Romp boosts Buckeyes to No. 9 in playoff rankings
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.”
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).
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.