Beware, Ohio State.
Going undefeated in the era of the College Football Playoff does not equate to a No. 1 ranking by the selection committee. In fact, it might not even be good enough for No. 2 or No. 3.
Remember: Undefeated Florida State sank to No. 4 last year in Week 15. The defending national champs were 12-0, had just beaten rival Florida 24-19 in the regular-season finale and were headed to the ACC championship game.
And Jameis Winston had just thrown a career-high four picks to the Gators.
Welcome to the beauty contest, Buckeyes, where five turnovers will look like an ink stain on your dapper scarlet and gray playoff suit.
The CFP selection committee set a precedent last year when, in its historic first ranking, Florida State was No. 2. Not once did the Seminoles ever reach the top spot in the committee's ranking -- and not once were they ever in serious jeopardy of falling out -- calling into question the true value of an undefeated season in the playoff era. The win over Florida last season was FSU's 28th straight victory and gave the program its first consecutive undefeated regular seasons in school history.
Didn't matter -- and the committee should hold Ohio State to the exact same standard.
The eye test matters to the selection committee, and just because a team hasn't lost doesn't mean it looks like the best team in the country. That dominating win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game? So 2014. The committee only cares about what teams did last week -- not last year -- and so far, Ohio State and its two quarterbacks haven't done much.
The Buckeyes don't have any wins against ranked opponents. They have looked discombobulated on offense against Hawaii and Northern Illinois. Neither J.T. Barrett nor Cardale Jones has been effective enough to solidify himself as the starter, and the offensive line has been underwhelming. Ohio State ranks 68th in offensive efficiency, and the win against NIU was by far their worst offensive performance (1.7 out of 100) under Urban Meyer.
On Monday, Meyer agreed it was "one of the worst-executed performances since we've been here," and said, "we're turning the ball over at an alarming rate."
Meanwhile, Ole Miss went on the road and beat then-No. 2 Alabama. Notre Dame has wins over three Power 5 conferences, including then-No. 14 Georgia Tech. LSU has two wins over SEC West teams. Michigan State beat a top-10 Oregon team.
The selection committee also compares results against common opponents, and Michigan State opened the season with a 37-24 win over Western Michigan -- Ohio State's opponent this weekend.
Don't panic, Buckeyes -- Ohio State is still on a direct path to the top four. The only benefits to being the No. 1 seed are (a) playing the No. 4 seed and (b) the selection committee makes sure No. 1 is not at a geographic disadvantage when placing the teams in the semifinals. An undefeated Big Ten champ should be in. ESPN's Football Power Index still favors OSU to win every remaining game and gives the Buckeyes the best chance of any team (29 percent) to enter the bowls undefeated.
A big reason behind that, though, is the fact Ohio State's remaining strength of schedule is No. 60. Ohio State doesn't play Northwestern or Wisconsin. Odds are the only ranked team the Buckeyes will face during the regular season is Michigan State.
Which means Ohio State can't expect to keep winning ugly against the likes of Indiana and Rutgers and assume it has earned the committee's No. 1 spot when the first ranking is revealed Nov. 3 -- not when Florida State was dinged last year for the same thing.
Take a look at what committee chair Jeff Long said last year on the Tuesday night in which FSU dropped to No. 4:
"I've voiced before, there are some that really believe Florida State's ability to overcome the deficits and rally and win and keep winning is a strong statement, and there's others that looked at the way those games have progressed, the fact that they've at times struggled against three unranked opponents the last three weeks. That debate goes on in the room."
It goes on outside of it too.
If Ohio State continues to play the way it has the past two weeks, that debate should continue in Year 2.