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Playoff Chairman Explains Why Ohio State Jumped Alabama

Jordan Battle levies a hit on Jeremy Ruckert.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 11: Jordan Battle #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide called for targetting on a hit to Jeremy Ruckert #88 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Gary Barta, chair of the College Football Playoff Committee, has taken a lot of flak for recent CFP rankings. However, the Committee’s newest rankings seem to have garnered more support around the college football community. 

Tuesday’s top four is the following:

  1. Georgia
  2. Ohio State
  3. Alabama
  4. Cincinnati

Most notably this week, Oregon (now 9-2) got humiliated in Salt Lake City, where Utah ended the Ducks’ CFP hopes. Oregon’s heartbreak meant ecstasy for Cincinnati (11-0). The Bearcats made the crucial leap from No. 5 to No. 4. The Michigan Wolverines (10-1) slide into the No. 5 slot.

Meanwhile, a major swap occurred in the middle of the top 4 this week. Ohio State (10-1) and Alabama (10-1) traded places, OSU moving up to 2 and Bama down to 3. Evidently, the Buckeyes’ 56-7 beatdown of No. 12 Michigan State (9-2) was enough to convince the Committee that OSU, at least for now, has the best one-loss resumé in the country.

After the weekly rankings dropped on ESPN, Barta discussed Ohio State versus Alabama.

“Two great teams,” Barta started. “Both Ohio State and Alabama, both of them have Heisman Trophy candidates at quarterback and this past week, though, the dominating win over Michigan State certainly got the committee’s attention. The offense of Ohio State—just total domination. And the defense playing much better. They’ve been playing better week after week…Alabama is still a great football team, has a wonderful win against Ole Miss. The last few weeks, just not showing as much domination on defense. Two great teams, but when the vote came down, Ohio State came ahead of Alabama.”

OSU controls its destiny this weekend in Ann Arbor. If the Buckeyes get the job done at Michigan, they’ll remain above the Crimson Tide. Alabama has everything to lose--not much to gain--from the trip to Auburn. The Game kicks off at noon, the Iron Bowl at 3:30pm ET.