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College Football Playoff Chair Boo Corrigan Explains Ohio State At No. 2 In Initial CFP Ranking, Michigan Slight

The initial college football rankings were released Tuesday evening and the Buckeyes founds themselves at No. 2 behind No. 1 Tennessee. Georgia showed up at No. 3, followed by No. 4 Clemson. Michigan came in fifth overall. The full rankings can be found directly below. Following the rankings release, CFP Chair Boo Corrigan spoke with reporters via teleconference and answered a number of questions about how the committee came to their decisions. You can read everything he had to say below the rankings.

College Football Playoff Rankings | Week 9

2Ohio State8-0NR
11Ole Miss8-1NR
13Kansas State6-2NR
15Penn State6-2NR
17North Carolina7-1NR
18Oklahoma State6-2NR
21Wake Forest6-2NR
22NC State6-2NR
23Oregon State6-2NR

Boo Corrigan

  • Corrigan: “I am honored to serve in this role.” It has been great to spend the week with 12 college football experts. This group has four new members.
  • “I wish y’all could’ve been in the room.” The debates were extensive and animated. A case was made for Tennessee, Ohio State, and Georgia to all be No. 1. Tennessee gets the nod because of the impressive road win at LSU and the win over Alabama. Ohio State’s powerful offense and impressive defense gets the second spot. The win at Penn State was notable. Georgia has been dominant this season, in particular the win over Oregon.
  • Committee members make their rankings with their subjective college football expert judgment.
  • A question comes in about Clemson being ranked No. 4. The questioner mentions their high strength of record and their three ranked wins. How much do they discuss and consider that Clemson beat NC State and Syracuse before their starting QBs got hurt? Injuries that do occur are part of the discussion. They don’t project things forward, but they judge what happened during a game and who played in that game.
  • Regarding the committee liking balanced teams, why does balance matter? The game itself and the dominance that can occur in a game on one side or the other, they look at where a team is statistically, how they handle unique situations, timely defense. You saw the timely defense for Tennessee against LSU and Kentucky.
  • A question about Ohio State and Michigan being ranked where they are and their similar resumes, why is there a disparity? “I would say the disparity is not that great.” The rankings themselves may be a misnomer. Ohio State scoring 49 points per game and winning by larger margins impresses the committee. Michigan is workmanlike but their weaker non-conference was part of the determination.
  • What is the size of the gap between 1, 2, and 3? It was a lively discussion and they made sure they had advocates for each team. But in terms of specifics, those were the three teams that separated themselves as the meetings went on. Tennessee’s wins over LSU and Alabama were their determining factor.
  • On Georgia beating Florida by more than Tennessee, how do you factor in the transitive property over common opponents? It is part of the discussion, but as they looked at it, they liked Tennessee’s wins more than Georgia’s.
  • A question on TCU’s rankings. TCU has two wins over ranked teams and Alabama has none, what’s the rationale for putting Alabama ahead of TCU and how much does trailing during games come into play? Alabama had a dominant win against Mississippi State and a close win at Texas. TCU’s defense struggled at times this season but that doesn’t take away from their year this far.
  • Was it the ranked wins that propelled Clemson over Michigan? “I think the collective of the group is what it really is.” As they talked about the wins for each team, “it really did push them over the top.” But there are still 240+ games to be played this year.
  • What does the committee think about Ohio State’s defense and how close was the Tennessee discussion for No. 1? There’s a lot of robust conversation. Ohio State is giving up 17 points per game and scoring 44 in their last seven games. It’s a well-balanced team. As the group looked at it, they felt really good about Ohio State, but the two big wins by Tennessee are what ultimately carried the day.
  • What does the committee think of Michigan’s resume and what’s keeping them out of the top four? “I think they’re right there in the bigger picture.” The strength of schedule is something they do talk about as one of the principles that guides them.
  • How was the debate regarding Georgia because the other teams at the top of the poll don’t have a defense like Georgia? It is about being good on both sides of the ball. Georgia is an exceedingly solid team. The committee feels good about who they are. The win over Oregon turned a lot of heads. The defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in the first quarter this year. But there are a lot of really good teams at the top of the rankings right now.
  • Are there always arguments for the top teams, or is that an early-season thing? Different people have different opinions and everybody gets to have an opportunity to speak.
  • What is the committee’s thoughts on close losses on the road like Alabama’s good loss at Tennessee? “I don’t know that we talk about good losses. We’re focused primarily on good wins.” A loss is not a win, but it is a competitive, well-played, high-level game. As they look at everything, wins trump that, but they look at everything, and as they look at a loss, they’re going to look at everything about it.
  • Another question about Clemson vs. Michigan? Was there an animated discussion regarding those two? Why did Clemson slide in there? Clemson is 5-0 against .500 teams and Michigan is 2-0.
  • How do you evaluate Illinois? Top scoring defense in the country. Three wins over teams over .500, but no real signature win. Good team, tough team.
  • On Ohio State being explosive and Michigan being workmanlike, that sounds like a negative for the Wolverines? “No, I don’t think it’s a negative at all to use that phrase.” They’ve done a great job of controlling their games and mixing in the run and pass.
  • Why is LSU ranked where they are? They liked the win over Mississippi and Mississippi State. They are playing better now and they are a team worthy of being in the top 10.
  • How do you balance Oregon’s Georgia loss with what they’ve done since? The win over UCLA has gone a long way. Bo Nix is playing well.
  • On Michigan’s strength of schedule or Oregon’s week one loss, can these things be overcome? The most important thing is that they go into every week with a clean sheet. This is just week nine. They will scrub and rescrub and debate. Their job is not to project forward but just to deal with the information they have to date.
  • A question on USC and UCLA’s differences. Both are really good teams with dynamic offenses. As they looked at it, how UCLA lost to Oregon was a topic of conversation. They had a good come-back win over Stanford. USC wins at Arizona.

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