COLUMBUS, Ohio — After Alabama’s loss to Auburn knocked the Crimson Tide out of the SEC title game, Alabama coach Nick Saban made his case for his team’s inclusion in the four-team College Football Playoff.
“I think this team deserves an opportunity to get in the playoff by what they’ve been able to accomplish and what they’ve been able to do,” Saban said during his postgame news conference. “Certainly not maybe in this game, but I think the team we played tonight is a very good football team, probably one of the best teams in the country.”
In a scenario in which the Tide actually have an argument for inclusion, they’d probably be competing with Ohio State for the No. 4 spot. (After all, a Wisconsin win would likely close the door on Alabama.) But there’s been no similar statements coming out of Columbus this week. Why? The most obvious one, of course, is that Ohio State doesn’t actually have a College Football Playoff résumé yet. Alabama is done playing. The Buckeyes still need to beat an unbeaten Wisconsin team in the Big Ten Championship Game.
The other reason is because Ohio State is in this situation because of the way it lost focus in early November. Coming off a huge win against Penn State that made it a frontrunner for a playoff spot, the Buckeyes sleepwalked into Iowa and came away with a disastrous 31-point loss.
Since then, Meyer has done everything in his power to remove all talk of the College Football Playoff and keep the Buckeyes locked in on who they play next. As they showed the week after their trip to Iowa, in a 48-3 win against No. 12 Michigan State, the Buckeyes are among the most dangerous teams in the country when they’re firing on all cylinders.
When that focus drifts things go sideways, and Meyer isn’t taking any chances with so much left to play for.
Two simple missions for Ohio State as it returned to the practice field this afternoon ahead of the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin. pic.twitter.com/C299UKUy1D
— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) November 28, 2017
“The term around here is ‘laser focus’ and the laser focus is on Wisconsin and nothing else,” Meyer said. “I don’t want to hear about it on social media. Focus on your responsibility. When they do we’re a heck of a team, and when they don’t we’re like everybody.”
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