Rounding up bowl projections for Buckeyes after Week 8

On3 imageby:Andy Backstrom10/23/23

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COLUMBUS — Ohio State has the best resume in college football right now, but the Buckeyes still aren’t showing up in most College Football Playoff projections after Week 8.

Ohio State controls its destiny, though. The Buckeyes can prove remaining doubters wrong by winning The Game in Ann Arbor on Nov. 25. That’s almost certainly their ticket to the Big Ten Championship game, which they haven’t played in since 2020.

Until then, a dominant Michigan squad remains the favorite to represent the Big Ten in the CFP. Of course, it’s possible both Big Ten East rivals could end up in the four-team field, like last year.

But that’s not a popular projection in late October.

Lettermen Row rounded up the latest bowl projections after an action-packed weekend, which featured the Buckeyes’ second top-10 win of 2023, a 20-12 triumph over then-No. 7 Penn State.

Let’s dive in.

On3: Cotton Bowl vs. Texas

On3’s Andy Staples was beating the drum for Penn State this season. That vote of confidence is a thing of the past. Staples took ownership of his Penn State College Football Playoff projection and wrote, “Saturday in Columbus disabused me of that notion.” Ohio State handled the Nittany Lions in the Horseshoe but still isn’t earning a CFP slot in Staples’ four-team field after Week 8. He has Michigan as the lone Big Ten representative in the playoff. Like last week, Staples sees the Buckeyes squaring off against Texas in the Cotton Bowl. So, in other words, Penn State falls, and Ohio State stays put.

CFP Picks…

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida State
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Oklahoma

COMPLETE PROJECTIONS

ESPN (Bonagura): Orange Bowl vs. Louisville

Housekeeping note, as always: It’s important to mention that ESPN rolls out the weekly bowl projections of both Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach.

They’re still on the same page, as far as the CFP goes. Bonagura and Schlabach each have Michigan-Washington in the Rose Bowl and Georgia-Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.

And they’re sticking with their Ohio State Orange Bowl projection, although they’re pitting the Buckeyes against Louisville. It’s clear that the Cardinals are the new pick for second-place finisher in the ACC. The conference gets a spot in the Orange Bowl, and the top ACC team is FSU at the moment. Meaning that, if the Seminoles make their run to the CFP, the second-best team in the ACC would go to the Orange Bowl.

“Ohio State’s win against Penn State doesn’t really change much. It’s hard to envision a realistic scenario where the Big Ten champion doesn’t reach the playoff, so all of that will sort itself out in time.”

Kyle Bonagura, ESPN

CFP Picks…

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Washington
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Florida State

COMPLETE PROJECTIONS

ESPN (Schlabach): Orange Bowl vs. Louisville

Louisville has been one of this season’s bigger surprises. The Cardinals would be undefeated right now had it not been for their Week 7 upset defeat at Pittsburgh. Under new head coach Jeff Brohm, Louisville ranks top five in the ACC in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Ohio State faced Brohm when he was the lead man at Purdue. This matchup would have a different, Big Ten-ACC flavor. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series against Louisville, 2-0, but those games took place in the early ’90s and were each decided by one score.

CFP Picks…

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Washington
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Florida State

COMPLETE PROJECTIONS

Action Network: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville

Action Network’s Brett McMurphy is following the new trend: Ohio State-Louisville in the Orange Bowl. It’s only a semi-new trend, however. Ohio State to the Orange Bowl has been the most common Buckeyes projection this season. The program is 1-1 all-time in the Orange Bowl. Ohio State hasn’t played in the Miami-based postseason contest since the 2013 season when it lost, 40-35, to Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Clemson. Before that, the Buckeyes beat Colorado, 27-10, to wrap up the 1976 season, a year in which Woody Hayes’ team went 9-2-1 with a one-point loss to Missouri, a shutout defeat versus Michigan and a tie against UCLA.

CFP Picks…

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida State
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Texas

COMPLETE PROJECTIONS

CBS Sports: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville

Jerry Palm of CBS Sports is on the Ohio State-Louisville Orange Bowl bandwagon, too. Palm, like others, has one-loss Texas ahead of the Buckeyes in his projections. Not only that, but Palm also has Pac-12 heavyweights Washington and Oregon both in front of Ohio State as well. That said, the Pac-12 could have trouble getting a one-loss team to the finish line, considering how stacked the conference is. Undefeated Washington, which scraped out a 15-7 win over Arizona State this week, still has to play No. 24 USC, No. 13 Utah and No. 11 Oregon State in the regular season.

CFP Picks…

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida State
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Texas

COMPLETE PROJECTIONS

Athlon Sports: Orange Bowl vs. UNC

Ah, an Ohio State-UNC Orange Bowl straggler. This was the most common bowl projection for the Buckeyes in recent weeks. Steven Lassan of Athlon Sports isn’t budging from his pick. Ohio State leads the all-time series versus UNC, 3-1. The teams haven’t played since 1975, though, and the Tar Heels’ only win in the head-to-head took place in 1965. Despite losing to previously 1-5 Virginia, and falling seven spots in the AP Top 25 to No. 17, UNC is still a legit candidate for the Orange Bowl. Louisville and UNC are both 6-1 with a bad ACC defeat — as mentioned above, the Cardinals lost to an underachieving Pitt team in Week 7.

CFP Picks…

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida State
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Texas

COMPLETE PROJECTIONS

College Football News: Sugar Bowl vs. Georgia

For the second week in a row, the College Football News staff is including Ohio State in its CFP projection. This time, CFN has the Buckeyes once again facing Georgia in a semifinal matchup. In this scenario, Michigan also makes the CFP — as was the case last year, too — and gets FSU in the Rose Bowl. CFN predicts that the Big 12 and Pac-12 will both have two-loss champions this year, opening the gateway for both teams in The Game to make the playoff.

CFP Picks…

  • Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida State
  • Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Ohio State

COMPLETE PROJECTIONS

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