The Ohio State Buckeyes finished the 2012 season with a perfect record, but when you look at the schedule, none of their 12 victories came against elite competition.
Fair or not, that's the perception surrounding the campaign Urban Meyer orchestrated during his first season in Columbus. Despite being one of only two teams in college football to finish the regular season undefeated, the No. 3 ranked Buckeyes couldn't edge unbeaten Notre Dame or one-loss Alabama in the AP Poll.
After Ohio State's 21-14 overtime victory over Wisconsin in Week 12, Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer asked a few of the AP writers who vote on college football's Top 25 about their thoughts on an undefeated Ohio State team.
"I voted Ohio State No. 11. Basically, their weak schedule -- a reflection of the Big Ten overall -- makes their 11-0 record misleading. They won't face a top-10 team all season. By the time all the bowls are finished, they might not have played a top-20 team. If they finish 12-0, I'd put them somewhere between No. 6 and No. 10 depending on everyone else's results," wrote Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.
Of course, the Buckeyes are ineligible for postseason play this year because of the tattoo-for-memorabilia scandal that rocked Columbus during the 2011 offseason. So their snub in the polls didn't keep Ohio State from playing for a national title.
Unfortunately for Meyer and the Buckeyes, they might have the same problem next year.
The Big Ten isn't expected to improve dramatically in 2013 and Ohio State's non-conference schedule is pretty underwhelming. Here's a look at the 2013 slate, via www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
- 08/31/13 - Buffalo
- 09/07/13 - San Diego State
- 09/14/13 - @ California
- 09/21/13 - Florida A&M
- 09/28/13 - Wisconsin
- 10/05/13 - @ Northwestern
- 10/19/13 - Iowa
- 10/26/13 - Penn State
- 11/02/13 - @ Purdue
- 11/16/13 - @ Illinois
- 11/23/13 - Indiana
- 11/30/13 - @ Michigan
It's obviously conjecture at this point, but Michigan looks like the only team on Ohio State's schedule that will crack the AP's preseason Top 25. Wisconsin and Northwestern might have a chance, but overall, the 2013 schedule looks pretty weak.
If the Buckeyes were to run the table again next year, would this easy slate keep Ohio State out of the national title? Or would their likely top-five preseason ranking and a hypothetical 25-game winning streak be enough to overcome such an underwhelming schedule?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or continue the conversation with me on Twitter.
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