Step aside, "They ain't played nobody." Say hello to, "They ain't played enough."
Florida's loss to the worst LSU team of the century perhaps took some of the bite out of the upcoming yelling, but as ESPN's Heather Dinich wrote on Saturday night, we are embarking on a week of politicking. A chunk of college football's power brokers will lobby against the inclusion of a potentially unbeaten Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, not because the Buckeyes aren't top-four worthy on the field, but because they'll get to the finish line having played only six games at most.
We know Ohio State's good enough. One can pretty much guarantee that oddsmakers would make the Buckeyes marginal favorites over Notre Dame, healthy favorites over either Florida, Texas A&M, or any of the other teams just below them in the CFP rankings, and about a pick 'em at worst against Clemson. Plus, looking at last week's CFP rankings, they have as many wins against top-15 teams -- one, over Indiana -- as Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Florida or Iowa State do.
No, the case against Ohio State is derived solely from quantity. The Big Ten canceled its fall season in August because of the spread of the coronavirus, under the assumption that the rest of the Power 5 conferences would eventually follow suit. When that didn't happen, the league patched together a delayed eight-week sprint with none of the margin for error boasted by conferences that had started in September. Ohio State had to cancel one game (against Illinois) for COVID-19 reasons, and two opponents (Maryland and Michigan) had to cancel others, so the Buckeyes have played only five games.
We probably wouldn't have learned a single damn thing from those contests, mind you. Opening lines had the Buckeyes favored by at least 25 points in all three games, and at most there would have been about a 10% chance of the Buckeyes finishing anything worse than 3-0 in these games. But when SEC and ACC power brokers suggest that more games mean more opportunities to lose, they are technically correct. Ohio State's spot in the CFP top four -- following a Saturday win over Northwestern, that is -- isn't as open-and-shut as it could or should be.