Michigan and Ohio State are eliminated from the College Football Playoffs

Tough luck Jeff.

Tough luck, Jeff.Image: Getty Images

Sometimes the narrative writes itself. And then, if you’re very lucky, it just falls into your lap. The Big Ten had two opportunities to send at least one representative — either Michigan or Ohio State — to the college football playoffs.

But as is the way with college football in 2022-23, well-crafted plans are pitfalls.

Michigan vs. TCU

First, every game involving the Horned Frogs will be 17 different types of drunks, and the Wolverines should have known that from watching movies. At half time it was 21:6. After 14 minutes and 13 seconds in the fourth quarter the score was 41:38.

The final tally between Michigan and TCU was 51-45, and we got there with 11 points in the second half. Jim Harbaugh’s special in Philly in the first quarter felt like a crucial mistake at the time, but it was one of what appeared to be 85,803 turning points that ultimately took Sonny Dykes and his team just one win from the national title.

Max Duggan and TCU were not gifted a trip to the title game as they repeatedly fended off comeback bids. Whatever the Frogs had built during a more than chaotic run to the playoffs showed itself in full force against Michigan, and every time JJ McCarthy got off the ropes, the Horned Frogs responded.

Total mileage between TCU and UM surpassed 1,000, and the previous high score for a Fiesta Bowl — Nebraska’s 62-24 game over Florida in 1996 — was sprinted past. It was a proverbial rollercoaster of emotions, and TCU came out smiling.

Ohio State vs. Georgia

They were only 54 seconds behind in the competition for Ohio State. Georgia has toyed with its food all season, but it certainly felt like they’d finally encountered a serious opponent and needed to be told to show up.

When the Bulldogs finally went ahead 42-41, nobody held their breath. The Buckeyes came within field goal range and missed a 50-yarder that would have ended an unlikely rise from the ashes of the Michigan disaster.

Both UGA and OSU must have felt the championship was within reach as TCU overtook Michigan. Cinderella is waiting to be defiled and the glass slipper is ready to be smashed.

The Peach Bowl also offered 1,000 yards of attacking surface, and all four teams’ defensive units were relegated to spoilers. This was without a doubt the best series of semifinals we’ve seen and it just so happened that the Big Ten were let down by either.

Neither the Buckeyes nor the Wolverines will end the year with ultimate bragging rights, and it feels fitting. They didn’t play anyone until they played each other and if there was a consolation game now they would be in it.

CJ Stroud looked like the top-five pick he was expecting — finally — and it ultimately didn’t matter. Just as JJ McCarthy’s valiant efforts will be lost in the annals of CFP history. Both B1G-QBs pulled in a few gains totaling 500 yards offense, and if you’d told the average fan that, they’d probably say the title game was going to be a rehash of Thanksgiving weekend.

Instead, the national title game at So-Fi Stadium is a rehash of the 2016 Liberty Bowl, and it’s absolutely perfect for this fantastically insane season. Hypnotoad has never beaten the Dawgs in four tries, and as much as I’d like to say I bet UGA, I’m more than happy to see how this storybook ends.