Buckeyes Soft Schedule (09/14/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
How would Ohio State fare against Alabama or USC's schedule?

If you are not a fan of Ohio State or if you are Bret Bielema, you've probably noticed that the Buckeyes' schedule is easy.

In fact, we ran the numbers and Urban Meyer's team has a 54 percent chance of going undefeated, up from 53 percent last week.

Bielema, despite Arkansas' loss to Toledo, and others are correct – Ohio State has a soft schedule. The Buckeyes will only play one team (No. 10 Michigan State) currently ranked in the top 25 of our Power Rankings.

How would the defending champions fare against a tougher schedule?

To find out we simulated what would happen if Ohio State played the schedules of Alabama and USC.

Ohio State vs. Alabama's Schedule

The Crimson Tide will face six teams currently in the top 25 of our Power Rankings. Starting in October, Bama squares off against a top 25 opponent in four of five weeks. It would be five consecutive top 25 matchups but Nick Saban's crew gets an off week with a home game against Arkansas (No. 27).

How would Ohio State perform against Bama's schedule? The Buckeyes would be favored in every game – that's no surprise. However, the chances of going undefeated are slim. Against an SEC schedule, Ohio State would have an 18.4 percent chance of running the table. To put that in perspective, Alabama has a 10.1 percent chance of winning all of its remaining games.

Alabama's Schedule Ohio State's Win%
vs. Wisconsin* 93.6%
vs. Middle Tennessee 99.7%
vs. Ole Miss 78.7%
vs. UL Monroe 99.9%
at Georgia 63.8%
vs. Arkansas 94.0%
at Texas A&M 75.1%
vs. Tennessee 91.3%
vs. LSU 83.2%
at Mississippi State 90.6%
vs. Charleston Southern 100.0%
at Auburn 80.9%

Ohio State vs. USC's Schedule

USC has thumped two cupcakes to start the season but their serious competition is about to begin. Over the final ten games of the season, eight adversaries rank in the top 35 of our Power Rankings. For Ohio State, all of its remaining foes (except Michigan State) ranked outside the top 35.

If the Buckeyes were to swap Indiana, Rutgers and the rest of its forgiving slate for USC's gauntlet, how would Ohio State do? Better than most.

Against Pac-12 teams, Ohio State would be less likely to win all of its games but the Buckeyes would still have a 25.0 percent (1-in-4) chance to go 12-0. USC only has an 11.3 percent chance of surviving its schedule unblemished.

Ohio State would live up to the hype, even if it played an SEC or Pac-12 schedule. The Buckeyes are just that good.

Alabama's Schedule Ohio State's Win%
vs. Arkansas State 99.9%
vs. Idaho 99.9%
vs. Stanford 94.1%
at Arizona State 89.5%
vs. Washington 99.2%
at Notre Dame 73.9%
vs. Utah 94.8%
at Cal 87.5%
vs. Arizona 96.0%
at Colorado 94.9%
at Oregon 66.0%
vs. UCLA 81.4%