College Football Playoff: What separates Ohio State from TCU and USC in penultimate rankings?

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Ohio State is fifth in the penultimate College Football Playoff committee rankings.

The Buckeyes were second a week ago but fell out of the top four after being tossed around at home by Michigan.

The Wolverines took their spot at No. 2 while Georgia is once again No. 1 by virtue of the Bulldogs’ having four wins over ranked teams to Michigan’s two.

TCU is third with USC fourth this week, but the Horned Frogs and Trojans both have conference championship games this weekend that could complicate things when all is said and done.

The Bulldogs and Wolverines are presumed to be in the field even if they lose to No. 14 LSU and unranked Purdue, respectively, this weekend, but Ohio State maintains hope of moving up should TCU or USC slip up this weekend.

Undefeated TCU faces No. 10 Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game while USC plays No. 11 Utah, the only team to beat the Trojans this season.

Prior to the release of the rankings, some speculated Alabama might still have a shot at making the top four with some upsets on Saturday, but the Crimson Tide are sixth this week.

With neither Alabama or Ohio State playing this week, it is hard to see the committee flipping them in the final rankings, but CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan was careful not to rule out any scenarios.

“I think that’s a segment of what we’re going to see this weekend is all the games, and we’re going to see how it all plays out and be able to make our decisions next week and get back on a phone call with y’all explaining them,” Corrigan said.

He described TCU’s ranking at No. 3 as solid, though, citing the Horned Frogs’ being undefeated and having six wins against teams that are over .500. They have beaten two ranked teams.

“They continue to find ways to win,” he said. “Their defense has gotten stronger and stronger, and really where we are this week, where do we have them this week, and we have them clearly at No. 3 this week.”

With USC and Ohio State both having one loss, Corrigan said the Trojans’ three wins over ranked teams vs. Ohio State’s two was a major factor.

“Ohio State has nice wins over Penn State and Notre Dame,” Corrigan said. “That Michigan game was a whole lot closer early in the fourth quarter than it was (at the end), but then you look at USC and their recent wins over UCLA and Notre Dame, they also have a win over Oregon State. Their one loss you probably remember is a two-point conversion against Utah in an emotionally charged game.

“As we looked at the full body of work of both teams, we came out with USC in the No. 4 spot and Ohio State in the No. 5 spot.”

The final rankings will be released Sunday afternoon.

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