“Although Ohio State’s strength of schedule is sub-par, mostly because TCU has badly stumbled and Michigan State is no longer ranked, it seems likely Ohio State would make the playoff field as a one-loss Power Five champion. History says that is true.”
Tuesday night saw the unveiling of the first batch of College Football Playoff rankings for the season. Even though the Ohio State Buckeyes sit at No. 8 in the AP Poll, the CFP rankings disagreed with that high of a number, as the Bucks were placed at No. 10.
The Purdue loss hurt OSU, but all is not lost — at least not yet. Kevin Allen of USA Today wrote about how the Scarlet and Gray could work their way back into the playoff picture. But to get there, the Buckeyes will need to fix a multitude of problems that reside on both sides of the ball. Allen notes, as many others have, that the offensive line and defensive secondary haven’t looked sharp, even though the Bucks ran through the first seven games unbeaten.
What we’ll see this week against Nebraska could be anything. There could be improved O-Line play, maybe even some schematic changes on the defense in hopes of limiting the big plays opposing offenses have been able to gather throughout the year.
In the end, though, Ohio State has to win their games. Nebraska is on tap next, but road contests against Michigan State and Maryland happen before the home finale against Michigan. By no stretch of the imagination is the road easy. Sparty has spoiled recent national title runs for the Buckeyes, and has, at the most inopportune time, given OSU more trouble than what’s been expected. Michigan is already in the CFP top-five, and that game has the makings of being the de facto Big Ten East championship game. And if all goes well to that point, Ohio State will head back to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game against whomever comes out of the rough and tumble West.
But, as Allen notes, if the Buckeyes can win out, they’ll have a strong argument for being included in the playoff. While Power 5 conference champions have been left out in the past, will the committee leave out a one-loss, conference champion Ohio State team if it happens this season?
“When you look at Ohio State’s resume, when they played TCU, that was a healthy TCU team on a neutral site in Texas. So that does factor in. But obviously the loss at Purdue does weigh as a part of that, and I think that’s why you see Ohio State at No. 10.”
— Rob Mullens, Chair of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, following the unveiling of the first CFP standings of the season.
Keeping up with the theme of the CFP, the chair of the selection committee, Rob Mullens, spoke on a teleconference Tuesday evening about the initial rankings.
One topic of discuss was, unsurprisingly, Ohio State’s spot at No. 10. Right now, the Buckeyes are behind the likes of other one-loss teams Kentucky (No. 9) and Washington State (No. 8), and one spot ahead of two-loss Florida.
Mullens said that the rationale for putting OSU at that spot was weighted by many factors; ranging from beating a healthy TCU squad on a neutral field and a highly ranked team on the road in Penn State, but also by losing heavily to an unranked Purdue team.
With all these factors being stirred together to get the ranking, there is a constant: beating teams that are both healthy and good moves you up. Mullens noted twice on the call that the committee took into account that when OSU beat TCU, the Horned Frogs were a somewhat healthy squad. After that game, and with injuries piling up, TCU fell completely off the radar. Currently sitting at 3-5, TCU is on the cusp of not even making a bowl game.
Even though Ohio State’s best non-conference win of the season is looking weaker as the season moves on, Mullens’ and the committee are viewing the win as it happened. In this case, TCU was a good team when playing OSU.
However, in the case of Washington State, Mullens said the officiating in Wazzu’s loss to USC wasn’t part of the discussion into where they were ranked. The Cougars lone loss of the season had controversy, as there was criticism over a targeting penalty not being called.
Porter Gustin missed the 1st half tonight due to targeting in the last game... and now he's doing this?? pic.twitter.com/RMym4s5rZA— CFB Gif'er (@CFBgifer) September 22, 2018
It seems that if controversial calls happen, those won’t be taken into account when the CFP rankings come out. Here’s hoping that the spots are forever good for the Buckeyes.
“But the Big Ten, the conference with which he is most associated, opted not to offer him a contract for the 2018-19 season. Rick Boyages, who oversees the conference’s basketball officials, said at Big Ten media day that the conference typically uses 30 to 35 referees. Valentine will not be one of them.”
And in college basketball news, there’s going to be one less familiar face this season blowing the whistle and performing Oscar worthy theatrics in Buckeye games. Ted “TV Teddy” Valentine didn’t get a contract offer from the Big Ten conference, meaning that we won’t see these antics this season in B1G contests.
Valentine has been on the Big Ten scene for a whopping 34 seasons, and has reffed games coached by Bob Knight, Gene Keady and Thad Matta.
Rick Boyages, the overseer of conference officials, didn’t say if performance or Valentine’s theatrics were the ultimate reason for why he didn’t get rehired, but was quoted in Greenstein’s piece as saying that they “factor it all in.”
I’ve seen Valentine officiate games on television, and even thought that he may “T” me up from beyond the screen for my reactions over a questionable call.
Nonetheless, we’ll be missing out on some officiating theatre in the Big Ten. Fortunately, if you want your winter drama over questionable decision making, “The Bachelor” will be starting back up in January.
Stick to Sports
- The best horror movies of 2018, so far.
- Video game of the year candidate Red Dead Redemption 2 had the second-largest launch in entertainment history.
- Mr. Feeny interrupts an attempted burglary at his home in California.
- Naomi Watts cast in the “Game of Thrones” prequel pilot.
- In the Buckeye State, absentee ballot numbers increased in 2018 compared to 2014.