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Will Ohio State’s weak strength of schedule help or hurt their 2018 CFP run?

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And, no matter what you got your mom for Mother’s Day, Denzel Ward has you beat!

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

“Ohio State has the easiest schedule in the B1G East, which is a bad look, but in its defense, it doesn’t have a game against Ohio State to boost its schedule.”

-Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports

The one downside of being a conference’s top dog is that you are the only team in the conference not to get the benefit of playing— or potentially playing— the conference’s top dog. So, even though the Big Ten conference has the toughest league-wide strength of schedule heading into the 2018 season, Ohio State sits at 11th out of the B1G’s 14 teams in SOS, because, well, Ohio State can’t play Ohio State.

While the Buckeyes get the benefit of the away neutral-site game playing Texas Christian University 23 miles from their campus at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, they also will square off against also-rans Oregon State and Tulane in the non-conference portion of the schedule.

The Buckeyes will also have to go on the road for two of their toughest games in arguably the best division in college football, traveling to take on the Big Ten East’s Penn State and Michigan State. Slip in a home game against TTUN, and things look like they should be shaping up for a formidable fall.

However, the Big Ten offices decided not to put any of West’s three best teams from 2017 on the Buckeyes’ schedule for this season. Now, technically Purdue held the tie-breaker over Iowa for the third spot in the West, but after last year, I’m giving Iowa all of the benefit of all of the doubts.

So, instead, OSU will crossover against the Boilermakers, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Certainly, the Huskers will likely be rejuvenated a bit this season by the return of their prodigal son Scott Frost, but the Buckeyes have beaten Nebraska by a combined 118-17 over the past two seasons; so the Huskers get no benefit of the doubt just yet.

Therefore, the question is, did the league office do OSU a solid for 2018, or not? On one hand, the Buckeyes will be breaking in a new quarterback this year, so a softer schedule— especially after a September with games against TCU and PSU— should allow Dwayne Haskins to get his feet under him in his first conference slate as a starter; and it (in theory) gives OSU a better chance at having one or zero losses heading into the always crucial November playoff run.

However, on the other hand, we’ve seen how close these College Football Playoff selections can be, and the lack of a marquee inter-divisional matchup could come back to bite the Buckeyes in December. Then again, perhaps by the time that these games roll around, Purdue, Nebraska, and Minnesota could all be ranked in the Top 10, and Ohio State ends up being the underdog in each game. I mean, stranger things have happened... right?

Poll

Is Ohio State’s weak 2018 strength-of-schedule a benefit or hindrance to making the CFP?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Benefit. It gives Haskins time to adjust to being OSU’s starting QB with as few losses as possible.
    (915 votes)
  • 24%
    Hindrance. Doesn’t allow the Buckeyes to have as many quality wins as needed to get in.
    (290 votes)
1205 votes total Vote Now

Look, Denzel, I appreciate that you wanted to do something nice for your mom on Mother’s Day, but, dude, you’re making the rest of us look bad! While the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Denzel Ward, has not yet officially signed with the Cleveland Browns, his draft position guarantees him at least $480,000 in base salary, more than enough for a gift that shows his mother how much she means to him.

Ward grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, so the fact that he not only paid off his mother’s house, but is still close enough to pop over for a visit regularly is truly special. Shortly after getting drafted, Ward read a letter that his mother wrote to him for the occasion. Ward’s father, an intermediate school principal, died in 2016, so if you don’t have all the feels after watching this, you have no soul.


“So when it comes to Tate Martell, let’s start by noting it’s very unlikely he’ll start. At the same time, there’s no reason to confine him to the bench outside of garbage time. I don’t think Ohio State will use a definite structure like rotating series or playing one quarterback in the red zone, but there will be a role for Martell in this offense.”

-Ryan Ginn, Land of 10

Before Joe Burrow announced his intentions to transfer from Ohio State, I was fully on board with Tate Martell getting his own package to allow Urban Meyer to utilize the Las Vegas native’s unique talents on the field this season. However, now that Martell is the second-most experienced QB in the program, I’d rather not take any risks with his health.

Over the last few years, Buckeye fans have grown accustomed to J.T. Barrett sustaining injuries large and small, necessitating his back-up to step in at a moment’s notice. Now that the most decorated (not to mention injury-prone) signal-caller in program history is gone, perhaps Meyer and company don’t need to be as protective of QB2 as they were in the past. His replacement, Haskins, is not the running threat that Barrett was, so he should be more confined to the protection of the pocket.

But, in the event that Haskins goes down for a quarter, game, or more, no other Buckeye QB has any college game experience; save Martell’s 5-16 for 28 yards passing in the spring game. Now, Matthew Baldwin could be the next Joe Montana, but he is a true freshman, so I would rather not have Martell (who is officially listed at 5-foot-11, 207 pounds), who has a year of experience in the program under his belt, risking injury on a gimmick package, even if he can do this:


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