I hate to be that guy.

Really, it’s not a role I like to play very often. Frankly, I feel that most people who choose to take on this role do it for attention, and I promise that’s not my intention. It’s my job to watch football and provide opinions based on what I see. If I can tell a story while doing that, that’s ideal.

I’m not used to being the “rain on the parade” guy, so bear with me as I work through the kinks. This is the part where I talk about how great something is.

Like, Ohio State winning the B1G Championship was quite the feat. Taking down unbeaten Wisconsin a neutral site was more impressive than anything the Buckeyes did all year. The fact that Urban Meyer’s squad earned a conference championship playing in what proved to be one of the toughest divisions in college football is admirable. Buckeye fans who spent the last two seasons watching the conference title game from their couch should be pumped about that. Conference championships are harder than we give them credit for, and in the case of Ohio State’s 2017 squad, it was a pinnacle achievement.

OK, now here comes the rain.

While Ohio State did something that makes for a successful season, it didn’t do enough to accomplish its bigger goal. At least it didn’t in my opinion. “It,” of course, is earn a College Football Playoff berth.

Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

How could I say that after watching the Buckeyes pick up their third top-25 victory of the season? Well, I’m not “prisoner of the moment” guy. There was nothing that Ohio State could’ve done on Saturday night that could’ve convinced me that it was Playoff-worthy. Not even the 59-0 final that many were predicting after the first few minutes would’ve been enough for me.

Let me correct myself. There was one thing that would’ve convinced me that Ohio State was Playoff-worthy.

Had the Buckeyes been able to build a time machine, go back to Nov. 4 and prevent the Iowa game from happening — or at least show up this time — then I would’ve changed my tune. Hey, don’t tell me that Ohio State didn’t have enough time to build a time machine during that turf delay.


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I may have or may not have but definitely did retweet that. Call me a hater. Say that I have anti-Buckeye bias (I don’t, really).

But I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, the precedent that this Ohio State team sets if it somehow makes the Playoff. Did I mention that I hate it?

In case you forgot, no two-loss team has ever made the field. I’m actually OK with that barrier being broken. What I’m not OK with is the fashion in which Ohio State suffered those two losses. Getting beat soundly at home by an actual Playoff-bound team, Oklahoma, was the Buckeyes’ marquee non-conference game. We completely devalue the importance of those non-conference showdowns if we give the Buckeyes a pass for that.

By the way, the 2014 Buckeyes were the only team to LOSE their marquee non-conference game and still make the field. Just saying.

In the Playoff era, we’ve learned that every team is supposed to get one mulligan as long as it has some quality wins. Ohio State does have three top-25 wins. If it was just that, the Buckeyes are in and this isn’t even a debate.

The problem is that the Buckeyes shouldn’t get an additional mulligan for forgetting to show up against a mediocre Iowa team. Yes, the Hawkeyes played out of their minds that day. But by rewarding Ohio State for losing by 31 points to a seven-win team, the selection committee would essentially say “you suffered your second loss of the year…by 31 points…against a mediocre team…? Don’t worry about it!”

That’s not right.

And another thing, no Playoff team has ever lost a regular season game by 15-plus points. OSU, of course, has two such losses.

Simply hiding behind the idea that “Power 5 conference champions automatically need to make the field” is ridiculous. This isn’t professional sports. Teams don’t play against the same competition. While everyone is praising the Buckeyes for winning a conference title and having three top-25 wins, take a closer look at these numbers:

WINS vs. BOWL-ELIGIBLE TEAMS (min. 6 wins)

  • USC — 8
  • Alabama — 7
  • OSU — 5

The selection committee is looking at that, too. If this was really all about just winning a conference title, we’d have automatic bids by now. We didn’t last year, when OSU pleaded to make the field despite the fact that it neither won its own division, nor had the head-to-head advantage against Penn State.

Still, the selection committee didn’t want to reward a PSU squad that was destroyed by Michigan for its second loss of the season. It didn’t matter that the Lions won out and picked up two wins vs. top-10 teams en route to a conference title. The selection committee ultimately kept the Lions out because that second loss was a complete meltdown.

At least Penn State got drilled by a Michigan team that spent nearly the entire 2016 season ranked in the top 10. Ohio State got destroyed by an Iowa team that had a cup of coffee in the top 25.

Credit: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

The selection committee made it clear that this is supposed to be about the entire body of work. Alabama entered the final game of its regular season as the No. 1 team in America. It lost by 12 on the road to an Auburn team that will likely be playing in a New Year’s Six bowl, even after it lost in the SEC Championship.

Meanwhile, Ohio State entered Saturday night as the No. 8 team in America. That was after three months of football. We saw how awful OSU could play, and we saw how well OSU could play. But the selection committee cannot reward a team that simply shows the most upside, which frankly, still hasn’t been that great. Otherwise, the home version Auburn would get the No. 1 overall seed.

The selection committee isn’t going to make decisions based on which matchups it wants or whether it feels a certain region needs to be included. It won’t care about what happened in last year’s games, nor is it as simple as saying “who would be favored if these two teams played?” These decisions come down to one simple question.

“Which four teams earned the right to play for a national championship?”

What the Buckeyes on Saturday night did to fend off a hungry Wisconsin team and win a B1G Championship was a solid accomplishment that those players and coaches won’t forget.

But did they really earn the right to play for a national championship?

What Ohio State did — or didn’t do — in Iowa City is something that the selection committee need not forget.