Committee chair Boo Corrigan told reporters on a conference call the Buckeyes retained the top spot in the CFP rankings for a second week because the Scarlet Knights have shown them something while putting together a 6-3 record, already surpassing their best wins total since 2014.
“Winning is really important, so let’s not lose sight of that,” Corrigan said. “Also Rutgers with the top 20 defense, (and) wins on the road are hard to come by.”
He also cited Ohio State’s seven wins over teams with winning records, including Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin
If the committee lost much respect for Notre Dame after the Fighting Irish lost to Clemson last week, Corrigan didn’t mention it.
Coach Marcus Freeman’s team checked in at No. 20 this week while Penn State is No. 10.
There was some thought Georgia could jump Ohio State this week after beating Missouri — this week’s No. 14 team — but the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs were No. 2 again followed by No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Florida State.
“As you’re looking at it, I don’t know that it was something necessarily that everyone looked at and bumped (the Buckeyes) up, but they continued to move on, they continue to play well,” Corrigan said.
TreVeyon Henderson posted over 200 yards from scrimmage for the second consecutive week after he missed three games with an injury, and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day confirmed the offense has a different feel with the junior from Virginia toting the rock, something the committee might also have recognized.
“Really physical team,” Corrigan said. “TreVeyon Henderson being back, going for over 100 yards the last two games helps them overall as a team with their top five defense as well.”
While Ohio State plays a Michigan State team with a 3-6 record this week, Georgia has another chance to impress the committee with a contest against No. 9 Mississippi.
Michigan also has a chance to pick up its first ranked win of the season when it goes to Penn State, but the Wolverines are dealing with accusations a now-former staff member organized a sophisticated advance-scouting network to illegally record the signs of opposing teams for the last two-plus seasons.
For the second straight week, Corrigan told ESPN the CFP would have no role in determining if Michigan broke any NCAA rules, something CFP executive director Bill Hancock echoed Tuesday night.
“We are not a governance body, and so we’re certainly all aware of the Michigan situation, but it’s just not a CFP matter,” Hancock said. “We will take what we get from the NCAA or from anybody else and whatever facts are available to those other groups, then we’ll consider it. But all we do is rank the teams that are eligible for our games.”
Although Michigan director of athletics Warde Manuel is a member of the CFP committee, he did not take part in this week’s deliberations in Grapevine, Texas, choosing to remain in Ann Arbor as the university deals with potential disciplinary action from the Big Ten.
“This had no impact on the work of the selection committee,” Corrigan said. “This is not the first time we’ve had a person miss a meeting, nor will it be the last. It just kind of happens.”
Michigan State at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m., NBC, 1410