Ohio State's inconsistencies put the Buckeyes at No. 6.
Ohio State's playoff hopes fell short earlier today when the committee announced its final rankings. While perhaps many were expecting the Buckeyes to be left out, the biggest surprise perhaps came with the Georgia Bulldogs being ranked one spot ahead of Ohio State.
With yesterday's win over Northwestern, the Buckeyes moved to 12-1 on the season. The Bulldogs put up a solid effort against Alabama but fell short in the SEC title game. Georgia's record currently sits at 11-2, but Kirby Smart still finds his squad at No. 5 in the final playoff rankings.
This afternoon, chairman Rob Mullens attempted to explain the final rankings and how the committee settled on the Buckeyes at No. 6. Here are some notes from this afternoon's teleconference including Mullens' comments on the rankings:
- Committee met at 11 p.m Saturday night to rank the teams. They left room at 1:30 a.m. and then were back at it this morning to continue the discussion. Rankings were finalized around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
- Mullens noted that there was very little debate surrounding Alabama, Clemson, and Notre Dame as the top three teams.
- There was a lot of debate between Oklahoma, Georgia, and Ohio State. Mullens stated that different people in the room made cases for each team and they explored a variety of different outcomes with no combination being left off of the table. Reiterated that this was a thoroughly vetted process.
- The committee did not believe that any team from that peer group (OU, OSU, Georgia) was equivocally better than the next, so they had to go to their protocol and the various criteria.
The CFP committee lists five protocol for deciding between comparable teams:— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 2, 2018
- Conference championships
- Strength of schedule
- Head-to-head competition
- Outcomes of common opponents
- Other relevant factors
Mullens didn't specify which determined today's rankings.
- Mullens noted that Oklahoma was ranked No. 4 for a number of reasons including the dynamic offense, the lone loss being by a field goal against a ranked opponent (and at a neutral site), and its status as a one-loss conference champion.
- Georgia's body of work and the performance against Alabama were the key factors that led the committee t have the Bulldogs at No. 5.
- The Buckeyes are a one-loss conference champion with the most impressive win among the peer group. They were ranked behind Georgia due to the lone loss coming to an unranked team and the overall inconsistent play. When asked follow-up questions about this, Mullens noted the Buckeyes' "inconsistency" multiple times.
- When asked why a conference title was important enough to put Oklahoma over Georgia but not Ohio State, he stated that the committee went back to the protocol. They evaluated Georgia's two losses, Ohio State's one loss, and also considered the overall strength of schedule.
- Mullens reiterated that conference affiliation has nothing to do with their rankings. It's simply about ranking the best teams.