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Buckeyes unfazed by seed drop, embracing next big Fiesta Bowl challenge

Ryan Day-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Ohio State coach Ryan Day and the Buckeyes are heading to the Fiesta Bowl. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Buckeyes unfazed by seed drop, embracing next big Fiesta Bowl challenge

COLUMBUS — By now, there’s really not much the College Football Playoff selection committee can do to surprise Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have seemingly been the guinea pig for every movement of the goal posts, talking point du jour and tweak of the protocol that wasn’t designed to always change from year to year. So, there weren’t a lot of people in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center showing any signs of shock after a team meal when the Big Ten champions dropped from the top spot after putting the finishing touches on a perfect record with every win coming by double digits — and what appeared by almost all metrics to be the strongest resum√©.

Ohio State didn’t even publicly appear troubled by the slight, once again leaning on the business-like approach that has been its calling card all season and focusing solely on the fact that at least this time it wasn’t snubbed from the four-team field entirely like the last two years. The Buckeyes are heading to the Fiesta Bowl, they know they have to beat two elite teams to win the national championship — and they aren’t looking for any extra motivation beyond that.

“Did I feel like we should have been the No. 1 seed? Yeah,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “But LSU has had an unbelievable season, and what Joe [Burrow] has done and what that team has done, they’ve done a great job. Clemson, I can see that argument as well, they’re the defending national champs and haven’t lost a game since and played great football.

Ryan Day-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State coach Ryan Day believed the Buckeyes had a case to be No. 1. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to beat the best to go win the national championship. Clemson is that, and what matters is who is No. 1 at the end of the year, not right now.”

The debate obviously doesn’t make any difference now. And it would be a waste of time for Day or the Buckeyes to go back through the head-to-head comparison and make the case that they were snubbed by the late flip-flop with LSU despite just going through a brutal three-game stretch with comfortable wins over a trio of top-13 opponents.

There also doesn’t appear to be much for the Buckeyes to be gained by looking for sympathy or acting like the underdog, because that mentality wouldn’t fit at all with a program that has carried itself all season believing it’s the best team in the country regardless of where they were in the polls. All that counts is what happens on the field, and they have left no room for debate there with dominant wins from start to finish this season.

“You know, I feel like the media sometimes or some [outside] people don’t really give Ohio State the respect we need,” defensive tackle Jashon Cornell said. “But we’re ready to play. We don’t care where we’re at. We don’t care who it is, we’re going to be ready to play football.

“Being No. 2 doesn’t matter to us, it’s just a ranking. We’re still in the playoff. Each team has to line up against each other and play, so it doesn’t matter — we’re just ready to play ball.”

The Buckeyes will enjoy a little break before getting back on the field, though. The truth is they probably need it after this late run of slugfests against Penn State, Michigan and the come-from-behind win over Wisconsin to claim the Big Ten crown.

Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football-Justin Fields

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has been dealing with a knee injury. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has been battling a knee injury. The offensive line has shown fatigue after being called on to deliver against a string of the best defenses in the country. There have also been key injuries in the secondary, with all three starters at cornerback missing stretches of action over the last couple weeks.

Of course, overcoming all of that for some reason wasn’t enough for the selection committee that thought Ohio State was No. 1 a week ago but wasn’t convinced after it won a rematch against the team it had ranked No. 8. But trying to figure out what bizarre tools the voters will use to evaluate the Buckeyes is an annual waste of effort and braincells, so really the only fact that mattered was that they earned a spot at all — regardless of the number.

“I mean, at this point I think it’s minuscule,” Day said. “We’re all playing for the championship, there are four of us and we’ve all got to play each other. Mix us up in a bag and let’s go play.”

The field is set and the Buckeyes need two more wins to add another big, shiny piece of hardware. The rest of the details aren’t going to change the approach for Ohio State at all.

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John CammarotaRoadApplesBrian yakataBuck68Aaron Recent comment authors
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Brunstar
Brunstar

Plaster 31-0 all over the WHAC and get the disrespect vibes flowing for the drop to #2. The real national championship game is against Clemson.

Aaron
Aaron

In the interview Coach Day said that 2016 would merely be used as reference point, not motivation. He is right to say that. These are two different teams. But yes, use the drop from #1 to #2 as reason to prove the world wrong.

Buck68
Buck68

record our BCS history on our wall…

warts and all.

For even men say they learn more from defeat, than victory.

—but the man who claims to have ‘learned from experience’ has not yet sought, much less listened to, Thee One we ought to keep “acknowledging” during our given freedom to choose.

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

To be the best, beat the best. If we feel dissed think about clemson. If the bucks had not lost a game in 2 years and were defending champs, we would be rioting on high st. Ranked 3. Put a beatdown on clemson and stop clutch joe.

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

Also if would have won the first half we would have kept #1 seed

Buck68
Buck68

is it EVER ‘your’ [‘our’] rating? When the standard is ‘whatever i feel this week’ you ‘have Diversity’, the antithesis of a ‘standard’ and the luv of immorality. when self-anointed ‘leaders’ claim “I did nothing wrong” is any man ‘Thee’ authoritative source for this? We, of THEE Ohio State U ought to ‘know’, we have so much ‘experience’ with THEE. Our ‘possession’; what are we logically proving by assertion or claim? when my ‘due process’ and ‘reasoning’ is to viscerally blame you and one-stop shop ‘justice’ by imposing myself as judge, jury, & executioner in my own So Special, ‘Star Chamber’ while repressing your speech and rights and demanding your absolute, unquestioning obedience to ME… Who Am I? Perhaps “the seed” of it all: one seed, not many; many shadows, one GENESIS. Why do we seek the living [thee Spirit of Life, MEANING] among the spiritually dead [any man crowning his own feelings or sin-searity]? Be-cause ‘Me so humble? LOL Believe not in some ‘Golden Age’ of man, for after that is… [‘i have no specific recollection?’]. NOT the Sirens of the diversities of men for we are deceived and deceive our selves onto many rocks. One standard, Thee Authoritative… Read more »

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

Dorothy hamel said after she won the gold medal(i know figure skating) you have to be so good that they can’t take it from you.

Robert Altiere
Robert Altiere

Even though they got screwed on ranking I think they’re better off playing Clemson
because for the strength of schedule Clemson had, they had several games they won by just a few points against weak teams. They have never faced a complete team let alone one as strong as the Buckeyes all season. Odds makers don’t be too quick about making the Buckeyes a big underdog!!!! THEY WILL BEAT CLEMSON!!

RoadApples
RoadApples

Remember when OSU won it’s NC they were the 4th seed. So there might be a slight bruise to the ego but what really matters is we’re one of only 4 teams to make it this far. Now is the time to ” accelerate through the finish line”.

Buck68
Buck68

indeed, we bruise His heel, but He has crushed his head… is “what really matters.”

p.s. tell me all about how “accelerating through the finish line” is two FG’s on 4th and some to go in the Red Zone.

RoadApples
RoadApples

No can do … maybe Day has an explanation for you.

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

J fields beat trevor lawrence at the elite 11. He can beat him again.

John Cammarota
John Cammarota

You got it guys the key to us being dropped to # 1 is ESPN and it will always be that way, nie if we can beat Clemson and LSU it will prove that its all bios against Ohio St.

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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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