The fifth release of the College Football Playoff rankings brought good news and bad news for Ohio State.
Positive: The sixth-ranked Buckeyes are no longer 10th or behind still-undefeated UCF.
Negative: They are still behind No. 4 Georgia and, most importantly, No. 5 Oklahoma.
Alabama is likely to deal with the Bulldogs (a 13-point underdog) this weekend in the SEC championship game, opening up the No. 4 spot.
If Ohio State and Oklahoma both win, the committee is on record as favoring the Sooners.
Additionally, the case could be made Oklahoma’s resume would improve more with a win over No. 14 Texas in the Big 12 championship game than Ohio State’s would with a victory over No. 21 Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game.
CFP committee chairman Rob Mullens made it sound like that doesn’t matter much when asked, though.
When asked why the Sooners are ahead of the Buckeyes this week, he listed a pair of impressive wins for each team (West Virginia and Iowa State for OU; Michigan and Penn State for OSU) while noting the Texas team that beat Oklahoma in a close game in October was ranked.
That is not the case for Purdue, a 49-20 winner over Ohio State that same month.
“Oklahoma's only loss is to a ranked Texas team on a neutral field,” Mullens said. “Impressive wins against a ranked West Virginia, a ranked Iowa State. Historic offense. We understand the defensive struggles.
“Ohio State, impressive win over Michigan (last week). Certainly their most complete game. Quality road win over Penn State. Loss to Purdue. Somewhat inconsistent in the second half of the year. But, again, most complete game against Michigan.”
The Sooners are touchdown favorites over the Longhorns while the Buckeyes are favored by two touchdowns over the Wildcats.