COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State made a statement Saturday, and voters took notice Sunday.
Despite the fact that no teams ranked above them in either poll lost, the Buckeyes moved up in the Coaches Poll and gained ground in the AP Top 25. Such was the power of their 62-3 thumping of Nebraska, which entered Saturday’s game in the top 10.
The Buckeyes (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) entered the game against the Cornhuskers ranked sixth in both polls. They trailed Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Washington and Louisville. The first four of those teams — all unbeaten — will probably prove uncatchable until they lose. The Buckeyes did, however, gain enough ground to overtake the Cardinals in one poll.
Ohio State’s big win gave it the push it needed to close the gap in the Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 in that one. As noted above, the only teams ranked above the Buckeyes are undefeated. In the AP Top 25, Ohio State moved closer to overtaking Louisville but remained sixth — 10 points behind the Cardinals.
Previous rankings (Coaches/AP): No. 6/No. 6
New rankings (Coaches/AP): No. 5/No. 6
Last result: Beat No. 10 Nebraska 62-3 on Saturday
What it means: Along with Louisville, Ohio State is now seen as the one of the best one-loss teams in the country. The Buckeyes split the fifth and sixth spots with the Cardinals, and they no longer have to worry about College Football Playoff darling Texas A&M. The Wisconsin win continues to pay off, as the Badgers’ success gives Ohio State one of the strongest wins of any team in the country. In addition to that, though, the Buckeyes also have wins over Oklahoma and Nebraska. Even though the Huskers fell quite a bit after the loss, they’re still a Top 25 team.
The polls matter even less now that the CFP rankings are out, but they’re still a good indicator of national perception. Ohio State should have no problem making the playoff if it wins out, assuming that leads to a division title. If Michigan loses twice and Penn State wins out, running the table wouldn’t be good enough for the Buckeyes. But that possibility is a remote one. The Buckeyes have the look of a championship team. Furthermore, polls indicate they’ll get their chance to prove it if they keep winning.
Up next: Ohio State plays at Maryland at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.