Is Ohio State Really An Elite Football Team?

Joe CollegeCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 27:  Jake Stoneburner #11 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State, proclaimed Boise State “unworthy” of playing for the national championship because of its soft schedule, while claiming at the same time that Ohio State plays a herculean schedule throughout the year.  He equates winning teams with grueling schedules to be considered elite, and the only ones entitled to play for the title.

He’s right.  Teams with tougher schedules and enough signature wins should be the ones rewarded to play for the national championship and BCS bowls.  Ohio State is not one of those teams.  They never have been. 

Look at their record against the SEC, Southern California, and Texas over the past 40 years—three signature wins in 24 attempts.

Look at the Buckeye bowl record, 5-5 over the past decade and 19-22 all-time.  Look at Ohio State’s lone national championship in 40 years, an upset win over reloading Miami.

Look at this year’s Buckeye schedule—one ranked team, Wisconsin, who splattered the Buckeyes all over the field.  

Yet, Ohio State is ranked sixth in the polls despite not winning a game against a team ranked in the final top-25.  Even Boise State beat a ranked team this year, Virginia Tech.  Boise State also has a higher strength of schedule than Ohio State.  Why isn’t Boise ranked above that thin resume of the Buckeyes?

Dr. Gee could have saved a lot of embarrassment for himself and Ohio State had he done his homework. As a result, he has brought scrutiny to Ohio State’s lack of quality opponents during the recent football campaign.  

Ohio State’s schedule featured too many MAC level teams or double digit underdogs to be voted as a top-10 team, much less be ranked No. 1 for a week in October by clobbering the “Little Sisters of the Poor.”

At the beginning of the football season Buckeye fans naively pointed to four games described below, which they identified as a backbreaking schedule for Ohio State.   It was hardly backbreaking.  A review of Ohio State’s schedule clearly shows the Buckeyes are neither “worthy” of their ranking nor of being selected for a BCS bowl over other more qualified teams.

The Big Four


Most TVs outside of Columbus were turned off or switched to another station by halftime of this game.  The Buckeyes were kicked all over the field.  Ohio State had basically five “scrimmages” with teams before playing Wisconsin; therefore, the Buckeyes should have been prepared to take on an opponent of this magnitude.   The pounding the Buckeyes took continues to define Ohio State as “big game” losers.


This game received a build-up that was not deserved.  Miami was not Miami of old. Some talked about the revenge factor for the 2002 title game, but most of the current players were in junior high school back then.  Miami lost five games this season and their coach was fired after losing to South Florida.  They were a lightweight opponent who was the fourth best team in Florida.

Penn State

They had no offense and a soft run defense, but lead Ohio State at half-time.  Tressel had a tirade at halftime and the Buckeyes beat another five-loss lightweight.


They lost five games but should have lost six if the Indiana receiver didn’t drop a perfectly thrown ball at the end of the game.  Yet it took Ohio State until the final minutes to beat this lightweight team.

Little Sisters of the Poor

Eastern Michigan—As one coach said, “they are high school players in college uniforms.”

Michigan—Worst defense in college football.

Minnesota—Fired their coach after another losing season.

Purdue—A glorified MAC school.

Ohio University—A MAC school.

Marshall—A Conference USA school.

Illinois—Lost a game when they scored 65 points.

Indiana—Haven’t beaten Ohio State since 1985 and probably won’t until 2085.

Ohio State played poorly against all four of its perceived toughest opponents plus Illinois.  The Buckeyes managed to win four of the five contests, but looked inept at times in games where an elite team would have easily manhandled the opposition.

Essentially, Ohio State had a one-game schedule and they lost that game decisively.  How did they earn a ranking of sixth in the nation and a BCS bowl game by proving nothing with their 11 wins? 

Ohio State has a large fan base which helps TV ratings and fills the stands at bowl games. That and their wins against the “Little Sisters of the Poor” are the reasons.  It has nothing to do with performance. It’s another example of what’s wrong with college football.

Dr. Gee, is Ohio State really an elite team?  I guess we will find out when the Buckeyes play a herculean schedule.


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