On Thursday’s edition of ESPN’s College Football Live, analyst Brian Griese went through Ohio State’s schedule game-by-game.
The former Michigan quarterback predicted OSU to finish the season 9-3 with losses to Miami, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
Go figure, a Michigan guy picking the Buckeyes to fail.
With many college football analysts and columnists around the nation—not to mention the majority of people in Columbus, Ohio—feeling that it’s National Title or bust for the 2010 team, Griese’s prediction comes as a bit of a surprise.
Certainly, the three games Griese is picking OSU to lose are the toughest games they’ll face all year—vs. Miami, at Wisconsin and at Iowa—but are they really going to lose all three?
Highly unlikely, as far as I’m concerned, especially the game in Columbus against Miami.
I’m not saying that the Hurricanes aren’t a formidable opponent, but I see no way “The U” comes into the “Horseshoe” and beats the Buckeyes.
In the three years under coach Randy Shannon, Miami is just 8-9 on the road.
And during those three years, Miami has lost both Bowl Games they have appeared in, meaning that over that span in games away from the friendly palms of Miami, they are a mere 8-11.
Conversely, in the last three years, Ohio State is 18-3 at home and under coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes are 56-7 in the “Shoe.”
I doubt Griese did his homework and knew that Tressel wins nearly 89 percent of home games while Shannon wins just over 42 percent of games on the road or at neutral locations.
When Miami comes to Columbus on Sept. 11, the game will have serious National Championship implications given the fact that two Top 15 teams are facing off so early in the season.
Now Miami is no stranger to early season match-ups of ranked teams—their first four games last season were all against ranked teams—but did Griese not realize their recent struggles against ranked teams on the ROAD?
Under coach Shannon, the Hurricanes are just 1-5 vs. Top-25 teams on the road and their only win came against Florida State last year in the season opener.
Florida State went on to finish last season unranked at 7-6.
While I realize that the annual meeting between Miami and FSU is a rivalry game, last year’s win is certainly not something for Miami to hang their hat on coming into the game with OSU.
As coach of the ‘Canes, Shannon has an overall record of 21-17.
Against teams with a defense ranked in the Top 35 of Opponents Points per Game he is just 5-14, and only two of those wins came against teams ranked inside the Top-10 (Oklahoma in 2009 and Virginia Tech in 2008).
Four out of the last five seasons Ohio State’s defense has finished in the Top 5 of OPG. The only year (2008) that they didn’t, the defense ranked sixth.
Furthermore, the last time that an Ohio State defense finished outside of the Top-35 was in 1999. At that time, “The Sweater Vest” didn’t roam the sidelines in Columbus.
In all nine seasons with Ohio State, Tressel has yielded a Top 25 defense. Twenty-fourth was the lowest that a Tressel defense has been ranked, and that was during his first season as coach.
What does all of these OPG statistics mean?
Simply put, Miami likes to outscore teams by getting into shootouts. Last season alone, the Hurricanes were involved in eight games where the combined point total was 50 or more.
They won six of those contests.
In comparison, the Buckeyes were involved in only two such games and coincidentally won both (vs. Navy 31-27 and vs. Iowa 27-24).
Tressel just doesn’t let Ohio State get involved in the kinds of shootouts that Shannon’s ‘Canes enjoy.
The Buckeyes play “Tressel Ball” and control the game.
Don’t expect anything different come Sept. 11 and that, simply, is why Brian Griese is wrong.