To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.
Svoboda here. So, I watched an episode of "The Jeffersons" on Tuesday. The roommate wasn't home. There wasn't much else on. And it was fun to reunite with my dude Sherman Hemsley, RIP. Seriously, he was great. (This is terrifying, by the way.)
And so what better song is there to describe Ohio State's playoff hopes than that Ja'net Dubois ditty? After all, the Buckeyes have moved on up from 14th to sixth after consecutive wins on the road against ranked teams.
So yes, it took the Buckeyes a whole lotta tryin' just to get up that hill. But now that Ohio State is up in the big leagues, will the Buckeyes get their turn at bat? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, as long as the Buckeyes are in the playoff race, BuckeyeSports.com has decided to put together our Playoff Digest. What does the Buckeyes ranking mean? What other games matter? What college football team makes the Seinfeld character?
These are the big questions of the day our panel of BSB editor Jeff Svoboda, writers Blake Williams and Ryan Ginn and intern Kane Anderson will attempt to answer each week. So sit back and enjoy the #hotsportstakes.
Is Ohio State’s ranking (6th) fair?
Ryan: I think Ohio State should be very excited to be where it is right now. The Buckeyes are no longer the lowest-ranked of the one-loss teams, and it appears the committee assigned real value to the back-to-back road wins against Michigan State and Minnesota. Brady Hoke’s real win over Ohio State this season will be sabotaging its strength of schedule, but the Buckeyes can now hope for a chance to face two-loss Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, which would give them another quality win. The Buckeyes are in great shape, and I think this is a pretty fair ranking. Just keep winning.
Blake: It’s more than fair. The Buckeyes leapt over Baylor to the No. 6 spot and honestly, I think a No. 7 ranking would have been fair enough for Ohio State. Baylor has a better loss than Ohio State (everybody of consequence does) and has two top-25 wins over No. 5 TCU and No. 21 Oklahoma. The fact that the Buckeyes jumped the Bears should leave the fan base elated. While there are arguments for Ohio State to be above Baylor (notably how well the Buckeyes are playing right now), the Bears ugly loss to West Virginia is just a few weeks ago and certainly staying in the mind of the committee members.
Kane: Ohio State's ranking is definitely fair. The way the Buckeyes have been moving up each week is a great sign. Being at six, the opportunity to jump both Mississippi State and TCU will be there as OSU has the Big Ten Championship Game to boost its stock. Two of the teams ahead of it won't have the opportunity to play in a conference title game, so now more than ever the consensus seems to be win and the Buckeyes will be in.
Jeff: Heck yeah. In fact, I'm moderately surprised the Buckeyes moved up to six, passing Baylor, which didn't play. I figured that while the committee would be smart enough to realize that was a quality win at Minnesota despite what many considered an unimpressive seven-point margin of victory, I still wasn't sure the committee would think Ohio State's body of work was better than that of Baylor, which has a win over TCU on its CV. Baylor still has Kansas State, but OSU also has the Big Ten title game that same weekend, so I don't see the Bears being able to do enough down the stretch to pass the Buckeyes. So yes, I think sixth is more than fair at the moment.
A #hotsportstake on the CFP rankings…
Ryan: Assuming Alabama wins out, Mississippi State is done. D-O-N-E. There’s no scenario in my mind where the Bulldogs can miss the SEC Championship and still make the playoffs. “Championships won” is a real criterion, and a team like Ohio State will have the edge in division and conference titles if it wins out. Who would you say is Mississippi State’s best win at this point? Three-loss Auburn (which lost to Texas A&M)? Or four-loss LSU (which lost to Arkansas)? See ya.
Blake: There are not 25 teams in the country worthy of making these rankings. If Nebraska is the No. 23 team in the country after laying down against Wisconsin and Melvin Gordon, then maybe we should only rank the top 20 or top 15. Look at the back end of the rankings and it appears the committee is grasping at straws. The Cornhuskers were annihilated by the Badgers and were manhandled by Michigan State before the Spartans went to sleep in the fourth quarter in early October. I’m not saying there is a better team to put in that spot (though even with a loss to Illinois, Minnesota has an argument), but if Nebraska belongs in the last five of the rankings let’s stop bothering with the back end.
Kane: Ole Miss and Auburn still hanging around at 8 and 14, respectively, could make for a huge mess. If the Rebels win the Egg Bowl and Tigers beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl, what happens to the SEC? It's a very real possibility that Ole Miss and Auburn win those games, giving all the top teams in the SEC West at least two losses. The committee has to put a team from the SEC in and this would make things very interesting. It would most likely all come down to the conference championship game at that point, possibly opening the door for either Missouri or Georgia out of the East.
Jeff: OK, rant time. Forget style points. They are over. They as relevant as "trap games" against 7-2 teams. Referencing what I said above, the committee actually appears to be smart enough to understand what actually happens in games, such as OSU going on the road to beat a team that was ranked in horrible weather conditions in an obvious letdown situation. The committee appears to be smart enough to realize seven points wasn't quite as relevant as the way OSU mostly controlled the game, posting a major yardage edge and only being theatened at the end because of a turnover. You know what's more important than style points? Winning. Ask Arizona State about that. Just survive and advance. Play good football. Beat the teams in front of you -- there's just three left -- and things will probably work out. This is college football. Crazy things happen. Just. Win. The. Games.
Compare one team to ... a Seinfeld character!
Ryan: I am a BSB outsider in the sense that I’ve only seen like three episodes of Seinfeld, but I’m a team player and agreed to give my best effort. Playoff committee chairman Jeff Long is the Soup Nazi, and poor ol’ Marshall is Elaine, who was apparently banned from the store for being annoying and not following protocol. The Herd is undefeated, having vanquished every opponent by a solid margin. However, its strength of schedule is somewhere south of Ohio Dominican’s. No playoff ranking for you!
Blake: If you haven’t noticed, I like to use teams at the top of the rankings (you know, the ones that matter), so this week I’m going with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are clearly Jean-Paul, the marathon runner from Trinidad and Tobago. Jean-Paul was late to the New York Marathon, much like people slept on the Bulldogs early this season. Though late to the race, Jean-Paul and MSU charged to the front of the race. Unfortunately, Mississippi State grabbed Kramer’s hot tea in the form of Alabama last week and threw it in their own face. Jean-Paul couldn’t recover from that trauma, and neither can the Bulldogs.
Kane: Florida State reminds me of the guy who opened up the “Fat free" yogurt store in which Kramer invested. Everyone was pretty high on FSU at the beginning of the season, but now they're starting to question them, just like Elaine and Jerry with the yogurt after packing on a few pounds. The Seminoles haven't looked good lately and it's just a matter of time before someone finds the fat in them.
Jeff: Florida State is Kenny Bania. Jerry's comedic foil just keeps coming back and coming back no matter what Jerry does to get rid of him. Just when you think it's over and you've had your meal, the Seminoles are back. I'm sorry, down on the road at Miami? That was just soup at Mendy's. We have to do it again next week. Boston College is next? This is the meal. Stock up, buddy boy. That's garnet and gold, Jerry. Garnet and gold.
This weekend’s upset alert
Ryan: Well, it probably won’t come in Alabama-West Carolina, Georgia-Charleston Southern or Clemson-Georgia Southern. I’m going to keep riding with Bret Bielema after he came through for my pick last week. Ole Miss hasn’t won anything since, oh, the 1960s and this seems like a game the Rebels would blow to ensure that streak stays alive.
Blake: I’d be a little nervous if I were a Wisconsin fan. They travel to Iowa this week after their drubbing of Nebraska and there is potential for a letdown. Wisconsin is just 4-6 in its last 10 games against Iowa and Kirk Ferentz is due for his eighth win to satiate the easily satisfied Hawkeye fans. How will Iowa slow down Melvin Gordon? I have no idea, but the running back is averaging 200 yards rushing in the Badgers' two losses, so the Hawkeyes may not have to.
Kane: I think Missouri goes down at Tennessee this weekend. I'm a firm believer in Georgia winning the East and Mizzou has to go down at some point for that to happen, so this is that week.
Jeff: Florida State. I'm just gonna keep saying it until it happens, even if I don't believe it. But America is just itching for crazy Jimbo and his merry band of lawbreakers to hit the road. Also, otherwise i'd have to pick Western Carolina, Colorado or Vanderbilt. So I'm taking Boston college over FSU. They're 3-3 in the ACC!
When the first CFP rankings came out, there were nine games matching up teams ranked above Ohio State, aka nine guaranteed losses above the Buckeyes. Now, there are ... let's see, carry the one ... zero! Zip! Zilch! Nada!
Again, remember, college football is crazy.
Remaining top-15 dual matchups
Nov. 28: (15) Arizona at (13) Arizona State
Nov. 29: (4) Mississippi State at (8) Ole Miss
Nov. 29: (14) Auburn at (1) Alabama
Dec. 6: (12) Kansas State at (7) Baylor
This Week's Relevant Jeff Long Quote
"Ohio State has had two impressive road wins in the Big Ten. We were really impressed with the work Ohio State has done in the last two weeks, particularly because it was on the road."