Here’s Why Ohio State Jumping LSU Is A Huge Deal

College Football Playoff National Championship

The in-season College Football Playoff ranking shows are generally not worth paying much attention.

Sure, things will change somewhat from week-to-week, and that can be somewhat indicative of the committee’s overall thinking.

However, in past seasons the committee has not seemed particularly beholden to precedent or logic as they’ve moved teams around from week to week.

One team is where it is because of “game control” while another is there because of their “body of work.”

Someone else may have moved up due to a strong “quality win” and only having “quality losses.”

There are, however, weeks when something major happens and it seems like it might truly be a big deal.

Soooooo… that just happened.

Yes, Ohio State jumped over LSU to take the top spot, just 12 days before the only College Football Playoff rankings that really matter.

There are two separate, but very significant reasons why that is a big freaking deal.

The first is that if the Buckeyes win their next two games and look decent doing it, they would almost certainly hang on to that No. 1 spot.

The reason why is contained in the rest of the top-25.

OSU still has to play No. 13 Michigan and then either No. 8 Minnesota or No. 12 Wisconsin.

Any of those teams would likely remain in the top-25, even with another loss. That would give the Buckeyes four wins over teams in the top-13 right now, plus another over No. 19 Cincinnati. There’s a decent chance the Bearcats fall out of that top-25 in the next couple weeks, but the other wins should stand up.

LSU’s remaining schedule includes unranked Texas A&M and No. 4 Georgia.

The Tigers can, at best, pick up one more ranked win.

It’s almost impossible to see the committee viewing one win over Georgia as so much more impressive than two wins over Michigan/Minnesota or Michigan/Wisconsin that LSU deserves to jump back to the No. 1 spot.

You can never say never, of course. Maybe LSU hangs a 59-0 win on the Bulldogs, while OSU slogs through a couple 21-20 games.

Maybe the committee decides that LSU’s Georgia (neutral site) and Alabama (road) wins are more impressive than anything OSU has, and jumps them back to the top.

Maybe, but probably not. After all, the road win at Alabama is already baked into LSU’s resume.

If you assume that the Buckeyes are likely going to stay atop the ranking with two more wins, here’s why that’s a big deal.

A couple weeks back, we looked at the statistical profiles of this year’s top teams to determine which were most likely to advance in the Playoff.

Ohio State is one of two teams that seems extremely likely to make someone’s life miserable in the semifinals.

Clemson is the other.

If the Buckeyes finish No. 1 and Clemson wins its next two games, Trevor Lawrence and company are someone else’s problem in the semis.

No. 2 LSU would have to face No. 3 Clemson if all three top teams win out.

The Buckeyes would end up facing whoever comes out of the Pac-12, Big 12, second SEC team mish-mash of Utah, Oklahoma, Georgia, or a Tua Tagovailoa-less Alabama.

All of those teams have had solid seasons. None of them are likely to present the overall challenge of Clemson.

At that point, the Buckeyes just have to take care of business in the Peach or Fiesta Bowls to advance to the championship.

They’ll likely have to face Clemson there, but it’s obviously a huge benefit to avoid the other top team in the bracket for as long as possible.

Tuesday evening’s news isn’t the final word on this year’s CFB Playoff field.

But the Buckeyes certainly have a much simpler path to the championship game now than they did an hour ago.

11 Responses

  1. What is the second reason? I assume it’s that #1 gets to pick the venue for the semifinal. Make LSU/Clemson or Georgia/Clemson go to Arizona and make Utah (hopefully) come to Atlanta with an 80%+ OSU crowd on hand…

  2. It’s nice to be number one, but as the saying goes, when you’re number one, there’s only one place to go. Let’s focus on ttun and ‘cleaning up our game’ in the words of Ryan Day, then worry about speculations.

  3. o though Rece Davis was gonna cry when they announced OSU at #1 lol….now go beat scUM!! Go Buckeyes!!!!.

  4. The reason they jumped the Bucks to #1 is because they want us to play Ga first. One of the toughest teams to play. Leaves LSU with a easier path to the championship!

    1. Only way UGA makes it to the playoffs is if they beat LSU… so you’d think they’d be ranked over LSU after that game. In that case we wouldn’t play UGA until the title game. But in that scenario we might be playing LSU in the first game, which would be preferred to me, over playing them in New Orleans again.

  5. If Ohio State and LSU both win out, OSU will gain two top 25 wins, while LSU will gain one. However, if Cincinnati loses and drops out of the top 25 both OSU and LSU would net one top 25 win. Since Georgia is higher ranked at #4, would the committee use that as a reason to put LSU above OSU?

  6. One quibble, Tom. No way do the Buckeyes face Georgia because Georgia only makes it to the playoff with a win over LSU. If that happens, LSU drops to four and Georgia moves to three, setting up Clemson-Gawja and Ohio State-LSU in the semis.

  7. This is awesome! I didn’t expect the Buckeyes to move up this week. I thought maybe we could move up next week after two impressive wins over PSU and ttun. But getting the top spot this week is incredibly huge for Ohio State. I still want Minn to beat Wisc to avoid a rematch game. And beating a higher ranked 12-1 Minn in the B1GCG would be ideal for the resume. Go Bucks! Beat Xichigan!

    1. I’m right there with you. The Buckeyes need to win out. Go Bucks beat the teax up north.

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