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Ohio State's reward for making the playoff: A matchup with juggernaut Georgia

Ohio State football helmet
Brynn Anderson

Despite a loss to arch rival Michigan and no opportunity to play for the Big Ten conference championship, Ohio State is in the College Football Playoff.

The Buckeyes learned Sunday that they will be the fourth seed in the four-team playoff, meaning they'll take on top-seeded Georgia on New Year's Eve in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

“If someone said at the beginning of the year that you get to go play the national champs in Georgia, let’s go do it,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said during a Sunday press conference. “You’ve got to go play those guys in order to play for a national championship.

Ohio State landing the fourth seed means they avoid a semifinal matchup with Michigan. The second-seeded Wolverines will take on Texas Christian University in the Fiesta Bowl.

If the Buckeyes and Wolverines both win, it would set up an epic rematch in the January 9 national title game.

“You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but that would be unbelievable,” Day said. “It would be historic to have that opportunity. To say that we haven’t thought about that, of course we have. Everybody’s thought about that.”

For now, the Buckeyes have their hands full with Georgia, the nation’s top-ranked squad that stayed undefeated with a Saturday night win over LSU in the SEC championship game.

“That’s where our focus is going to go, and then we’ll go from there. They’re a very good team … Big challenge for everybody across the board, but something that – going into the season – we knew we were going to be in this situation to go play for it all and Georgia was going to be in the way,” Day said.

Ohio State narrowly missed the postseason playoff last season under very similar circumstances.

The Buckeyes’ last playoff appearance was in 2020, when they beat Clemson in a semifinal and lost to Alabama in the national championship game. Ohio State won the first College Football Playoff following the 2014 season.