Source: Bucks Weren’t Passing Alabama Regardless of Wisconsin Score

Big Ten Football


According to a source very close to a College Football Playoff committee member, and who was privy to the final debate over the No. 4 seed, it wouldn’t have mattered if Ohio State had “decisively defeated” unbeaten Wisconsin in Saturday’s Big Ten championship game.

Ohio State jumped out to a 21-7 lead over the 12-0 Badgers and was driving late in the second quarter in what looked like could be a knockout touchdown drive. After J.T. Barrett, playing six days after undergoing knee surgery, first missed wide-open receivers K.J. Hill and then Johnnie Dixon on what would have been sure touchdowns, the drive stalled and a field-goal attempt was blocked.

The Buckeyes had to settle for a 21-10 halftime lead.

By the time the game ended two hours later, they had to come up with a final defensive stop to hold on for a 27-21 win.

“It wouldn’t have mattered,” the source said of the final score. “Ohio State was not getting in ahead of Alabama.”

Which begs the question, why did committee chair Kirby Hocutt, the athletic director at Texas Tech, say this the previous Tuesday, when Alabama was ranked No. 5 and Ohio State No. 8? …

“Reflecting on the discussions over the last two days, obviously there’s three spots that separate them right there, but it’s close separation from team No. 5, Alabama; 6, Georgia; 7, Miami; 8, Ohio State,” Hocutt said on live TV. “Those teams are close. Very little separation in the committee’s eyes between teams 5 through 8.”

If that were true, something obviously changed from when he made his comments Tuesday night until the time the Buckeyes’ six-point win in Indianapolis concluded.

As it is, the Crimson Tide, 12-point losers to Auburn in their final regular-season game, will face No. 1 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semifinal; No. 2 Oklahoma will meet No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl semifinal – and Big Ten champ Ohio State (11-2) will face Pac-12 champ USC (11-2) in the Cotton Bowl Dec. 29 in Arlington, Texas.

Jeff Snook, a 1982 graduate of Ohio State, has written 12 books on college football.


36 Responses

  1. Would love to see where anyone connected to the committee used the phrase “razor thin”. Anyone have that link?

  2. If we get in the playoffs and Haskins is QB, we win the natty, else we get hammered by 30 again.

    PS JT is a great leader and great ambassador and he will coach and be on payroll some day.

  3. It was actually a SEC conspiracy, Alabama knew losing to Auburn wouldn’t keep them out, but it would gain another SEC team into the playoffs. How dastardly and daring of the SEC committee to be that forward thinking. But when the bias is that the SEC is the best conference since the inception of the playoffs, it might be business as usual, moreso than a risky assessment.
    But the real culprit here is OSU, for laying the biggest egg-ever, at Iowa. A close loss may not have gotten them in, but as someone below said, a one point victory would have. But we still have Ohio’s battle cry to rely on-Wait till next year!

  4. Many of you don’t understand what happened this year and what it means. You think its some sort of problem to solve. They don’t follow anything. You can go undefeated and blow out everyone by 50 points and if they want someone else because they look better then they are going to pick them.

    Regular season games don’t matter. Conference titles don’t matter. They just pick who they want.

    1. Jonathan- if what you just wrote is true ( that the committee “just pick who they want”) then OSU fans should consider ourselves lucky, because the team has been in that conversation consistently since the playoff system was established. Regular season games do indeed matter, both in the negative and in the positive. You are a frustrated fan who, more likely than not, simply cannot stand Alabama- and I’m right there with you (and ditto for Clemson, Georgia, OU by the way).
      Rather than making wildly inaccurate statements- the committee just doesn’t pick whoever it wants, otherwise members would always select their alma mater or the school employing them- there may be a better solution out there. In the late 90s people grew tired of the polls (I was one of them, couldn’t stand UM always being ranked 4th pre-season and losing 4 games each year!). The answer was to develop BCS. Then people complained about BCS, so the playoff system was implemented. Now people complain about the playoffs, and the most commonly voiced remedy is to make the teams play more and more games in rapidly expanding playoff scenarios. Where does it end?
      Given that the universities appear poised to stick with the 4 team playoff, maybe the answer is to include only the conference champions from the Power 5 schools into a debate among committee members, who select which 4 of those 5 get to be in a playoff (in other words, which conference gets left out). Maybe the committee could be made up only of representatives in equal number from each of the power 5 conferences, with a “spokesperson” whose only job is to face the media and draft a document at the end of the process, which CLEARLY explains who was chosen and why, signed by all the members. That’s my fantasy solution to join the 100 others we have seen or heard about, EVERY YEAR the teams have been announced and some team feels jilted…
      The problem is that my idea, just like the others people have suggested in the comment suggestions, is merely a fantasy. The better play is to focus on reality, week by week, if a team is really good and in the playoff hunt. The current OSU team lost its focus completely on 2 occasions for an entire game and lost both, and one of those losses was unforgivable even by the most lenient and biased OSU fan’s standards. OSU enjoys a benefit of the doubt status that most eligible teams will never even see- Wisky this year before the BIG championship, anybody?- so complaining about the committee actually sidesteps the bigger issue for OSU in this particular year- remarkably inconsistent play against decent competition all year long. You sound like you are too far gone to be able to do this, but just try asking yourself if “wild inconsistency” should be a valid trait for a playoff team. If you answered “no”, you are on the right track as to why OSU got snubbed THIS YEAR for the playoff. They still have a marquee game vs. USC that I find much more appealing than the playoff games. Let’s hope the “good” Buckeye team shows up and puts a hurting on the PAC 12 representative.

      1. Even if they had won the Iowa game by 60 points, they could’ve still been left out. The committee don’t follow criteria. Picking Alabama over Ohio State went against everything they said they used to pick teams. What did Alabama do to get in? My angst has nothing to do with dislike. I’m not emotionally invested into any team enough to hate. I dislike the dishonestly, the injustice, and the unfairness of it all. Everyone points to the Iowa game like its an indicator. Its not. Because if the games mattered then the big win against MSU, PSU, Michigan, and then against Wisconsin more than off sets it. Alabama doesn’t have one win that trumps those. This isn’t even considering they were conference champions.

        What did Alabama do to get in? This isn’t about Iowa. Iowa is just the excuse for what happened. Big wins against good teams and a conference title. Alabama had none of those. None. Everyone is ignoring that. How a team is projected to perform should have no factor on it. If the team won the games they needed to win then they should get a shot. If they get blown out then so be it but they deserved to be there to get blown out. You can look like you belong and get torched like Oregon did to FSU.

        With the look test now being the indicator and on the field performance not mattering or a team looking weak in their wins…..the 2002 OSU team would’ve never been allowed in the playoffs. Nobody wanted them in. Everyone thought they would get blown out and would ruin the BCS championship.

        What did Alabama do to get in? Thats the question people need to be asking because the answer has nothing to do with the games they played.

        1. Hi Jonathan- I can feel the frustration and disappointment coming out of your reply. Despite your comment to the contrary, you definitely have a dog in this fight, which is why it pains you so much. I get it, I actually do…
          The problem is that your argument is riddled with inaccurate comments. First, and make NO mistake about this, had OSU beaten Iowa they WOULD be in the playoffs. Had the Bucks beaten that middling squad by even 1 point, let alone 60, they would be 12-1 and conference champs. That metric fits OU and Georgia as 1 loss conference champs who were selected.
          Second, although its mere speculation like the above point, the 02 OSU team would indeed have been in the playoffs as an UNDEFEATED conference champion who beat 4 teams in the AP top 25. Of course they would have been selected…
          Finally, the look test/eye test is not the sole indicator, its a phrase that’s been drilled into our heads by idiots like Kirk Herbstreit who ARE shills incapable of independent thought. Its unwise to confuse the committee with the likes of him, his co-idiot Chris Fowler, and the like. Finally, its dangerous to reference “on field performance” and a team “looking weak in their wins” as marks against Alabama- in this year, if you are an OSU fan. OSU looked VERY weak for 55 minutes against Ped State, bad vs UM for at least a half, bad an entire game vs OU. The words for the Iowa game continue to elude me- the squad played like it was blindfolded, and the coaching staff was apparently lobotomized the entire week of the game. I am NOT an Alabama fan by any stretch, but they didn’t lay a series of eggs throughout an entire season like OSU. It looks like Alabama was bequeathed a spot in the playoffs because the other serious contenders simply couldn’t grab it themselves. Its been a weak year all around major college, which makes this year’s mishaps all the more frustrating. OSU is still in a cool bowl matchup and I will root like crazy for them anyway, Go Bucks!

  5. In other words, the Committee is completely corrupt.

  6. As a member of Buckeye Nation it pains me to say this, but neither OSU or Alabama deserved a spot. Based on the way teams were playing in November USC had a more valid claim than either. It does seem strange that the committee said 4-8 were very close before Championship weekend, and an idle Alabama suddenly became unequivocally superior to everyone else after games were played. If this is the best they can do, let’s go back to the AP/UPI days and simply vote on a champion after all the bowl games.

  7. Source: Buckeyes were definitely getting in with a blowout over Wisconsin. Now that would be interesting and something I may read. This….YAAAAAWN!

  8. This year is history, but we can even things up next season with the following changes:
    1) Require D-1 teams to play only conference teams in the month of Nov.,
    2) Require all D-1 schools to leave the first weekend in November open,
    3) When the final rankings come out after the NC game match #1 with #20, #2 with #19, #3 with #18, etc., (Bama- KSU, USC – Auburn, Clemson – West Va, etc)
    4) Schedule those games at the home field of the lower ranked team for the first weekend in Nov.
    This will eliminate cupcake games in Nov. and shake up the rankings. It may force the warm weather teams to play in cold weather. This should create 10 games that will have high viewership and generate much interest and high revenues.

  9. Could be a big upside to this. If Georgia and Alabama lose in the first round the SEC will have the stigma the Big 10 had for years after OSU lost two straight NC’s. So here is hoping they both lose badly.

  10. the committee makes NO sense—they should have to explain something so important..5-8 are razor thin close..then alabama doesnt play..OSU beats undefeated #4 and wins conf championship and waaalaaa–alabama is now way better than osu?? THAT’S what i’m pissed about—-and all you people who keep beating the iowa drum–WE KNOW…..we are just ticked at the committee and them not explaining and being hypocrites with an apparent sec bias. based upon what the committee them selves said the week prior no way alabama shouldve been in over OSU.period.

    1. Todd- I’m one of the “you people” who keeps “beating the Iowa drum”. I’m also a guy who hasn’t missed a televised OSU game in 30 plus years. I think what we are seeing amongst OSU fans is angst directed at the committee when other factors are actually making the fan base angry. They are:

      1) Alabama’s weak schedule that included Mercer. Problem is they’ve been doing that for years and not been “penalized” for it.

      2) Alabama getting in over OSU with less impressive results, an Alabama/OSU feud in other words. Lots of people, including some who comment on this site, claim they aren’t angry that OSU didn’t get in, but rather that Alabama go in over OSU. Who else should it have been if not Alabama or OSU? USC? Central Florida? What’s the answer?

      3) Frustration with OSU’s two monster losses this year and inconsistent play throughout the year.

      Take a look at the above 3 reasons and identify the ONE which OSU itself could control. That’s right, its number 3. OSU looked like garbage against Oklahoma, and I’m not sure there’s a word in our language to describe how poor they looked against Iowa. The teams that got in either had a) a better record than OSU or b) a loss nowhere near as absurd as OSU’s. If OSU simply takes care of business against an outmatched Iowa team, we aren’t having this exchange and they are in the playoff-period.
      Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the committee itself has some sort of internal agreement that only the spokesperson may speak for it, or something similar. They know that, at this point, NOTHING they say will placate the fan bases or sport administrations of the teams who were close but no cigar. Again, the solution is to play well enough that there is no debate in the first place.
      Looking forward to OSU/USC, Go Bucks!

      1. I totally agree. whats one thing you tell your team in the locker room before a game or even after a close loss riddled with mistakes… “don’t get into a situation where we’re putting a play, or game, in the hands of the officials”

        we didn’t take care of business and left it up to the officials(committee) to determine out fate. Nothing here to complain about. Take care of your own business! All else will fall in line.

  11. What is the purpose of the Division playoff in the power 5 conferences if you are going to ignore the results of the playoff? I ask that with full knowledge that OSU got in last year without winning the Big Ten championship. My point is that if you have 5 super conferences and a group of major independents which might be considered the 6th conference, then two champions and any one of a major independent were completely ignored by the selection committee. If that is going to be the practice in the future, than why have a league championship or a selection committee, just let those two division winners play in a major bowl during the bowl season and then let the final results of the five conferences and the two heavyweights of the independents who will have played in a major bowl make up the field for the better selected championship round. Eliminate the committee who couldn’t get it right to begin with.

  12. You mean, the Buckeyes weren’t getting in because of how decisively Alabama had beaten Mercer.

    I totally get it.

  13. Next year, the SEC tries to get 3 teams in…

    Especially if both GA and Bummma lose in the first round this year.

    1. Its ESPN. They will shill for both the SEC and the ACC now. So its either or …or both. All SEC/ ACC playoff.

  14. I assume that the committee was put together to balance the regions of the country and conference affiliations. If that is true, then when you have to exclude those with an affiliation to OSU/Big 10, then of course the discussions will be in favor of the SEC. Kirby can talk until he is blue in the face about the integrity of the people on the committee, but like all of us they have personal biases. Having Gene Smith on the committee was a disadvantage for the Bucks. Still, it was a tossup and we lost, but the Bucks put themselves in that position and have only themselves to blame.

    What I would like is for this system to transition from a reality TV show to one where things are settled on the field. There are too many good athletes and too many good teams to only include 4. The fact that there is talk show after talk show, week after week about who’s in the top 4 points to a stupid system. It is really a discussion about ‘who will get screwed this year?’ We need all power 5 champs and 3 at large included. Why would that be so difficult? The only way that you know you have earned a championship is to include all of the teams that have a realistic shot at winning. This year the Buckeyes would have had at least a 20% chance of winning if they got in. Penn State was a valid team last year. TCU the year before that. It is better to include a couple too many teams in the playoff than to leave worthy teams out.

  15. Yes. BIAS against the Buckeyes and bowing to PRESSURE from Saban and the Crimson Hype.

  16. I’m just sorry it was Alabama that made it in. The Committee® and CFP® are bogus. It’s as arbitrary as ever and we’ve lost the Rose Bowl in the deal. Yeah, I’m pissed about that because that venue properly belongs to the champions of the PAC-12 and the Big 10 and we have ourselves a potential game for the ages lined up in the wrong place. Meanwhile they could hold the CFP semi in Vegas for all anybody cares. Oklahoma vs Georgia belong in the Cotton Bowl. Los Angeles and the roses were made for USC and OSU. What the hell. Whatever, Alabama doesn’t belong either. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  17. I hear Congress has passed a secret Amendment to the Constitution requiring Alabama to be automatically including in the CFP, regardless of how many teams are in it. They’re calling it the Saban Clause.
    Never, never, never have I ever rooted for Alabama to get clobbered as much as I will be when they play Clemson! It’s about time we stopped having to talk about the Elephant in the room. Time to turn the Tide!
    And by the way…GO BUCKS!

  18. Since the Big 10 and Pac 12 champions are irrelevant to the CFP, perhaps the two leagues should withdraw from the CFP . Then, they could schedule their league champions to play one another, in say, the Rose Bowl on, say, New Years Day!

    1. I like this plan. Let’s recruit the Big 12 and ACC too, then the SEC can play with themselves. It’s a total joke that the first week of rankings the past four years had 9 SEC teams out of 16 total teams.

  19. Not a surprise to me. It looked very apparent that when Alabama only dropped to 5 after their loss to Auburn they were getting in even if the Buckeyes were victorious. Their justification being the same thing that put Ohio State in last year over Penn State. There was no way the committee was leaving Alabama out of the playoff. I’m not even so sure they would’ve put Wisconsin in over Alabama had Bucky won unless it was a blowout. Had Wisconsin won a close game I could’ve seen the committee saying” Wisconsin barely beat a 2 loss Ohio State team who had a horrible 31 point loss to unranked 7-5 Iowa therefore Alabama is better.”

    1. Yup. When ‘Bama was five, the fix was in!

  20. This horse is dead and buried, folks. Fans are well aware of what Hocutt said in the passage quoted in the article. After the Wisky game, OSU did in fact leap three spots to number 5, which is considerable. Unless someone on the committee grows a pair and speaks candidly, rather than on condition of anonymity, none of us will likely learn the full rationale (based on comments I’ve read on the site, lots of folks weren’t going to be satisfied regardless). Whether OSU fans like it or not- and I don’t like it because I’m a fan- the committee obviously felt Alabama would play Clemson tighter than OSU (or Wisky or USC for that matter). The scenario OSU is experiencing right now is a hard reminder that you DON’T leave it up to “eye test” people in the final vote, because the term “eye test” just means “gut feeling” or “regional bias”, depending on which committee member is in question. If OSU beats Iowa- a poster child for mediocrity this year- or even keeps it a close loss probably- OSU is in and the “eye testers” never even get to use that phrase. The same is likely true for USC, another conference champ with an 11-2 record, who somehow managed to lose by THIRTY FIVE to a flawed Notre Lame team. If USC loses that game 35-28 instead of 49-14, it would have been the same deal…
    Very disappointing lastly, because this year is a fairly weak playoff field- it would have been a great year to slide in and steal a championship (which, sadly, Alabama may actually do). You don’t lose by a million points to Iowa and get in, is the final message here. I just hope the Bucks remember that when they play Iowa next year- as well as the fake Iowa pulled with a 31 point lead in the final minutes of the game. Go Bucks, beat USC!

    1. Unfortunately we don’t play Iowa next year.

      1. The next time we play them then- I trust people get the point.

  21. They need to apologize to the 2015 Bucks who were in the same situation and got let out. I won,t watch a 3rd place SEC team anyway.

    1. exactly Bill!! ..the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the committee is alarming–if this not that great alabama team could get in the 2015 OSU team should have

  22. What changed is that they thought Wisconsin would take care of OSU so they wouldn’t have to deal with that problem in the first place.

    The problem I have with how this all went down is the process, not necessarily the result. If the committee provided convincing evidence that Alabama was “unequivocally” better, then I would have been okay with the result. However, they DID NOT. The committee essentially threw out all of the metrics that for the last 3 seasons they said was important, and simply went with who they wanted in. That is not above board and threatens the integrity of all future playoff selections.

    1. Paul- I think they were happier OSU won over Wisky. Had Wisky won, they would have had to explain their way around leaving out an UNDEFEATED conference champ in favor of Alabama. Given this committee’s leanings, I feel sure they would have done so. Now THAT would have been controversial.

  23. I think OSU was being punished for losing to Clemson in a shutout the year before and because they had two loses. There was bias against Ohio State that showed itself.

Comments are closed.