How to Win Games & Influence Titles

By Ramzy Nasrallah on February 26, 2014 at 11:15a
Roll Tide
79 Comments

Kentucky's 2013 opponents won 35 more games in 2012 than Alabama's did.

Using that metric the Crimson Tide entered last season with easiest schedule in the Southeastern Conference and it wasn't even all that close. Conversely, Kentucky's was by far the most difficult.

But it wasn't as though Kentucky willfully scheduled a non-conference gauntlet for itself either: Outside of the Governor's Cup against Louisville the Wildcats played Western Kentucky (and lost), winless Miami and then Alabama State of the SWAC, in November. 

Yet there was still that 35-game spread separating Bama and Kentucky's opponents' win totals. Hurrrr it's because in Alabama didn't have to play Alabama and Kentucky didn't get to play Kentucky only explains away nine wins, so there had to be more. 

The difference comes from Alabama's entire schedule, which in 2013 opened with marquee non-conference opponent Virginia Tech then also included scheduled walkovers Colorado State and Georgia State. Chattanooga then appeared in late November. More on that in a bit.

Alabama's two bye weeks were situated prior to its Texas A&M and LSU showdowns, giving Nick Saban a couple of weeks to prepare for each of the two biggest non-Auburn opponents on the schedule. (Note that nine-loss 2012 Auburn paved the way for BCS title game 2013 Auburn, which hit Alabama's schedule but avoided Kentucky's).

Once conference play began the Tide played the entire month of October without a bye week - and without facing a single team that played in a bowl game. It skipped Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Florida - the top five teams of the SEC East. It got Tennessee and poor ol' Kentucky, the bottom two.

As for that memorable Iron Bowl, Alabama was forced to focus its efforts on Chattanooga instead of getting a head start on the hated Tigers. Cupcake scheduling in November has a higher purpose than its paycheck game cousins of September.

Roll Tide
...but first we gotta take care of Chattanooga.

This November Chattanooga will be replaced on Alabama's schedule by Western Carolina, a team Chattanooga obliterated in 2013 in front of 6,789 screaming fans. The Catamounts' two 2013 wins came at the expense of something called Mars Hill (Div II) and Elon College. Not a November scheduling upgrade; definitely not unintentional either.

That is who Alabama scheduled the week before Auburn in 2014. So the Tide will miss Chattanooga this season, as well as Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt. Heading into this season the Crimson Tide will have the easiest schedule once again, making Alabama the only team in the SEC to play opponents with a sub-500 winning percentage.

That has now happened two years in a row for only one SEC team, very quietly. Alabama's schedule is perfectly optimized for a title run. That's not an accident. That's brilliant.

The 2013 and 2014 Crimson Tide slates illustrate the nuance in playing an SEC schedule versus playing "an SEC schedule." Bob Stoops, who was widely-ridiculed for having the audacity to point out the bottom half of the SEC at one point was a perfect 0-36 against its top half was the first prominent college football figure to correctly point out that God's Conference™ is not a homogenous death machine, no matter how regularly ESPN insinuates it is.

Bob Stoops WAS WIDELY-RIDICULED FOR SUGGESTING God's Conference™ WAs not a homogenous death machine.

Anyway, Bama's two non-Western Carolina bye weeks in 2014 conveniently come ahead of roadies at Ole Miss and LSU (again) which are half of its games away from home. Its four roadies are against teams that lost 24 times last season, though only half of those will come with an extra bye week to prepare.

Add in the virtual bye weeks that appear in all the right places and Alabama is already a lock for the inaugural college football playoff next season. Thing is, the Crimson Tide is already loaded. Helpful scheduling only enhances its destiny.

Notice you're now a dozen paragraphs into a story about Alabama football playing with a stacked deck and you haven't seen the word oversigning yet. So let's quickly get that out of the way now, because it's not an overblown practice - it's a significant roster advantage for a roster that seemingly doesn't need it.

Alabama will end up shedding what amounts to half of a recruiting class worth of underperformers or non-contributors before it kicks off against West Virginia this August, as it does virtually every year. Oversigning is the ultimate recruiting insurance for the school that once again signed more elite talent than anyone else. There are no long-term recruiting risks among Tuscaloosa's 85 scholarship players. Dead weight simply gets a summertime liposuction.

But Saban's famed Process isn't so much about making 96 into 85 as it is about turning 12 into 14 or 15. That would be the difference between a routine dozen-win season and a national title, and it's a bit more sophisticated than simply oversigning.

Roll Tide
Imagine Nick Saban participating in this photo shoot.

Alabama begins with the best recruiting class in the country and gives it everything it needs to be successful. It then gently (or, if need be, inelegantly) removes players that don't work out as planned. Its schedule - whether deliberate or wiiiiiildly coincidental - maximizes team health by avoiding too many teams in a row that could be a pain in the ass, which helps extend the depth throughout the season. Alabama categorically plays "an SEC schedule." That sounds hard.

And if a style of play happens to give Alabama trouble, Saban lobbies to have it neutered under the auspices of player safety (which is curious, since no football program distributes dubious medical hardship waivers like Alabama does - perhaps the Crimson Tide should consider speeding things up or avoid scheduling glorified high school opponents, which itself is a recipe for mass casualties).

The best college coach today leaves virtually nothing to chance - from the roster to scheduling to the goddamn rules of the sport. It's more than just having the best players and coaches; The Process takes place in-bounds and mostly within the rules. You would love to see Ohio State demonstrate that kind of maniacal commitment to winning everything.

Reconciling your thoughts around the amateurism fantasy (Ohio State issues four-year scholarships and refuses to oversign!) with reality (Ohio State sold $8,287,600 worth of tickets to the Florida A&M game last season!) requires weapons-grade cognitive dissonance. If you want to cling to front side of that equation while taking the latter for granted, that's your choice - just shut down half of your brain. A multi-billion dollar non-profit? Sounds legit, as long as they keep amateurism pure and intact.

The 85-man roster - at least this century - represents about 100 things that come ahead of each player's carefully tended to and largely jockified education, and Alabama makes no illusions about what's atop that list: Alabama football winning everything - recruiting battles, Saturdays, conference titles, national titles. Sure, education is important. Cutting underperforming players who are academically sound is all you need to know about the real priorities.

If there is something Alabama can do to improve its position it does it without hesitation and in broad daylight. What might not be as obvious is that Ohio State isn't too far behind under Urban Meyer.

The difference between a routine dozen-win season and a national title is a bit more sophisticated than simply oversigning.

You won't see another Buckeye back seven like the atrocious, pitiful excuse for a depthless defense that took the field for most of 2013. Meyer is erasing that deficiency with both recruiting and roster shuffling. The latter won't be as brazen or warm-weathered as Saban's - but it should produce the desired outcome, elegantly.

Though Ohio State hasn't elevated the roster depth up to Meyer's liking quite yet, it's got the scheduling piece optimized already: Ohio State played the weakest schedule in the Big Ten in 2013 - weaker than Alabama's but also exposed without the cover of conference perception.

The Buckeyes didn't skip five of the top seven teams in its own conference like the Crimson Tide did. There is no perceived delta between a Big Ten schedule and "a Big Ten schedule." And unlike with Kentucky and Alabama, Ohio State missing Ohio State actually is most of the difference between having the weakest schedule and the hardest.

OSU's one-marquee non-con + cupcakes recipe is exactly what's needed to maximize a title shot. A late November Western Carolina bunny massacre as a prelude to its rivalry game is the only advantage Alabama has here. (Florida A&M visiting in September was almost as indefensible; Florida A&M visiting without its marching band should have resulted in criminal charges).

Ohio State is recruiting at an elite level. It's got the scheduling piece, university support, facilities and general football operations machine optimized. Once both programs reach college football's Final Four the perception will be the Buckeyes took the easy route while Alabama had to slog through the weakest schedule in the big boy SEC. The reality is that, aside from a few details, that they will have taken very similar paths. 

And that's The Process. But it all starts with the holistic commitment to being better than everyone else.

79 Comments

Comments

BuckeyeLaw's picture

But but but...the SEC. 

I'm sure ESPiN could make Bama's schedule look good. 

OSU 2011 - Toledo Law 2014

+2 HS
PittBuckeye's picture

The point is that they don't have too, they work and work to make the SEC look like what was referred to as God's conference above. Then all they do is say that Bama played an SEC schedule, and if they win that conference that they've built up to be da bomb diggity, then they don't need to mention Alabamas actual schedule.

Remember the coverage down the stretch last year? How many times did you hear Mark May say "Alabamas schedule sucked" or anything that basically meant that? Never. Paul Finebaum? Never, just that they played an SEC schedule.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

I know many of you hate both of these guys, but Herbstreit was on Cowherd's show back in November and pointed out that while everyone was dogging OSU for their schedule, it's not as if Alabama had played a tough schedule. Cowherd agreed, and repeated it in the coming weeks. He would say that while he still thought "Alabama was probably the best team" it was still fair to point out that "they really hadn't played a tough schedule compared to previous years". So we know at least two guys pointed that out at the WWL.

+8 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Week in and week out they get a pass on everything they do - if they blow a team out - "they are great and they did what they had to do."

If they barely squeek by - the other team is the best team playing the game today other than bama - what a joke. 

+1 HS
bedheadjc's picture

Please tell me you really trademarked the "God's Conference" name.

I can see our country growing so divided and screwy that the SEC might want to use it to woo Duck Dynasty viewers that aren't already SEC fans. I can also see the Pac-12 trying to TM "Best Coast".

+5 HS
I_Run_The_Dave's picture

There was an episode where Willie was taking his kids to an LSU game...  unfortunately Willie doesn't understand how to use GPS or the fact that you actually need to leave several few hours earlier than you think you do to get to a college football game on time.

Chise47's picture

Don't believe the hype that a bunch of millionaires wouldn't know how to use GPS.

[Image: "Duck Dynasty's" Robertson family]

Helluva, "before the show", photo !!!

PittBuckeye's picture

At least there wasn't any sarcasm in there that I had to sniff out.

Good piece, and I read something the other day that every 3-4 years Saban basically gets a whole recruiting class that most teams don't get. Seems fair for the perceived best team to get more shots at more of the better players.

XUbuckeye's picture

You hit the nail on the head Ramzy. I've been saying this to my friends who are "SEC" fans for quite some time. That's right, SEC fans, not a school but the entire conference.

"So when you get knocked on your butt, get up, get over it, and then next time, kick their ass." - Woody Hayes 

BuckGnome's picture

"weapons-grade cognitive dissonance"

Ramzy, in addition to your usual great insight, it's little gems like the above sprinkled into your articles that make them such a pleasure to read.  Well done, as usual.

+6 HS
FitzBuck's picture

I smell a new t-shirt 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+4 HS
Oyster's picture

Catch 5 in 3, 2, 1....

+4 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Ha. I had his name on the tip of my tongue the whole time I was reading this extremely well-written article.

+1 HS
Oyster's picture

He sitting in a corner in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, as he's trying to collect his thoughts.

Unky Buck's picture

I did the same thing. Hell, I saw the title and figured by the time I got to the comments he would have 5 of the first 10 comments.

...

+1 HS
Oyster's picture

Once he finds it, there will be plenty of responses.  They will all be basically the same retort, just repackaged to make them look new.

Catch 5's picture

Sorry to take so long.  I've been busy.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

+7 HS
Oyster's picture

Well C'Mon then, we have all been waiting patiently.

Unky Buck's picture

This just seemed appropriate

 

...

+4 HS
Oyster's picture

If I didn't know better, I would say that scene was made specifically for this post.

+1 HS
Catch 5's picture

Awesome.  RIP Harold Ramis

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

+2 HS
BuckeyeSouth's picture

It's gotten to the point that I don't even have to look at the author to know a Ramzy piece when I read it.  Another great article, Ramzy.

Embrace it.

+1 HS
OSUStu's picture

I was really hoping the advent of the playoffs would coincide with a precipitous decline in cupcake scheduling.  For many teams, I think this will be the case.  However, for those teams playing "an SEC schedule" and getting a pass for doing so regardless of the actual strength of that schedule, there is much less incentive to seek out commensurate competition.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

bkleppel's picture

just gonna leave this here

+11 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Thank you sir for the nightmares

UFM_Renewal

+1 HS
OSUpawn's picture

Bring on the Playoffs.  I would love to see THE Ohio State go up against the best of the SEC.  After we win, I can't wait to hear ESPN stuttering and listen to the wild and crazy excuses. 

 

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Mark May or Jesse Palmer, "Well, they just didn't play SEC football"

Theres the excuse...and SEC morons will take it as a fact

UFM_Renewal

+4 HS
OSUpawn's picture

After we beat them the next couple years Mark May and Jesse Palmer will sound like Lou Holtz.....

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

-1 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Don't hate Lou, hes the only one that supports tOSU to any degree on Espin

UFM_Renewal

+10 HS
OSUpawn's picture

I like Lou!!  That was more for the "Three Amigos" (Palmer, May & Pollack) being tongue tied from watching the B10 beating the SEC

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

+1 HS
FitzBuck's picture
"You're my boy (Lou)"

 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

+2 HS
saltybuck61's picture

Palmer is occasionally ridiculous, but I don't think he has earned the distinct honor of being mentioned next to May and Pollack. I will give him one more year. Although "They didn't play Stanford football" was legendary.

+1 HS
OSUpawn's picture

I agree but I wanted to use the "Three Amigos" so he was next on the list.  The "Stanford football" was epic...  I remember shaking my head when I heard that live.

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

+1 HS
cronimi's picture

Other possible excuses include: They wuz too beet up from playin' a grueling S-E-C schedule, PAAAAWWWLLLL!!!! Those f*ckeyes only had to beat the Li'l Sisters of the Pour to get in the playoff!!

+1 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

Ya, we don't play smashmouth teams like MSU,Wisc,UM,Nebraska,even NW to an extent

Pretty funny MSU out-Stanfored Stanford lol. But no, the B1G doesnt have monster 300-350 pound linemen trying to destroy linebackers every freakin time UW lines up

UFM_Renewal

+2 HS
Sleepy's picture

After we win, I can't wait to hear ESPN stuttering and listen to the wild and crazy excuses.

I'm well aware that the mystique of "ALABAMA" is much better than actual Alabama, but OSU's two best wins last year were Wisconsin in Columbus and... uhh... at Michigan?  Maybe Iowa in Columbus?  I think one of Ramzy's points was that while Urban's obviously a great coach & recruiter who has them headed in the right direction, OSU's 24-2 the past two seasons is just about as empty as 24-2 can possibly be.

-1 HS
dc28's picture

Great article. Couldn't of said it better myself.

Ericgobucks's picture

Ramzy, how does the process of roster "thinning" occur? Are the players told that that are not wanted or do the team doctors play an unethical part of the scheme? I just wonder how this shakes out and how players who are essentially cut  do not end up in the media saying as such. Seems like Satan is playing with fire. Obviously E!SPiN will protect their investment, but there is more competition for the stories of college football and in social media, stories can go viral in a matter of hours. 

+1 HS
acBuckeye's picture

I've often wondered the same thing. You'd think that a former player who got "cut" would want to tell someone about it at some time. But I think there have been a few times where some players have talked to a local newspaper, but the stories just never caught on.... probably b/c nobody in the south wants to hear any of it.

+1 HS
KBonay's picture

Until those players, or more importantly, their parents, start to make a fuss and expose the program for actually 'cutting' players, nothing will change.  At some point, you would think that the guardians of these athletes would be able to see through that mess.  It's simple math.  And it's not 'a coincidence' that the number you oversign ends up = to the number of players that are gray-shirted or transfer out.
The SEC made a stand about over-signing, but don't seem to be enforcing their own standards:
 

Under the SEC’s “over-signing” bylaw (which went into effect around two years ago), schools are limited to signing 25 prospective student-athletes (PSAs) to a National Letter of Intent and financial aid from Dec. 1 to May 31 each year.

The problem is, the SEC schools have found loopholes around it.  You can read all about it here, in reference to Tennessee signing a whopping 33 kids for 2014.  http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/college-recruiting/2013/dec/09/sec-issues-sta...

 

Catch 5's picture

 And it's not 'a coincidence' that the number you oversign ends up = to the number of players that are gray-shirted or transfer out.

No, but that doesn't mean anything.  If I'm a coach and I have 5 guys tell me after the season that they are leaving at the end of the school year, and I look at the roster and foresee 3 positions that has more talent than I can give adequate playing time to - then I can sign 8 over with three incoming guys willing to greyshirt.  I will end up with your scenario but haven't forced anyone out or cut a scholarship.  BTW, Bama has played the last 3 seasons under the 85 scholarship limit, so it hasn't been as perfect as you say...

The problem with the SEC rule against oversigning is that it really isn't about oversigning.  Its focus is solely on the 25-man yearly limit and not the 85-man total roster, which is the real issue.  Tennessee was able to sign so many because they could back-count a lot - effectively filling up previous year's class before adding to this year's 25.  What the SEC rule does do, is discourage teams from signing kids who may be academically ineligable - as they cannot accept more than 25 LOIs in any class.  Some may see that as a good thing, but I disagree - anything that may encourage kids to take their education more seriously is good in my book.  Also, it keeps potential greyshirts from signing their LOIs.  Under the NCAA rules, you can sign a kid on NSD and have him delay his enrollment until after the next football season, where he will count toward next year's class.  He has the protection of the LOI - which guarantees his scholarship upon enrollment for up to 1 year from signing.  In the SEC, if a team wants to greyshirt a kid (and has an otherwise full class) he can't sign an LOI so there is nothing binding the school to the kid.  Again, this is not a very good thing in my opinion.  The B10 rule against oversigning is much better, though it really isn't about oversigning either - it really only restricts the number of greyshirts used.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

acBuckeye's picture

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If Ohio State was in the SEC, we'd be one of the favorites to win that conference every single year. To think we'd suddenly become a middling program in that conference is hysterical.

+9 HS
Enzo's picture

Well if middling teams from the Big-12, Texas A&M and Missouri, can join the SEC and turn into top teams I have no doubt tOSU would do just fine.

+7 HS
MattyBeingMatty's picture

 

“Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world, I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick." -TP

45OH4IO's picture

VERY well-written article Ramzy. Thank you. I hope other writers from different sources nationally get a chance to review it!

Mortc15's picture

I have a major question with the SEC scheduling. Maybe, it's a coincidence. Maybe it's just how they do the scheduling. But there are 7 teams in each division, with 2 crossover games per team. How is it that Bama played Tennessee, a recent SEC bottom-feeder last year and also gets to play them again this coming year? And it's quite obvious the best teams Bama played are so spaced out, like Ramzy mentioned.

I surely hope the Big Ten isn't going to be like that. It will have the same number of teams starting next year with 2 crossover games and I don't want to see Purdue in back to back years when OSU could schedule Wisc or Neb 1 of those years, especially considering the SOS factor the Playoff is supposed to have.

So the ultimate question is, Is this the SEC trying to make a path of least resistance for it's premier team, or is that pure coincidence? I almost have to believe the former, knowing the SEC's reputation, but I also don't want to fall into a trap and see that same thing happen to OSU in the near future. My hope is that OSU's guaranteed games against MSU, TTUN, PSU and the West Champ become outstanding resume builders because all those teams are nationally relevant soon. And OSU is the team leading the Big Ten pack.

 

Buck-I4Life

Catch 5's picture

All SEC teams have a permanant rival from the other division.  Alabama and Tennessee play each other every year.  This is very important to most of the SEC teams, but does make for a few bad schedules every year - which is why they need to go to 9 game conference schedules very soon.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

+3 HS
Mortc15's picture

Thanks for the info, and in that way, the 9 game schedule does make more sense for the conference.

Buck-I4Life

Buckeyeneer's picture

This is the exact article I would write on this topic if I had the time . . . . . . . . . . and talent.

Great job!

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

+1 HS
woodcocklives@osu's picture

OSU's first ranked opponent in 2014 will likely be MSU, in November, fwiw.

+6 HS
ab1993's picture

And with our luck, by the time we play them, MSU will have crumbled and be unranked

SaudiBuckeye's picture

The formula is simple:

Oversigning  + Scheduling conference bottom feeders + Rarely venture outside of SEC territory to play OOC + Bye Weeks before big games + Play a JV team before the Rivalry + ESecPN Hype + Bert, Saban's lapdog spokesman, lobbying to stop your opponents advantages + Bowl Game in your backyard + Lose two games, no problem + some more ESPiN Hype = An annual chance at the National Title.

Yep, Saban's got a real good gig down in Tuscaloosa, 

+3 HS
MordenoftheSith's picture

 

If you only knew the POWER of the Dark Side.

+2 HS
Nutinpa's picture

You left out one important item.....and maybe the most important item:  A relative lack of academic requirements and the admission of many marginally literate players coming from what are presumably, marginally literate families.  Yes, that a generalization, but one that is justified. In the words of Bo Ryan, "deal with it" if you are offended. It is the often unspoken elephant in the room when attributing Alabama's success and that of many SEC schools in general.  Oversigning is an important component to their success, but only one component that is swept under the rug as are the aforementioned admission issues.  To be clear and fair, I am not suggesting every player on the Buckeye football team and that of the B1G in general will be splitting the atom anytime soon....but the generalization is still valid.  

People accused Gordon Gee and Jim Delaney of sour grapes when they made an issue of this.....but they were right. Gee saw it firsthand when he was at Vandy.

+2 HS
Nutinpa's picture

Not a Saban, SEC or Bama fan by any stretch of the imagination.

But there are some important facts you are leaving out:
Saban's teams have kicked the asses of most of the teams they have played in the past 5 years within and outside of their conference. 

They played a home and home vs. Penn St......and Michigan on a neutral site ....and won in humiliating fashion 3 games.

Through the recruitment and coaching of the most elite high school football players, Saban has built a college football machine that I would presume mirrors the efficiency of many, modern Professional Football franchises in nearly ever aspect of the word. That is just the damn bottom line no matter how we bitch and moan about it.  Nothing changes in the minds of the media and CFB fanbases until Ohio State does something about it.  Feasting on the likes of FAMU and UA-Birmingham.....then losing to Clemson....does nothing to earn street cred despite our what ifs and protests.  

Catch 5's picture

First, you should note that the SEC office sets up the SEC schedules.  Bama has no say in who they play from the East.  Implying that they purposefully set up an easy schedule is silly.  The fact is that they face Tennessee every year, which leaves only one additional foe from the East.  They have to play Kentucky once every 6 years like everyone else - just like they have to play Florida this year.  The byes are another thing altogether.  in 2010, there were 6 Bama opponents who had byes before playing them.  This year (after assurances that they would work to ease that trend) there were only 3 (including LSU and Auburn) - although TAMU's game against Sam Houston State could also be considered (if Bama's game against Chattanooga is)

since no football program distributes dubious medical hardship waivers like Alabama does

Well, OSU has issued 7 hardships over the last two years while Alabama has only issued 2.  Perhaps that line needs to take a vacation.

Now about oversigning - Saban is currently 7 over (with Hart's departure -meaning they were 8 over on NSD).  As the RBR article pointed out, there are at least 2 (I'm watching 3) players who will likely graduate and move on, one other guy who has been at odds with Saban for some time and is likely gone, and at least one QB that will be transferring.  As the Dee Hart event showed us, these things have already been discussed with the coaches - meaning these players are no longer with the team - they just haven't announced it yet (it really isn't our business if the players don't want it to be).  That would mean that Bama oversigned by only 2, a number allowed under the B10 oversigning rules.  OSU also oversigned this year.  By my count, on NSD they were at 85 scholarships over (due to their reduced 83 limit).  Similar to Bama's attrition discussed above, it seems that JT Moore has graduated, Mitchell was unhappy with playing time wanted to be closer to home, and Baugh may be being pushed out due to personality reasons.  If you think that's all the attrition coming for OSU (or Alabama), you will probably be disappointed.  The fact of the matter is that Alabama's attrition rate is no higher than the average rate of its fellow SEC teams.  It's also no higher than the average rate of the B10 teams.  Your "Thirteen Below" article was well written - but you ignore what you found there when you criticize Bama for "cutting" players because of oversigning - and if you looked closely at every school you could write a similar article.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Josh P's picture

You are a true outlier among SEC fans when it comes to knowledge of the sport

bull1214's picture

you got rid of possibly 5 players thru "possible" graduation (like they just decided to graduate and walk away from football on their own). qb transfer(maybe has to do with bringing in so many it pushes 1 or 2 out). one has been at odds with saban so he might leave(which means he's mad at saban for pushing him out the door). you then write them off like they were never there and say bama is only over the limit by 2! i predict some very hard conditioning tests for those 2 in the near future.....

+1 HS
Catch 5's picture

In all probability, Saban is aware of at least 2 other transfers  - or at least has two guys who agreed to greyshirt if room doesn't open up.  Nothing wrong with that - and again, within the B10 rules were Bama to be held to them.

If you think that guys who have been on the team for 4 years without contributing in a significant capacity on the field (how does that happen with Saban?) and who have earned their degrees are being wronged if they are told their scholarship won't be renewed for a 5th year, then I can respect that, but we will just have to disagree.  It is well known that Notre Dame makes players petition the school for a 5th year, but nobody cries foul at that.  As I mentioned, JT Moore seems to be in this situation for OSU this year - do you view him the same?  It is not that hard to believe that a guy may not want to go through another year of hard work when he has a degree in hand, is ready for life after college, and isn't going to see the field.

Same with being at odds with a player.  With 85 guys, there will usually be at least a couple who can't act right.  Sometimes they straighten themselves out, sometimes they don't.  Again, Bama isn't the only school with this problem, but if you view Baugh's suspensions in the same light then I have no problem with you.

Yes, Bama has a handful of QBs.  Most teams do.  Most teams take one in every class.  Bama took 2 last year (along with a walk-on) which I thought was odd, and another 2 this year (counting the transfer from FSU).  I'll agree that he may have signed too many.  I questioned one of the guys last year - but he now holds a 4-year scholarship so if any of the new guys leave, it's definately their choice, right?  QB is a unique position in that there is only one who gets meaningful playing time.  Bama has an opening for that position this year and there will be a fierce battle for that spot.  Upperclassmen who don't win that spot may look elsewhere for playing time.  Again, this happens everywhere.  Next year, OSU will have a similar battle after Miller departs.  Do you think Cardale Jones will stick around if JT Barrett wins the job?  It's possible I guess, but you have to believe that he'd consider a transfer.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

-1 HS
bull1214's picture

u bring in the amount u can fit. a couple over is a calculated risk. 5 or more is a PLAN.

+1 HS
1967Buck's picture

 Interesting Catch 5. But you forgot one thing. Mitchell father is ill, like really sick. I think that had a lot to do with him leaving. Was he home sick? Yup. Was he mad for not playing? Yup. Agreed. We Wish him and his family well. And he will always be a Buckeye!!

+1 HS
Catch 5's picture

Do you think he still leaves if he wasn't unhappy with playing time?  Several years ago, AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims were battling for the starting QB job at Bama.  It was the 3rd game of the season before AJ was declared the starter.  Phillip played the year out as a dutiful backup and said all the right things.  Then he transferred the following spring - nearer to home to be with an ailing aunt I believe.  He even got a hardship waiver from the NCAA to play right away - but I don't believe for one minute that he would have left had he won the starting job.  He was a kid with a lot of talent who wanted to play, not sit behind someone else.  It happens a lot, and happens everywhere.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Catch5 wrote:

. . . the SEC office sets up the SEC schedules [and] . . . they [Bama] have to play Florida this year.

Yep, I think "set up" is a good slang term to use here, in the sense that these schedules are events the result of which are prearranged, i.e., "they're a setup." I find it especially amusing that 2014 is the year that the SEC office chose for Florida, a program in a downward spiral, to play both Bama and LSU. In other words, Florida gets to play the role of "marquee" opponent while not actually posing any real threat to the two legit national contenders from the SEC West. It does sound like a set-up - good point, Catch5.

Buckeyeneer's picture

Last year was the worst OOC schedule I can remember for OSU. Navy, VA Tech, Kent St, and Cincinnati appear like a much better OOC schedule, at least on the surface. I hope we get the same benefit of the doubt that Bama had last year now that VA Tech is our big non-conference foe this year.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

RedStorm45's picture

Plus, there's North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas in the next decade after next season.

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

I have argued this same point almost all of last year. All everyone says about tOSU is that we play in such a weak conference and our OOC schedule is also so weak. When in reality it is basically the same if not better than say Alabamas SOS or OOC games. 1 thing for sure is that tOSU does not schedule a William Mary of the Blind school in late November just so the pollsters can see a blowout score and say "wow, Bama is tuff, they just laid a 50-6 on WMof the B" No Bama does it for that reason alone. So the pollsters see a big blowout score. Also how many people said FSU played a murders row of a schedule? Almost all said it early then come bowl season it was then said they played the easiest schedule of all the top 5 teams. Almost every pollster says almost every year that tOSU plays nobody when in fact we do play a tuffer schedule than Bama (OOC) or FSU or Oregon. The SECheat does have some very solid teams up top, but they also have some very sad teams as well. The B10 puts 7 teams almost every year in bowl games. The ACC has what 3/4 good teams and the rest are on the level as Purdue. Same for Pac12 and Big12. The SECheat is no different. Also one thing for sure is that no SEC team wants to come up here in B10 contry in late November and play, not even in late October. They dont even want to play in home/home series. When they do its at their house and when its time to play in our home stadium its scheduled for a neutral site game. Bama did come up and play scUM, in September, but all the other SEC/B10 games are all nuetral site games. Come up and play us in the Shoe when its cold, or PSU or scUM or MSU or in Mad City when its cold. They dont want any part of it. Why????? They dont want to lose. With the SOS/OOC games being a big part of the playoffs now one would think that a TOSU/Bama game would be a no brainer. And in late October or November. But that will never happen. Bama will schedule that late OOC game with WMof the B so they can have that blowout score for the polls.

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

MoEddieRobtCarlosBeanie's picture

Great article...

I was thinking.. What if Urban knows how much Ohio State is a leg behind Alabama in recruiting, and that winning a title would probably close the gap for years to come.. What if he was crazy enough to red-shirt the s**t out of a class, just so he could put a championship caliber team out there.. What if he was crazy enough to do this even though the team so clearly needed help. (Think DB & WR)

Maybe it's just a dream, but I feel like our bench last year could have challenged the team we put out there. Obviously a little exaggeration, but I'm not sure how much of one.

+1 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

the red-shirting wasn't pre-determined but once it got past the halfway mark of the season it kinda became inevitable because they didn't want to waste a players redshirt.  Also most of the depth is in the defensive line and Vrable mostly stuck with playing the same 4-5 guys when we needed to be playing 8-12 guys.  That said they do have incredible depth this year and it will be a nice change to see a good rotation of players to keep fresh and be able to play 100% all the time 4-6 seconds every play.

BuckeyeB9B82501's picture

Also how does Bama explain the "Xtra class" every 4th year due to oversigning? And how Bama gets away with major NCAA violations? Bama is a gr8 FB team with gr8 tradition but they should be on the same level playing field as any other college FB team. They break the rules they should pay the price just as any other team would have to if they broke the same rules. I know 4 sure if an TOSU coach got caught giving a player $ we would be hammered by the NCAA. Did Bama get into any trouble over that same scenario, nope. Why are they above any other CFB team?

Buckeye Dynasty starts in 2014 baby !!!!!! GO BUCKS !!!!!!!! O - H - I - O

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Their formula works, but does seem like a program on the verge of being exposed for any number of unethical activities despite the protective umbrella of ESPN.  We shall see.  I know this sounds corny, but I hope the bucks can excel at results on the field, compliance, and doing things the right way.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+1 HS
nburns18's picture

This is why it gets so annoying to watch Espn anymore. They constantly dog Ohio State's schedule yet when Bama's is just as bad they dont say a word about. Its amazing that a network like espn is able to be so biased yet nobody says a thing about it. 

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

Seattle Linga's picture

Espin's agenda comes across way too loud for me..................stopped watching years ago.

Jpfbuck's picture

I frankly don't care about the oversigning bit, if he is doing it to a terrible extent then recruits will eventually wise up and stop signing there. so far that hasn't happened because recruits have no issue with it.

as far as scheduling goes, for programs like Bama and OSU, any game vs a team outside the top 25 should be a win every time, and when not it should be considered an upset. games against teams ranked 11-25 are tough games, but most years should be wins as well

what differentiates in my mind tough schedules vs weak schedules is how many games you play against teams ranked in the top 10 and then how did you do.

simply put OSU has only played in 8 games vs a team ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game since losing to UF at the end of the 2006 season. and we have gone 2-6 in those games with the wins being against Oregon in 2009 and Arky in 2010.

Bama however has played in 19 such games over that same span and gone 14-5 in them.

that's all I need to know about where they have ranked vs us, every thing else here is window dressing. we can sit and bad mouth Bama's schedule, but in the last meetings with B1G teams (UM and MSU in recent years) both on a neutral site, we simply did come close to measuring up

yes Bama's schedule was weak, so was ours, what matters is what you do in the "big games" and other than the two wins noted above we have come up short most of the time, and frankly to have only played in 8 games in 7 years ie one a year while Bama has played in 19 just since 2008 or just over 2 a year shows the difference in schedule quality.

not this kind of analysis where we want to horse trade between weather playing Ole Miss is tougher than playing Indiana

+2 HS
bull1214's picture

jpfbuck, jm curious about how many of bama's  "big" games were against a top 10 ranked sec team EARLY in the season who ended up ranked well below the top 10 at the end of the season? my reasoning is based on how they line up early season conference games knowing that the winner will get a big ranking boost and the loser has time to work their way back up later on. everything the sec does has a plan behind it. its not coincidental. not saying its illegal or anything. its actually very good thinking and the big10 should follow suit but we cant because on average, 6 of the top 10 teams are sec. that's pretty convenient huh?

+1 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Good stuff - fair points from both of you...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Jpfbuck's picture

bull1214, I get your point

but they have 100% more wins in bowls in neutral fields against teams in the top 10 than we have wins in all games against teams in the top 10 and that is with adding and additional year to earn a game.

so I don't see how them playing games against the top 10 In conference some how negates that, we have 7 games against all teams, in conference, out of conference or in bowls against a team ranked in the top 10 since 2008, they have 6 games in bowls alone against teams in the top 11 and have twice as many wins as us

bull1214's picture

theres no denying bama's stats as far as wins, etc. so u can put them up there each time and pretty much not say anything else and u would look right on the money. however, i lean more towards the idea of how did they get them wins and nc's etc. not just the end result and done. take out games against lsu alone and the wins and even an NC drops significantly. if they played lsu last game of season like we do scUM and it would be a lil different. texas/oklahoma's rivalry is lessened for the same reason in my mind. i know that bama and lsu isnt the same kind of rivalry but the schedule makers dont seem to be in a hurry to make that game later in the season for some reason when the stakes could be even higher. 

BuckeyeJ's picture

Good points by both. I always find it amusing  that in pre-season rankings the SEC has a bunch if teams in. My bet is even though Bama lost  2 games (like we did) at the end, they will still be ranked higher than say a MSU. This happens every year. But like it or not, the first pre-rankings "make the difference" in playing a strong or weak sched