College football in November has a tendency to throw a wrench in some teams playoff dreams, while lifting others that much closer to glory. On Saturday, a dominating performance by Ohio State and losses by Michigan, Clemson and Washington paved the path for a No. 2 ranking for the Buckeyes.
On Tuesday night, the playoff committee decided to elevate OSU to the second spot in the playoff race with just two weeks remaining on the schedule. The move was expected after three teams in front of them lost, and OSU put on another show with its second-straight 62-3 victory.
Even with the team possibly being thrust into the playoff picture, OSU coach Urban Meyer said on Monday that he was not interested in the new ranking.
“I will not watch it,” he said. “We got to get ready for Michigan State.”
As for the rest of the top spots, Alabama remained at No. 1, while Michigan remained at No. 3 despite a loss to Iowa. Clemson returned to the top tier, and is now in No. 4.
Penn State, who beat OSU earlier this season 24-21, is now ranked in the No. 8 spot, with the chance to contend for a Big Ten championship against Wisconsin as it stands right now. A win in the conference championship could make a convincing case for the Nittany Lions to make the playoff, but OSU players like redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett are not convinced.
In addressing the media on Monday, Barrett questioned how the Buckeyes could be left out of the playoff with just one loss and big-time victories over Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Although the case seems strong, OSU is currently at the mercy of the committee, barring any more slipups like the one against Penn State.
“You think about that, and that information is out there,” said senior center Pat Elflein. “You can’t avoid it. But like I said, if you don’t lock in 100 percent on this team, this week then none of that is possible. You can throw that out the door if you don’t lock in and play your best football this week again.”
OSU will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to face the 3-7 Spartans. Kickoff is set for Saturday at noon.