Following its 55-24 defeat at the hands of Iowa on Nov. 4, Ohio State's College Football Playoff hopes appeared dead to rights.
What a difference two weeks can make.
On Monday, betting site Bovada released its latest odds for the winner of this season's College Football Playoff championship. And not only did the Buckeyes not only make the cut, but at 7/1 they were given the third-best odds to win the national title, trailing only Alabama (1/1) and Oklahoma (19/4).
Ohio State, of course, still has work to do before clinching a spot in the College Football Playoff for the second straight season. And as a two-loss team, the Buckeyes don't necessarily control their own destiny when it comes to making college football's final four either.
Or do they?
That bookmakers now have Ohio State's national championship odds at 7/1 a mere two weeks after having the same odds listed at 75/1 would seem to indicate the Buckeyes are in better shape than many may believe. No, a two-loss team has not yet made the College Football Playoff in its three-year history. And yes, each of the eight teams ranked ahead of No. 9 Ohio State in last week's playoff rankings proceeded to also win this past weekend.
But in clinching a spot in the Big Ten Championship with their win over Illinois on Saturday, the Buckeyes made their potential path to either Pasadena or New Orleans for a semifinal showdown a little bit clearer. Of course, Ohio State needs to take care of business against Michigan this upcoming weekend. But after that, a Big Ten title game victory over currently fifth-ranked Wisconsin would likely be enough for the Buckeyes to rise all the way to the top-four.
In winning the Big Ten title, Ohio State would almost assuredly pass fellow two-loss team and No. 8 Notre Dame, which isn't eligible to win its own conference championship because it's not in a conference. The Buckeyes would also likely jump No. 7 Georgia and No. 6 Auburn -- provided both teams lose to top-ranked Alabama in the next two weeks.
Beating the Badgers would give the Buckeyes both a conference title advantage and head-to-head victory against the nation's No. 5 team. That would leave Ohio State needing to climb just one more spot to make the playoff, with No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Miami (Fla.) set to square off against each other in the ACC Championship Game.
In an ideal scenario for the Buckeyes, the Hurricanes would beat the Tigers, handing Clemson its second loss of the season without a conference title to supplement its playoff case. But even if the Tigers win, it's possible -- perhaps likely -- the College Football Playoff committee would pick a two-loss Big Ten champion Ohio State over a one-loss, non-conference champion Miami.
But regardless of what path they take to get there, oddsmakers seem to like the Buckeyes' chances of landing in the final four. Of course, plenty of chaos could still ensue in the coming weeks. But for Ohio State, it still may be as simple as win, and the Buckeyes will be in.