Winning in the state of Ohio was a foregone conclusion, probably the last result officially approved for the championship weekend, but suspected for the first time.
What mattered was everything else and how much: Could the No. 6 Buckeyes fall on Northwestern so their victory could look more impressive than Oklahoma's No. 5? And would No. 1 in Alabama expand No. 4-Georgia, as its 12 previous opponents already had, triggering it out of consideration for a quick kick?
By kicking Oklahoma had defeated the No. 1
Nothing about the state of Ohio's accomplishments – Dwayne Haskins' brilliance, the mediocre defense – was even the least bit surprising, maybe even beyond. Pluck Northwestern's third quarter. If the Buckeyes struggled this season (in a defeat by Purdue and especially by Maryland), that was often from the beginning and fought back three or four quarters. Unlike the Wildcats, the state of Ohio looked promising and then withered away for a quarter, making Haskins an almost impossible task. The quarterback, who had finished the night 34 of 41 with 499 yards, five touchdowns and one intercept, could not have done much more than him – but the state of Ohio needed complete control. Instead, the rest of the team gave less help to his quarterback than he should have, imposed nine penalties for a total of 90 yards and allowed Northwestern to prevail, especially in the bottom. (Wildcats' support, John Moten IV., Broke a 77-yard touchdown in the first quarter.)
Yes, the Buckeyes won big, but they looked more careless in more moments than any competitor would go against a four-yard touchdown. Loss opponents – especially in a season in which three of the four college football playoff teams are unbeaten against the semi-finals. The Big Ten may not have favored the state of Ohio with its oblique divisions – only a total madness of the wildcats would create a positive feeling – but the Buckeyes made their lives harder on Saturday night as they have the full season. This defense entered the FBS on Saturday in unit number 57, in terms of score, giving opponents an average of 160.6 yards (# 62) and 237.6 yards in the air (# 75) , It is the worst Buckeyes unit of coach Urban Meyer's seven-year tenure in Columbus, the limiting factor in an otherwise impressive season in which the Buckeyes' second quarterback often looked like a Heisman winner.
Haskins fought to the end On Saturday, never let Northwestern draw closer than the 24-21 differential that hit it with a touchdown in the middle of the third quarter. From there, the state of Ohio launched a touchdown on a fast, 60-meter ride in which Haskins completed passes of nine, 16 and 29 meters. After blocking a field goal on Ohio State Drive on the next Ohio State Drive, the Buckeyes downed another impressive march, this time 75 yards in just 1:23, largely due to a 63-yard reception by Johnnie Dixon.  At that time, the Ohio state's victory seemed to be underway – which it was, and Haskins and his company set another fourth-quarter touchdown on the road to victory. Once the northwest was out of reach, the Buckeyes had to bury them – which they did – but the game was less awry than the final score given. And after a dramatic and tense season, the Buckeyes ended on Saturday. It seemed they had worse chances in a playoff spot than on a day when they had to skip at least two teams in the table. They are 12-1, Big Ten champions, and unrelated is an impressive achievement. But also thanks to the standard set by Meyer's team this decade – and also the sense that Northwestern were just one or two key players to emerge victorious – the Buckeyes' regular season ends with a touch of emptiness. If her name is called into the fourth playoff spot tomorrow, it's because the Saturday's playoffs committee saw something of the rest of the game at the end of a confusing season for a wildly talented team.