ANALYSIS: Why Georgia jumped Ohio State for the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings this week

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Ohio State relinquished the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff to Georgia after lengthy discussions by the selection committee.

“We talked about it early, we talked about it in the middle, we talked about it at the end,” CFP chair Boo Corrigan said after the third edition of the rankings were released Tuesday night.

The Buckeyes topped the rankings the first two weeks thanks to having a pair of wins over ranked foes, something no one else could claim.

Georgia has matched them the last two weeks, however, so the defending champs moving up to No. 1 did not come as a major surprise.

After knocking off Missouri two weeks ago, the Bulldogs handled Mississippi last week, and the committee seems to still like both squads as the Tigers are No. 9 this week and the Rebels checked in at No. 13.

Ohio State has wins over No. 12 Penn State and No. 19 Notre Dame, but some college football analysts questioned whether or not the Buckeyes were really the best team out there because they have not been dominant week in and week out.

The same could be said to at least some extent about Georgia, but the Bulldogs found another gear last week in a 52-17 rout of Ole Miss.

Having throttled Michigan State 38-3 last week, Ohio State also seems to be finding its stride, albeit against lesser competition.

“You’re seeing improvement from a lot of the teams that we’re talking about in how they’re playing,” Corrigan said. “In some cases, players coming back from injury and just making sure that we’re trying to read the whole piece of what’s going on.

“Ohio State has been hit by the injury bug as well, and seeing them have their guys back on the field continues to impress the committee. You can’t get much closer than (Ohio State and Georgia).”

In the case of both the Buckeyes and the Bulldogs, getting multiple injured playmakers back on offense over the past month is a big factor.

For Ohio State, that is running back TreVeyon Henderson, receiver Emeka Egbuka and tight end Cade Stover.

In the case of Georgia, receiver Ladd McConkey has become a weapon again, and star tight end Brock Bowers returned from ankle surgery last week.

Among many factors, the committee does take into consideration how a team looks in a given week if it does not have a full complement of expected players.

“(We make) sure that as we go through this and the voting process that there’s healthy, strong debates, conversations around each one of the teams and then in comparison to the other teams in making sure that we’re tracking where the games are and who’s in, who’s playing again, who’s out — all of those things,” Corrigan said.

“We go in there every week and repeat it again with a clean sheet.”

Michigan is No. 3 this week after topping the Nittany Lions for the Wolverines’ first ranked win of the season, and Florida State is No. 4.

At No. 5, Washington is the lowest-ranked of the power conference teams that are still undefeated this week. The Huskies have a win over No. 6 Oregon under their belt, and they knocked off No. 22 Utah last week.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines both play unranked teams this week — Minnesota and Maryland, respectively — before squaring off in Ann Arbor on Nov. 25.

“As you go through it each week, we continue to look at everything,” Corrigan said. “and after week 11 we ended up with Ohio State at 2 and Michigan at 3.”


Minnesota at Ohio State, 4 p.m., Big Ten Network, 1410

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