COLUMBUS, Ohio — The first College Football Playoff rankings will be released Tuesday night, and it should be good news for Ohio State fans.
The one-loss Buckeyes will almost certainly be no worse than sixth. That’s 10 spots better than where they debuted in their championship 2014 season. Ohio State currently ranks sixth in both the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll, and the CFP rankings should be even kinder.
The selection committee puts a premium on big wins, and the Buckeyes have delivered in that category. They won at No. 12 Oklahoma and at No. 8 Wisconsin and are the only team with road wins against two teams ranked that high. The committee doesn’t factor in where teams were ranked at the time of the win — sorry, Wisconsin, 2-6 Michigan State isn’t a top-10 win — so here’s the list of each AP Top 10 team’s victories over currently ranked AP teams.
AP Top 10 best wins
Alabama (8-0): No. 7 Texas A&M
Michigan (8-0): No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 20 Penn State, No. 21 Colorado
Clemson (8-0): No. 5 Louisville, at No. 11 Auburn, at No. 19 Florida State
Washington (8-0): at No. 16 Utah
Louisville (7-1): No. 19 Florida State
Ohio State (7-1): at No. 8 Wisconsin, at No. 12 Oklahoma
Texas A&M (7-1): at No. 11 Auburn
Wisconsin (6-2): No. 9 Nebraska, No. 15 LSU
Nebraska (7-1): None
Florida (6-1): None
Ohio State has the best resume of the one-loss teams and is also the one most in control of its own destiny. Louisville is in the same division as Clemson and would need the Tigers to lose twice. Likewise, Texas A&M is in the same division as Alabama and would need the Crimson Tide to lose twice. Ohio State, on the other hand, can win its division by winning out — except for in the unlikely event that Michigan loses twice and Penn State wins out.
Ohio State could add to its resume on Saturday with a win against No. 9 Nebraska, but the Buckeyes have a wider view of their goals. The ultimate objective is not to focus on the rankings but to accomplish the tasks that will lead to a playoff selection. For Ohio State, that means winning out, getting a spot in the Big Ten title game and then winning that. In both previous playoffs, a one-loss Big Ten champion has been selected.
“I won’t look at it,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “I’m sure people will tell me about it, including my person of 27 years of marriage will tell me about it when I get home.
“But, I mean, it’s not going to change the way we work. And I’m sure we’ll be somewhere around (the four playoff spots). But we’ve got to improve and play well Saturday against a very good team.”