The Ohio State Buckeyes are in the College Football Playoff, leaving both TCU and Baylor on the outside looking in. The playoff features champions of four of the five power conferences, while the pair of co-champions of the Big 12 are not. That isn't without some justifications though, as Ohio State has some legitimate claims to its spot in the playoff:
Ohio State played a tougher schedule, by committee metrics
For all the complaints about the non-conference struggles of the Big Ten early in the year, Ohio State's schedule certainly fares favorably when matched up against the slate of teams Baylor and TCU faced in 2014 (remember that the committee doesn't use advanced stats to determine strength of schedule, instead relying on raw win totals):
The 12 FBS teams Ohio State beat averaged 6.67 victories; Baylor's 10 averaged 5.5 and TCU's 10 averaged 5.4— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 7, 2014
Ohio State's final Saturday made the decision easy to defend
The top teams in the rankings all earned victories in the last weekend of the year. The top six all handled business. The largest margin of those victories came from the Buckeyes though, as they dismantled the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship, 59-0.
Ohio State's 59-0 victory against Wisconsin checks in as the single best game of the year according to the SRS, narrowly edging Bama/A&M.— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) December 7, 2014
Wisconsin entered the game ranked No. 13 in the selection committee's rankings and the Badgers were dispatched with ease by Ohio State, despite the Buckeyes starting third-string quarterback Cardale Jones after two injuries. Baylor's 38-27 victory over Kansas State was impressive, and TCU didn't lose face at all with a 55-3 victory over Iowa State, but neither of those games featured a complete domination against a highly-ranked team like the Buckeyes managed to accomplish on Saturday.
CFB Playoff Selection
Ohio State is an outright power conference champion that played 13 games
Despite a "One True Champion" campaign set forth by the Big 12, there was anything but a single champion for the conference. Instead the conference's playoff problem was the lack of a championship game to decisively separate one team from the rest of the conference.
Ohio State, on the other hand, earned the right to advance to the Big Ten Championship Game with an 11-win season and earned a 12th win over Wisconsin. That's one victory more than both TCU and Baylor, as both teams finished 11-1 without an additional championship game to play in.