My thoughts on Ohio State being selected for the College Football Playoff
by: Luke Wickiser
COLUMBUS, OH (TM216) — There was a lot of controversy surrounding the College Football Playoff Committee’s final decision today! Top-ranked Alabama (SEC Champion) was followed by Clemson (ACC Champion), Ohio State (At-Large) and Washington (Pac-12 Champion). Big Ten Champion Penn State finished the regular season ranked #5, with Michigan rounding things out at #6.
While I can only speak for myself, fans seem to be on one side of the controversy or the other surrounding the Buckeyes making it into the College Football Playoff. Most believe one of two things: You either believe that since Penn State won the Big Ten Championship and beat Ohio State head to head, they should be in. Or if you’re like me, you believe that the committee made the right decision by including Ohio State in the four-team field.
While strong Playoff arguments can each be made for Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State, since this is a Cleveland and Ohio sports site, I’ll highlight why Ohio State made it in over the Nittany Lions based on three things: quality wins, “good” losses and talent level. I’ll also add in other things that I believe could’ve been factors in Ohio State’s selection. Enjoy!
- Quality Wins: While Penn State did beat Ohio State head to head, the Nittany Lions only had a 2-1 record against teams ranked in the Top 10. (Wins: Ohio State, Wisconsin; Losses: Michigan). Ohio State, meanwhile had a 3-1 regular season record against teams ranked in the Top 10 with a blowout win at Oklahoma, and a pair of close wins over Wisconsin on the road and Michigan at home. Both were overtime thrillers! What many people arguing for Penn State don’t realize is this: No one other than Ohio State has three wins over the current Top 10. Not even mighty Alabama can claim this.
- Good Losses: While no team ever thinks of losing as a good thing, the Playoff committee does weigh how good or bad a loss looks on a playoff contender’s resume. They also take into consideration the number of losses a team has as well. This also seems to favor Ohio State, since the Buckeyes finished the season at 11-1 and Penn State ended their campaign at 11-2. When we look at the losses each team has, the obvious edge goes to Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ lone loss of the year came at Penn State on a blocked field goal that was ran back for a touchdown. Penn State’s two losses? A close, 42-39 loss at Pittsburgh (the Panthers ended up 8-4), and a blowout loss at #6 Michigan (49-10). The committee’s goal is to choose the four best teams to compete for the championship. “Best teams” either stay undefeated, or don’t have black eyes on their resume. The ugly showing at Michigan cost Penn State dearly here.
- Talent Level: I think the committee got it right here. Pairing Alabama with Washington and Ohio State with Clemson rather than putting Penn State up against Alabama or any of the other three creates the possibility for exciting and entertaining playoff games. I do not believe this would be the case had the Nittany Lions been included in the playoff as a four seed. If Penn State was blown out at home by a good Michigan team, imagine what Alabama would’ve done to them in the Playoff. I believe Ohio State has the talent to hang with Clemson, Alabama and Washington for all four quarters.
- Other Factors: While the committee should select the four best teams to play based on what they’ve done on the field, some off the field circumstances could have possibly influenced their choice to put Ohio State in the playoff. Two things come to my mind here: Money and Ratings. Anyone who follows college football knows Ohio State fans travel extremely well. That is, they pay a lot of money for tickets to big games, such as the upcoming Fiesta Bowl against Clemson. Buckeye fans have always made the NCAA a boatload of money. Ratings also could’ve influenced their final four decision. Simply put, there are many fans who want to see either a possible rematch of last year’s National Championship (Alabama vs. Clemson) or the 2015 Sugar Bowl (Alabama vs. Ohio State). The committee’s decision to put Ohio State in the four-team playoff allows for these two possibilities.
All in all, I believe the committee got things right!
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