Say what you will about the College Football Playoff rankings, but they always make for interesting debates and discussion.
One of those played out Wednesday morning on ESPN’s Mike and Mike. College football analyst Kirk Herbstreit was brought on the show to discuss his thoughts on the latest CFP rankings, which were released Tuesday night.
The Big Ten is sitting pretty with four teams in the top eight: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan, No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 8 Penn State. It’s almost a guarantee the Big Ten will get at least one team in the four-team playoff, and there’s a decent chance two Big Ten teams could make it.
So how would it shake down if Ohio State and Penn State both won out? This would put the Buckeyes at 11-1 but without a conference title. In this scenario, Penn State would be 11-2 and Big Ten champs.
Herbstreit argued that since the committee already put the Buckeyes at a “solid” No. 2 behind Alabama, they would not fall out of the top four as long as they beat Michigan State and No. 3 Michigan in the next two weeks.
“Their resume alone and the way they’re trending, the committee putting them at a solid No. 2 kind of shows you that there’s no way that they’ll take Ohio State from a solid 2 and move them to a No. 5 if Penn State, for example, becomes the Big Ten champion,” Herbstreit said.
But what happens to Penn State in this scenario? The Nittany Lions would have a conference title and a head-to-head win against Ohio State. Would they also deserve a playoff spot?
Herbstreit isn’t so sure. He said Penn State would not be a “slam dunk” to make it, citing the Buckeyes will have had a better overall season than the Nittany Lions.
“I think what the committee is looking at is the entire body of work, not just the head-to-head between Ohio State and Penn State,” Herbstreit said. “Anybody who has watched Ohio State and Penn State and would say Penn State is a much superior team than Ohio State, I think most people objectively would disagree.”
And while host Mike Golic agreed with Herbstreit that Ohio State is a better team than Penn State, he said a scenario with the Nittany Lions not making the final four over the Buckeyes would not seem fair at all.
“I’d lose my flippin’ mind if Penn State won the Big Ten and didn’t get in and Ohio State got in,” Golic said.
You can hear all of the audio from their discussion here.