Lately there’s been a lot of talk amongst the Ohio State fan base of whether or not Florida State should be ranked above the Buckeyes. On the surface I thought this argument didn’t have a lot of traction, as I thought FSU had seemed a bit more impressive than our Buckeyes. As I delved into the numbers, I noticed that this race is a lot closer than the pollsters have it. Let’s take a look at the biggest thing people talk about, opponents.
Ohio State has played 9 games, winning all 9, the same as Florida State.
The teams Ohio State has beaten amass a record of 39-45.
The teams Florida State has beaten are 48-36.
This is primarily due to the wins for FSU over Clemson and Miami. Miami is clearly not the team people assumed they were, but haven’t collapsed quite yet the way Northwestern has (they play a good Duke team this weekend, and could be heading down that slope). Wisconsin has a loss that shouldn’t be there and Cal quickly became a wasteland, but that’s a moot point.
Now to the upcoming games. Let’s go ahead and assume that Ohio State will be playing Michigan State in the B1GCG and Florida State will be playing Georgia Tech in the ACCCG.
Ohio State’s remaining schedule includes teams that are 21-15.
Florida State’s remaining schedule includes teams that are 16-21.
This puts Florida State’s overall schedule at 64-57 right now.
Ohio State’s overall schedule is 60-60.
These numbers could skew further apart as the season goes on, but that’s a pretty close race when it comes to playing against the same level of competition.
Now take into account ESPN’s conference power rankings. Even ESPN has the Big Ten ranked as a tougher conference than the ACC. So there is a little more traction to the argument.
When it comes to offense both these teams are absolutely loaded.
Ohio State is the 5th highest scoring team in the country and 48.2 points per game, while Florida State is the 2nd highest with 52 points per game.
Defensively the numbers are also very similar. Ohio State is allowing 17 points per game (8th), while FSU is allowing 12 (4th).
Ohio State narrowly edges FSU in total yardage a game, 531 to 521.
When this season is all said and done who knows if all these numbers will be closer together or further apart (Michigan surely isn’t going to help). There’s really not a way to make them more significant than they already are, unless one team loses a game. They are seemingly equal, with small differences in the quality of their opponents overall to this point. I have had Florida State ranked above us as I thought they should be, but after looking at the numbers the rankings should be much closer, especially if those numbers stay where they are.
Assuming it all plays out as expected:
Ohio State’s two big wins would be over a 10-2 Wisconsin team and a 11-2 Michigan State team.
Florida State’s two big wins would be over Miami (with a record of who knows at this point) and Clemson who still has to play South Carolina at the end of the season, and could end up 11-1 or 10-2.
Should there be a larger margin between Ohio State and Florida State than there is between Alabama and Florida State? I don’t think so. If anything by the end of this season, assuming things stay this way, Ohio State will have an even better argument to be the #2 team in the country. There’s still a lot of football left to be played, and if teams like Stanford, Missouri and Auburn have shown us anything, it’s that it’s very easy for teams to lose games they shouldn’t.
UPDATE: A quick edit to add some defensive statistics.
Ohio State has already beaten the 5th (Wisky) and 13th (Iowa) ranked (currently) scoring defenses in the country. And will go against the 3rd ranked defense in MSU.
FSU has already beaten the 23rd ranked Clemson defense, and will have Florida at 16th ranked. Unless they play VaTech in the ACCCG who is currently 9th against scoring.