For Ohio State football, the hard part is over. With a 27-21 victory over Wisconsin in Indianapolis on Saturday night, the eighth-ranked Buckeyes won the Big Ten Championship Game, making one last case to crash the College Football Playoff.
Now Ohio State awaits its fate.
We'll find out on Sunday afternoon whether or not the eighth-ranked Buckeyes did enough to climb into the CFP committee's top-four, but with a victory over the No 4 Badgers, Ohio State added to a resume that already includes wins over No. 9 Penn State and No. 16 Michigan State. Presumably, the playoff will include ACC champion Clemson, SEC champion Georgia and Big 12 champion Oklahoma. It will likely be between the 11-2 Buckeyes and 11-1 Alabama for the playoff's final spot.
Ohio State held off a fourth-quarter comeback attempt by Wisconsin and quarterback Alex Hornibrook to capture its first conference championship since 2014 after taking a 21-7 lead over the Badgers early in the first half. Trailing by six points with less than three minutes on the clock, Wisconsin took over the the ball at its own 29-yard line, but failed to score a touchdown to steal the game.
Much of the Badgers' success was seemingly the Buckeyes' own doing, with quarterback J.T. Barrett throwing two interceptions -- including a pick-6 interception -- and running back Mike Weber fumbling on OSU's own 11-yard line. Wisconsin, however, lacked the firepower necessary to take full advantage of OSU's mistakes, with Buckeyes safety Damon Webb sealing the game with an interception as UW faced 4th-and-20 with 1:09 left on the clock.
Barrett completed just 12 of his 26 pass attempts for 211 yards, rushing for 60 yards and another score. on 19 attempts six days after undergoing surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in Ohio State's victory over Michigan. Freshman running back J.K. Dobbins added 174 yards on the ground.
Whether or not the Buckeyes' play was befitting of a top-four team will be up to the College Football Playoff committee to decide. The four playoff teams will be revealed at approximately 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN.