(above) "Want to get away...? Grab a Snickers!"
I don't know your views concerning the purpose of non conference scheduling, but here's mine.
The purpose of nonconference scheduling is to test your team's toughness before going into conference play. This ideology demands that you play at least one big nonconference game.
Here's some tips on how to set a major nonconference schedule.
1. Negotiate the big game first—Let's try USC. That's your third game. You want to give your team enough time to prepare for that big game, while making sure that you don't give the Trojans too much time to prepare.
2. Research USC's offensive and defensive schemes, then schedule your first two games like this...
Game One: A beatable team with the high defensive ranking. This will allow your offense to get hit in the mouth early. Use game two to make any final adjustments on offense.
In this case, game one goes to Troy.
Game Two: A beatable team with a high offensive ranking. You want your defense to get a real workout before the big game. A cold start for your offense, in a big game, is salvageable; but cold start on defense? Well, ask Joe Pa.
In this case, game two goes to Houston.
3. Finally game four. Should you beat USC, you might want make this a "cupcake" game. Pick a bad team and blow them up sky high! This is your "intimidation" game; your last chance to send a message to your conference foes. "We're coming, and hell's right behind us!"
So you're wondering why I'd chosen this picture for this step? Simple. Ohio State scheduling scheme was "bass ackwards." This is the order I would had recommended for their nonconference season.
4. Youngstown St
If they'd arranged their schedule like this; the USC game would had been a much different game and possibility a much different outcome.
The Big Ten is notorious for their inability to schedule their nonconference schedule properly. Fix that problem, please.