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Herbstreit: Buckeyes, Badgers will get in playoff over Alabama


With the health of J.T. Barrett in limbo, Kirk Herbstreit feels a heck of a lot better about rolling with the under than he is leaning on the Ohio State Buckeyes to roll on Saturday night.

“Man, that’s a tough one,” Herbstreit, the longtime ESPN/ABC analyst told Land of 10 on Thursday when asked to predict the score of the Big Ten Championship Game between the Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) and the Wisconsin Badgers (12-0, 9-0) in Indianapolis.

“I know that Ohio State is favored by a touchdown. I think, athletically, you have to give Ohio State an edge. But where J.T. Barrett is with this game, I think, is a bit of a wild card. I can see a lower-scoring game, more of a 27-23 kind of game. And I’d probably give Ohio State an edge there.”

Herbstreit, who was part of a media junket early Thursday to promote his work this year with Allstate’s All Hands In initiative, also offered some quick takes on …

Wisconsin and the College Football Playoff:

“If Wisconsin wins, it’s a slam dunk. It just a matter of, [if] they win, finish in the top 4, this will give them a chance to say, ‘Hey, we played a top-8 team and beat them, enough of [the debate].’”

Ohio State and the CFP:

“When [Ohio State] has been good, they’ve been really, really good. But when they’ve been bad, they’ve been really bad. It’s up to the committee to kind of weigh that … on paper, it would favor Ohio State over Alabama, because of the committee’s criterion [which] includes having that conference championship, above ‘Bama not having one. People have said, ‘Well, what’s the difference between Alabama this year and Ohio State last year,’ and Ohio State had wins over three of the top 10 in last year’s rankings. Ohio State would probably win that case based on what the committee’s looking at.”

Ohio State redshirt freshman quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., who rallied the Buckeyes at Michigan:

“He looked good in that setting; I was shocked. There are very few guys that step in, down 20-14 [at Michigan Stadium] … If that’s your only evidence of how he’s wired and what he can do, [that’s] pretty darn good. … I mean, he goes in Saturday in Indianapolis against Wisconsin, even though the Badgers play great defense — Jim Leonhard’s defense, they’re lights-out — I just don’t think it’s the same kind of pressure, even though it’s the Big Ten championship is on the line, than when he went in to face Michigan in the Big House. What you lose in the quarterback run game, you take that part away and make up of an ability to throw the football, because the kid has a big arm, he’s incredibly accurate and the way he threw coming off the bench against Michigan.”

Camera-operatorgate and Urban Meyer calling for an investigation:

“Yeah, I saw Urban was fired up about that … it was a tight area, and whoever made that mistake, I’m sure, feels terrible about it. I’m sure there’ll be a knee-jerk reaction and nobody will be allowed anywhere close to the sidelines in the entire Big Ten [next year], but I’m not, like, jumping up and down. I think it was a mistake and I hate that it cost J.T. Barrett a chance to finish that game, but no, I haven’t thought much about it, other than, ‘Is J.T. OK and able to play this week?’”

Whether Wisconsin could do some damage in the CFP should it get in:

“Absolutely. Absolutely. Again, we get caught up in 2017, and Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma are a perfect example: They will score on you in the blink of an eye. They’re explosive. There are so tough to stop, and that’s what gets on SportsCenter, that’s what’s exciting, that’s what we think ‘winning football’ is. And here is Wisconsin, and they play more of an Alabama brand of football — they play great defense, they run the football … it’s kind of a throwback. And I have a lot of confidence that, if they were able to find a way to win on Saturday against a very athletic team … if you beat Ohio State, athletically, there’s no reason to think Wisconsin wouldn’t have a chance [to advance].”

 


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