Just hours after finding out that they would not be participating in this year's College Football Playoff and playing in the Rose Bowl instead, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and a couple of his players met with the media to discuss the Buckeyes' playoff snub and look ahead to their trip to Pasadena.
A quick recap of what Meyer, Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins and defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones had to say:
- Meyer opened his press conference by discussing Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game win. "Hard to say I've ever been more proud of a group of players and people."
- Meyer said he is excited about going to the Rose Bowl. Said he has to make sure "the people who count" – his players – are excited too. He said it doesn't really matter how he feels, but what matters is how his players feel.
- Meyer says the committee had a tough job deciding between Oklahoma, Georgia and Ohio State. "Those are three really good teams."
- "I don't want to devalue what we just did. We just won the Big Ten championship."
- Meyer said he doesn't feel the need to discuss with Gene Smith, a member of the CFP committee, how the process went down: "I think I have a pretty good idea of how it went down."
- "The last thing we're going to do is stand up here and criticize the committee. We're not going to do that."
- On the postgame celebration: "The locker room was fantastic ... they really enjoyed that win."
- Meyer acknowledges he was "worried" about Ohio State's prospects of making the playoff after Oklahoma beat Texas on Saturday afternoon.
- On Dwayne Haskins' Heisman candidacy: "He'll be in New York." Said his performance over the last two weeks against Michigan and Northwestern was "one of the best performances in college football history." More: "He's going one way or another. I'll fly him there myself."
- Meyer still isn't calling for an expanded College Football Playoff. Said it would "change the entire model of college football."
- "I want to give Ryan Day the due for what he's done, and Kevin Wilson and that offensive staff" for how the offense was able to hit its stride late in the season after struggling in the run game and red zone in the middle portion of the year.
- Haskins' performance as a passer has changed Meyer's view of offense this year, but still believes the run game is important and that a quarterback has to be able to run for the first down when the situation calls for it.
- Meyer said he thought Ohio State was going to make the College Football Playoff after winning the Big Ten championship game last year. He didn't actually think Ohio State would make it today after Oklahoma won yesterday.
- Meyer said he was surprised that two-loss Georgia was ranked ahead of Ohio State in the College Football Playoff rankings, but didn't argue against it, saying Georgia is a "heck of a team."
- "When Nick Bosa went down, that changed our team ... He was a great player, but he was so much more than that."
- Meyer said there will be a conversation with Haskins about whether he should declare for the NFL draft, but did not want to share publicly what he would say to Haskins.
- Haskins said it is special to him to have the support of Meyer and the school in launching a Heisman campaign to him.
- Haskins, who does plan to play in the Rose Bowl and make his NFL decision later, said he isn't going into the game with any specific expectations but just wants to lead Ohio State to a win.
- On the potential to be in New York with Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma's Kyler Murray: "It would mean the world." Haskins is friends with both of them. "To be able to be in the same conversation as them just makes me feel that I put the work in to be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the country."
- Haskins said he first learned about the Heisman Trophy by playing the late NCAA Football video game series.
- "If I win, I win. If I don't, getting ready for Washington. But just being able to go to New York and show my kids one day that I was a Heisman finalist would mean the world to me."
- Has there been any conversation about you not playing in the Rose Bowl? "Nah, I'm playing in the game."
- Haskins confirms that the pose he struck after his final touchdown pass on Saturday was a Heisman pose. "I was trying to be low-key with it."
- Are you mad you didn't get to 500 yards last night? "I didn't know how close I was until after the fact, but now I can just try to do it next game."
- Haskins on his relationship with Meyer: "I've always been close with coach Meyer. He does a great job of keeping me humble." Says Meyer has always pushed him to be the best quarterback in the country, whether he's voiced that publicly or not. "The last thing he wanted me to do was get big-headed," which is why Meyer didn't always give glowing praise of him this season.
- On the defense's inconsistency: "We've had moments that we've played up to our competition, we've had moments that we've played down to our competition." Said he thought the Buckeyes struggled in the third quarter on Saturday night, but bounced back well.
- On being left out after winning the Big Ten Championship Game: "It was a little bit of deja vu." But said the Buckeyes had themselves to blame for losing an unranked team for the second year in a row (Purdue this year, Iowa last year). "I feel like we left our destiny in the hands of a committee." Jones said he was disappointed that they were behind Georgia since Georgia had two losses.
- Jones said he is excited for the trip to the Rose Bowl because he's never been to California. Said his memories of the Rose Bowl are watching USC when Reggie Bush played for the Trojans back in 2005.
- Jones said he and Ohio State's other defensive linemen still talk regularly to Nick Bosa.
- On the loss to Purdue: "We didn't really put a lot of emphasis like I thought we should have, and it humbled us. It hit us in the mouth."
- Asked whether he will play in the Rose Bowl, Jones replied simply, "We'll see."
Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for additional coverage from Sunday's press conference and of the upcoming Rose Bowl.