The Ohio State football team came in at No. 16 in the first-ever College Football Playoff rankings — but the man who invests perhaps more time in the team than anyone else might not have known right away.
“I’m sure I’ll look at ‘em tomorrow,” coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday afternoon of the rankings, which were announced Tuesday evening. “We’re practicing and tonight’s a heavy game plan night, so I won’t watch it.”
The Buckeyes were the third Big Ten team to appear in the rankings, with Nebraska and Michigan State picked at No. 15 and No. 8, respectively.
The inaugural rankings were announced via ESPN on Tuesday night. The College Football Playoff committee is set to announce a new set of rankings each week for the rest of the season, similar to the system employed by the BCS.
Meyer said he’s not sure the switch to the College Football Playoff format from the BCS will actually be a big change.
“I don’t know if there’s much difference than the old BCS system where the BCS rankings came out,” he said. “Other than … the thing I look at is it’s four teams instead of two teams.”
Meyer stressed that he doesn’t “understand the whole dynamics” of the new system and said he hasn’t talked to anyone involved about the process, but added that he thinks the same issues that people had with the BCS will still be around.
“For years people would beat up the BCS and then I’d think usually the top two teams, there was certainly controversy,” he said. “And that is not going to disappear.”
The third-year OSU coach — who won a pair of BCS National Championships while at Florida — said switching from two teams having a chance to four teams simply won’t make a big enough change to quell the controversies that have arisen in the past.
“Obviously it (the BCS) was imperfect, because the only perfect way is to do a — I don’t think that’ll ever be possible — big playoff where you have 16 teams or something like that,” Meyer said. “But then again, someone’s gonna be left out.”
The new system could well leave some potentially deserving teams out by season’s end, but listed 25 teams in its initial rankings. The rankings are selected by a panel of 12 members — originally 13, but former Mississippi and NFL quarterback Archie Manning is taking a leave of absence during the 2014 regular season.
The remaining 12 members include the panel’s chair, Jeff Long, who is vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, Lt. Gen. Mike Gould and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
While Meyer said he doesn’t believe the system is foolproof, he said he expects the pickers to select the four most deserving teams when all is said and done.
“I think that at the end of the day the playoff committee will probably get it right,” he said.
But even though he expects the four best teams to have a shot at a championship this season, Meyer said there’s one key component every team in contention should have to go through.
“The one thing (is), I think everybody should play a conference championship game,” he said. “I think that’s the one thing that I remember when I was at Florida and even last year. You’re right there and then all of a sudden ‘bang’ and you’ve gotta go play a top, top team.”
The Big Ten already has a conference championship game, but some teams — including Notre Dame, which was ranked No. 10 in the new standings, but No. 6 in the AP poll — don’t have that opportunity to enhance its resume.
With their new knowledge of the national playoff landscape in tow, the Buckeyes are set to return to the field Saturday against Illinois at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.