COLUMBUS, Ohio — The biggest decision is still to come, but Ohio State felt the love one last time from poll voters.
The Buckeyes remained No. 2 in the latest AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll released Sunday. The Buckeyes were idle and did not play in the Big Ten title game. However, the strength of their resume from the regular season held enough clout to keep them second.
By coming in at No. 2, Ohio State remains the nation’s highest-ranked one-loss team. Alabama and Western Michigan both finished 13-0 and won their conference championships. However, the Broncos do not factor into the playoff picture because of their strength of schedule. Voters clearly view Ohio State as the No. 1 challenger to Alabama. The Buckeyes finished decisively ahead of ACC champion Clemson (No. 3) and Pac-12 champ Washington (No. 4). Big Ten champion Penn State ranked fifth and Michigan listed at sixth.
Previous rankings (AP/Coaches): No. 2/No. 2
New rankings (AP/Coaches): No. 2/No. 2
Last result: Did not play Saturday.
What it means: Public opinion still deeply favors Ohio State (11-1 overall, 8-1 Big Ten) despite the fact that the Buckeyes didn’t play for a conference championship. The Buckeyes went on the road to beat a pair of top-10 teams, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 8 Wisconsin, and also beat the sixth-ranked Wolverines. Additionally, Ohio State’s only loss came on the road at night against Penn State. The Nittany Lions boosted their stock, but not enough to enter the top four of the polls and not nearly enough to threaten the Buckeyes’ status as the No. 2 team.
It’s hard to imagine a drop coming in the College Football Playoff rankings, given the fact that the Buckeyes haven’t taken a hit anywhere else. Still, that will be determined for sure at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The College Football Playoff committee, after all, makes the ultimate decision.
Up next: College Football Playoff semifinal or non-playoff New Year’s Six bowl game.