With controversy at the Nos. 6 and 7 spots over the perceived lack of importance of a head-to-head result, the College Football Playoff committee has another head-to-head situation at Nos. 3 and 4 in its latest Top 25.

Oregon and Ohio State, both 9-1, are sitting in the last 2 spots of the playoff field. Oregon owns a 35-28 win over the Buckeyes in Columbus this season, though that win came in Week 2. The Buckeyes are on fire of late, and Oregon’s lone loss to Stanford looks worse by the week.

On a teleconference call with media members after Tuesday night’s latest set of rankings was revealed, CFP Chair Gary Barta said the Buckeyes aren’t just in the running for the No. 3 spot, actually in the conversation with Alabama for No. 2.

“There was a lot of conversation this week, really including Alabama,” Barta said. “The 2, 3, 4 positions, the committee had a lot of discussion about where Alabama, Oregon, and Ohio State should all land. Alabama, the committee still considered the way they’ve been playing offensively, defensively, Mississippi, Mississippi State wins, and we didn’t learn a lot new about Alabama, but they stayed at No. 2.

“Oregon continues to play really solid football. They had a strong win against Washington State. … Ohio State rolled on Purdue. The offense just continues to be one of the best offenses in the country. So then you compare Ohio State has wins at Minnesota and then against Penn State and Purdue. Oregon has the win at Columbus, and that’s a big one. They also won at UCLA and beat Fresno State.

“The long answer to your question is those two are compared this past week, and the committee just felt that they were close enough that that head-to-head still ruled the day, so Oregon stayed at 3 and Ohio State is at 4.”

Barta was later asked about Ohio State’s defense.

“I would tell you that the committee has continued to be impressed with the way Ohio State’s defense has improved since the beginning of the season,” Barta said. “I really highlight the offense just because they might be playing the best offense in the country. They’re not playing the best defense in the country, but their defense is playing impressively.

“But in the end, the committee still felt that Oregon should be 3rd and Ohio State 4th.”


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