The 8-0 Ohio State Buckeyes have landed at No. 1 in the initial 2023 College Football Playoff poll. The poll was released Tuesday night.
Ohio State was followed by 8-0 Georgia at No. 2, 8-0 Michigan at No. 3, and 8-0 Florida State at No. 4. If the rankings finish like this at the end of Championship Weekend, then the Buckeyes would be facing the Seminoles, while the Bulldogs would face the Wolverines.
This is the second time in the CFP’s history that Ohio State has opened the initial rankings at No. 1. They did so in 2019 as well, led by a stellar defense and quarterback Justin Fields.
You can see the full rankings here. Below the rankings you can find highlights from the media teleconference with CFP committee chair Boo Corrigan and CFP executive director Bill Hancock.
Only two teams have opened as No. 1 in the initial CFP poll and not made the playoffs — Tennessee in 2022 and Mississippi State in 2014.
College Football Playoff Rankings
The highlights of everything Corrigan and Hancock had to say can be found below.
- Ohio State was ranked No. 1 in part due to their wins over Notre Dame and Penn State. Georgia is an excellent team that keeps winning decisively. Michigan has impressed the committee about how they have dominated their opponents.
- The criteria and protocol: The committee begins each week with a blank sheet of paper. What happened last year does not factor in. Conferences don’t factor in. They don’t look at public polls. They are instructed to consider teams’ records, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, and results with common opponents.
- The Ohio State offense has been “a bit clunky at times” so what does the committee thinks about OSU’s offense? The win against Penn State and the win at Notre Dame and the win at Wisconsin is showing that this team can do it on the road and home. They have explosive plays. Marvin Harrison, Jr. is clearly one of the top players in the country. They have a top-5 defense giving up 10 points per game plays into their ranking as well. The offense is really good as well. They look at both sides of the ball for all teams.
- The Associated Press asks about Michigan AD Warde Manuel being on the selection committee. Was there any concerns about having him on the committee with the “controversy around Michigan right now.” No, there wasn’t any suggestion regarding Manuel’s position on the committee. He was fully engaged the past two days with the committee and everything that was going on. He gets recused when they discuss Michigan.
- There is a question of credibility around Michigan right now. Was there any concern that “do we want somebody who is high-ranking at Michigan right now” does that reflect well on their credibility? “It just wasn’t an issue.” Warde Manuel has credibility.
- USA Today asks about the Michigan sign-stealing not coming up in the room and that it’s an NCAA issue. Given that the committee says they’re impressed with the level of domination, how can you not discuss whether or not that domination came from proper channels? Michigan has played well all season. The NCAA is dealing with allegations only and the committee makes judgments based on what happens on the field and clearly Michigan has been a dominant team.
- On the two Group of 5 teams in the ranking: Tulane got a good win against Memphis. Their QB Michael Pratt didn’t play in their loss to Ole Miss. Air Force’s defense has played really well. They lead the nation in rushing. They have a good win against Wyoming.
- Georgia writer asks about the Dawgs: You look at the rivalry game against Florida, the win over Kentucky 51-13, add in that Brock Bowers didn’t play in the win over UF. The team defense has been outstanding as well.
- Detroit News asks why the Michigan sign-stealing wasn’t part of the conversation. “You have to remember that these are allegations at this point and not facts, and so there is no substantive evidence that they anything happened that might have affected the game.”
- Michigan’s schedule is a factor in ranking them third. You can point to Florida and Kentucky with Georgia. UNLV, Rutgers, Nebraska, and Minnesota are good wins, but other programs have better wins, even with UM’s dominance.
- South Bend Tribune asks how the committee worked through the round-robin of Louisville, Pitt, and Notre Dame? Especially given Notre Dame’s controversial loss to Ohio State. They looked at the total body of work and were more comfortable with Louisville ahead of Notre Dame.
- What were the discussions between Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama? A lot of discussion. “We want to get this right as we look at it.” Oklahoma had a wonderful last-second win against Texas, but a tough loss to Kansas this past week. The body of work factors in, especially that loss to KU. Texas has the win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
- How much were Ohio State’s offensive injuries taken into account when looking at their offense? That was certainly a factor in what they looked at. They always look at people who are missing. “We still viewed Ohio State as the top team in the country.” The offense is doing well enough to win games and be 8-0.
- Was their a grouping at the top and where is the line and how big is the gap? “It’s not appropriate to talk about differences among teams and rankings.” The top four were in a group together. Washington was a notch behind that group because of their play the last couple of weeks.
- Why is Ohio State No. 1 but Florida State and Washington aren’t ahead of Michigan and Georgia? The full body of work. FSU has a win over LSU, a win over Duke, a front-loaded schedule. “They’ve looked really good.” Offensively and defensively, but as they went through the process, they had UGA and UM ahead of FSU. Washington had a huge win over Oregon, but their two most-recent games have given the committee some pause.