Saturday’s game between Ohio State and Penn State was one of the most thrilling of Week 9. The Buckeyes rallied to defeat the Nittany Lions, 39-38, which will likely put them back into consideration for one of the four College Football Playoff spots.
While many believe Ohio State will win out and represent the Big Ten in the playoff, FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd believes Penn State will also receive a bid, despite Saturday’s loss.
Cowherd, who claims to have predicted the same scenario previously, tweeted that he still believes both teams will be ranked in the top-4 during the final poll of the regular season.
While it’s not an impossible scenario, it’s highly unlikely. Only Ohio State will be able to play in the Big Ten title game, so that prevents a scenario in which the loser of a rematch is guaranteed two losses, which does allow both teams to finish with only one loss.
However, if Ohio State wins the Big Ten Championship, it will likely be the only team from conference in the playoff.
It seems more likely that Georgia would get in with one loss than Penn State if the Buckeyes win out, depending on the outcome of the SEC Championship should both the Bulldogs and Alabama win the rest of their regular season games.
If the game is close and the Crimson Tide win, there’s still a chance that Georgia makes the playoff and faces Alabama in a rematch during the semifinals.
It also seems likely that Clemson will win the remainder of its scheduled games and represent the ACC in the final spot, should that scenario play out.
There’s also Notre Dame who historically has received a bump by pollsters when it has a strong record. That would leave Penn State among four other one-loss teams, only without a conference championship — excluding Notre Dame being independent — and likely ranked No. 5 looking in from the outside, much like last season.