College Football Playoff: Defending the Ohio State Buckeyes

If the Clemson Tigers underestimate the Ohio State Buckeyes, they’ll lose by 14 points.

Too often, we place too much emphasis on rankings, losses and what other people see. When the 2016 season began, debate raged about whether or not the Ohio State Buckeyes could challenge the Alabama Crimson Tide for the College Football Playoff National Championship. Nowadays, the argument is whether or not the Buckeyes even deserve to be playing the Clemson Tigers.

Ohio State’s lone loss was to the champions of the Big Ten, the Penn State Nittany Lions. It was that loss that created the debate as to whether or not the Buckeyes were contenders. It was that loss that could have eliminated them from the playoff. That loss that now has us saying things about this team that we never said at the beginning of the season. Forget the fact that this team beat the Oklahoma Sooners, the Wisconsin Badgers (the Big Ten runner-up), the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Michigan Wolverines. The loss to Penn State is all anyone wants to talk about.

The word is this team is boring on offense. Maybe, they aren’t flashy at wide receiver. No, they didn’t have another Ezekiel Elliott waiting in the wings, but Curtis Samuel is the next best thing. As a team, they led the Big Ten in total offense and scoring. They can’t ignore Samuel, as they did against the Nittany Lions. They can’t rely on the defense and special teams to do all the work either. Clemson will allow Ohio State some opportunities. The Tigers have played better since losing to the Pittsburgh Panthers, but the Buckeyes will be the best challenge they’ve faced all year.

Ohio State can play with anyone. They represent the only loss the Crimson Tide has ever had in the College Football Playoff. Keep in mind the fact that Ohio State wasn’t supposed to win that game either. Don’t underestimate the Buckeyes. They’re fourth in the country in defense. They’re sharper now, following the loss to Penn State, than they’ve been all season. They have no intention of showing up just to be competitive.

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