Ohio State Knows There is Work to Be Done to Get Back Into the National Playoff Picture

By Tim Shoemaker on October 30, 2014 at 8:35 am
Darron Lee after a sack.

Some thought it was fair, others didn't share the same view, but at this point in the season, Ohio State probably sits right around where it should in the College Football Playoff rankings.

The Buckeyes came in at No. 16 when the first edition of the rankings were released Tuesday night, sandwiched between 17th-ranked Utah and No. 15 Nebraska. They are the third-lowest ranked one-loss team from a Power 5 conference, ahead of only the Utes and No. 24 Duke.

Ohio State doesn't have a quality win on its schedule yet — its best win was probably a 52-24 road win over Maryland. The Buckeyes do, however, have a loss that stands out with their 35-21 home defeat to Virginia Tech back in Week 2.

The Hokies haven't done Ohio State any favors either. Since defeating the Buckeyes, they've gone just 2-4 and sit at 4-4 on the year.

Still, Ohio State has a chance to enter serious conversation in the national picture if it were to win out. It starts Saturday against Illinois, but an even more important date looms Nov. 8 when the Buckeyes will travel to eighth-ranked Michigan State.

“The ultimate objective is just to be competing for championships is November and you look on the calendar and that’s really close to now," head coach Urban Meyer said after Wednesday's practice. "We had a little extra motivation for Wednesday practice in late October."

As the coach, Meyer is supposed to be aware of where his team sits in the national picture. He said part of his job is to keep his players focused on the task at hand, which for the Buckeyes is to beat Illinois.

But even with Meyer's efforts, Ohio State's players were going to be asked about their position in the national picture. Here's what some of them had to say.

Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett: 

“I feel like there’s a lot of other people that have to worry about that. We worry about Ohio State and winning football games and let other people worry about that.”

Senior linebacker Curtis Grant:

“We’re real disappointed. We’re hungry and, you know, we did it to ourselves. All we’ve gotta do is keep battling and keep working and at the end of the day try to work ourselves back up to the top.”

Junior defensive tackle Adolphus Washington:

“I honestly didn’t watch it. I didn’t hear about it until Coach Meyer said something about it. He said as long as we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll just move up and everything will be fine so that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Junior offensive tackle Taylor Decker:

“I don’t really wanna put too much stock in that because there’s still a lot of ball left to be played. A lot of teams play each other and we still have to take care of our own business so I don’t want to get caught up in all the rankings and stuff like that and then not focus on personally getting better and not focusing on our team getting better because if finish the season the way we should, whatever happens happens. We can only control the games we play.”

The consensus from players was they, like Meyer, know the season is far from over and there are still plenty of opportunities out there for the Buckeyes. They won't get much, if any, credit in the committee's eyes for beating Illinois, but a win over Michigan State in two weeks could be an eye-opener.

It will be a challenge for Ohio State to be one of the Top 4 teams in the College Football Playoff rankings come season's end — it needs to win out and will likely need some help.

But one thing remains clear.

"There's a lot of football left," Meyer said.

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