Ohio State retained fourth spot in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday after the previous game was canceled, landing behind No. 1 Alabama (8-0), No. 2 Notre Dame (9-0) and No. 3 Clemson (8 -1) for a second week in a row.
The selection committee’s top seven teams remained unchanged from last week’s rankings after the contenders in the playoffs either won comfortably or didn’t play due to issues with COVID-19. The Buckeyes (4-0) had to cancel their game in Illinois last week after an increase in the number of coronavirus cases within the program, including Coach Ryan Day who tested positive. It was the second game of the season that the Buckeyes missed. Another cancellation would make them ineligible for the Big Ten championship game and unable to play more than six regular season games. The Buckeyes resumed team activities on Tuesday and expect to play in Michigan State this week.
Despite having played only four games, Ohio State remains ahead of Texas A&M in fifth place (6-1), which defeated LSU at home last week, and Florida (7-1), which defeated Kentucky at home.
The College Football Playoff has not set a minimum number of games played to qualify for the playoff. It’s just up to the selection committee to find out how many are too few.
“There is sometimes a discrepancy between a team that has played eight or nine games and a team that has played three or four games, and frankly that is a problem (in ranking teams),” said Gary Barta, chairman of the selection committee, who said the Iowa’s athletic director.
Barta said the committee was discussing Texas A & M’s ranking for Ohio State, but for now, the Buckeyes and their powerful offense led by quarterback Justin Fields are holding the final playoff spot.
“When those two teams were put side by side this morning and last night, there just wasn’t enough to put Texas A&M above Ohio state,” Barta said.
Texas A&M takes a 20-7 win against LSU played in rainy and windy conditions.
No. 7 Cincinnati (8-0) had also canceled the last game. The Bearcats are next scheduled to play December 12 at No. 24 Tulsa (5-1). Georgia (6-2) moved up one spot to eighth after beating South Carolina and Iowa State (7-2) and Miami (7-1) completed the top 10.
Notre Dame learned on Tuesday that it has secured a spot in the ACC championship game in its first season as a football member of the conference. The Fighting Irish are likely to meet Clemson, which would be a rematch of a regular game Notre Dame won in overtime last month at South Bend, Ind., When the Tigers didn’t have starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Northwestern (5-1) was the only team in the CFP’s initial top 10 to drop out, dropping six places to No. 14 after losing to Michigan State for the first of the season. Iowa State is the only newcomer to the top 10, rising to No. 9 after Friday’s victory against Texas, which dropped out of the rankings. Iowa State is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the Big 12 championship game, in which it will likely play number 11 Oklahoma (6-2).
While the top 10 remained largely intact, there was significant movement elsewhere. Oklahoma State (6-2) rose eight places to No. 15 after its home victory against Texas Tech. Iowa (4-2) rose five places to No. 19 after his home win against Nebraska.
BYU (9-0), hoping for a spot in one of the new year’s six bowls, climbed a spot to number 13 after not playing last week. The Cougars, an independent FBS, will next play against San Diego state on December 12.
Defending Pac-12 champion Oregon (3-1) dropped eight places to No. 23 after a road loss against Oregon state. Washington, which improved to 3-0 after a historic comeback against Utah, will make its debut in the CFP rankings at No. 22. The Ducks and Huskies will play in Oregon next week. USC (3-0), which canceled last week’s game against Colorado due to COVID-19 issues in the schedule, is the Pac-12’s highest-placed team at number 20.
Coastal Carolina rose two places to number 18 after improving to 9-0. The Chanticleers will face Liberty (9-1) this weekend. Louisiana (8-1), which opened the season with a victory in Iowa State, rounds out the CFP rankings at No. 25.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit caused a commotion with some of his analysis of Ohio State, Michigan and teams using COVID-19 as an excuse not to play.
Michigan did not hold personal team activities Monday and Tuesday after returning at least one positive test in the program. The Wolverines (2-4) will host Maryland this week and play on December 12 in Ohio State.
“I still think Michigan is waving the white flag, possibly avoiding playing in Ohio State next week,” Herbstreit said.
“Is that fair?” former Ohio State quarterback said. Michigan could basically opt out of that game and keep Ohio State out of six games for the Big Ten Championship. That doesn’t make sense to me. ”
When given the opportunity by host Rece Davis to clarify his comments, Herbstreit said he heard from coaches across the country who thought some teams were opting out to avoid playing games because “they don’t want to be humiliated.”
Not long after the show ended, Herbstreit posted a video to Twitter apologizing to Michigan.
‘I didn’t have to say that at all. I have no proof of that, ”said Herbstreit. “It was completely unfair to the University of Michigan, Jim Harbaugh, his players and coaches, and I just wanted to apologize.”
The CFP committee will release the rankings on December 8th and 15th, before the final list is revealed on December 20th.
News services contributed to this story.
****** COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS (December 1) ******
1. Alabama (8-0)
2. Notre Dame (9-0)
3. Clemson (8-1)
4. Ohio State (4-0)
Texas A&M (6-1)
7. Cincinnati (8-0)
9. Iowa State (7-2)
10. Miami (7-1)
12. Indiana (5-1)
13. BYU (9-0)
14. Northwest (5-1)
15. Oklahoma State (6-2)
16. Wisconsin (2-1)
17. North Carolina (6-3)
18. Coastal Carolina (9-0)
19. Iowa (4-2)
20. USC (3-0)
21. Marshall (7-0)
22. Washington (3-0)
23. Oregon (3-1)
24. Tulsa (5-1)
25. Louisiana (8-1)