Strength Of Schedule, Continued

Written December 2nd, 2010 by MaliBuckeye

Quick follow up on President Gee’s comments last week regarding TCU and Southern Idaho State’s schedule; particularly that schools outside of the Big Ten and SEC don’t have the same week to week challenges as their “bigger” brothers.

President Gee has stepped away from those comments somewhat, saying

What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football.

God, I love that guy. He also talked about upcoming announcements regarding future schedules that Buckeye fans should be excited about, and about reaching out to the real “Little Sisters Of The Poor” to give them the respect they deserved.

Elsewheres, Ken Gordon at the Dispatch has a great article today looking more closely at the schedule strength, and compares not only overall schedules, but the competition in and out of conferences. While you’ve probably read that Ohio State and Boise’s schedule strengths are pretty close this year, what Ken points out is that…

Sagarin rates the Big Ten as the fourth-best conference. If you average out the ratings of OSU’s Big Ten opponents, you get 57. Sagarin rates the WAC as the 9th-best conference. Boise’s WAC opponents average out to 89. The MWC is the 8th-best conference, and TCU’s conference opponents average out to 88.

So the conclusion is that Ohio State plays in a tougher conference — which is exactly what Gee said. The difference in their schedules is that this year, at least, Boise and TCU play better non-conference opponents.

Here are the Sagarin averages for each team’s non-conference slate: OSU 104th, Boise 58th, TCU 78th.

That’s how those schools end up with similar overall ratings. Because their conferences are not as difficult, they can schedule better opponents in the pre-conference season. OSU has less incentive to do so.

That being said, I’m actually happy with the ways the Buckeyes shape their schedules. Sure, Miami ended up being a bust this season, but you’ve got to appreciate Ohio State’s willingness to look for a challenge, unlike some schools elsewhere coughSECcough where there’s no perceived need to do so.

And, given that there are upcoming games with Colorado, Miami, Cal, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and whoever Dr. Gee was referring to it’s not like the Buckeyes are ducking anyone… even after adding Nebraska to the conference and Michigan State to the schedule for next season.


  1. KenNo Gravatar
    December 2nd, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Nice recap, Mali. Since teams schedule these “name” games (Miami, etc)a bit in advance, tough to predict how good they’ll actually be when game comes around. You’re right; at least we’re trying. Glad to see Nebraska added to schedule; a good friend of mine is an avid Husker fan; although not as ‘good’ a friend as “your” Nebraska fan. Going to be fun times.


  2. QuentonNo Gravatar
    December 3rd, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Miami is the perfect game to schedule… perceived as a quality win despite their fading national presence.


    JimNo Gravatar
    December 3rd, 2010 at 8:14 am

    I doubt many people around the country consider Miami a ‘quality’ win this season. At the same time, they were ranked top 25 preseason. Ohio State can’t help what their opponents do after they play.

    Miami (FL), California, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and Tennessee are all scheduled in the coming years. Whether they are good or not at the time of the game is out of Ohio State’s control. Regardless, the Buckeyes are doing things right by scheduling a high quality out of conference match up each season.


  3. Lurking_MichaelNo Gravatar
    December 3rd, 2010 at 11:23 am

    You really can’t fault Ohio State when something like Miami happens. At the start of the season there was a buzz about the game because people thought they’d be good (and their ranking reflected that). What I’ve seen happen often in recent years is that Ohio State will beat an opponent deemed to be good, and then that team will take a downward spiral, dropping a few games. Could it be that we’re not getting credit for providing other teams a blueprint for beating these teams? Had Miami reached the ACC title game, like many expected, wouldn’t our Sagarin overall rating be much higher than TCU or the smurfs?

    It’s interesting in hindsight how many people have told me OSU played nobody in 2006 (the year we forgot to show up against Florida). What many don’t remember is that we played the #2 team in the country THREE times! Texas, Michigan and Florida were all ranked #2 at the time we played them. (Texas pulled a Miami that year, losing to Kansas State and Texas A&M.) It’s awfully tough for any #1 to beat the #2 three times. We pulled it off twice. And I still say that after the emotional level of the Michigan game and Troy Smith’s tour-de-Heisman, we were going to struggle against any good team.


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