Beyond the Hashes: The Way Beyond

By Chad Peltier on October 13, 2013 at 12:30p
Who would have thought FSU would be this good?

Ohio State may have been off yesterday, but the Buckeyes' rest allows us a little time to look at some stats from around the B1G and nation. Below I'll compare the other top undefeated teams, re-look at Ohio State-Wisconsin: common opponents edition, and profile the craziest numbers from around the country.

The Best Outside Ohio

Stanford, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, and Northwestern were all high profile losers yesterday, but Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, and Oregon all rolled over hapless opponents (or enjoyed their bye week in Tallahassee). 

Unless Clemson pulls a Clemson and loses a game they shouldn't, Alabama falls to an SEC opponent, or Oregon sleepwalks through Stanford, we're going to hear strength of schedule arguments about how these teams compare with Ohio State and which undefeated teams deserve a spot in the final BCS national championship. That's why I think it's as good a time as any to compare their numbers: 

  Off PPP Def PPP F/+ SOS
OSU .63 .29 17.1% (16) 36
Alabama .59 .20 24.9% (6) 17
Oregon .73 .17 26.7% (2) 7
FSU .80 .19 26.1% (3) 34
Clemson .50 .24 15.3 % (18) 35

So the moral of this story is that we should actually be pretty impressed by Oregon and FSU and hope that Urban and company helped the secondary during the bye week. 

  • According to Team Rankings' strength of schedule ranking, OSU has the easiest schedule so far (barely), but it's defensive PPP is the weakest among these top-5 teams. 
  • While I agree with the numbers that the Buckeyes have some work to do on defense to compete with these other elite teams, I believe they'll finish higher than 16th on F/+. They were 14th last season. 
  • I would not have believed that FSU would be ahead of Clemson and Oregon in offensive points per play, but Jameis Winston is a revelation as a redshirt freshman. At least statistically, FSU and Oregon are neck-and-neck for top team honors. 
  • Clemson is fairly surprising. After nudging past UGA to start the season, the Tigers have the worst offensive points per play out of this group. I looked through some of their numbers for the reason, but the closest thing I could find was that they are only 53rd in redzone scoring percentage, at 84.6%. 
  • If Ohio State were to play any of these teams right now, I would not want Oregon or FSU, but would be alright with Alabama and OK with Clemson. Alabama's offensive has looked mediocre (for Alabama standards), and Clemson's numbers are the worst, but I think their short pass game would torch the Buckeye secondary. I want none of Oregon right now. 


I was fairly shocked that Wisconsin pummeled Northwestern like it did. While Wisconsin is ranked 21 and Northwestern 42 in Football Outsiders' F/+ rankings, Northwestern was very close to beating Ohio State last weekend. Here are some things I noticed when comparing Northwestern-Wisconsin to Northwestern-Ohio State and Wisconsin-Ohio State:

Was Northwestern asleep? Worried about a midterm? 6 points Northwestern? You were our signature win!
  • Ohio State's rush defense is really great. They are holding at 6th in the country against the run after holding Wisconsin to under 4 YPC. The Badgers had 5.6 YPC against Northwestern last night. 
  • Continuing that note, Melvin Gordon is a heck of back, so the defense should take some pride in holding him to 74 yards. 
  • Unfortunately the strength of the rush defense has made the pass defense a target. Northwestern only had 5.5 yards per pass attempt, but had 11.1 against the Buckeyes. That number isn't significantly inflated because of explosive plays either, like it was against Wisconsin.
  • Abbrederis is the real deal. He has averaged over 17 yards per reception since his freshman year and had a 63 and 64 yard reception against Northwestern and Ohio State respectively. This was after being unrecruited by pretty much everyone.  
  • Hyde only had seventeen carries at 5 yards a piece against Wisconsin, and then the Badger defense held Northwestern to 1.8 yards per rush. The Badgers may no longer be King B1G, but their defense is formidable.

Notes From Around the Country

Here are some interesting numbers I dug up from around the country: 

  • Baylor leads the way in F/+, and their average of 63 points per game is over ten more points than any other offense from the last six years. That includes the RG3 era as well. Conclusion: Art Briles is a daggum wizard. 
  • If we're talking scoring offense, however, I'll note that Texas A&M averages only one point per game more than Ohio State, with 47.8. That's with Manziel equaling or bettering his numbers from last season. Also, Ohio State's 46.8 PPG would have led the country in 2009 and 2007. 
  • The "Ohio State is terrible against the pass" meme is a very new thing. Even in the interim year (2011), the Buckeyes were still 14th in the country against the pass. They were 78th last year and are 77th this year. Ugh. 
  • Best teams with the worst turnover margin? Probably Georgia and Penn State at -4 and 106th in the country. Hackenberg is putting up big numbers despite turning the ball over a good deal (he is a true freshman after all), and you could argue that UGA would be undefeated if not for its extremely costly turnovers against Clemson and Missouri. 
  • Remember when we worried after Buffalo had three sacks against us? They are seventh in the country with 3.5 sacks per game and 21 overall. Khalil Mack has five sacks and eight TFLs. 
  • Did you know Drew Basil is one of fourteen kickers to not miss a field goal this season? Granted, he's only had five attempts. 

Comments Show All Comments

You can't spell chump without UM's picture

I don't get why everyone is scared of Oregon. They're a good team but they, just like Clemson and FSU, have always found ways to lose game they should win.

Brady Hoke ate my comment

OurHonorDefend09's picture

Normally, I would agree. However, with the way OSU's secondary has played, I am also in the category of having nothing to do with that gimmicky offense.
Although, even with Stanford's (somewhat) surprising loss to Utah, I think they may have a good enough defense to shut down Oregon.

Don't give up... Don't ever give up.

Hovenaut's picture

Still not yet buying in on Oregon just yet.

Their remaining schedule:

@ Stanford
@ Arizona
Oregon State

I think UCLA has a real chance with the way their defense is playing, at Stanford is no gimme and the Ducks have dropped games in the past in the Civil War they should not have.

The Pirate and Rich Rod could give them a game, and Utah should be feeling pretty good about things in knocking off Stanford last night.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Great article Chad, that's good info on the these teams.

deskpoet's picture

Slight correction: Clemson did NOT roll over BC. Indeed, the game was in doubt until the last 10 minutes (when a BC turnover-for-touchdown provided breathing room and the final margin.)
One could say they were looking ahead to FSU, but they still squeaked by an average BC team. At home. 

saevel25's picture

Here's the thing. Oregon is tough in season. Its nearly impossible to prepare for them in 1 weeks time. If you get them on a bye week, maybe. When you are given 4 weeks with practices, they are beatable. They have not run rampart on any teams in their bowl games. 
They beat an over rated Kansas State team last year. 
They were suppose to be to fast for Wisconsin a few years ago, and only won by 7
They don't even crack 20 points against OSU and LSU two years before that. 
Their offense is a novelty, but when you give defensive minds a month to prepare, they are beatable. 

teddyballgame's picture

Except they're not the same team from years past, just like we aren't.
Have you heard of Marcus Mariota?

vitaminB's picture

I spent a couple of hours yesterday researching Oregon's offense.  They actually run a lot of the same concepts as we do, they just execute a whole lot better.  Mariotta on the zone read is head and shoulders above Brax.  They get the ball out of the QB's hands very quick and let their playmakers make moves in space.  It's fun to watch.  I hope we get there eventually.

45buckshot's picture

I said the same thing to my friend yesterday; watching their highlights their offense looks just like ours but better; maybe a little bit more speed and less power (no Hyde).
So it would come down to defense, which is not a comforting thought... 

“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

THE_JUICE's picture

It seems like their skill positions are full of Braxtons and Dontres.  I don't like the idea of our secondary having to face that.  The only comforting thought is that we would have time to prepare.

ibuck's picture

Am I the only one having trouble understanding F/+ ?

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

SweetBabyJames's picture

i understand that we give up a lot of passing yards...
but also understand that our offense *usually* doesnt value time of possession...they like to score quick and basically put the defense out there again...last game was the first time we trailed?
so for five games teams were playing catch up from the start of the game...were not just gonna kill teams 55-0 every game.....its just the way these games flow run the ball and punt alot, both teams can get out of rythem, but if both offenses are constantly on the field, they are gonna get in rythem, and the defense will get tired...

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I mentioned it in another thread. I think UCLA is a serious sleeper. I think they can beat Oregon, and run the table until the ccg. Between FSU, Miami, and Clemson, I have a hard time seeing any of them not dropping a game. I would like to see FSU and Miami meet unbeaten. It would def help recruiting(weaken the SEC).  The Pac2 and ACC are doing there part to steal the spotlight.  I'm not sure how the B1G got so average in football, but at least we can carry the flag.  In the end I still think if we win out we play for the title. We just have to take care of business and sure up our defense. I'm not sold on Alabama winning out either.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

ibuck's picture

Glue, those are interesting remarks, and I would upvote you if I could (I'm about 30 stickers short.) We'll have to wait it out and hope the Buckeyes' D improves and OSU plays each game hard and keeps winning. 

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.