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Ohio State fears* MACtion

* Or the strength-of-schedule repercussions of playing America's favorite underdog conference, at least.

Kirk Irwin - Getty Images

Ohio State's likely to cut down on the number of MAC teams on its schedule, says AD Gene Smith.

Not because the MAC has three wins over the Big Ten this year (Ohio beat Penn State, Ball State beat Indiana, Central Michigan beat Iowa) and multiple near-wins as well (Northern Illinois vs. Iowa, Western Michigan vs. Minnesota ... and we should probably count Eastern Michigan vs. Michigan State, which the Eagles led until the final 16 minutes).

And not because Ohio State got a stern challenge from Toledo in 2011 and the lowly Sun Belt's UAB last week, either.

But because of the importance we're all assuming strength-of-schedule will play in the coming playoff system (so how 'bout that canceled UGA series, then?):

"We're changing our philosophy because we're obviously going to move into a playoff structure that I don't think all of us really understand yet, how the committee's going to work,'' Smith said earlier this week. "Many of us are assuming it's going to work similar to the (NCAA tournament) basketball committee, so your non-conference schedule will come into consideration as they evaluate whether or not you're going to be one of those final four teams.''

"As we move to 2018 and out, because we're all set for our games through 2017, we're looking at a different scheduling format,'' Smith said. "So we'll still play a MAC school on occasion, but not nearly as much as we have in the past.''

Still: after the MAC took down four BCS teams last weekend, it's a funny coincidence to declare right now that one might soon want no part of the MAC.

The Buckeyes played Miami (Ohio) this year, and have Buffalo, Kent State, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green on upcoming schedules.

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