Skull Session: The CFP Rankings Come Out Tuesday, Joel Klatt Says Ohio State Has “The Most Impressive Résumé” in CFB and Logan Stieber is a Hall of Famer

By Chase Brown on October 31, 2023 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day
Adam Cairns / USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Skull Session.

The Brotherhood is real.

Let's have a good Tuesday, shall we?

 CFP TIME, BABY. On Sunday, Ohio State remained No. 3 in the AP and USA TODAY Coaches polls behind Georgia and Michigan and ahead of Florida State and Washington. But a question remains: Where will the Buckeyes be ranked in the CFP?

Before the College Football Playoff committee announces its pecking order on Tuesday, ESPN's computers and an article from national college football reporters Heather Dinich (ESPN) could offer a look into who the top-four teams will be:


  1.  Michigan: 29.2 overall score, 39.5 (7) offense, 10.6 (2) defense, 0.4 (7) special teams
  2.  Georgia: 26.4 overall score, 37.7 (6) offense, 13.6 (5) defense, 0.3 (13) special teams
  3.  Ohio St.: 24.8 overall score, 36.0 (16) offense, 11.6 (3) defense, 0.3 (20) special teams
  4.  Oregon: 24.2 overall score, 43.7 (2) offense, 19.5 (20) defense, 0.1 (60) special teams
  5.  Texas: 22.2 overall score, 37.9 (10) offense, 15.9 (9) defense, 0.2 (39) special teams

College Football Power Index

  1.  Ohio St.: 27.5 FPI, 36.8% win out, 78.4% make CFP, 46.2% make CFP final, 26.4% win CFP final
  2.  Michigan: 26.8 FPI, 24.2% win out, 50% make CFP, 28.4% make CFP final, 15.6% win CFP final
  3.  Alabama: 23.5 FPI, 26% win out, 31.2% make CFP, 15.8% make CFP final, 7.8% win CFP final
  4.  Oregon: 23.3 FPI, 38.7% win out, 27.3% make CFP, 12.5% make CFP final, 5.7% win CFP final
  5.  Penn St.: 23.2 FPI, 32.9% win out, 14.1% make CFP, 6.4% make CFP final, 3.1% win CFP final

Allstate Playoff Predictor for Ohio State

  1.  @ Rutgers: 91% chance to win
  2.  Michigan State: 98%
  3.  Minnesota: 97%
  4.  @ Michigan: 46%

The SP+ and FPI rank Ohio State somewhere between No. 1 and No. 3 based on the Buckeyes' current strength of schedule and on-field performance, as well as their expected future performances predicted from their algorithms.

But what do humans think about the Buckeyes? Moreover, how should we expect the CFP committee to describe Ohio State when it reveals its top four?

Dinich: “The Buckeyes Have The Best Résumé to Date”

Over the past couple of years, Dinich has been one of the most well-connected reporters when it comes to access and information from CFP committee members. On Monday, she ranked Ohio State No. 1 overall and explained the reasons the Buckeyes hold the top spot in her top 12.

Why they could be here: With victories against Penn State and Notre Dame – both of whom won Saturday – the Buckeyes have the best résumé to date. If the Nittany Lions and Fighting Irish are both top-15 teams as expected on Tuesday, Ohio State would be able to claim something the other contenders would not: multiple wins against highly ranked opponents. Saturday's road win against a Wisconsin team above .500 will only bolster Ohio State's case. The Buckeyes also have an elite roster, particularly on defense, and a Heisman hopeful in wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

Why they could be lower: One of Ohio State's wins was against FCS Youngstown State. And overall, the Buckeyes haven't been as efficient offensively as other contenders, including Michigan, Oregon, Washington and Georgia. The wins against Notre Dame and Penn State were both by single digits, and the game in South Bend, Indiana, came down to the last second.

What to know: The Buckeyes entered Saturday with the best chance to make the CFP, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor; they were No. 1 in ESPN's strength of record metric and No. 1 in ESPN's FPI. Penn State's win against Indiana on Saturday – albeit an unconvincing one – was a boost to Ohio State's chances of earning the top spot.

The Buckeyes have the best résumé to date?

I know another college football analyst who made the same claim on Monday.

His name is Joel Klatt.

 LET'S TALK RÉSUMÉ. In a breakdown of Ohio State's win over Wisconsin, FOX analyst Joel Klatt offered his assessment of the Buckeyes' 2023 season. With the added note that he has covered Ohio State more than all other analysts in America over the past several seasons – which could be true; the Buckeyes have been on Big Noon a ton – Klatt shared his belief that Ohio State should be ranked No. 1 in the CFP Poll on Tuesday.

Klatt also had some other commentary on the Buckeyes that I believe we all could chew on. I will include that commentary in a transcription below.

"I will not be shocked if Ohio State is number one. Now, I won't be shocked if they aren't. But let's not be surprised if the Buckeyes are number one because – up to this point – they have the most impressive résumé in the country. Have they been the most impressive at winning the eye test? No, probably not. But, at least on paper, their résumé continues to get stronger with how Notre Dame is playing.

"Ohio State is a lot different than what they have been the last couple of years. ... I think I know why people are so critical of this year's team. The reason is it doesn't look like any of the other versions, and people were used to Ohio State winning a certain way. ... For some of the fans, it's like, 'Man, I'm not used to this.' Ohio State had to grind out wins over Notre Dame, Maryland, Penn State at home or Wisconsin on the road. It looks and feels different. This is a team that, in the last three seasons, was quarterback-reliant. And, boy, they were really good. They had good quarterbacks to rely on in (Justin) Fields and (C.J.) Stroud. But the defense was always a concern over the last three years. Will they hold up? Will they be good enough in the big moments? That begs the question of, which one is better?

If I am an Ohio State fan, I'm gonna take this version. I've seen the other versions not work. I've seen them come up just short. I've seen that philosophy – if you want to call it that – come up short with other teams. Oklahoma tried this with Lincoln Riley for years, now USC. You can have the best offense in the country, but if you can't get stops, it's not gonna work. Not at the top end. Not with where you want to go. Not if you want to beat Michigan after a couple of years of not beating them. Not if you want to beat Georgia in the College Football Playoff. Not if you want to beat Alabama in the national championship game. If you want to win those games, (the defense-first) vein is probably better."

As Klatt wrapped up his breakdown, he reiterated that Ohio State fans should be excited about the current version of the Buckeyes because former versions – ones where the offense carried the team while the defense struggled – didn't work. It didn't lead to wins over Michigan. It didn't lead to Big Ten championships. It didn't lead to national championships.

"Ohio State's so much different than it has been over the past three years, but it could be better. It could be better," Klatt said.

It could be!

After nine weeks of the 2023 college football season, I have no idea how to describe Ohio State's identity. However, here is a drafted version, with help from Klatt's analysis: A defense-first team with an offense that has Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and TreVeyon Henderson.

Will that be enough for Ohio State to beat Michigan, win a Big Ten championship and a national championship this season?

We'll see!

 30-SECOND TIMEOUT. Those CFP sections were lengthy, and the next one could be, too. I've called a timeout so we can laugh at the Michigan fans who appeared in the 11W mentions after I posted about Jim Harbaugh's press conference on Monday.

The Tweet

The Replies 

Sick burn.

I will now use all 11 brain cells to wrap up the Skull Session.

 OLYMPIC VILLAGE. Former Ohio State wrestler and current Ohio State assistant coach Logan Stieber has been elected to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame class of 2024, the association announced on Monday.

On May 31 and June 1, 2024, Stieber will appear at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the 47th induction ceremony, where he will become the first Ohio State wrestler inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The NWHF 2024 class features Stieber, Tadaaki Hatta, Toccara Montgomery, Coleman Scott, J.R. Johnson, Darryl Miller and Steve Banach. Stieber, Montgomery and Scott will be inducted as Distinguished Members of the Modern Era. Stieber (2010) and Scott (2004) are the first winners of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award to be inducted as Distinguished Members.

Stieber's induction and special recognition are well-deserved.

The "Logie Bear" is one of the most decorated wrestlers to represent Ohio State on the mats. One look at his résumé, and one could argue he is the most decorated wrestler in school history.

In four seasons with the Buckeyes, Stieber became the first Big Ten wrestler and the fourth NCAA to win four individual national championships. He captured his titles in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In the 2015 season, Stieber was named Outstanding Wrestler of the NCAA Championships and won the Dan Hodge Trophy as he led Ohio State to its first-ever team national title.

Shall I continue?

Stieber was a four-time Big Ten champion and finished his collegiate career with a 119-3 record, boasting the highest winning percentage (.975) in Ohio State history. Oh, and he arrived in Columbus after four years at Monroeville (Ohio) High School, where he had a career record of 184-1 and won four state championships. That's a 303-4 record across eight seasons on the mat.

After his college career, Stieber competed in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 World Championships, winning an individual title in 2016 and a team title with the USA in 2017. He also captured a title for the USA at the 2018 Pan-American Championships.

These days, Stieber is an assistant for Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan. Whenever I have spoken with Ohio State wrestlers, those Buckeyes rave about Stieber's wisdom and intellect. Some have said Stieber still locks hands with some current wrestlers from time to time – just to see if he's still got it.

“He does,” Ohio State All-American Carson Kharchla told me on Monday.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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