Buck up Ohio State fans because there might still be something to play for, and an opportunity to get into the College Football Playoff still thanks to where the Buckeyes landed in the latest CFP rankings released on Tuesday.
Ohio State fell just three spots to No. 5, one spot out of a playoff spot when the next-too-last rankings were unveiled on ESPN Tuesday night. The top four ahead of the Buckeyes are about what everyone thought they would be with Georgia nailing down the No. 1 spot followed by Michigan (2), TCU (3), and USC (4).
Just below Ohio State are Alabama and Tennessee which appear to be on the outside looking in aside from maybe a double-whammy of USC and TCU both losing and leaving the CFP committee with a decision to make between Ohio State, TCU, USC, and Alabama for two of the spots.
After the rankings were revealed, inquiring minds wanted to know why teams slotted where they were, and CFP committee chair, Boo Corrigan, was made available to provide some transparency and commentary on the process of ranking the teams.
Here is everything Corrigan and the CFP committee said about Ohio State’s plight after the reveal Tuesday night.
BRETT DANIELS: I’d like to welcome everyone to the penultimate College Football Playoff Selection Committee teleconference for the 2022 season. Joining us tonight is Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, along with Boo Corrigan, College Football Playoff Selection Committee chair.
At this time we’ll jump into questions and answers.
Q. Boo, we all obviously saw the Ohio State-Michigan game and the second half in particular went bad for Ohio State. What’s your view of that game? Was it more that it was a blowout 45-23 or it was a close game until it got out of hand at the end? Also kind of a second part of that, how much does the committee try to guard against recency bias?
BOO CORRIGAN: The recency bias is something we do talk about on a regular basis to make sure as we’re going through this that we’re looking at everything and looking at the full body of work. It was talked about in the committee room that going into really early in the fourth quarter the game was still close.
That being said, you can’t completely dismiss the way the fourth quarter ended with Michigan kind of taking over the game there late.
There’s a lot of respect for Ohio State in the room and the wins they’ve had this year, so again, taking the full body of work, it was certainly something we looked at, but it wasn’t, it’s a blowout, let’s move on.
Q. This is what it’s all about, right, Michigan winning on the road at Ohio State and Georgia at home against Georgia Tech, I’m just curious about the conversations. You keep Georgia at No. 1; how vehement were those conversations, and why did you conclude the way you did?
BOO CORRIGAN: Well, again, a lot of conversation specifically about that, the Georgia-Michigan and Michigan’s big win on Saturday. Again, Georgia did nothing against Georgia Tech for people to look at that game in a way that it was a watershed moment, if you will, for Georgia. Georgia over the entire season, the win over Oregon, the win over Tennessee, the win over South Carolina and Mississippi State gives them four wins over teams ranked in the top 25, and Michigan, even with that win, has a win over Ohio State as well as a win over Michigan, two great wins, but the four wins versus the two wins, taking over the whole body of work, we ended up with Georgia No. 1 and Michigan No. 2.
Q. How secure is TCU’s place in the field regardless of outcome Saturday? And with Ohio State 5 and a pair of SEC teams 6 and 7, is that more based on Ohio State just having one loss, or did anything come into play the fact that Ohio State plays one additional conference game versus the regular — in the regular season versus the SEC?
BOO CORRIGAN: As we looked at TCU, we have them as the No. 3 team in the country, 12-0, 6-0 against teams .500 or better, some real quality wins that they have, and they continue to win games. They continue to find ways to win games. Their defense has gotten stronger and stronger, and really where we are this week, where do we have them this week, and we have them clearly at No. 3 this week.
BOO CORRIGAN: What we’re doing has nothing to do with conferences. We don’t look at that from that standpoint it could come into play around strength of schedule, those types of things, but it’s not something we sit there and how many conference games teams are playing. We try to evaluate every team on an individual basis as we go through this, and as we looked at it, Ohio State and their two good wins over Penn State and over Notre Dame overshadowed Alabama and Tennessee from the standpoint of two close losses for Alabama, a couple good wins over Texas and Mississippi State, and then with regards to Tennessee, I think that loss against South Carolina really weighed with the committee.
Q. This is maybe more of a philosophical question, those it does apply to this field. When you have a top 4 that are all playing in conference championship games and then you have a team or teams, the only ones that could plausibly move into the top 4 that are not playing in conference championship games, you referred to that as a “bonus game” on the broadcast, but I guess it wouldn’t be a bonus to a team that lost and then got pulled out of the top 4. Is the committee open to that? Would the committee be comfortable holding that 13th game against a team that had won and I guess sort of rewarding a team that had lost and had not played that 13th game? How does the committee look at that?
BOO CORRIGAN: As we look at that, we’re going to come back in here on Friday and get together and watch games on Friday and Saturday and go back into the room and make sure that we select the right four teams, and quite frankly the right 25 teams to be ranked, and certainly that’s going to be part of their body of work. That championship game will be part of their body of work. That will be part of the determination as we go through this whole process.
Q. I was curious if you could talk about the committee’s discussion between Ohio State and USC at 4 and 5. Obviously you were asked about the recency bias, but two losses to highly ranked teams; what was the differentiation there?
BOO CORRIGAN: Well, I mean, Ohio State has nice wins over Penn State and Notre Dame, and again, that Michigan game was a whole lot closer early in the fourth quarter than it was, but then you look at USC and their recent wins over UCLA and Notre Dame, they also have a win over Oregon State. Their one loss is, you probably remember this, a two-point conversion against Utah in an emotionally charged game.
As we looked at the full body of work of both teams, we came out with USC in the No. 4 spot and Ohio State in the No. 5 spot.
Q. Just to follow up, you mentioned the two-point conversion in the Utah-USC game was the deciding factor between USC and Ohio State, the fact that USC had lost a very close game whereas Ohio State had a 22-point loss?
BOO CORRIGAN: Well, I mean, it’s a top-25 win. As they go into it, it better adds to their body of work as a team and as a program and the job that they’ve done this year. Again, it’s a piece of it and everything that goes into it, but it gives them — coming off of UCLA, it gives them back-to-back big wins for USC.
The job that Caleb did in that game, Caleb Williams, he’s a player. I think all that together is why we ended up with USC at 4.
Q. Was it a fairly easy decision to put them at 4, or was there some debate?
BOO CORRIGAN: There isn’t a whole lot easy about any of this that we’re doing. We’re going over this again and again and making sure that we’re spending time and getting everyone’s opinion of the 13 people on the committee and making sure that we’re all together making the right decisions.
Q. Did I hear you right on the show that you confirmed that Ohio State and Alabama would not change spots; they’re going to stay where they are?
BOO CORRIGAN: No, I did not.
Q. I thought you said that on the show, that because Ohio State and Alabama are not going to play this weekend, their order would not change. Not that they wouldn’t move spots, but Ohio State was going to stay ahead of Alabama?
BOO CORRIGAN: No, ma’am.
Q. I think there is a little bit of confusion because when you were asked you on the show, he did say nothing could change as far as how those teams who were done for the season would stack up against one another, and you said, “correct.” It did sound like Ohio State will stay ahead of Alabama and Alabama will stay ahead of Tennessee. You’re saying that’s not necessarily the case?
BOO CORRIGAN: I apologize if there’s any confusion on that. I apologize. No, that’s not necessarily the case. I apologize if there is confusion.
Q. The question I’ve got, obviously — of course we all lived through 2007 and the chaos that ensued at the end of that BCS year, but is there a line where if chaos ensues, Ohio State could move up, Alabama could move up into the top 4? Is there any chance that you see Tennessee moving into the top 4, or is that kind of the line between Alabama and Tennessee?
BOO CORRIGAN: I think that’s a segment of what we’re going to see this weekend is all the games, and we’re going to see how it all plays out and be able to make our decisions next week and get back on a phone call with y’all explaining them.
Q. I was going to ask you about injuries, but let me change course here. Michigan opened its passing game up in the first half against Ohio State, and I was wondering if that changed the committee’s perception of Michigan. You’ve described them as workmanlike over the course of the last couple weeks and the fact that they showed that with J.J. McCarthy.
BOO CORRIGAN: I think they continued to be who they are and find ways to win games, and Coach Harbaugh has done a great job with that program, and they saw a different way to do it and did it in a different way this past week. Everyone was very impressed by Michigan’s performance on Saturday down at Ohio State, and we ended up with them at No. 2.
BRETT DANIELS: I’d like to thank everyone at this time for their participation in tonight’s call.
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