Ohio State will be in the College Football Playoff after all. But the Buckeyes’ opponent is, on paper, the toughest one they’ve faced in years.
After a couple of upsets on conference championship weekend, Ohio State drew the No. 4 seed when the CFP selection committee unveiled its four-team bracket Sunday morning. The No. 1 seed, and the Buckeyes’ opponent in the Peach Bowl semifinal? That would be Georgia, the defending national champion and nation’s consensus top team.
That means the Buckeyes are in the unfamiliar position of being the underdog for the Dec. 31 game in Atlanta, with Caesars Sportsbook releasing an opening line Sunday of Georgia -6.5. It’s the first time Ohio State has been a dog since its last appearance in the CFP, when Alabama beat OSU 52-24 as a 9.5-point favorite.
The over/under is 61.5, and Ohio State is +215 on the money line for the outright upset, meaning a $100 bet would return $315.
This year’s other semifinal, also on Dec. 31, is No. 2 Michigan against No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, with the Wolverines favored by 9.5 points.
Ohio State’s situation is actually similar to Georgia’s from last season, when the Bulldogs lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game but made the CFP anyway. Georgia went onto avenge its only loss by beating Alabama in the national championship game, something the Buckeyes could do if they and Michigan both win their semifinals.
The national championship game is Jan. 9 in Inglewood, California.
It’s the Buckeyes’ first appearance in the College Football Playoff since 2020, when they beat Clemson 49-28 as a 7-point underdog in the Sugar Bowl semifinal but lost that championship game to Alabama.
OSU is much more familiar with the Fiesta Bowl setting; this will be the first time the program has ever played a postseason game in Atlanta.