This past weekend was Snoozeville Saturday.
Sure, Ohio State was pushed a bit by Indiana, and Florida State had its weekly escape at Boston College, but other than that, nothing major happened at the top of the polls. And as a result, the College Football Playoff rankings remained static at the top with two weeks to go.
They should be a fun two weeks, though, as it's rivalry Saturday in college football followed by championship Saturday. And 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 is which Thanksgiving dish?
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 is probably better than the sixth-best team in the country, but considering Virginia Tech’s dismal season and the fact that the Buckeyes didn’t help themselves out too much last week, I can see why they haven’t jumped Mississippi State or TCU yet. I still maintain that day is coming, but for right now they’re right where they need to be. A blowout win against Michigan and Wisconsin beating Minnesota would be enough for me to be certain that OSU would be in the playoff with a conference title. The Buckeyes got a lot of love from ESPN last night. Just keep winning.
Blake: Well since I said it was fair last week, I’m going to have to agree this week. There was no movement among the top teams this week, and considering the weekend’s outcome there shouldn’t have been. I suppose Ohio State fans should be happy that the uninspired performance the Buckeyes delivered against Indiana last weekend didn’t allow Baylor to jump them, but if you thought OSU was better than the Bears last week, I don’t know what would have changed your mind. The college football landscape is in the same place it was last week, and that’s fair.
Kane: After a struggle with Indiana and nobody losing above it, Ohio State being ranked at No. 6 is definitely fair. There was no shake-up at the top of the rankings with no teams playing any top competition, so you couldn’t really expect the Buckeyes to drop or rise. If they had beat up on the Hoosiers real bad then maybe, but instead Indiana played them tight the whole game, as the final score was still in doubt during the first half of the fourth quarter. This weekend should be a good test as it is rivalry week and, should they take care of Michigan, the Buckeyes will be primed for a playoff spot if they win in Indy.
Jeff: I'm gonna stick with yes. Some people have tried to build cases that Ohio State's resume is better than Mississippi State's at this point, and it might be (although again, let's be honest, the VT loss and no major wins aside from Michigan State and Maryland don't make the best CV) but that's irrelevant. Analysts left the rankings bonanza last night thinking that the committee feels that if OSU wins out, it's in, and I tend to agree. Ohio State will definitely pass the Bulldogs with two more wins, and I think the Buckeyes will get in over a Big 12 team, too, even if everyone else wins out. So for right now, fair.
A #hotsportstake on the CFP rankings…
Ryan: Jeff Long had a rough day when it came to answering simple questions last night. Long is a bright guy and I tend to think he’s one of the better ADs in the country – I’m not sure how many people could have handled the Petrino situation as well as him, especially with a fan base drunk on ludicrous expectations – but last night wasn’t a shining moment. He said on ESPN that the committee takes into account where teams where ranked when opponents team them (hello, No. 6 Texas A&M!) and then clumsily backtracked in a conference call later that night. I don’t think anyone believes that’s true, and it was a bizarre way to attempt to defend himself from an aggressive line of questioning about the position of certain teams.
Blake: Two of the top four teams will be different in two weeks when the final rankings are released. Most everyone assumes that Mississippi State will drop out assuming they don’t win the SEC West, and I agree. But I also have a feeling that either Florida State or Oregon will falter in their respective championship games. Both will have stiff matchups, the Seminoles against Georgia Tech and the Ducks against Arizona, Arizona State or UCLA. A loss by one of those teams would free up a spot for the Big Ten and Big 12 champ, making for a tidy final four.
Kane: The SEC better hope Missouri doesn’t win the championship game. The Tigers are ranked No. 17 in the latest release and control their own destiny in the conference. If they win out, including the championship game, I don’t think they make the playoff. I said last week that an SEC team would for sure make the playoff, but if MIzzou wins it all then I don’t think it happens. I thought Georgia would find a way to win the East, but that is looking very unlikely now. If all other teams hold strong and the Tigers somehow find a way to win out, then the first College Football Playoff will be without an SEC representative.
Jeff: Two of the teams above Ohio State will lose over the last two weeks. That's more a bold prediction than a #hotsportstake, but college football can't be predicted from week to week. Alabama could totally lose to Auburn. Mississippi State might not survive the Egg Bowl. I'm not convinced of Oregon's ability to win the Pac-12 title game. Those are just a few reasons I see OSU safety in if the Buckeyes win out.
Compare one team to ... a Thanksgiving dish!
Ryan: My grandmother, bless her heart, introduced spaghetti squash to the Thanksgiving lineup in a year in which my young taste buds were apparently confused – because I said I liked it. It kept coming back each year, and with each passing meal I grew less fond of it. But I couldn’t kill it. It just kept coming and coming and coming. Florida State, obviously, is spaghetti squash.
Blake: Ohio State is pumpkin pie. At the start of the meal the table is loaded with turkey and sides and everyone eats until they’ve had their fill. I always find myself full, thinking I can’t eat another bite. And then I remember the pie. It wasn’t on the table at the beginning, but by the end of the meal it was out of the oven and placed front and center. Sitting at No. 6, the Buckeyes aren’t in the playoff picture right now, but, assuming they win out (a big assumption), they will be in the center of it all at the end.
Kane: Oklahoma is the canned cranberry sauce. There is always a debate whether the canned or fresh cranberries are better and that reminds me of the Sooners. Most people seem to say the canned version is convenient, but the fresh are much better. Since the Sooners have not beaten a ranked team yet, they are the lesser form of the tart fruit.
Jeff: Right now, Ohio State is stuffing. When I was a kid, I didn't like stuffing. I really can't explain why, but I didn't. Too mushy. Weird consistency. Didn't start out well. Kind of like Ohio State this year. Now, the Buckeyes are the flavor of the month in the college football world, and I love stuffing. I can't get enough. I'm gonna have at least three helpings tomorrow. The Buckeyes are stuffing.
This weekend’s upset alert
Ryan: I’m reluctant to pick Ole Miss to win a big game because history shows that’s a really dumb thing to do, but I think they might get the job done this week against Mississippi State. That’s more a testament to how I feel about Mississippi State, though. The Bulldogs haven’t been playing too well lately.
Blake: With so many rivalry games between ranked teams this week, this wasn’t an easy one for me to pick. I’m going to go with Georgia Tech at Georgia. Why? I’m not really sure and in case you haven’t’ noticed, I haven’t been good with this question yet. But that triple option attack is tricky to prepare for and I’m told anything can happen in rivalry games.
Kane: Mississippi State goes down this weekend, leaving the door open for Ohio State to make its charge into the top four. The Egg Bowl seems irrelevant now after Ole Miss lost a couple of games, but I think they take care of business at home against the Bulldogs. The dream season is officially over for Dan Mullen and Hail State.
Jeff: Can I cheat and say, "Everyone! It's rivalry weekend, baby!" No? I mean, this whole story was my idea. I really can't change the rules now? Fine. Even though I've been driving the TCU bus this year (hey, I kinda almost got that tweet right) I think going to Texas on Thanksgiving night is no easy chore. I'd be worried if I'm Gary Patterson's crew.
Games To Watch
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. So we'll change this category from elimination games to watch between top teams over the last few weeks that will have a bearing on the CFP rankings
Nov. 28: (11) Arizona at (13) Arizona State
Nov. 29: (4) Mississippi State at (19) Ole Miss
Nov. 29: (15) Auburn at (1) Alabama
Dec. 6: (12) Kansas State at (7) Baylor
This Week's Relevant Jeff Long Quote
"We try not to look into the future, but we've always said championships won at the end on selection weekend will have an impact. It will certainly add to (Ohio State's) body of work if they have that Big Ten championship."