If there were any doubts about Ohio State's worthiness for a spot in this year's College Football Playoff, the Buckeyes certainly squashed them Saturday with an emphatic 56-7 home win over seventh-ranked Michigan State.
But have they now leapfrogged second-ranked Alabama as the most capable team of defeating top-ranked Georgia on the biggest stage? Former Bulldogs quarterback and current CBS Sports analyst Aaron Murray believes so.
"Ohio State is showing me something I didn't see about a month ago," Murray told The Zach Gelb Show on Monday. "In the past two, three weeks, they've shown me that they have that killer instinct you need to win a championship. Maybe they have that in their DNA that I wasn't sure they had in order to beat Georgia. Because that's what Alabama has...
"They have that mentality, 'We don't care who you are. Good, bad, whatever. We're coming out to not only beat you, but we're going to embarrass you.' That mentality is what it takes to win a national championship. Ohio State has now shown me that. Right now, I would give Ohio State the slight edge over Alabama as the next team that has a chance to take down the Bulldogs."
Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud, who's one of the top Heisman candidates, was phenomenal against the Spartans' sketchy pass defense. He completed 32 of 35 passes for a whopping 432 yards with six touchdowns, all of which came during the first half. Ohio State's top-three receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark and scored, and halfback Master Teague III rushed for 95 yards on 21 carries for a touchdown. They also outgained the Spartans, 655-224.
Ohio State, which placed fourth in last week's CFP rankings, will face a critical test this upcoming Saturday in a road matchup against sixth-ranked Michigan. According to ESPN's Playoff Predictor, the Buckeyes (10-1) have a 96-percent chance to reach the CFP if they win out and claim the conference title. If they lose to the rival Wolverines, however, their championship hopes will end.
The entire college football conversation between Murray and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.