In eight editions of the College Football Playoff there have already been several instances where two teams from the same conference both made the tournament in the same season. But what are the chances that Big Ten titans Ohio State and Michigan both reach the College Football Playoff this year?
That's a question analyst Josh Pate addressed on a recent edition of The Late Kick. Pate said it would be a very bold prediction for someone to make.
He feels it may be difficult for both teams to make it because of the scheduling dynamic.
“How unprecedented would this be? Totally because it's never happened for the Big Ten... I made this a nine on the boldness scale. First off, just because of what I just said how hard it is. Secondly, I could get with the theory. If you told me that you think Ohio State and Michigan are both going to be good enough caliber teams to make the playoff, you would have a conversation with me. It's the scheduling dynamic that makes it so hard. They play each other the last week of the regular season.
But Pate does see a path to it happening. He proposed that if Michigan suffers their only loss of the season to Ohio State, a case could be made that they still belong in the playoff.
"So I'm trying to think to myself, obviously there are scenarios out there where it could happen, but what would need to happen? And I think what would need to happen is Michigan would need to lose. You probably got a better shot here if Michigan loses because if they're undefeated, if Michigan's undefeated, and they go into Columbus this year and they lose a competitive game and that's the only blip on their resume, I could see that. I could see them not going to Indianapolis to play for the conference title or maybe actually they do, maybe the Big Ten changes their rules like the Pac-12 did, but I can see that."
I'm not sure, even if Ohio State's undefeated, I'm not sure if they get that game at home, and they lose again to Michigan, even though again shouldn't even enter the equation because it's one year and one year only, I'm still not sure what that committee would do," Pate said. "So there's a way for it to happen. I'm just saying that's really bold.
Ohio State appeared in four of the first seven editions of the College Football Playoff, winning it all in 2014.
Michigan made their College Playoff debut last year and were promptly demolished by eventual national champion Georgia.
Those two schools have competed in some high stakes games in the pat. But none of their games would be bigger than the two playing with a national title on the line.