J.T. Barrett and Ohio State should be locked into the College Football Playoff. (AP/Jay LaPrete)

Ohio State is in the playoff. Wisconsin? Penn State? Michigan?

SHARE Ohio State is in the playoff. Wisconsin? Penn State? Michigan?
SHARE Ohio State is in the playoff. Wisconsin? Penn State? Michigan?

Thanks, Ohio State and Michigan, for living up to the moment. We’ll take double-overtime in “The Game” every year from here forward, if that’s cool with you guys.

Takeaways from Week 13 of the college football season:

1. The top three of Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings is easy to foresee: It’ll be Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.

Unless, you know, it isn’t.

But it almost has to be. Unbeaten Alabama’s spot at No. 1 is cast in iron, and how could previously second-ranked Ohio State drop after edging then-No. 3 Michigan? Previous No. 4 Clemson moves up a spot, and from there the only question is the real biggie: Who’s No. 4?

Chances are, it’ll be 11-1 Washington, which was highly impressive in Saturday’s blowout victory over resurgent rival Washington State. Yet it could be 10-2 Michigan. The playoff committee has the leeway to buy itself a week and see what Washington does in the Pac-12 title game against top-10 foe Colorado.

2. Wisconsin and Penn State now enter Saturday’s Big Ten title game in Indianapolis with identical 10-2 records and similarly slim hopes of making the playoff.

The winner of the game between the Badgers, who will be ranked no worse than sixth this week, and the Nittany Lions, who will be ranked no worse than seventh, might get the call from the committee if either Clemson falls (to Virginia Tech) in the ACC title game or Washington falls (to Colorado) in the Pac-12 title game. The committee would have to consider Michigan here, too, and potentially two-loss Oklahoma if the Sooners end up running the table in the Big 12.

Otherwise, the Rose Bowl is the worst-case scenario for the Wisconsin-Penn State winner. Not a bad deal at all.

3. It really is fascinating to think of the range of possibilities awaiting Michigan. Are the Wolverines one of the four best teams out there? Their résumé is strong. I keep going back to the three-week stretch in the first half of the season when they beat Colorado 45-28, Penn State 49-10 and Wisconsin 14-7. The only defeats: at Iowa by a point and at Ohio State by three in double-OT. My take: No, there aren’t four better teams.

The Wolverines probably would be happy with the Rose Bowl, but they’re most likely bound for the Orange Bowl against Florida State or Louisville. It’s not like we wouldn’t all watch, right?

4. One more thing on Michigan, if you don’t mind. Did you hear coach Jim Harbaugh’s postgame rant about the fourth-down play in the second overtime period on which Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett was ruled to have reached — by a whisker — the line to gain? Um, it totally was a first down. Not a legitimate complaint by Jimmy Football.

5. Unthinkable: LSU’s promoting of interim coach Ed Oregeron into the head coach’s chair. In short, athletic director Joe Alleva fired the school’s all-time winningest coach, Les Miles, and replaced him with Miles’ offensive line coach. Coach O better find himself some state-of-the-art coordinators.

6. Tom Herman, Texas’ new coach, has earned his shot. He crushed it at Ohio State as the offensive coordinator who helped a third-string quarterback lead the Buckeyes to a national title. He crushed it at Houston as the guy who kicked Florida State’s, Oklahoma’s and Louisville’s butts. But he’s also a lucky son of a gun. Fired Charlie Strong did a lot of heavy lifting in Austin, setting up Herman for instant success.

7. Hilarious: The Sugar Bowl is stuck with the highest-ranked SEC team after Alabama. That’d usually be a great problem to have, but this year? It’s like bobbing for apples in a bucket full off mud.

8. Louisville, now 9-3 after being upset on its home field by four-touchdown underdog Kentucky, sure has taken a disappointing turn. But the Heisman still has to be Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson’s trophy. The wow factor is there. The stats are, too — and then some.

9. Congrats to Northwestern on eking out a sixth win (over Illinois) to set itself up for a bowl bid. No one is doing cartwheels about a .500 regular-season, but the Wildcats should be proud of their rally from a 1-3 September.

10. Final regular-season team grades: Northwestern C, Illinois D, Northern Illinois D, Notre Dame F.

Follow me on Twitter @slgreenberg.


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