Big 10 title not enough for Buckeyes to make playoffs

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Oklahoma is in the college football playoffs and Ohio State is out.

The College Football Selection Committee picked Oklahoma as the No. 4 seed. The committee put Ohio State No. 6, despite the Buckeye’s 45-24 victory over Northwestern on Saturday in the Big Ten championship game.

Ohio State will play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 in Pasadena.

NBC4 Sports Director Jerod Smalley said he was not surprised by the selection committee’s decision.

“It’s what I expected. Ultimately, the committee viewed Oklahoma’s total body of work as more impressive than Ohio State’s,” Smalley said.”Georgia was more in consideration than Ohio State because of the way they played against Alabama.”

Top-ranked Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame were all expected to to be in the playoffs. The Crimson Tide won the SEC championship 35-28 over Georgia, the unbeaten Fighting Irish were idle and Clemson won the ACC title over Pittsburgh, 42-10.

The fourth and final berth was the only seed up for grabs.

Before Ohio State’s game against Northwestern, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Ohio State could land a spot in the playoffs with a big win over the Wildcats.

“I think the human nature being what it is, I think the last thing you see makes a lot of difference, and I don’t think it’s inconceivable that Ohio State could win big and they could jump,” Bowlsby said.

In the first year of the CFP in 2014, Ohio State won the Big Ten championship game 59-0 and took the fourth playoff spot ahead of Big 12 co-champions TCU and Baylor.

The Sooners (12-1) will face No. 1 Alabama (13-0) in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29 and No. 2 Clemson (13-0) plays No. 3 Notre Dame (12-0) in the Cotton Bowl on the same day.

Georgia (11-2) dropped a spot to fifth and Ohio State (12-1) remained sixth in the selection committee’s final top 25 released Sunday. The Bulldogs lost a dramatic Southeastern Conference championship game to Alabama on Saturday while the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship.

“Every combination was vetted, looking at their full body of work, their resumes side-by-side,” selection committee chairman Rob Mullens said. “In the end, what we decided was amongst the group of three, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State, the committee voted that no one was unequivocally better than the other so then we leaned on the protocol. So we went with the one-loss conference champion.”

Selection committee protocol states conference championships work as a virtually tiebreaker when teams are close.

The Sooners beat Texas for the Big 12 title, avenging their only loss behind Heisman Trophy contender Kyler Murray. Oklahoma is making its third appearance in the five-year-old playoff. Alabama has played in them all. Clemson is making its fourth straight appearance. Notre Dame is in the playoff for the first time, making it 10 teams in five seasons to participate in the playoff.

The debate leading up to championship Saturday was whether Oklahoma or Ohio State might take the fourth spot if Alabama beat Georgia.

The wild card was Georgia beating the mighty Tide, which could have meant two SEC teams for the second straight season. Instead, the Bulldogs lost but played well enough to allow coach Kirby Smart to make that case that Georgia should remain in the top four.

The committee didn’t buy it.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at and listen at


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