Buckeyes “gained new life” with USC’s loss to Utah, says CBS Sports

USC left the door open to other college football playoff hopefuls with the Trojans’ loss in Friday night’s Pac-12 championship game. It’s an opening CBS esports pundit Jerry Palm sees the Ohio State Buckeyes fill.

“The Pac-12 has officially eliminated themselves from the college football playoffs for the sixth straight season, while the Big Ten appears poised to become the second conference in the event’s history to pit the two teams in a unique field four teams brings the SEC together,” Palm wrote in his recent shell projections. “All of this comes as the No. 5 state’s hopes of contending for a national championship found new life on Friday night when No. 4 USC beat No. 11 Utah at 47 in the 2022 Pac-12 championship game: 24 was wiped out.

“Should the Buckeyes be selected by the CFP selection committee, they would certainly finish fourth and make the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons. Ohio State defeated Clemson 49-28 in the semifinals two years ago before eventually losing to Alabama in the 2021 CFP National Championship. The No. 6 Crimson Tide is unlikely to jump the Buckeyes for last place this year given both teams are out this week and OSU has one loss less in the season.

The Buckeyes with just one loss — despite a 45-23 loss to rival Michigan in Ohio State’s last game — could give Ohio State an advantage over the other two main contenders, SEC teams Alabama and two losses Tennessee.

Ohio State is the only one-loss candidate not to make the playoffs in a conference championship game. The Buckeyes were also fifth — behind No. 4 USC and ahead of No. 6 Alabama and No. 7 Tennessee — in the latest College Football Playoff rankings released this week.

“It’s almost like a second life,” OSU head coach Ryan Day said Saturday at College GameDay. “You’re kind of hugging that thing, so we’re very excited. In the last 24 hours, the program here has undergone a number of changes.”

Ohio State started the season 11-0, with all 11 wins in double digits before last weekend’s loss. The Buckeyes are being driven on offense with the second-best scoring in the nation, one averaging 44.5 points and 492.7 yards per game. quarterback CJ Stroud has thrown for 3,340 yards and 37 touchdowns, with six interceptions Marvin Harrison Jr. (72 catches, 1,157 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Emeka Egbuka (66 catches, 1,039 yards, nine touchdowns) as his primary beneficiaries. But Ohio State also ran the ball well, putting up 5.5 yards per carry with three different running backs surpassing 500 yards during the season.

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The defense has taken a step forward under the first-year coordinator Jim Knowleswith the Buckeyes allowing 19.2 points per game, which ranks 13th nationally.