The Rose Bowl is rarely viewed as a consolation prize for its participants, but that is what the "Granddaddy of Them All" could be for the Ohio State Buckeyes this year.
Ryan Day's team lost its chances to qualify for the College Football Playoff with its 42-27 defeat to the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.
Ohio State is the likely Big Ten representative in this season's Rose Bowl because it is the second best program from the conference in the playoff rankings.
The Buckeyes' head-to-head victory over the Michigan State Spartans puts them in great shape to make a trip to Pasadena, California on New Year's Day.
The only scenario in which Ohio State does not earn a Rose Bowl bid is if the Iowa Hawkeyes upset Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game, but that seems unlikely given the matchup.
Ohio State could find itself in a rematch with the Oregon Ducks if Mario Cristobal's team wins the Pac-12 Championship Game over the Utah Utes.
The Oregon-Utah winner will advance to the Rose Bowl since the two Pac-12 sides are too far down the rankings to make a top-four push.
Rose Bowl Information
Date: Saturday, January 1
Start Time: 5 p.m. ET
Odds: Available odds can be found on DraftKings Sportsbook when matchup is set.
Ohio State vs. Oregon
The best possible Rose Bowl matchup would be a rematch of the Week 2 thriller in Columbus, Ohio that was won by Oregon.
At one point this season, the Buckeyes and Ducks were on a collision course to face each other again in the playoff. But Oregon's loss to Utah and Ohio State's defeat at Michigan changed the site of a potential rematch from the Orange or Cotton Bowl to Pasadena.
Ohio State needs its biggest rival, Michigan, to wrap up the Big Ten title so that it can make the trip to southern California.
Michigan would be in the College Football Playoff in that scenario. Ohio State would be the second best program in the playoff rankings from the conference, and that would lead to a Rose Bowl berth.
If Iowa defeats Michigan, the Hawkeyes would head to Pasadena and the Wolverines would land somewhere in the New Year's Six mix.
Michigan has played the tougher schedule throughout conference play and has been more consistent over the last few months. Iowa peaked at No. 2, lost two straight games and needed help just to make the Big Ten Championship Game.
Ohio State would be ranked ahead of the Michigan State Spartans because of its head-to-head win, so all it needs is one result in its favor to reach the Rose Bowl.
The Pac-12 scenario is easy to understand as well. The winner of Friday night's clash between Oregon and Utah at Allegiant Stadium will head to the Rose Bowl.
It is hard for any team to beat an opponent twice in one season, let alone in less than one month. Utah shocked Oregon at home on November 20 to eliminate the Ducks from playoff contention.
Oregon should have a better chance to beat Utah on a neutral field. The Utes suffered all three of their losses on the road.
Utah fell in September to the BYU Cougars and San Diego State Aztecs, both of which were listed in the Top 20 of the latest CFB rankings. The Utes also lost to the Oregon State Beavers, which were in contention for the Pac-12 North title until their loss to Oregon last week.
If Oregon learns from its mistakes, it should produce a much more competitive game than the 38-7 defeat in November.
The Ducks rebounded from the loss with a 38-29 win over Oregon State on Saturday. If they rediscover their rushing identity against Utah, they should come away with a victory.
Oregon had a 100-yard rusher in four of the five games leading up to the Utah matchup. The Utes allowed over 200 rushing yards in each of their three defeats.
If Oregon advances to the Rose Bowl, it will make its second appearance in three years. Justin Herbert was the star of the Ducks' last trip to Pasadena, as he led the program to a 28-27 win over the Wisconsin Badgers.
Ohio State last reached the Rose Bowl three seasons ago. The Buckeyes have the third most Rose Bowl appearances among Big Ten and Pac-12 programs behind the USC Trojans and Michigan.
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