure the Wolverines wouldn’t have had it otherwise. That means Texas beats out her TCU program full of courage and pride reminiscent of her 19th century when it was a country in itself.
TCU Involved, Alabama Excluded
RJ Young Reacts to Final College Football Playoff Rankings.
Beating the horned toads isn’t easy — just ask Kansas State University — and they’ll make you bleed to beat them. But that’s exactly the kind of game Michigan wants.
With Donovan Edwards’ tailback dynamo and J.J. McCarthy’s star quarterback who seemed to mature every time he played, the Wolverines looked poised to win their first national title of the century.
And if that championship has to come from a victory over TCU and either the Georgia team that embarrassed the Wolverines last season or their most hated rival, so be it.
With Ohio State and Michigan State participating in the CFP together for the first time ever, the look and locality kicks in a little bit as the two teams of the Mason-Dixon Line North and South look to prove which brand of football is best. .
This is what sports are all about. And I can’t wait to see how the postseason unfolds.
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RJ Young is a national college football writer, analyst and podcast host for FOX Sports.”#1 college football show.” Follow him on Twitter. @RJ_Young When Subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.
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