USC loses to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, opens door for Ohio State’s playoff chances

It’s not a done deal, but you have to feel pretty good about the Ohio State football team finishing among the top four teams when the College Football Playoff rankings are released on Sunday. That’s because USC lost for the second time to the Utah Utes this season, 47-24, this time in the most crucial fashion when everything was on the line in the Pac-12 Championship game.

When the game began, it sure didn’t look good for Utah or Ohio State’s chances. The Trojans went right down the field behind Heisman frontrunner Caleb Williams and went up 17-3 early in the second quarter before momentum began to swing, and finally turned to Utah’s side with a tying touchdown right before halftime.

Part of it had to do with the hard-nosed defense of Utah, but that was aided by a hobbled Williams who wasn’t quite himself after sustaining an injury somewhere early in the second half.

Utah used a balanced offense that was predicated on bullying the USC defense, and it worked. The Trojans’ offense was kept off the field and the running game wore down USC in the second half, healthy Williams or not.

At the end of it all, it was the USC defense that was thought to be the Achilles heel for this team that proved to be the downfall of a team that is as dynamic on offense as any team in the country.

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And now, the waiting game begins with still one more game that could decide where Ohio State ends up. TCU will play Kansas State and depending on that outcome, it could be the Buckeyes vs. Georgia in Atlanta, or — dare we say — a rematch with Michigan out in the Fiesta.

That, of course, is only if the CFP committee doesn’t do something totally bizarre and unexpected. There is a feeling that OSU fans will be celebrating early Sunday afternoon when it’s all revealed.

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What does FiveThirtyEight say about Ohio State's chances of making the College Football Playoff

Ohio State's chances of making the CFP according to FiveThirtyEight
Ohio State's chances of making the CFP according to FiveThirtyEight

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire