Paul Finebaum is not making any new friends in Columbus, Ohio right now. With Ohio State being one of a handful of undefeated teams heading into November, you would think the Buckeyes' two signature victories on the season over Notre Dame and Penn State would carry some clout with the noted ESPN college football analyst. While he likes Notre Dame, he sees Penn State as so overrated.
The top four of the first College Football Playoff rankings coming out on Halloween will feature four of these five teams in some order: Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Washington. Although I would probably side with Finebaum in having Georgia at No. 1 and Ohio State at right around No. 3, the Buckeyes' resume is far more compelling than Georgia's is up to this point in time.
Here is what Finebaum had to say about Ohio State when appearing on The Matt Barrie Show Sunday.
"The Big Ten is really where the action is Tuesday night. And if you're right, and you probably are, they'll value the Big Ten upper echelon. Although, count me as not being really that excited by the fact that Ohio State has beaten Penn State and Notre Dame. Notre Dame is looking like a pretty good team right now. I'll give them that. That game was at Notre Dame. But the Penn State game at home, so what?"
Barrie is a bit more bullish on Michigan and Ohio State, but he agrees that Big Ten in very top-heavy.
Keep in mind that Georgia's toughest games are ahead of it (Missouri, Ole Miss, at Tennessee) and Michigan still has to play Ohio State and Penn State in conference play. This is getting juicy, baby!
Paul Finebaum disses Ohio State massively ahead of first CFP rankings
I get what Finebaum is saying, but I wouldn't poke the bear like this with Ohio State. To me, Ohio State is a top-three team like they have been all year. I would have the Buckeyes third behind Georgia and Michigan in that order, but ahead of Florida State and Washington in that order. As for who I have at No. 6, I am leaning towards Texas over Oregon and Alabama for the time being, but all that could change.
My take on Ohio State being behind Georgia and Michigan is more about how dominant the Dawgs and Wolverines have looked in their eight games than the Buckeyes' wins. Admittedly, Ohio State has played better competition up to this point, but Penn State may not be that good, and the Notre Dame win was by the skin of their teeth. Regardless, these should be your top three teams, in some order.
Overall, I think Barrie had the best assessment of all this. This will all get sorted out when it matters the most in a few weeks. The four-team format does what it is designed to do, which is to get us the best four teams into a four-team national semifinal tournament and go from there. With the Big Ten being top-heavy, I would agree that it is only getting one team in, as the other leagues have options.
Finebaum may have shorted Ohio State big time with his remarks, but this team can win the Big Ten.