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Last season was supposed to be a big year for the Ohio State football program, with the team finally bowl eligible after years of suffering through NCAA sanctions. They were coming off an undefeated season where they were easily the best team in a Big Ten conference that pitted lightweights Nebraska and Wisconsin against each other in the Big Ten Championship Game. Unranked and five-loss Wisconsin won the game 70-31 to claim the crown that year. At the start of the season things looked promising for Ohio State, but the last few weeks changed that.
Despite the late season disappointment, Ohio State is once again expected to be one of the top teams in the nation. They are currently ranked sixth in the USA Today preseason poll, and Ohio State football tickets have the third most expensive ticket prices on the secondary market. They also have the third highest reserve price for tickets for the National Championship Game. TeamTix offers fans the chance to preorder postseason tickets at face value. The price has largely been determined by how likely the team is to make the new playoffs instituted this year, and the Buckeyes cheapest ticket currently costs $89.
Admittedly it is a drop from last season’s ticket price. Last year Ohio State football tickets for the title game cost $135 to reserve, meaning ticket prices are down 34 percent this year. But that has little to do with Ohio State’s chances of making the four-team tournament, and everything to do with the change in format. While finishing ranked second last season would have put the Buckeyes in the title game, the same ranking will only put them in the College Football Playoffs this season needing to win another game to play for a national championship.
This season a Big Ten title would be an improvement for Ohio State. For much of the season they looked like a national title contender, putting together another undefeated regular season. With Alabama’s season-ending loss to Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl it appeared the door was open for Ohio State to make the title game as one of just two undefeated team’s in the nation. But the Buckeyes lost to a Michigan State team that hadn’t lost a conference game in the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State was still awarded an at-large bid for a BCS Bowl Game, but lost to Clemson 40-35 in the Orange Bowl.
There are many who believe that the B1G’s title is again the Buckeyes’ to lose, in spite of the results of last years’ B1G championship game proving that Michigan State can also make that claim. The Ohio State football schedule allows them to get their shot at a rematch against the Spartans on November 8 in East Lansing, and a victory there would go a long way to ensuring a berth into the new playoff format.
Ohio State had a disappointing end to a very promising season last year. But expectations are high once again in Columbus, OH with a top preseason ranking, and high playoff ticket prices. With the bottom of the conference as weak as it’s been in recent seasons, the Buckeyes have as good a chance as anyone to make the four-team playoff field in its inaugural season.