The Ohio State Buckeyes have narrowly missed out on the College Football Playoff for two consecutive years thanks to costly losses.
In 2017, the Buckeyes hoped to become the first two-loss team to reach the four-team playoff, but ended up at No. 5.
In 2018, the Buckeyes entered Championship Weekend with only one loss and a chance at the playoff, perhaps with some help from Oklahoma and Georgia losses.
And in both seasons, blowout regular-season losses to middling Big Ten West teams cost Ohio State dearly.
A 31-point loss to Iowa last season and a 29-point loss to Purdue this year pretty much sealed OSU’s playoff fate.
In 2017, Ohio State embarrassingly lost to Iowa, 55-24, dropping them to 7-2 and ultimately out of contention. The OSU defense gave up 484 total yards as the Hawkeyes effortlessly lit up a blue-chip defense:
Ohio State came in ranked in the top 10 by S&P+ in offense and top 20 in defense, and there was little expectation that Iowa would top 20 points, much less 50. 2017 Iowa had been standard Iowa: playing 17-10 games seemingly weekly.
The Hawkeyes marched up and down the field anyway, with 244 passing yards at 7.6 yards per attempt and 243 rushing yards at 6.8 yards per carry.
It wasn’t like Iowa was a juggernaut offense, either. The 8-5 Hawkeyes’ offense finished ranked 106th in S&P+.
This season, the Buckeye’s lost 49-20 to Purdue, giving up whopping 539 yards. While Purdue’s offense has flourished under Jeff Brohm and checks in at 17th in S&P+, the Buckeyes were 12-point favorites heading in, and Purdue would finish just 6-6. The Boilermakers had never scored that many points against Ohio State before.
Even after the loss to the Boilermakers, Ohio State could have made it into the Playoff as an 11-1 Big Ten champion, in theory. But Ohio State’s defense had looked shaky in other games as well, including a 52-51 squeaker against Maryland the Buckeyes probably should’ve lost.
Football is a team sport, but responsibility falls largely on the shoulders of OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
He’s been on the staff since 2016.
The Buckeyes rank 35th in defensive S&P+ this season, which isn’t exactly terrible, but certainly not up to par with the elite standards in Columbus. This is especially true considering the NFL talent that OSU has on defense, too.
Land-Grant Holy Land nailed it on the head, after OSU’s narrow 52-51 overtime victory at Maryland, during which the Bucks gave up 535 total yards:
Not to sound like a broken record here, but this is all coaching stuff. This is all development stuff. These defenders are talented. They are former four and five-star recruits. By my count, nine of the 11 players on the field for the Buckeyes are former “blue-chip” recruits, with the two exceptions being Arnette and Harrison. These are good football players. They’re phenomenal athletes. They don’t just forget how to play football, they’re being taught the wrong things. They’re not being taught how to read plays as the plays are happening. And because of that, they’re being put in positions where they have to make plays that even NFL players frequently can’t.
This is a coaching failure. All of it. Giving up 51 points to Maryland, hell, giving up 51 points to any school in the country at Ohio State is a complete and utter failure. Greg Schiano’s tenure at Ohio State has been a failure, and it’s time for Urban Meyer to let him go. Bill Davis has been a failure at Ohio State, and it’s time for Urban Meyer to let him go. That likely won’t come in the form of a traditional firing, but rather with them “leaving” to take other jobs elsewhere; as Meyer has helped arrange in the past.
Given these costly losses and overall performance, it just might be time for a change.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer retained Schiano after the 2017 season, but don’t be surprised if there’s a shakeup in at least a spot or two on the defensive coaching staff this offseason.