Ohio State has a weak schedule this season, while the SEC’s strength of schedule, especially for those teams in the SEC West, is ridiculously tough yet again. It’s been a popular topic in recent weeks for more than a couple of SEC coaches and Dan Mullen joined the likes of Steve Spurrier and Bret Bielema Wednesday, when he criticized the Buckeyes’ underwhelming schedule on ESPN’s The Paul Finebaum Show, according to College Spun’s Andrew Holleran.
The SEC has a record 10 teams in the first Associated Press college football poll of the regular season, while the Big Ten has just two (Ohio State, Michigan State). Mullen said an SEC team’s road to the College Football Playoff is simply harder and suggested Ohio State wouldn’t necessarily be a lock to make the playoffs as they are now, if they had to play an SEC caliber schedule:
“I think all the talk, you kept hearing things in the offseason, ‘the SEC has lost its luster, lost its power and other leagues are catching up,’ I don’t know that that’s the case,” Mullen said according to Holleran. “I think what’s always made this league special is the depth of the league. I think the top teams, you look around the country at the top teams in every conference, (they) can play with everybody in the SEC. But what you’re talking about now is…I guess we’re in at No. 25. We’re the 10th-ranked team in our conference and we’re No. 25 in the nation, that’s pretty good. You’re not going to see that anywhere else. Week in and week out, that’s what makes it a tough schedule. You look at the top teams in the Big Ten, they’re playing one ranked team a year. They’re getting a lot of time to roll in younger players, the opportunity to stay healthy for most of the year, (and) really get motivated for that one big game. Here in the SEC – the West this year, everybody is ranked – every single week you gotta bring your A-game.
“I look at (ESPN’s) FPI, Ohio State has a 99 percent chance to win their games. What’s interesting is how that would rank for each team in the SEC West off of (Ohio State’s) schedule – how many of those (SEC West) teams would be looked as locks for the playoff just in the West if that was the schedule that our teams had to play, and what (Ohio State’s) percentage would be if they were playing one of our schedules.”
Ohio State can’t help that its a member of the Big Ten and that the rest of the conference, excluding the Spartans obviously, haven’t put together the type of talent Urban Myer has with the Buckeyes. Is it an advantage for Ohio State? Absolutely.
But the Buckeyes can only play the schedule put in front of them and SEC teams just have to accept that. You can’t brag about how great your conference is one week, then complain about how much weaker another power conference is in comparison and how unfair that it is the next. It’s just bad form.