In the national playoff discussions now, we hear so much about WL records and large scoring margins. Yet, as every chess enthusiast, baseball player and 10-year old video gamer knows, it does not mean much to win games--or even win big-- unless you consider the quality of the opponents.
This post will mainly discuss Ohio's SOS, since it is the one now most at issue nationally. As Wojo recently pointed out strength of schedule matters a lot… and Ohio State doesn't measure up” this year. In fact, the graph below shows that it hasn't measured up for a long time---throughout the Urban Meyer years from 2012-4.
Based on the standardized Sagarin ratings (stdzSOS) for 3 yrs (one for RTG and MD)
Ohio has had the second worst SOS WITHIN the B1G and is nearly tied for last with PSU, far lower than all the other teams.Due to their low SOS within the B1G itself, it is clear that Ohio cannot simply blame their SOS on a poor conference.
Just how bad has Ohio’s schedule been? It’s about three orders of magnitude (standard deviations) worse than the team with the top SOS in the B1G---which will be briefly noted later.. More concretely, Ohio’s average SOS during the past 3 years was actually 12 spots worse than the rank of the best top FCS division team, ND State (#52 vs. #40).
It shouldn’t be so surprising. This year, Ohio faced but one team in Sagarin’s current top 15. They faced only two in the top 30---which is tied with Neb and Lville for the least among all top 30 Sagarin teams. By contrast, Ala faced 10 top 30 teams. Ohio even lost at Home to a team that finished tied for last in the Coastal Division and r #12 overall in the ACC—the only conference with a lower Sagarin rank than the big ten.
In addition. last year, Ohio beat no one in the top 15 and the two teams they played in the top 15 were both losses. OOC that year, they played Buffalo, San Diego State, and Florida A&M at home and the supposedly toughest was to be Cal—which went 1-11 that year, 0-9 in the Pac 12. The year before (when UM played away games vs. the two national title participants), Ohio did not play anybody in the top 19 all year. They did not play in a bowl or B1G title game. Rather, they played all their OOC games at home against powerful foes like Miami of Ohio, UCF, UAB and yes, you guessed it---they beat a 3-9 Cal team by only one score at home.
BTW: UM had the toughest SOS in the B1G for the entire past 3 years. The SOS gap between Ohio/PSU and UM is, in fact, staggering. This discrepancy may be worth discussing, even though it clearly does not explain all that's happened to UM.. It is worth discussing because the media---eager to prop up some teams and pound on others-- have entirely ignored this issue.