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Ohio State’s strategy when scheduling games comes down in part to recruiting

The Buckeyes scheduling strategy revolves around recruiting and the fan base.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“You’re going to go to Alabama and you don’t have any kind of (fan) base there. You’re not recruiting Alabama. So two of the factors that we look at: alumni or fan support and then student-athletes, are we recruiting them? Is it an area that we’re going to and it’s home for kids?”

- Martin Jarmond via Ben Axelrod, Land Of 10

A week after releasing the latest scheduling updates for non-conference opponents, Ohio State deputy director of athletics Martin Jarmond spoke with some members of the media about some of the philosophy that he uses when scheduling teams for the Buckeyes to face off against in the future. The two main points given are seen above: alumni or fan support in the area, and recruiting. For example, Ohio State has a game scheduled for the 2018 season with TCU which will be played at a neutral site (a rarity for the Buckeyes) in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium. That location is perfect for Urban Meyer and his staff as they’ve gone offensive in the state of Texas since Meyer became the head coach.

But it sort of shows that the reason you don’t see many games against the SEC aren’t just one-sided. While there’s been no contact on either side in Alabama’s case, the Buckeyes have tried to set up games against Vanderbilt and Tennessee at one point but talks fell through on both accounts. Regardless, while the matchup is important, it doesn’t take priority for Ohio State and will always be about those two main points in recruiting and the fan base.

“[Big Ten post-spring power rankings] 1. Ohio State”

- Dan Murphy, ESPN

Despite another season of losing a handful of key players, Ohio State is always reloading and gearing up for a new season with high expectations. And their place in some preseason rankings prove it. In this case, ESPN’s post-spring power rankings for the Big Ten conference have the Buckeyes listed as the number one team in the conference. Led by quarterback J.T. Barrett, they do return some key weapons including Mike Weber at running back but do have some intriguing question marks on both sides of the ball. The talent is no doubt there, but a lot of the players have yet to step on the college field either due to injuries or just experience. Still, an Urban Meyer-led team returning a three-year starter at quarterback is going to be among the top teams in the country.

The Buckeyes do have serious competition in the Big Ten, though. Penn State returns its two star players, quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. The Nittany Lions upset Ohio State last season in Happy Valley. And of course there’s Michigan, gearing up under Jim Harbaugh for another shot at a Big Ten title. For the Buckeyes, a lot depends on Kevin Wilson and his new position at offensive coordinator. If he can help Barrett and company reach their full potential, Ohio State should be very tough to beat.

“[Top five players at each position in college football] 1. Billy Price, 2. Sam Hubbard”

- Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

The 2017 draft finished up this past weekend and several former Ohio State players were taken in the first round including Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, and Gareon Conley. Curtis Samuel, Raekwon McMillan, Pat Elflein, Noah Brown wrapped up the rest of the former Buckeyes taken in the draft. Now, taking a look at 2018, Ohio State has yet another good chance of sending quite a few players high in the draft next year. Dane Brugler of CBS Sports broke down the top five players at each position for next season, and a handful of Buckeyes made the cut. Billy Price was the first-ranked offensive guard, while Sam Hubbard was ranked as the second-best edge rusher.

Jerome Baker was rated as the fourth-best linebacker and Denzel Ward made the cut at fifth for cornerback. Some others mentioned but not ranked were Marcus Baugh, Jamarco Jones, Tyquan Lewis, Dante Booker, Michael Hill, and Damon Webb. All of these players have a chance at being taken in next year’s draft, and it doesn’t include players that could potentially have a breakout season similar to what Lattimore and Hooker did in 2016.