When Gene Smith stepped away from the College Football Playoff selection committee after last year, the Ohio State athletic director cited Ryan Day’s transition into the head coaching job as the primary reason behind the decision. Smith wanted to provide as much assistance to Day as possible in the transition.

Now, nearly a year after Smith left the committee, he’s opened up a little more about his decision. Helping Day wasn’t the only reason he wanted to step away from the position.

In an interview with The Lantern, Smith cited Ohio State’s final ranking in 2018 — particularly compared to Georgia — as a reason why he chose to step down.

“I stepped down to be here for more of Ryan Day, to support him, but I was also concerned about how the committee was applying the criteria,” Smith said. “And so I felt uncomfortable when I came back into the room after I had been recused and Georgia was ranked ahead of us. They were a two-loss team, not a champion.”

Last season, Georgia finished with the No. 5 ranking in the College Football Playoff top 25. The Bulldogs finished one spot ahead of Ohio State, which was sitting in that No. 6 spot. Georgia was 11-2 and was not a conference champion. Ohio State was 12-1 with a B1G title.

It marked the second-straight season the Buckeyes were left out of the College Football Playoff despite winning the B1G.

Smith wasn’t all that upset about Ohio State being left out, saying he was comfortable with the conversation regarding Oklahoma and his team for the fourth spot. Putting Georgia in that fifth spot, however, seemed to rub him the wrong way.

“We could debate whether we should have been four-, five- relative to Oklahoma, but I just felt that the application of the criteria relative to Georgia and us last year was troublesome for me.”

This season, Smith believes the committee is doing a better job of appropriately weighing the criteria and ranking teams. It probably doesn’t hurt that Ohio State is sitting in that No. 1 spot right now.

When Smith stepped down, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta filled in to represent the B1G in the committee room.

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