Ohio State football: Big Ten non-conference schedule too weak

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Zach Turnure /

TCU is on the Ohio State football schedule but that will be one of the few ranked non-conference opponents a Big Ten team will face.

As much heat as everyone gives the SEC for cupcake scheduling, the Big Ten’s non-conference slate against the Power Five is rather weak this season. The Ohio State football team will face a tough foe in TCU, but there are only two other teams currently ranked in the Top 25 on a Big Ten team’s schedule.

The games are against TCU, Texas, Kansas, Iowa State, Missouri, Arizona State, Colorado, Pitt, Virginia, Duke, Boston College and Notre Dame twice.  Let’s add in USF and BYU since they are traditionally strong.

Only TCU, Notre Dame and South Florida finished 2017 ranked in the Top 25.

TCU, Notre Dame and Texas are in the preseason Top 25 this year.

There are 12 games against the MAC which is understandable.  The regional alignment makes sense financially.

Of course, there is not a FCS week built into the schedule or any cross-over scheduling manipulation that the SEC is notorious for doing.

My concern is the lack of nationally relevant games.  Outside of Ohio State’s game against TCU and Michigan’s against Notre Dame, are any of the other games compelling? Not really.  They are important for sure, but none move the dial nationally.

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The pushback is schedules are created years in advance and no one knows who will ranked or relevant.

There is truth in that, but Wisconsin’s non-conference schedule was weak last year and does not include a true Power Five opponent until 2020 with Notre Dame. That is acceptable for Illinois and Rutgers, but not a Top 10 team like Wisconsin.

2020 and beyond does look better for the Big Ten as teams like Auburn, Oklahoma, Miami, Fl, Virginia Tech, Oregon, Washington are rotated through annually for the conference’s top teams.

One reason why I am in favor of an eight-team playoff is to encourage better games in September.  When Ohio State plays Oklahoma, that is good for the game. I would like to see more of them.

Next. Big Ten Week One Predictions. dark

I guess I will need to wait two more years, at least for the Big Ten.