SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- As the final minute ticked away at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday night with the No. 9 Fighting Irish leading 14-10, fans begun to push their way forward, preparing to storm the field in celebration of an upset of No. 6 Ohio State. Beefy security guards stood on high alert.
Then, with one second left, Ohio State scored the winning touchdown. Even Notre Dame's videoboard appeared at a loss for words, as it paused on a screen saver of the two teams' logos. Irish fans in the tunnel stood stunned. A security guard tossed a belligerent Ohio State fan off the field. The officiating crew began to review the touchdown. The giant screen sparked to life again with the replay. The crowd roared. The bare-chested students were ready to pounce.
The call stood.
In dramatic, improbable fashion, Ohio State's College Football Playoff hopes took an important leap forward, while the Irish are now in must-win mode to even have a chance. It was a wild finish to a critical Saturday that revealed several clues about the playoff pecking order -- from the Big Ten to the ACC to the SEC to the Pac-12.