No. 18 Arkansas' Bret Bielema, who might be my favorite coach at the moment, said something bold this week.
Bielema: "Ohio State has one game remaining with a ranked opponent. We have eight remaining against teams that are ranked."— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) September 9, 2015
He always says something bold, which is fine.
But when you go and lose at home, 16-12, to Toledo, which is not one of those eight ranked teams, you make the bold thing look really silly.
SEC fans (and other fans) like to point out the relative weakness of Ohio State's schedule, as if it means anything in and of itself. But while it sounds more impressive to win against a bunch of good teams than against a bunch of bad teams, that's only part of the story.
No. 6 Auburn won Saturday; Auburn barely avoided maybe the biggest upset in college football gambling history. No. 1 Ohio State won Saturday; Ohio State handled Hawaii, 38-0.
Did we learn something from both pieces of information, when we combine them with previous information? We did. We now know Auburn is not extremely good, and we have further confirmation that Ohio State is. Amazing we were able to figure out both of those things despite neither team playing a big-name opponent.
As Bill Connelly wrote earlier this week, when it became clear that Ohio State Don't Play Nobody would become the big, dumb topic of 2015:
It is conceivable that when Michigan State visits in Week 12, it will be the first top-30 opponent Ohio State has seen since leaving Blacksburg. And with Virginia Tech's quarterback now out for a few weeks, it's possible the Hokies will fall out of the top 30 as well.
This isn't really Ohio State's fault. When you've got four non-conference games to schedule, signing an exciting power-conference opponent, two quality mid-majors, and a less-than-stellar mid-major (Hawaii, which was actually three years removed from a 10-win season when the game was announced) is perfectly respectable.
There are a lot of ways to go 11-1. Hell, as Florida State proved last year, there are a lot of ways to go 12-0.
Want to figure out if Ohio State is living up to its hype even as it devours an exotic set of cupcakes? Keep up with how the Buckeyes are performing versus projections.
Your win-loss record is one thing. The list of teams you've beaten is another thing. How you've actually performed on the field is another thing entirely.
Handily, Arkansas is unimpressive in all three areas, so figuring out whether the Razorbacks are elite is about as easy right now as figuring out whether Ohio State is.
An unnamed Ohio State player when I showed him the Arkansas score started mockingly pumping his fists and chanting: "S-E-C! S-E-C!"— Austin Ward (@AWardESPN) September 12, 2015
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