The College Football Playoff committee seemed to put the Ohio State Buckeyes in their place Tuesday night.
In the 2018 debut of the Playoff rankings last Tuesday, the scarlet and gray opened at No. 10. After two teams lost — LSU and Kentucky — that were previously ranked in front of them, the Buckeyes were expected to jump a spot or two in this week’s rankings. That didn’t happen. Even with those two teams losing, Ohio State remained at No. 10 in the latest rankings.
While they jumped the Wildcats, the two-loss Tigers remained ahead of the Buckeyes at No. 7. Even after being shutout at home by an Alabama team that looks unstoppable, LSU only dropped three spots and remained in the top 10, ahead of Ohio State. That made one thing clear: The committee doesn’t think very highly of the Buckeyes, and honestly, deservedly so. There’s a reason the Buckeyes are the worst-ranked one-loss Power Five team.
“They did struggle a bit against a 2-7 team, and that’s two weeks in a row that they’ve struggled a little bit,” chairman Rob Mullens said on a teleconference after the rankings were revealed, referencing Ohio State’s 36-31 win over Nebraska.
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 7, 2018
Even if they win out, which would mean wins at No. 18 Michigan State this Saturday and possibly an undefeated No. 4 Michigan squad in the final game of the regular season, it still won’t mean the Buckeyes automatically make the Playoff. There’s no clear path, especially after they stayed at No. 10. Even if they win out, there’s a very good chance that Georgia, Oklahoma, Washington State, or West Virginia would most likely remain ahead of them in the rankings if any of the four win out. Ohio State can only worry about taking care of their own business. Win out, including the Big Ten Championship, and the rest will work itself out. It will be tough to keep out a 12-1 Big Ten champion if Ohio State does win out.
While the conference may not be deep, the Big Ten saw four teams ranked this week, along with the Buckeyes: No. 4 Michigan, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 20 Penn State, and No. 21 Iowa.
Besides Alabama, which, when at full strength, will be tough for any team in the country to stay within 10 points, the SEC saw plenty of their teams in the rankings: No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 LSU, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 15 Florida, No. 16 Mississippi State, and No. 24 Auburn. Much like in years past, the SEC love is real. That was proven with LSU remaining a top-7 team.
What’s done is done, and it’s not the Buckeyes’ fault the Big Ten isn’t deep at all and teams such as TCU have been really overrated this year. That loss at Purdue stings and could eventually cost them a spot in the Playoff, but what’s in the past should remain there. The Buckeyes can only care and worry about what’s in front of them. Not only do they have to win out, but Ohio State also needs some help as well. Score margin could potentially matter as well. Winning is important, but so is passing the eye test. They haven’t done so over the last few weeks even though the Buckeyes are still 8-1, so passing the eye test while winning out could loom large. Everything will eventually work itself out, but the committee seemed to put the Buckeyes in their place Tuesday night.
Luckily, there are still four weeks for Ohio State to impress the committee. It all starts this weekend in East Lansing.
Key regular-season games remaining for teams currently ranked ahead of Ohio State:
- Alabama (9-0): vs. No. 16 Mississippi State, vs. No. 24 Auburn
- Clemson (9-0): at No. 17 Boston College, vs. South Carolina
- Notre Dame (9-0): vs. No. 13 Syracuse, at USC
- Michigan (8-1): at No. 10 Ohio State
- Georgia (8-1): vs. Georgia Tech
- Oklahoma (8-1): vs. Oklahoma State, at No. 9 West Virginia
- LSU (7-2): at Texas A&M
- Washington State (8-1): at Colorado, vs. No. 25 Washington
- West Virginia (7-1): at Oklahoma State, vs. No. 6 Oklahoma