It didn’t take long for the lobbying to begin.
Right after Ohio State knocked off previously-unbeaten Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, it became apparent that the final spot in the College Football Playoff would come down to the Buckeyes (11-2) or Alabama (11-1).
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban appeared on “SportsCenter” in the minutes after the OSU-Wisconsin game went final. When comparing his team’s candidacy to Ohio State’s, he made sure to point out OSU’s 55-24 loss to Iowa on Nov. 4.
“You want to get the four best teams in the playoff,” Saban said. “You got to look at the total body of work that the team did for the entire season, and I would say that if we lost to a team in our conference that was not ranked by 30 points, that you wouldn’t be having this conversation. You wouldn’t be talking to me.”
Later Saturday night, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer also appeared on “SportsCenter.” Naturally, Saban’s comments were played for Meyer. His reaction kind of said it all.
After letting out that little chuckle, he took the high road and he understands Saban sticking up for his team.
“We’ve been fortunate to be in two (College Football Playoffs). This will be the fifth year. The fans wanted it and that’s what they got,” Meyer said. “This is such an important opportunity to be able to go compete in this tournament to go win a national title. In 2014 we were fortunate enough to go do that. Everybody’s got to stick up for their team. I’m sticking up for our team with quality wins and a conference championship and I think the committee’s got a tough decision to make.”
Despite the loss to Iowa (and the early-season loss to Big 12 champion Oklahoma), Ohio State has wins over Wisconsin, then-No. 2 Penn State and then-No. 12 Michigan State while Alabama’s best win is probably over LSU. But the Tide’s only loss came on the road to Auburn, which cost it the SEC West title. Auburn won the division instead, but lost to Georgia in the SEC title game.
Georgia, now a shoo-in for the CFP, previously lost to Auburn 40-17 on Nov. 11, leading Saban to include the timing of losses in his argument for putting ‘Bama in the playoff.
“Georgia lost there by a whole bunch too — a lot more than we did,” Saban said. “So they’re in the playoff, they played their way into it. But I think if the four best teams get in this, we’ll get a lot of really strong consideration, and I think our team deserves to be in it.”
The committee’s decision will be unveiled around 12:30 p.m. ET.
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