Tuesday Question: Is Ohio State Still No. 1?

    After a tough time with Northern Illinois, is Ohio State still No. 1?

    September 22, 2015

    E-mail:  Rich Cirminiello


    Q: Does Ohio state deserve to be No. 1 … If no, if the playoff was right now, does it deserve to be in?

    A: No … and without a doubt.

    Polls mean more today than they did a month ago. Still, they don’t matter all that much, since it’ll take another month before each school has a substantial enough body of work to properly evaluate its playoff potential. Preseason rankings are entirely speculative. In-season rankings, though, should be based on what’s happening on the field. And who has a better resume through three weekends than Ole Miss, which just snapped No. 2 Alabama’s 17-game home winning streak?

    At this very moment in time, the Rebels own the best collection of work in college football. And, using the same measuring stick, Michigan State, belongs at No. 2 by virtue of its win over a solid Oregon team. The Buckeyes? They would absolutely belong in the playoff if the season had ended on Sept. 19, because every fiber of my being tells me that this is one of the four most talented teams in America, personnel and staff included.

    Not unlike Florida State from a year ago, Ohio State is a defending national champ that remains unbeaten and has the requisite talent to match up with anyone in the country. That team will always deserve one of the four playoff bids, even when style points come at a premium.

    Email: Phil Harrison


    Does Ohio State Deserve to be No. 1?

    Boy how things have changed in just a couple of weeks. Against Virginia Tech, Ohio State showed its depth on both sides of the ball, Braxton Miller was unleashing the most famous spin move in the history of collegiate athletics, and the offense was putting up over 500 yards.

    Just two weeks later and some rather unimpressive offensive showings against Hawaii and then Northern Illinois, and the Buckeyes now look vulnerable. Suddenly, the embarrassment of riches at quarterback seems more like spoiled groceries, as neither Cardale Jones or J. T. Barrett are playing up to their potential. But does OSU still deserved to be ranked No. 1?

    Simply based on the body of evidence in the three short weeks that we’ve been able to observe Urban Meyer’s outfit in contrast with what we’ve seen from other teams, that answer has to be no. It didn’t take much for the retro Hawaii Rainbow Warriors to make the OSU offense look average, and even after time to take in that game-plan, the coaching staff couldn’t break the code against a similar look that Northern Illinois employed.

    What we’ve seen to date is an offensive line that isn’t getting it done, play calling that doesn’t seem to fit the talent on-board, a lack of proven ability at wide-receiver, and an overall lack of focus across the board. We must remember that it’s only two games, but rather than just a one-game aberration, the issues have now surfaced in two straight games. That’s at least some cause for concern.

    On a positive note, the defense has still been lights out, but it has yet to face an offense that can make the scarlet and gray feel black and blue. Those days are coming. What will happen when the defense can’t save the day?

    That takes care of the No. 1 ranking, but what about the College Football Playoff? If the season were to end today, should OSU be in the top four? Thankfully, the season doesn’t end today, but if it did, you’d be hard pressed to keep this team out of the mix, despite the lackluster efforts on the offensive end.

    As mentioned previously, the defense has still been championship caliber. The D-line is getting into the backfield, the linebackers are running free and making plays, and the secondary has been able to play man-to-man and still lock things down through the air. That has freed up everyone else to be aggressive and make plays.

    Aside from that, this team is still loaded, and still undefeated. Most everybody is intact from last year, and you get a feeling that the coaching staff and whomever ends up under center full-time will get things going sooner rather than later. We saw it last year, and there’s still a good chance that this year’s team becomes the beast that we thought it would be. There’s simply too much potential and too much talent to think otherwise.

    MORE: 2015-16 College Football Bowl Projections After Week 3


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