Early Tuesday afternoon, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was asked for his thoughts on the initial College Football Playoff rankings that would be released later that night.
His thoughts were that he had no thoughts.
“I think it’s for the fans,” he said. “Doesn’t mean anything to us because if we lose this weekend, we’re not going to be in the top four, that’s for sure. What matters is where we’re at once we’re done with the season, the regular season.
“None of that really matters to us.”
But, you might ask, he’s at least a little curious, right?
“Not really, no,” he said. “Because again, it doesn’t matter if we don’t continue to win. What matters is the record at the end of the season, where you’re ranked at the end.”
While Day wasn’t interested in the rankings or the committee, the rankings committee was most definitely interested in the Buckeyes, ranking them No. 1 overall Tuesday night.
During the reveal of the rankings, ESPN’s Rece Davis interviewed CFP committee chair Rob Mullens about a number of topics, including why Ohio State over LSU.
“Two outstanding teams,” Mullens said. “We obviously recognized LSU’s marquee wins against Florida and Auburn. Two outstanding offenses with Joe Burrow and the new offensive coordinator at LSU, but when you watch Ohio State, they have performed at a very consistent level. Really good on both sides of the ball. Explosive offensive playmakers, and Chase Young is probably as disruptive a defensive player as there is in the country. And when you look at their resume, they perform at a consistency high level every week.”
And after rattling off the reasoning of the committee, Davis weighed in with his own thoughts, seeminglly dismissive of the data the committee used to come up with their top-ranked team.
“That’s the eye test right there,” the ESPN host said.
Following the initial College Football Playoff rankings release on ESPN, Mullens held a teleconference with media from around the country.
The Buckeyes came up a couple of more times throughout the 17-minute interview session.
Mullens began, however, by explaining how they came up with their top four, which is succinct and informative.
“Ohio State is No. 1 because of their overall consistent dominant play each week as well as their strength on offense and defense,” he said. “Undefeated LSU is No. 2 because of its tough schedule and marquee wins over Florida and Auburn. Alabama is No. 3 because committee members are impressed with its overall performance and quality of play on both sides of the ball. Penn State is No. 4 because of its strong play, which includes wins over Michigan and Iowa. Penn State’s strength of schedule gave it an edge over an impressive Clemson, which we ranked No. 5.”
When it came to evaluating Ohio State over LSU and everyone else, Mullens was asked if it was just the eye test as Rece Davis suggested, or did they actually have some metrics they used.
“Sure, it was both. Obviously, we have data,” Mullens said. “They’re highly ranked in just about every statistical category, both offensively and defensively. Again, when you watch their games, they play at a consistent high level. Again, on both sides of the ball, explosive offensive playmakers, outstanding defense, probably the best defensive player in the country at this point. Very efficient, very consistent.”
Mullens was then asked how the committee could square Ohio State’s non-conference schedule with LSU’s, since OSU didn’t “put themselves out there” and LSU has a win over Texas.
“I mean, we’re looking at the whole schedule, and sure, we recognize that LSU went on the road and beat a Texas team,” Mullens said. “We recognize that Ohio State beat a Cincinnati team that’s ranked. So sure, we look at all the games, conference and non-conference, and both these teams have strong schedules.”
Through all of Mullens’ explanations and answers from everyone, it seemed clear that Ohio State was the obvious No. 1 and there was a bit of room between the Buckeyes and LSU.
Just how much room there was between LSU and Ohio State was what I wanted to know and it was the question I was trying to ask. Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch beat me to it, however.
But Mullens’ response was not worth the wait and was the only answer you needed to hear to know that everything could change by this time next week.
“You know, two great teams,” Mullens said when explaining the gap between Ohio State and LSU.
“And when you’ve got two strong teams with quality schedules, both undefeated, two outstanding offenses, great quarterback play, so there’s a lengthy discussion, and at the end of the day, the committee felt that Ohio State was 1 and LSU was 2.”
That was the answer to a very direct question and one that could have provided actual insight to Ohio State and LSU.
Instead, it was just words that formed sentences but didn’t mean anything beyond the individual words spoken.
And next week, the exact thing could be said about the exact opposite outcome and mean something completely different.
As long as Ohio State stays at No. 1, however, you can probably overlook it.
I – O !
Restating the obvious – Reece Davis is doing his job, so is everybody else at Spin and on the committee. Ryan Day is doing his job – that is to drown out the noise and get the good guys ready and prepared to play Maryland. The fans get all hyped after the first rankings and rightly so, that’s what we do (its our job). So, now that its out there, I’m gonna sit back and watch how good this Day guy really is at doing his job. Win and you’re in. Period. Go Bucks!
The only thing OSU needs to concern itself with is the playing field and their next 4 games, and right now the only thing that matters is Maryland. Because as both Ryan Day and on this site James A. Mills eluded, run the table and we’re in and who cares who and where and when we play, and with one loss OSU goes back to the ‘dog and pony’ show. Maryland is our concern. Maryland.
None of the rankings make any difference. IF the Buckeyes run the table……………they’re in and who cares where they play in the playoffs. It will make exactly zero difference if they’re ranked #1 or #4. IF they lose they are rightfully at the mercy of the Committee.
Rankings right now? Who gives a shit (shrugs).
I was surprised the committee put the buckeyes at 1. I expected LSU, Bama, OSU, Clemson, PSU. PSU is the GAME for us in my opinion because the winner is going to Indy. If we take out PSU at home and by some miracle of god scUM pulls the upset (which I don’t think they can this year) and we go on to win the BIG I think we still make the playoff as a 1 loss BIG champ.
Rece Davis is just a hater taking out his frustration on the Buckeyes because ESPN won’t let him call games and he jealous of Herbie. Really tired of his fake veneer of “impartiality” and his tendency to politically pontificate and use Gameday to put the spotlight on himself. He reminds me of the know-it-all kid in third grade who has to answer all the questions to get attention.
Hi Andrew- I actually liked Mullens’ replies but for the final one about LSU vs. OSU, which was noncommittal. You are likely right about the setup for the LSU/AL game to take over number 1. What I am anxious to see, however, is if the committee stays true to Mullens’ words should LSU/AL be a letdown. If the game is lackluster will the committee have the clarity of thought to keep OSU 1, should the Buckeyes wipe the field with Maryland? I think Mullens was intimating that OSU’s defense is separating them thus far, as well…
Back to the article, the comments by Rece Davis don’t surprise me a bit. He’s an empty headed clone with an agenda. I just hope the clones don’t win out, they are a dull yet persistent bunch!
Agree that Mullens said all the right things up until the OSU separation from the Tigers. Glad you mentioned it because the only top defense that’s on-par with the Bullets right now is Clemson and how do we really know with their baby-soft schedule? There’s no more reason to talk about Rece Davis than there is to listen to him.
O – H!
Can pretty much guarantee that Mullens is setting the table for whomever wins LSU/’Bama to take over #1 next week and not relinquish it until they lose. Buckeyes ranking this week is most likely to try to convince anyone they can flim-flam that they’re not SEC-biased.
It will be interesting to see how next week’s rankings “shake out”. If LSU beats Alabama, I have no issue with LSU getting moved to #1 since its resume will be greatly improved. However, if Bama wins, its resume will still be lacking when compared to OSU. It will be interesting to see if the selection committee jumps Alabama to #1 and seemingly ignore many of the reasons they initially put the Buckeyes in the top spot over LSU.
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