Math Wednesday: How Tough Will 2013 Be?

By Chad Peltier on May 22, 2013 at 6:30p

After last season's 12-0 record, Urban's track record in year two, and a Heisman trophy candidate under center, it is easy see why expectations are so high for 2013

Too bad Stoney won't be around to dunk Urban next season The Buckeyes are hoping for the next Gatorade dunk

There is not an obviously challenging game on the Buckeyes' schedule next season (though The Game should never be underestimated), where the toughest out of conference opponent is a rookie coach-led California. 

Even Wisconsin, who the Buckeyes have somewhat struggled with recently, are breaking in new head coach Gary Anderson and lost all-everything Montee Ball.

Even though going 26-0 sounds difficult, even the national media is bullish over the Buckeyes' chances:

Another perfect season isn't out of the question for OSU in 2013. It doesn't play Nebraska or Michigan State during the regular season and gets Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State at home. 

However, who is to say that one of Ohio State's opponents doesn't have a big turnaround in 2013? A deeper look into the Buckeyes' strength of schedule in 2013 is warranted.

The problem with this endeavor is that strength of schedule is usually calculated after the first few games of the season. Who knows, maybe Cal comes out of nowhere and knocks off Northwestern on August 31? Or maybe San Diego State prevails over Oregon State?

One way we can try and get a handle on predicting strength of schedule is by totaling all opponents' projected F/+ scores.

The F/+ combines Fremeau and Connelly's FEI and S&P+ metrics to rank teams based upon efficiency, play success rate, and strength of schedule (among other measures). The projected 2013 scores are based on recruiting rankings following this year's National Signing Day. 

So how does the Buckeye's 2013 schedule stack up? 

I've found before that the Buckeyes were a little lucky to go 12-0 last season when looking at their statistical performances. Connelly's projections have the 2013 Buckeyes looking very similar to last season's squad - definite top ten material, but not close to challenging Alabama

That hand is probably bigger than your headThe Buckeyes will need to go all-in next season 

On the flipside, no, Ohio State really does not feel low [ranked] to me. On paper, that wasn't a Top 10 team in 2012, but ... damn, are they looking scary for the future. I'm just not sure "the future" will fully arrive in 2013.

He has the Buckeyes with a 2013 F/+ score of 25.3 compared to Bama's 46.2. 

I added up the F/+ scores of every team the Buckeyes faced this season and last season to get a handle on how difficult the upcoming season will be compared to last year's 12-0 campaign. 

This measure isn't perfect - one game against a really good or really bad opponent can really skew the overall season score - but I believe it gives us at least an introductory ability to compare schedules.

Based on projected scores for 2013, 2012 was a slightly more difficult, with an F/+ score of 33.6 for 2012 and 31.5 for 2013. Just glancing at the schedule confirms the numbers - the Buckeyes miss Michigan State, Nebraska, and UCF (who were ranked surprisingly high on the F/+!).

The Buckeyes' 2013 Schedule
  Buffalo SDSU Cal Wisconsin NW Iowa PSU Purdue Illinois Indiana UM
F/+ -15.3 3.3 -4.2 22.7 7 4 15.8 -3.5 -10 -5.8 17.5

Wisconsin is by far the most difficult most difficult opponent on the schedule for 2013, though it should be noted that these projected F/+ scores have no way to capture the impact of coaching changes.

Michigan and Penn State appear to be the second and third toughest teams the Buckeyes face, and there's a pretty steep drop-off in talent following those three. There is also a nice rhythm to next season - a few easy games and then a more difficult one. 

Finally, I took a look at the Buckeyes' schedule compared to the rest of the Big Ten. 

2013 B1G Strength of Schedules
2013 F/+ 31.5 69.4 30.8 12.4 70.7 103.8 133.2 92.8 23.3 83.1 48.6 42.1

Ohio State has one of the easiest schedules in the Big Ten next season - but it's not alone. Interestingly, all of the top candidates to win the Big Ten - besides Michigan! - have easy schedules. Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Nebraska all have relatively easy paths to the championship game.

This isn't great news if you're a Michigan fan, but that's what you get for playing the Buckeyes, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Michigan State next season. 


Comments Show All Comments

Hovenaut's picture

For someone who probably averaged an F+ in mathematical type subjects from junior high on out, this doesn't quite jive with me.

Guess I'll stick with the one game at a time method.

Cal may have a new head coach, but Sonny Dykes is no rookie.

cplunk's picture

Agreed- I see Cal as scary dangerous. If their new Sonny Dykes-style offense is clicking and our young defense isn't, that game is trouble. We're more talented but it's a question of timing. I also think Northwestern is solid. 
Those are the two that concern me, with TSUN third. Not too worried about the others, but any week can be one of those "what the heck just happened" weeks.

OSUs12-OH's picture

As I admire mathematicians, statistics are just projections. I personally don't want OSU ranked at #1 to start the season. Just look at the expectations and predictions for 2006. Wire to wire #1...all to lose to our new head coach and the SEC. I'm sure Mr.Connelly's way more intelligent then I but I'm not sure he's any better at predicting any outcomes for College football in 2013. OSU is 6-1 odds with Bama 5-2. I'll take Vegas any day;-)

"I want a hungry team. I want a team that can't wait to get out there. I want an angry team! You're the Ohio State Buckeyes. You're an angry football team. You're a hungry football team and I'm proud to be your coach." UFM

buckeyestu's picture

To me, it will always be one game at a time. Can not predict how the season will end up. Injuries can screw up a great year, bad call by the ref, or an ugly bounce of the ball. Buuffalo is the most important game right now. Go buckeyes!!!!

cinserious's picture

Unfortunately for Buffalo, they are THE (2nd) most important game of the ENTIRE SEASON! I'm sure Urban finds a way to get the team pissed-off at the Bulls and tacks it up on the bullitin board. I personally wont feel remorseful when the Bucks beat 'em 98-0!

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

FROMTHE18's picture

This year could be special but 2014 is the year IMO. If Braxton sticks around, I think we are the team to beat in '14. Still have a few questions about this time, particularly how well will the defense improve and can our offense be close to its full potential. Time will tell, but we definitely have a chance to challenge Bama this year if some things can fall into place.

Chad Peltier's picture

My problem with 2014 is that the offensive line is likely to lose 4 guys after this season 

zhamilton05's picture

Yep, I've been saying this for almost a year now. 2014 will be a loaded Buckeyes team...except for the O-Line. And Meyer's first two recruiting classes didn't yield any superstar offensive line prospects (perhaps excluding Decker). if your line is weak, it will derail the entire offense.

45buckshot's picture

i'm not so worried about the weak schedule except that it sets us up: we easily, barring the sanctions, could have been ND last year--walk through a weak B1g lineup, then get crushed in the NC game by some SEC juggernaut. 
we've been through that before--it's not fun--i'm not excited about a repeat... if we're going to lose a game, i'd rather we lost a game early and won an insignificant bowl than win all our regular season games and get our pants pulled down in the last game of the year. 
But that's neither here nor there... if we had ended up in the title game with ND last year i think we'd have won... this is the last year for hoping to get there minus an SEC team--go Oklahoma! 

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

buckguyfan1's picture

The Great Philosopher "Iron Mike Tyson" once said... "Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face."
Every team we play this year will have a special target on our back and game plan to be the one to break our winning streak.  It is so important that we are the ones to establish the pace and physicality of the of each contest.  I'm actually confident we will do so.  The Attitude of this Team is different than years past even when our prior Teams had good talent.  For sure that comes from the coaching staff, but it also comes from the type of kids recruited and from the residue left behind by last years seniors.
One game at a time... One Punch at a time!  Lets Play!

QBYBuckeye's picture

Focus on the task at hand.  Right now it is personal development (physical, academic, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.).  In the Fall it becomes game prep for the team you are facing the following Saturday.  If you stay focused, the 26 in a row will happen.  If you don't it won't ... 

New York Buckeye

bodast67's picture


ha ha...posted a comment here for the Thursday Skull Session-oops 




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...