COLUMBUS – Ohio State has had a football season with very few distractions and when something did arise, like Chase Young’s two-game suspension, there was no overreaction.
The same approach seemed to be in play when Ohio State dropped out of the No. 1 spot in the final College Football Playoff rankings of the season on Sunday.
LSU, which was No. 2 last week, overtook the Buckeyes in the discussions of the College Football Playoff selection committee. Clemson was No. 3 and Oklahoma was No. 4.
One of the results of the top two teams trading places is that, as the No. 2 seed, Ohio State will play No. 3 Clemson in a playoff semifinal, which is generally regarded as a tougher assignment than playing No. 4 seed Oklahoma, which is now the first-round opponent for LSU.
If Ohio State considers losing the No. 1 spot a snub by the selection committee, it is not saying so publicly. And that attitude starts at the top.
Head coach Ryan Day said after Ohio State’s come-from-behind 34-21 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday night that he thought the Buckeyes deserve to stay No. 1 in the rankings.
Asked on Sunday if falling to second place was a “chip on the shoulder moment” Day said, “I don’t know. I do feel like we should have been the No. 1 seed but LSU has had an unbelievable season. What Clemson has done, I could see that argument as well. At the end of the day you’ve got to beat the best to go win the national championship and Clemson is that.
“At this point, I’ve kind of moved on. Now it’s on to Clemson. Nothing but respect for the committee. I know they have a hard decision to make. I thought we made our case but it’s time to move on.”
But when pressed if he thought OSU deserved to be No. 1, he said, “Yeah, I mean I’m competitive. So sure,” he said. “At this point, I think it’s kind of miniscule. We’re all playing for the championship. There are four of us and we’ve all got to play each other. So mix us up in a bag and let’s go play.”
Ohio State (13-0) will play Clemson (13-0) in the Fiesta Bowl, which is a playoff semfinal, at 8 p.m. Dec. 28. LSU (13-0) will play Oklahoma (12-1) at 4 p.m. On Dec. 28 in the Peach Bowl in the other playoff semifinal.
“Our guys see themselves as being the best in the country,” Day said. “The moment won’t be too big for our guys. It’s just a matter of keeping our emotions in check and just doing a good job of staying focused.”