Ohio State’s top-four ranking has been a point of contention for weeks leading up to the final round of College Football Playoff rankings on Sunday. The dissent not only extended to fans and analysts, but to some top-ranked coaches as well.
Nick Saban was one of the nation’s seven coaches to rank the Buckeye’s outside of the playoff in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll released on Monday.
The Alabama coach gave fellow SEC squad Texas A&M the nod at No. 4, pushing Ohio State down just two spots to No. 5. Saban and the Crimson Tide routed the Aggies 52-24 in Week 2.
Swinney, Smart & Saban among 7 coaches voting Ohio State outside Top 4 in USA Today coaches poll. Where they ranked OSU
11. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
6. Kirby Smart, Georgia
5. Nick Saban, Bama
5. Jamey Chadwell, Coastal
5. Butch Davis, FIU
5. Dana Dimel, UTEP
5. Gary Patterson, TCU
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 21, 2020
It’s fair to say Nick Saban meant no disrespect to the Buckeyes by notching them down a spot in his top 25, likely chalking up his decision to some inter-conference favoritism. Here’s his full ballot:
Nick Saban, Alabama
3. Notre Dame
4. Texas A&M
5. Ohio State
11. Coastal Carolina
12. Iowa State
13. North Carolina
15. Southern California
17. Brigham Young
18. Miami (Fla.)
21. Oklahoma State
22. San Jose State
23. North Carolina State
Another top program’s coach definitely ruffled some feathers with his ranking on Monday, though.
Dabo Swinney made his position that a six-win team shouldn’t be in the playoff very clear with his top 25 choices. The Clemson coach dropped OSU all the way out of the top 10 to No. 11. Ahead of the Buckeyes, Swinney ranked Iowa State, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Georgia and others.
With a Clemson vs. Ohio State Sugar Bowl matchup looming, Swinney could just be playing some mind games with Ryan Day and his undefeated squad. That, or the Tigers coach truly believes the Buckeyes haven’t proved themselves as a top team in their shortened season.
Either way, the CFP rankings that actually matter are locked in.
No. 2 Clemson will face No. 3 Ohio State and No. 1 Alabama will battle No. 4 Notre Dame on Jan. 1.