Why the B1G Championship loser deserves a Rose Bowl bid more than Ohio State
Iowa and Michigan State don’t want to think about it. Heck, Ohio State doesn’t even want to think about it.
But there’s going to be a storyline that’s lost in the shuffle following Saturday’s B1G Championship. There’s a very realistic possibility that the loser will miss out on a Rose Bowl bid.
And that’s not right.
The Rose Bowl committee came out and said that it won’t necessarily take the B1G Championship loser, and that it would defer to the final College Football Playoff rankings. Well, with Ohio State sitting idle this weekend — because it didn’t earn its way into the B1G Championship — it will basically be a lock to move ahead of Saturday’s loser.
The Rose Bowl committee knows that, which is exactly why it came out and said that. Let’s just be blunt about it. The committee wants Ohio State in this game. To have a national power with household names and Urban Meyer getting his first Rose Bowl experience, you better believe the committee wants Ohio State in that spot. It can justify the move with the rankings, but when you actually think about it, that really doesn’t make much sense.
Nobody will deny how dominant Ohio State looked against Michigan. The Buckeyes destroyed a ranked team on the road and finally looked like a top-five team. That’s the biggest feather in their cap right now.
Before that, in case you forgot, Ohio State didn’t do anything that Iowa or Michigan State didn’t do.
The Hawkeyes — if they fall on Saturday — would be a one-loss team with two more Power Five wins than Ohio State. Iowa actually faced a better non-conference opponent than Ohio State, too. And while everyone says that “but Iowa hasn’t played anybody,” they seem to forget that the Hawkeyes destroyed a Northwestern team that sits at No. 13 in the current College Football Playoff poll…on the road…by 30… and did so without their top two running backs and their best defensive player.
Am I saying that Iowa would beat Ohio State on a neutral field? No. But résumés are supposed to be what determine postseason fates. It’s no longer about what “you think would happen.” The test is over. Ohio State’s résumé isn’t all of the sudden better than Iowa’s just because it didn’t play in the conference championship.
The Buckeyes won’t have a better résumé than Michigan State, either. Yes, I understand the Spartans would have two losses and the Buckeyes would have one. They would potentially be right next to each other in the rankings. You know what’s a good tiebreaker to determine whether or not a team is better? Playing football, which they did. In case you forgot about that, too, Michigan State won…on the road…without its starting quarterback.
If you watched that game, you saw that Michigan State was clearly the better team. All you have to look at is Ohio State’s 132 total yards. But since I talked so much about résumés, let’s take a look at those, too.
The Spartans have three wins against the current top 20. The Buckeyes have one.
Michigan State has two road wins against the current top 20. Ohio State has one.
MSU has seven wins against bowl-eligible teams. OSU has six.
All the numbers favor Michigan State. They two-loss metric shouldn’t even be applied because MSU is playing an additional game, and against a top-five team.
Think about it in another sport. In terms of this argument, let’s say wildcards aren’t an option and winning the division is the only path to the playoffs. Hypothetically speaking, what if the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks twice in the regular season and won the division title, but then lost in the first round of the playoffs? It would make zero sense to drop the Cardinals below the Seahawks in any power rankings. They already proved all year they were the better team.
That’s the case for Michigan State.
We can talk tradition, five-star athletes and household names all we want. Iowa and Michigan State don’t stack up to Ohio State in any of those areas. Nobody can take away the fact that the Buckeyes ended an 11-1 season looking like a top-five team against Michigan.
But Iowa and Michigan State are both more deserving of that Rose Bowl slot, no matter how much the committee wants to wiggle its way out of making the right decision.