Less than three hours after learning that his team did not make the College Football Playoff and just minutes after learning that his team would play USC in the Cotton Bowl, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer met with the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
"I sunk in my chair at home, because I really thought we were in," Meyer said when asked how he reacted when he saw Alabama, not Ohio State, earned the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff.
Meyer expects his players to be disappointed about not making the playoff.
"You have to understand they're probably not kind of disappointed, they're probably devastated," Meyer said.
Meyer also said, though, that he expects his players to respond the right way as they begin their preparations for playing the Trojans.
A sampling of what else Meyer had to say during his Sunday press conference:
- Did Meyer expect Ohio State to make the playoff? "I hoped ... I didn't study it that much."
- Meyer said he knows USC coach Clay Helton "a little bit" but has not studied the Trojans on video tape at all this year.
- Meyer wants his Buckeyes to finish strong: "I just want to do right by our guys, because our guys have been fantastic, man."
- Billy Price is Ohio State's ring committee chairman for Big Ten championship rings.
- Meyer said his players are on a day off today, so he has not addressed them yet about missing the playoff, but he did address them after Saturday night's win and told his players to enjoy the moment.
- On the losses that kept Ohio State out of the playoff: "We're not going to look backwards, I promise you this, we're going to look forward."
- Do you think the committee had its mind made up about Alabama over Ohio State going into yesterday's game? "I don't know. I didn't study it at all."
- On J.T. Barrett's ability to play on Saturday, six days removed from knee surgery: "When a trainer goes to me and says it's about 50/50, automatically my mind goes and says it's 80/20."
- Do you see an eight-team playoff happening down the road? "I don't think so. I just don't how you do it with these guys (college football players)."
Ohio State linebacker Chris Worley and quarterback J.T. Barrett also met with the media on Sunday to discuss their reactions to Sunday's news and recap Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game.
A sampling of what Worley said:
- "You're definitely devastated," Worley said. "If you're not devastated, you probably you didn't put the work in." Worley still believes the Buckeyes have a lot to play for though in the Cotton Bowl.
- Worley and his teammates sincerely believed Ohio State would get in.
- "I believe we are one of the top four teams in the nation."
- While he expects everyone on the team to be devastated, "the one thing we can do is get back to work," Worley said. He expects the Buckeyes to channel their devastation into practicing and playing even harder over the next four weeks.
- Worley views USC is a tradition-rich program and said he has a tremendous amount of respect for Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold.
- "We don't dwell on the past here. We have too much things that we're fighting for moving forward that we can't do that."
- Worley does not expect any of his teammates to skip the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft because of how strong the brotherhood is among the team. "I really doubt that will happen."
- Worley expects the Trojans to go into this game with a similar chip on their shoulder believing that they had a case to be in the playoff as well.
- Do you want to show the committee that they made the wrong decision? "I don't think that will really help much now ... Our season's going to be over after this. The biggest thing we can do is go out there and play each other and try to get a ring for each other."
- Worley expects returning to AT&T Stadium in Dallas, where Ohio State won the national championship three seasons ago, to bring back "amazing" memories.
- Worley said he turned his phone off and didn't watch the College Football Playoff selection show, but found out when his dad came in the room and was mad about the selection. Worley said he had to tell his dad to relax. "You would think he played for Ohio State."
- "A lot of people, they harp on the negatives, but they don't realize the blessings that God has put in front of them."
A sampling of what Barrett had to say:
- Is there a chance your knee could keep you from playing in the Cotton Bowl? "Nah, I'm going to play."
- Barrett said doctors told him the knee procedure he had typically requires a 3-4 week recovery.
- "Do I feel like the Ohio State Buckeyes is a top-four team in the country? I do."
- "What we went through last night in the locker room ... is something that can't be taken away from us," Barrett said of winning the Big Ten championship and celebrating it with his teammates.
- Barrett shook his head when asked whether he thought any Ohio State players would consider skipping the bowl game, reiterating what Worley said about the team's brotherhood. "I would be very shocked."
Check back with Eleven Warriors for further coverage from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center later this afternoon.