Why soft scheduling is good for the Ohio State football team this year

The Ohio State football team doesn't have a marquee game in the non-conference slate of games like they normally do. Here's why that's a good thing this year.
Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson (32)
Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson (32) / Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA

The Ohio State football program typically schedules pretty strong competition. They normally have a marquee non-conference game early on. For the last couple of seasons, it was Notre Dame. Before that, it was Oregon. Virginia Tech, Texas, and USC have all been on the schedule in the last 15 years as well.

If you look at Ohio State's schedule this season, you won't find that marquee opponent. What you'll find is Akron, Western Michigan, and Marshall. All of those are G5 programs that were paid to visit the Shoe to get beat. It's out of character for the Buckeyes.

For this year, it's a good thing. One of the reasons why it's a good thing is because there was a lot of change with the Ohio State football program this offseason. They have several new coaches, including a new coaching structure that will take time to get used to.

Chip Kelly is now running the offense. How will Ryan Day react to not calling plays once the games start to count? He's definitely going to feel uncomfortable. It's easier to get through that transition against some bad opponents early on than it would be against an SEC opponent.

The Buckeyes also have a new starting quarterback this season. Will Howard is the presumptive starter. But even if he isn't, whoever is the starter will be brand new. It'll be easier to get him some confidence early on against bad opponents so that he's ready for Big Ten opponents.

Ohio State also has a decently tough conference schedule this season. They have to play at Oregon and at Penn State this year. Of course, the season will once again come down to that final game of the year against Michigan.


This is the only year in which the Buckeyes have a weak non-conference schedule. Don't get used to it.