Gerry DiNardo: Rankings About What We Thought

Three of the top four teams in college football lost this past weekend, but none dropped more than two spots in the standings.

Clemson, Michigan and Washington were ranked second through fourth, respectively, last week, and after losing to Pitt, Iowa and USC, they are now ranked fourth, third, and sixth, respectively. Michigan, in fact, didn’t move at all. The Wolverines were ranked third last week, and they’re ranked third this week.

Did the committee get it right with Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson occupying the top four spots this week?

“I think it’s about what we thought,” Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I guess we could nitpick and move some of the one-loss teams up or down, but clearly Alabama is one and the rest of them are fighting for the next three spots. So much can happen in the next two weeks. Let’s see what the committee is thinking about big picture, but I don’t know that we get any specifics until the end.”

We’ll see how it plays out, but Michigan may have gotten exposed against Iowa. Brian Jones thought that the Wolverines posed the biggest threat to Alabama from a line-of-scrimmage standpoint, but they were beaten on both sides of the ball at Kinnick Stadium, ultimately losing to the Hawkeyes 14-13.

“I think Alabama wins (the) line of scrimmage (against Michigan),” DiNardo said. “Here’s how I see it: Michigan’s run game is probably the weakest part of their team. Not that it’s weak, but if you look at a championship team, you want to find out where they’re not as good as everywhere else. Their defense is terrific, their defensive line is terrific. But their offensive line and their tailback is where there’s a little bit of a weakness. That showed up against Iowa. Iowa definitely played their best game, and I’m of the firm belief that your defense gets its personality from what you do offensively in the spring and in the fall. When Iowa decided to attack the belly of the Michigan defense with their offense, that hurt Michigan, and when Michigan tried to run the ball at Iowa between the tackles, that was also an issue. So that’s got to (improve) if they’re going to match up with the best teams in the country.”

Ohio State, meanwhile, looks like the best one-loss team in the country, especially after posting back-to-back 62-3 wins over Nebraska and Maryland.

“I think it’s important to send a message that they’re explosive offensively, which they had not been since the Oklahoma game,” DiNardo said. “I think this is vintage Urban Meyer. They looked terrific against Oklahoma, they get into a little bit of a funk offensively, and he’s going to fix it. Again, we won’t really know until they’re really challenged. Michigan State and Michigan will be two of the better challenges. If they can be explosive against those two teams, then I think Ohio State – if they get in the playoff – will be ready for playoff play.”

The Buckeyes close the season at Michigan State (3-7) this Saturday and against Michigan (9-1) on Nov. 26. Both games kick off at 12 p.m. ET.

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