After No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime on Saturday, it only made sense that Associated Press voters would have the Buckeyes ahead of the Wolverines in the poll released Sunday.
But don’t tell that to Tom Murphy, who covers the Arkansas Razorbacks for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Murphy was the only voter in the AP Poll this week to put Michigan ahead of Ohio State, although he has since retracted his reasoning, but not his vote. His explanation is fascinating, but it’s his vote and he can do whatever he wants with it. Plus, with the College Football Playoff rankings the end-all, be-all when it comes to teams’ biggest aspirations, the AP Poll means practically nothing nowadays.
Originally, Murphy broke down his poll in a piece on WholeHogSports.com, saying that he didn’t think J.T. Barrett reached the 15-yard line on his disputed fourth-and-1 plunge in the second overtime. So he made himself the replay official.
“The Wolverines essentially outplayed their arch rival on the road and I don’t think the football reached the necessary 15-yard line on J.T. Barrett’s fourth-down run in double overtime. As that was the game-decided play, I appointed myself as the replay official and deemed Michigan the winner,” Murphy wrote. “Now, if only the College Football Playoff selection committee would do the same. As a side note, while I admire Jim Harbaugh for speaking his mind after the game, he appeared to pin everything on the officiating, which isn’t a good look.”
Murphy also encourages the College Football Playoff committee to watch the tape and give Michigan the win, then rank the Wolverines as such. Murphy ranked the Wolverines (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) third overall, two spots ahead of the Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1). Here is his top 5:
- Alabama (12-0)
- Clemson (11-1)
- Michigan (10-2)
- Washington (11-1)
- Ohio State (11-1)
In Murphy’s retraction, he noted that he heard from many fans and that he now has seen camera angles that show Barrett had reached the first down on the play.
“My error was in not having a greater appreciation for the well-trained game officials who spotted the gain and confirmed the call on the field. For that I apologize and confirm that I respect the decision of those officials and the outcome of the game.”