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CFP Reaction: Deserved or not, Buckeyes drop might work in their favor

Justin Fields-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and the Buckeyes might now have a bigger chip on their shoulders. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

CFP Reaction: Deserved or not, Buckeyes drop might work in their favor

COLUMBUS — Always remember the first rule for Ohio State when the rankings are released.

Ignore them.

The Buckeyes aren’t paying any attention, and since the poll doesn’t actually matter yet, that’s still the best course of action.

But when that fails thanks to the often inconsistent logic, strange shakeups and the unfortunate possibilities that the latest polls might suggest, then turn to the silver linings.

Yes, it’s great that the College Football Playoff committee is able to take a clean-slate approach every week, trying to avoid holding on to preconceived notions and evaluating the entire body of work. No, in a real playoff winning a No. 2-vs.-No. 3 matchup doesn’t award the victor the top seed in the next round.

But whatever, that’s fine. Refer to that important rule again, tip a hat to LSU for a huge road win and wait for the next game day as everything keeps getting sorted out on the field.

Again, winning is the only thing that matters to Ohio State at this point. And while the truth is the Buckeyes are pretty unlikely to be bothered no matter what number is by their name, slipping to the second spot could easily work in their favor.

J.K. Dobbins-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins has helped fuel the dominance of the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Start with the obvious: Ohio State already has an enormous chip on its shoulder after missing the four-team field over the last two seasons despite winning the Big Ten both years. Dropping in the poll after another utterly dominant, blowout victory could only make them hungrier.

The conversation about it isn’t likely to be a long one in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center if it happens at all. But the Buckeyes might take a little offense from the same group of people who thought they were the best team in the nation a week ago appearing to change their minds seven days later.

“At the end of the day, the focus is it comes back to us,” Day said. “What is your standard? We have to make sure we’re holding up that standard. We got a lot at stake here. We can’t put any of that stuff to risk. That’s something that the coaching staff has been hammering home with the players.

“To this point they’ve respected that. They have to continue to.”

The Buckeyes have done an impressive job of keeping that focus solely on their own preparation and the results on the field against every opponent, and they haven’t been doing it to earn votes in the rankings. If nobody ever beats them, they already know they’ll be collecting all the trophies on their wish list.

But beyond that, being No. 2 doesn’t even change much when it comes to the destination or even the matchup in the semifinal. LSU and Ohio State have left no doubt so far this season that those are the two top programs in the country. And as long as the records remain unblemished, it appears obvious that the SEC champ would head to Atlanta and the kings of the Big Ten would head to their postseason home in the desert. The order is almost certainly not going to matter, and that would be doubly true if the other spots are filled with teams from the southeast who could potentially claim something of a home-field advantage in the Peach Bowl.

Ohio State doesn’t need to pay any attention to the College Football Playoff rankings, and it has shown no signs that it will.

The Buckeyes are already in prime position, and that’s not a secret. But if they happen to perceive that they’re being slighted by the committee, heaven help Rutgers on Saturday.

Full College Football Playoff Rankings for Nov. 12

1. LSU

2. Ohio State

3. Clemson

4. Georgia

5. Alabama

6. Oregon

7. Utah

8. Minnesota

9. Penn State

10. Oklahoma

11. Florida

12. Auburn

13. Baylor

14. Wisconsin

15. Michigan

16, Notre Dame

17. Cincinnati

18. Memphis

19. Texas

20. Iowa

21. Boise State

22. Oklahoma State

23. Navy

24. Kansas State

25. Appalachian State

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TLMMatthew HuszarikAZ BuckeyebuckinthevilleKid Buckeye Recent comment authors
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Michael
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Michael

Where is Indiana?

Cindy
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Cindy

I was wondering the same thing? IU should be in the top 25 at the very least.

Hominid
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Hominid

Ranking GA above Bama is the epitome of stupid. Bama lost a close game to the number 1 team in the country – GA lost to an unranked, pissant team.

It’s not unreasonable to rank LSU #1 – they’ve beaten better teams than the Buckeyes so far.
In the end, the games will tell the tale.

The Buckeye offense is slightly better than LSU’s because of Dobbins. The Buckeyes defense is way stronger than LSU’s – LSU gives up points, the Bucks don’t. In the end, the Bucks will be national champs.

Nawlins Native
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Nawlins Native

As an LSU fan, its dumb to move LSU ahead of Ohio state after beating the #3 team (when they were #2). That’s what always makes the CFP and voting system such a dumb system. All of it needs to be put on the field and not voted on – but that’s another argument for another day. Either way, LSU won a more dominant game than the final score against ALA and thier overall strength of schedule is probably why they moved them to #1. In the end it really doeant matter other than the matchups. To say Ohio State… Read more »

Chargerbuck
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Chargerbuck

What is Bama’s best win? Georgia’s? Once again the SEC bias is showing through… personally, I believe the Committee got it right with LSU/OSU… LSU most certainly has earned it on the field— and in the end, OSU can win it back over the last four games of the season… The cakewalk team of the year is Clemson—not that they aren’t good, but simply because their schedule is laughable… Shame on the ACC for being so weak… The Committee always holds it against the PAC 12 and the Big 12 for their weak conference— time for the Committee to step… Read more »

TLM
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TLM

GA has beaten Florida & ND, which is a heck of a lot more then AL has on their resume. I would also say that GA’s defense is much better then AL’s, though so are a bunch of defenses in the top 15. I whole heartily agree with the rest of your comment.

Buck68
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Buck68

what a great article, Austin. ;-{)} Following your lead, thoughts: One must first recognize, then define… what to IGNORE, in order to lay it aside & ignore it. And since we are slightly imperfect, this is a continually repetitive process distracted [lit. dis-attracted] by our instinctive triggers & responses. OTOH, any unselfish, reasonable person can exercise the freedom he/she has been given in this life, to meet/recover from life’s challenges, come what may. Can we recognize ‘the difference’ at issue here? Can we tell the difference between love and hate? The ‘i luv my car’ and ‘i choose to love… Read more »

buckintheville
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buckintheville

this is weird

Matthew Huszarik
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Matthew Huszarik

It appears the rating have much more to do with what you have done in previous years and much less to do with what you have done this year.

Ken
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Ken

Why would they vacate wins?

Hominid
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Hominid

I hope Chase stays (unfairly) suspended for the Rutgers game. — why risk him against a baby seal team? He’ll be back for Mich, the BIG championship, and the final four. That’s what matters.

Nawlins Native
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Nawlins Native

They will find a way to keep ALA in the mix no matter what. As long as ALA finishes with 1 loss they will be in no matter what anyone else does, or if others are still undefeated at the end of the year. It’s the part of CFP that I hate. Put it ALL on the field where it belongs. Voting on any team making the playoffs is a broken system and I dont care how many you “put” in, 4 – 6 or 8. Why not just force every conference to have a title game and send every… Read more »

Kid Buckeye
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Kid Buckeye

Bama will be in , the only team with a chance of getting n over Bama is Oregon. Utah just doesn’t have the fan base to get in over Bama.

AZ Buckeye
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AZ Buckeye

I think it is very important to finish #1 rather than #2 in the CFP standings. If Oregon wins out they should have a spot in the CFP. If we finish #1, we should choose the Peach Bowl so that Oregon has to travel across the country to play us. If we finish #2, we will probably play Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl which wouldn’t present any advantage for us. If the other 3 teams turn out to be from the SEC (don’t laugh) it won’t matter where we play…

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Austin Ward is Lettermen Row's senior writer covering Ohio State football and basketball. The award-winning journalist has covered the Buckeyes since 2012, spending five of those seasons working for ESPN after previous stints at the Casper Star-Tribune and Knoxville News Sentinel.

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