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Ohio State Athletics Fan Community

Who Have They Played?!

The content here at Buckeye Planet is created (with apologies to Mr. Lincoln) by fans and for fans. The media will throw context-free numbers at you and call it analysis. Their marketers tell them to assume that their viewers have a 7th to 8th grade level of education. Seriously. Here at BP, we don't make any assumptions about who you are, except perhaps that you're like us. We like our guests with thick skin and sarcastic wit and our numbers with enough context to make them relevant.

The talking heads of college football spew all sorts of stats all the time. When there are a few seconds of dead air to fill, some coiffed and tanned former jock will casually mention a statistic or factoid that's supposed to make himself sound intelligent and informed, and you to feel out of touch with reality, something like: "James Madison has the best rushing defense in the country." You hear it, and your preconditioned response is to throw something at your television and yell (scream it with me, everyone): "Who Have They Played?!"

Who Have They Played?! That's always a fair question. Yes, we think that's even a fair question when it's asked of our beloved Buckeyes. It also happens to be an especially fair (and hilarious) question when the person doing the asking is Desmond Howard (whose Wolverines currently have the 78th ranked schedule according to Sagarin).

One of the ways to dig into the Who Have They Played question is to compare a certain team to everyone else their opponents have played. While each team has played only six or seven games so far, that team's opponents have played about three dozen combined opponents at this point of the season. This comparison - opponents of opponents - injects some context into the statistics while also increasing the number of data points.

Some notes on methodology before we get started:
  • Games against FCS opponents are factored out. For example, Toledo's shut-out of the Long...
Notre Dame Postgame

1. With last night's 21-10 victory, Ohio State now leads the Notre Dame series 5 to 2, with each of the Buckeyes' wins coming by a double-digit margin (average margin of victory of 14.6 points). Ohio State also outgained Notre Dame in yardage (395 yards to 253 yards); first downs (22 to 12); plays (69 to 48); and time of possession (33 minutes to 27 minutes).

2. The first narrative heading into the game was this: Ohio State's high-powered passing attack would generate several big plays against a stout but slow Notre Dame defense. As things turned out, Notre Dame had the three longest pass plays of the game (54, 32, and 31 yards), and averaged far more yards per attempt (9.3 to 6.6) and per completion (17.7 to 9.8) than Ohio State.

3. The second narrative heading into the game was this: Notre Dame would win the battles of the trenches, allowing the Domer offense to run the ball consistently and the Domer defense to shut down the Buckeyes' running game. As things turned out, Ohio State easily outgained Notre Dame on the ground (172 yards to 76 yards) and nearly doubled their yards per carry (4.9 to 2.5).

4. It is unfair to say that Buckeye quarterback CJ Stroud regressed all the way back to the beginning of 2021, but he certainly did not pick up where he left off in last year's Rose Bowl. The numbers look pretty good (24/34, 223 yards, 2 TD, no INT, one sack), but Stroud was slow to make decisions, inaccurate with several passes, and once again displayed a maddening refusal to run the ball even with 10+ yards of open field in front of him. Nobody wants Stroud to be a running quarterback, but he has to learn to take positive yardage when the defense gives it to him, just like any other quarterback would do.

5. Sophomore Emeka Egbuka had his best game as a Buckeye with 9 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown, while fellow soph...
Ohio State vs Notre Dame: The Rivarly That Never Was

The Big Ten Conference was formed in 1896, and by 1917 it counted as members every major football power in the upper midwest. All except one - Notre Dame.

Notre Dame began football in 1887 as an independent and it has stayed that way ever since (more or less - see below) despite various attempts to lure them into a conference. But in the early days, before Notre Dame became a brand name in college football, the small private Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana, actually tried to join the Big Ten. Although Notre Dame fit the Big Ten profile geographically, that factor was about the only match with the other conference members, most of whom (Northwestern and Chicago being the exceptions) were large state-operated "land grant" universities. The Big Ten could ignore the "small" and "private" aspects of Notre Dame, as the conference had previously done with Northwestern and the University of Chicago, but many of the key players had a serious problem with the "Catholic" element of that university.

The rift between Notre Dame and the Big Ten dates back to at least 1909. Back then, Notre Dame was a considered a "cupcake". From 1887 to 1908, the Fighting Irish sported an impressive overall record of 89-30-9 (.730 winning percentage), but the vast majority of those victories came against a motley crew of high schools, prep schools, medical schools, dental schools, law schools, future D-III programs, and private clubs such as the Illinois Cycling Club and the South Bend Howard Park Club. Against the relatively powerful Big Ten schools, Notre Dame had a miserable record of 10-23-4, with the Irish being outscored 189 to 518 in those 37 contests.

Led by the legendary Fielding Yost, Michigan was perhaps the most powerful program in the country in first decade of the Twentieth Century. Yost took over the Michigan program in 1901, and during his first eight years on the job his team posted...
In this article, I will look at Ohio State and Michigan during three Eras of college football: the Pre-Poll Era (from 1869 to 1935); the Poll Era (from 1936 to 1997); and the Playoff Era (1998 to present).

During the Pre-Poll Era, all national championship recognized by the NCAA were awarded by historical committees after the fact.

The Poll Era began in 1936 with the advent of the Associated Press (AP) Poll, which is still in existence. From 1936 to 1949, the NCAA recognizes the AP national champion as the sole national champion; and from 1950 to 1997 as one of the national championship selectors. The NCAA also recognizes national championships awarded by the following selectors: United Press International (UPI) coaches poll from 1950 to 1997; the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) from 1954 to 1997; and the National Football Foundation (NFF) from 1959 to 1997. During the 48 years of multiple national championship selectors, there were 15 split national championships, and twice the national championship was split three ways (1964; 1970).

The Playoff Era began in 1998 with the BCS Championship, which was essentially a two-team playoff designed to settle all future national championship disputes. Despite the best efforts and intentions of the BCS and their computer models, there was still a split national championship in 2003, when the BCS awarded its championship to #2 Louisiana State (13-1 record, winner of the BCS Championship Game over #3 Oklahoma), while the AP and FWAA awarded their respective national championships to #1 Southern Cal (12-1 record, winner of Rose Bowl over #4 Michigan).

The Playoff expanded from two teams to four teams in 2014, and thus far this expansion has prevented any further split national championships.

A few additional notes: Unanimous national championships are in parentheses. Outright Big Ten titles are in parentheses. Consensus All Americans are those recognized by the NCAA. Vacated games and titles have been...
For a definition of DSC, among other things, click HERE.

Teams Ranked by DSC, showing CFP ranking and the difference between DSC and CFP ranking.

TeamDSC RatioDSC RankCFP RankDifferenceConf.
Ohio St.3.02532-1B1G
Penn St.2.3395116B1G
Texas2.01172316Big 12
Florida St.1.9608168ACC
Louisiana St.1.86395-4SEC
Kansas St.1.86110122Big 12
Central Fla.1.86314228AAC
Notre Dame1.86315150Ind.
Here is a snapshot of The Rivalry as of Hate Week 2022 as seen through Differential Statistical Analysis (DSA - simpler than it sounds). For a primer on the terms used herein, click HERE. That's enough of an intro for Hate Week. Here it is, unvarnished:

Differential Statistical Analysis

SO: Scoring Offense
SD: Scoring Defense
DSO: Differential Scoring Offense
DSD: Differential Scoring Defense
RO: Rushing Offense
RD: Rushing Defense
DRO: Differential Rushing Offense
DRD: Differential Rushing Defense
YpCo: Yards per Carry - Offense
YpCd: Yards per Carry - Defense
DYpCo: Differential Yards per Carry - Offense
DYpCd: Differential Yards per Carry - Defense
PO: Passing Offense
PD: Passing Defense
DPO: Differential Passing Offense
DPD: Differential Passing Defense
PEo: Pass Efficiency - Offense
PEd: Pass Efficiency - Defense
DPEo: Differential Pass Efficiency - Offense
DPEd: Differential Pass Efficiency - Defense

StatOhio StateMichigan
Maryland Recap (2022)

#2 Ohio State had a bad day yesterday, needing a last-second defensive score to secure a shaky 43-30 victory against an unranked Maryland team that was trying to recover from blow out losses in its two previous games (23-10 to Wisconsin; 30-0 to Penn State). Now for some perspective....
  • #1 Georgia looked offensively challenged in a 16-6 win over unranked Kentucky (6-5 overall, 3-5 in conference, same as Maryland).
  • #3 scUM needed a last-second field goal to beat unranked Illinois, 19-17, and also lost Heisman hopeful Blake Corum to an injury.
  • #4 TCU needed a last-second field goal to beat unranked Baylor, 29-28.
  • #5 Tennessee got blown out by unranked South Carolina, 63-38, and also lost Heisman hopeful Hendon Hooker to an injury.
  • #13 North Carolina lost to unranked Georgia Tech, 21-17; Heisman pretender Drake Maye was awful and choked on the potential game-winning drive.
  • #14 Ole Miss lost to unranked Arkansas, 42-27.
  • #20 UCF (LOL at that ranking) lost to unranked Navy, 17-14.
  • #22 Oklahoma State (another LOL) lost to unranked Oklahoma, 28-13.
  • #24 NC State lost to unranked Louisville, 25-10.
  • Miami is still not back after getting blown out by Clemson, 40-10, and falling below .500 on the season (5-6 overall, 3-4 in conference).
  • And finally, Virginia cancelled its game because three of their players were murdered by a former teammate.
So a 13-point victory on the road against a motivated opponent in a trap game before Rivalry Week wasn't such a bad result after all.

1. Not such a bad result, but still pretty damned ugly to watch at times. And much of that ugliness emanated from quarterback C.J. Stroud, who did nothing to promote his Heisman chances except to avoid getting injured. Stroud was 18/30 (.600) for 241 yards, a TD, and no INTs, but was clearly outplayed by his counterpart,...
Numbers can be a good way of comparing football teams, but only if you know what numbers tell you and more importantly, what they don't. Much of what a number can tell you depends on context. At Buckeye Planet, we use differential statistics to compare teams because they have context built into them. Some quick examples before we get started. If you score twice as much as your opponents typically allow and pass for twice as many yards, then your Differential Scoring Offense and you Differential Passing Offense are both 2.0 (twice as good as average). If you allow half as many yards rushing as your opponents gain against everyone else and allow half as many points, then your Differential Rushing Defense and your Differential Scoring Defense are both 0.5 (also twice as good as average). For more complete explanations of the numbers herein and what the categories mean, see Our Glossary. See especially the entry on Differential Scoring Composite (DSC), which is an objective measure which we use to compare teams.

There are some surprises in the numbers this week. The first surprise this week is really only a surprise if you missed the Differential Statistical Analysis (DSA) rundown of the CFP Top 12 last week.
TeamDYpC ratioDYpC RankCFP Rank
Ohio State1.52312
Heisman Race Update

At THIS LINK you will find a previous comparison that shows quite vividly C.J. Stroud's superiority to other top FBS quarterbacks to this point in the season. Below is a continuation of that comparison with an update to the season stats.

HERE you will find a brief glossary of the terms used herein. These terms are also explained within this post, but in future weeks the explanations will be elided. We will simply include links to the glossary.

The Heisman race has been expanded to include a couple of Pac 12 quarterbacks who a certain 4-letter network has been plugging for the Heisman. The only member of the top 8 in Passing Efficiency that is excluded here is Kurtis Rourke of the Ohio Bobcats, as no one is likely to mention his name for the Heisman at any point, though they bring up Caleb Williams (who is ranked below him) with every third breath. The only QB outside of the top 8 that is included here is J.J. McCarthy, who is 18th in passing efficiency according to the NCAA. It is notable that his DPE is higher than that of the most recent media darling, Bo Nix. Passing efficiency shown here might be different than you'll see elsewhere as games against FCS teams have been excluded.

The columns in the following table can be interpreted as follows:

Quarterback: The quarterback to whom the numbers in that row apply. Some of you may have pieced that together for yourselves, or at least remembered it from last week.

PE vs FBS: Pass Efficiency in FBS games only

DPE: Differential Pass Efficiency - Ratio of your PE to your opponents' average PED

Rigidity: A number that indicates how well a quarterback maintains performance against the best competition. Positive numbers indicate better performance against better competition where as negative numbers...