Sports Today: What will Ohio State’s ultimate playoff fate be?

Tuesday nights have been kind of weird on the Ohio State beat for the past month or so. 

On one hand, various Buckeyes are available to talk about their upcoming game. They often have to insist the next opponent is their sole focus even as we ask them if they were thinking about the postseason. 

Then about the time they are finishing up taking questions from reporters, the College Football Payoff rankings are released. 

» CHAMPIONSHIP COVERAGE: Big Ten title game historyBuckeyes have laser focusFive storylines

How much the players pay attention to those is anyone’s guess, but it’s almost literally impossible for reporters to go along with what we’ve just heard from them when the rest of the sports world is ready for another debate. 

I guess that’s the genius of the weekly playoff rankings being released the way they are. 

RELATED: Buckeyes climb in rankings

The CFB powers that be are certainly getting what they wanted in terms of thrusting the sport into the conversation. 

And yet the rankings are still almost entirely meaningless. 

The committee has insisted they start over every week, and I tend to believe them. 

They proved it to me in the first year when they ranked Ohio State in the top four after the Buckeyes significantly improved their resume and the Big 12 teams in front of them (TCU and Baylor) both saw theirs get worse because Oklahoma State knocked Oklahoma out of the top 25. 

The only thing the in-season rankings are good for is to get a general idea of what the committee thinks about what teams have done so far. 

That is a little more useful this week since one of the teams in the picture is done playing. 

No. 5 Alabama can’t do anything else to impress the committee. The Crimson Tide are going to look the same on paper next week as they did this week. 

I always thought an undefeated Wisconsin team was going to get in anyway, but now it’s official because the Badgers are fourth, and to remain undefeated they’ll have to beat another top 10 team (Ohio State). 

» RELATED: Tennessee no longer pursuing Schiano Five things to know about Schiano Hartman on Schiano situation

The No. 8 Buckeyes will look a lot different on paper next week if they hand Wisconsin its first loss. 

They’d not only add a big win but become conference champions, which allegedly is considered a tiebreaker

When we get right down to it, we on the outside are in a similar position to last year: We can count up a team’s merits, but we can’t be sure how the committee will actually weigh them — especially since the Buckeyes have two losses and Alabama only has one… 

That brings us to the actual football game Ohio State will play this weekend. 

The matchup between Ohio State and Wisconsin is hard to peg because honestly it’s still just about impossible to tell how good either of these teams are. 

Ohio State has looked great at times, but calling the Buckeyes inconsistent doesn’t really do them justice. They were downright bad against Oklahoma and Iowa, not to mention early against Penn State and Michigan (bad stretches of games and bad games are very different, though). 

Wisconsin has mostly looked pretty good, but the Badgers have hardly faced anyone capable of pushing them. That’s especially true of UW’s secondary. 

Of course this is why they play the games, but it’s a little baffling how a team can be such an unknown at this point in the season. 

The same perhaps could be said of Alabama until last week, though, so maybe it’s only fair the Crimson Tide and Badgers get matched up in a New Year’s Six bowl should Ohio State win this weekend… 

Elsewhere in the sports world, Middletown graduate Vincent Edwards scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds as Purdue beat No. 17 Louisville 66-57 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.  

Edwards has scored in double figures in all eight of the Boilermakers’ games this season. 

The annual Challenge hasn’t been as kind to a pair of former Wayne Warriors. 

Ahmad Wagner started for Iowa last night but scored only two points in 12 minutes of the Hawkeyes’ 79-55 loss at Virginia Tech. 

D’Mitrik Trice tallied 10 points and two assists in 34 minutes for Wisconsin on Monday night as the Badgers lost 49-37 at Virginia. 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

WATCH: Jaguars' Leonard Fournette comforted by Patriots' Ricky Jean Francois after loss
WATCH: Jaguars' Leonard Fournette comforted by Patriots' Ricky Jean Francois after loss

Leonard Fournette, the rookie Jacksonville Jaguars running back, was overcome with emotion after his team lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Fournette, who had 76 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries Sunday, appeared to be distraught after the game. On Twitter, reporters began to document the running back breaking...
WATCH: Referees' controversial call kept Patriots close in AFC title game
WATCH: Referees' controversial call kept Patriots close in AFC title game

Myles Jack and the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t going to be happy. However, the conspiracy theorists who believe that the National Football League is around to get the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl will be thrilled. Jack forced New England running back Dion Lewis to fumble the football on Sunday, leading to the linebacker scooping...
Former Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson really wants to defeat ‘pretty boy’ Tom Brady in Super Bowl
Former Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson really wants to defeat ‘pretty boy’ Tom Brady in Super Bowl

The Philadelphia Eagles are the early underdogs vs. the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Offensive tackle and former Oklahoma Sooner Lane Johnson doesn’t want to hear about it — nor does he seem he want to hear about star quarterback Tom Brady. Johnson told ESPN’s Tim McManus following Philadelphia’s dominant...
Wright State women fall to IUPUI
Wright State women fall to IUPUI

Wright State University women’s basketball coach Katrina Merriweather saw it coming. The Raiders had been able to pull out wins despite not playing their best. That caught up with them Sunday afternoon. “We didn’t play well two games ago and I knew this was going to happen if we didn’t become more efficient,” Merriweather...
Pair of former Oklahoma players headed to Super Bowl
Pair of former Oklahoma players headed to Super Bowl

Two former Oklahoma football players will be on the field when the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots go at it in Super Bowl LII next month in Minneapolis, Minn. The Sooners will be represented by Philadelphia offensive tackle Lane Johnson and New England defensive end Geneo Grissom — guaranteeing that at least...
More Stories