Romp boosts Buck­eyes to No. 9 in play­off rank­ings

The Columbus Dispatch - - Nhl - By Bill Rabi­nowitz bra­bi­nowitz@dis­patch.com @brdis­patch

Ohio State moved up four spots to No. 9 in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off rank­ings af­ter its 45-point rout of Michi­gan State on Satur­day.

The Buck­eyes (8-2) were ranked No. 13 be­fore crush­ing the Spar­tans 48-3. But the lop­sided losses to Oklahoma and par­tic­u­larly to Iowa still weigh heav­ily to the play­off se­lec­tion com­mit­tee.

“The loss to Iowa was a con­vinc­ing loss in the eyes of the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee that Ohio State suf­fered,” se­lec­tion com­mit­tee chair Kirby Ho­cutt said in a tele­con­fer­ence. “Still, (Ohio State is) an ex­tremely tal­ented and good foot­ball team.

“The se­lec­tion com­mit­tee was ex­tremely im­pressed with the win and the man­ner in which the win came about last week against Michi­gan State. The win over Michi­gan State and the win over Penn State are vic­to­ries the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee con­tin­ues to be im­pressed with. But again, the losses to Oklahoma and Iowa also weak­ened their re­sume at this par­tic­u­lar time.”

Among teams with two losses, Ohio State is ranked be­hind Auburn at No. 6 and Notre Dame at No. 8. But the Buck­eyes po­ten­tially could pass both of those teams. Auburn must play No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 25. Notre Dame, as an in­de­pen­dent, would not have the op­por­tu­nity to make a clos­ing state­ment by play­ing in a con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game.

Af­ter play­ing Illi­nois this week, the Buck­eyes play No. 24 Michi­gan. If Ohio State plays in the Big Ten ti­tle game, it would face Wis­con­sin, which is No. 5.

Ho­cutt said there were es­sen­tially two tiers of teams. He said there wasn’t much of a gap among the top five teams, and the same was true with the clus­ter of teams be­hind Auburn.

“When we got into dis­cus­sion of teams from 7-11, there was not a lot of sep­a­ra­tion, he said. “There was a lot of con­ver­sa­tion about that par­tic­u­lar order. (Ohio State was) not far away from be­ing a spot or two higher, or a spot or two lower, ei­ther.”

Lineback­ers up­date

Ohio State coach Ur­ban Meyer said on the Big Ten coaches tele­con­fer­ence that Jerome Baker has been cleared for Satur­day’s game while Dante Booker is ques­tion­able.

Both out­side lineback­ers missed the Michi­gan State game ap­par­ently be­cause of con­cus­sions. In their ab­sence against the Spar­tans, Tuf Bor­land played mid­dle line­backer with Chris Wor­ley mov­ing to the out­side spot and Ma­lik Har­ri­son play­ing the other out­side line­backer.

Nei­ther play­ers nor de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Greg Schi­ano would say whether Booker prac­ticed Tues­day.

EAST LANS­ING, Mich. — By half­time of Michi­gan State's loss at Ohio State last week­end, it was ob­vi­ous the Spar­tans were over­matched.

In fact, the game was rem­i­nis­cent of two of Mark Dan­to­nio's most one-sided de­feats as Michi­gan State's coach.

It was Alabama that in­flicted those, beat­ing the Spar­tans 49-7 in the 2011 Cap­i­tal One Bowl and 38-0 in a 2015 na­tional semi­fi­nal. Satur­day's game at Ohio State a 48-3 loss was sim­i­lar. It might ac­tu­ally have been worse than the play­off game against Alabama, which didn't get out of hand un­til the sec­ond half.

"I just asked my play­ers one sim­ple thing: Do the very best you can to pre­pare emo­tion­ally, phys­i­cally and from a foot­ball stand­point. Do the very, very best and bring your best in ev­ery sin­gle foot­ball game," Dan­to­nio said Tues­day. "I do not think we did that last week. That's on everybody to look at them­selves and ask them­selves: Did I get enough sleep? Did I eat right? Did I watch enough film? What was my men­tal state when I went to the foot­ball game? That's on all of us."

Those blowouts against Alabama and Ohio State are easy to list be­cause they haven't hap­pened of­ten since Dan­to­nio came to East Lans­ing. The Spar­tans have of­ten ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions against Ohio State, for ex­am­ple, so it was un­usual for them to be so quickly out­classed. It was 14-0 af­ter one quar­ter and 35-3 af­ter two.

"We were go­ing to have to con­tinue to over­achieve, as I al­ways say, to be in that foot­ball game, and we did not," Dan­to­nio said. "Then the wave of mo­men­tum and ev­ery­thing else, you saw what hap­pened."

TCU quar­ter­back Kenny Hill and lead­ing tack­ler Travin Howard are among sev­eral key play­ers that coach Gary Pat­ter­son said Tues­day are "be­tween prob­a­ble and ques­tion­able" to play for the No. 11 Horned Frogs at Texas Tech on Satur­day.

Safety Niko Small and line­backer Mon­trel Wil­son, who has dealt with in­juries all sea­son, are also ques­tion­able.

Run­ning back Dar­ius An­der­son, the team's lead­ing rusher with 768 yards and eight touch­downs, will miss the rest of the sea­son af­ter suf­fer­ing an un­spec­i­fied leg in­jury in a loss at Oklahoma on Satur­day.

Kato Smith threw four touch­down passes and host Akron (6-5, 5-2) moved into a tie for the lead in the Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence East Di­vi­sion with Ohio (8-3, 5-2). Nathan Rourke passed for two TDs and ran for two scores for Ohio.

Shane Morris passed for 297 yards and two touch­downs to lead vis­it­ing Cen­tral Michi­gan (7-4, 5-2 MAC) past Kent State (2-9, 1-6).

DIS­PATCH] [JOSHUA A. BICKEL/

Ohio State line­backer Jerome Baker tries to grab Iowa’s James But­ler dur­ing a game on Nov. 4. Baker missed the Michi­gan State game on Satur­day but has been cleared to play this week.

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