The Buckeyes have new life.
Ohio State earned the No. 4 ranking in Sunday's College Football Playoff rankings, and will now prepare to play the No. 1 team in the country at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31.
At a press conference at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, Ryan Day addressed the Buckeyes' CFP placement, reflected on last weekend's loss to Michigan and looked ahead to the semifinal matchup with Georgia at the end of the month.
Eleven Warriors took notes on everything the Ohio State head coach said Sunday below:
- "Exciting day for us. ... Certainly a lot of energy and life for us in the Woody today."
- Day says OSU had a team meeting before the selection, and it was "a shot of adrenaline" to see the Buckeyes get a berth. "The goal was to get in the CFP."
- Day says there's "precedence for this" when you look at Georgia winning it all last year despite entering the CFP on a loss.
- Day says "you look into last week, everybody was just dying to have a shot to win this. And now we do."
- "We have a pretty good plan for this month. We start off really working on fundamentals." Day says the Buckeyes had two practices last week and told players "don't be surprised" if they end up in the CFP on Sunday.
- Day says the Buckeyes will "use the same plan" in terms of bowl prep as they did against Clemson in 2020.
- Day says there were "too many explosive plays" given up against Michigan. "There was a lot of looking in the mirror last week." Day says "there were a lot of those great conversations, as hard as they were."
- On a potential national championship rematch against Michigan: "It would be unbelievable. It would be historic. And to say we haven't thought about that, of course we have. Everybody's thought about that."
- "However we got here, we're here. And now it's time to go to work."
- "I don't know how many people are gonna give us a chance in this game. We'll have to see."
- "We wanted to be playing in the Big Ten Championship Game, so no, it was not a good week. It was an awful week."
- Day says "this is an opportunity that we didn't have 48 hours ago, and now we do. So what do you want to do with it? ... Yesterday we did not have control. Now we do."
- On trying to play loose and aggressive moving forward: "We just got to let it all out. ... There'll be no fear of failure." Day says the Michigan loss was a reminder that that's "how you have to play this game."
- "Certainly a lot of people counted us out, but here we are." Day says "I kind of like being in this role. ... What an unbelievable chance to go do something special."
- On being the underdog against Georgia and potentially Michigan: "I think we'll see as the month goes on. ... They're a very good team. They're the defending national champion. ... We're gonna have to play our game, we're gonna have to play very good."
- Day says the Buckeyes "know how they have to play to win this game."
- Day says "we'll see" whether Jaxon Smith-Njigba returns, but "everyone else we should have" available for the CFP game.
- Day says the running back position was particularly impacted by injuries during the season: "This allows us to heal some of those." Day says "it will be nice to be at full strength."
- Day says "it's all kind of happened the way we thought it would." Day says "what an amazing story this could be."
- "The goal was to be in this situation. Not to lose that game, but to be in the CFP. We're two wins away from winning the national championship."
- "We have to play better on offense, we have to play better on defense, we have to play better on special teams."
- On how he would've felt about having the Michigan game in the semifinal: "Wherever they put us, they put us. We gotta win them both anyway."
- "Being there, we know what it's like. But I think we're dangerous because you see us on all three phases, certainly for portions of the season, playing at a high level." Day says beating Penn State "probably put us in that spot" to earn a CFP bid.
- Day says the Buckeyes "came out swinging pretty hard" against Michigan, but that giving up explosive plays was the difference. Day says "there was still a lot of good things that still happened." Day says the big runs at the end of The Game "ruined the whole day."
- On JSN : "The whole thing's unfortunate and certainly nobody wants to play more than Jaxon."
- Day has said "nothing yet" to Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, but has "unbelievable respect" for him and his program.
- On what caused the breakdowns against Michigan: "It's a number of things." Day says the coaches have to put the Buckeyes in better situations. "In matchup games like that, it comes to down to two or three plays."
- "When you look at the CFP, the winning team usually scores 49, 50 points. We're gonna have to play well on offense." Day says "you're gonna have to score points against a team like this, that's for sure."
- Day says his week after the Michigan game was "awful." Day says he listened to the USC-Utah game on the radio.
- Day says it was important for the Buckeyes to "keep our edge" and not get into "offseason mode" even though they didn't know for sure they'd be in the CFP.
- On what bothers Day most about reactions to The Game: "I don't listen to that. Because if you did, it would drive you insane."
- Day says the Buckeyes have to have a mindset of scoring 49-50 points to win a big game like this.
- Day says it's "great for the Big Ten" to have two teams in the CFP.