COLUMBUS — Think about 2007. It might be the one thing that could cheer up an Ohio State football fan right now.
Eight years ago, No. 1 Ohio State lost to Illinois the week before the Michigan game and seemed to have lost its chance to play in the BCS championship game, which matched the No. 1 team against No. 2.
But Ohio State regrouped to beat Michigan 14-3 behind Chris Wells’ 222 yards on 39 carries in a game where Ezekiel Elliott would have loved the play calling. The next week, a wild series of upsets got Ohio State into the title game.
So, if OSU could climb back into the top two in the BCS in 2007, could it get back into the top four of the College Football Playoff after a loss to Michigan State this season?
There is a chance. But not a good one.
The biggest problem is that Michigan State controls its own destiny. If the Spartans win at home against Penn State on Saturday, they will go to the Big Ten championship game and OSU will be on the outside looking in.
Ohio State has to beat Michigan solidly in a noon game and have MSU lose to Penn State in a 3:30 game. Then it probably would have to dominate Iowa in the Big Ten championship game to convince the playoff committee it deserves to jump over the other one-loss teams.
Or a series of losses by one-loss teams like Notre Dame, Florida, Oklahoma and an Iowa loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game is another possible path to the playoff for OSU.
Getting two Big Ten teams into the playoff is unlikely. But Ohio State played the unlikely card all the way to a championship last season.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.