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Digging Deeper: The B1G Against AP Ranked Opponents (2010-19)

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Matt Gutridge's picture
July 12, 2020 at 12:45am
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Alabama
Alabama (2015) was the only No. 1 ranked team Ohio State faced over the last decade.

The venerable, and champion of Arby's, Kevin Harrish provided an article showing Ohio State's dominance against ranked opponents over the last decade. In that piece, you will notice that the other teams in the Big Ten are MIA.

Below, you will find a breakdown of each season from the past ten seasons and how the teams of the B1G fared on an annual basis. Spoiler, if the program isn't named Ohio State it typically had a difficult time breaking even. 

2019 SEASON
Ohio State faced six ranked teams and defeated the first five. On October 5, the Buckeyes downed No. 25 Michigan State, 34-10 in Ohio Stadium. Two weeks later, No. 13 Wisconsin came to Columbus and Ohio State won 38-7.

Over the next month, the Buckeyes had two bye weeks and played Maryland and Rutgers. In essence, they had four bye weeks before finishing the season with a run of four-straight ranked games. 

The Scarlet and Gray then ran through No. 8 Penn State (28-17), No. 13 Michigan (56-27) and No. 8 Wisconsin (34-21) before "losing" to No. 3 Clemson (23-29) in the Fiesta Bowl. 

Michigan played six ranked teams. They defeated No. 14 Iowa and No. 8 Notre Dame. However, the Wolverines lost to No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 7 Penn State, No. 1 Ohio State and No. 13 Alabama (Citrus Bowl).

Best And Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2019 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE 5 1 .833
2 PENN STATE 4 2 .667
3 WISCONSIN 3 3 .500
3 MINNESOTA 2 2 .500
WORST        
14 INDIANA 0 4 .000
14 NORTHWESTERN 0 5 .000
14* RUTGERS 0 5 .000
T6 MICHIGAN 2 4 .333

2019 NOTES

  • Ohio State and Penn State were the only B1G teams to have a winning record against ranked teams last year.
  • Six B1G schools did not defeat a ranked opponent in 2019.
  • Illinois (1-2) had the same winning percentage as Michigan (2-4).
  • Rutgers finished the decade with 25 consecutive losses to ranked teams.
  • Against ranked teams, Michigan was .500 or worse for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Ohio State had the B1G's best winning percentage against ranked teams for the fourth straight season.

*Michigan State (0-4), Purdue (0-3) and Nebraska (0-3) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

2018 SEASON 
Ohio State played and defeated six ranked teams. The Buckeyes downed No. 15 TCU, 40-28, during the third week of the season. On September 29, OSU traveled to Beaver Stadium and edged Penn State 27-26.

The Buckeyes finished the season by defeating No. 24 Michigan State, No. 4 Michigan, No. 21 Northwestern and No. 9 Washington.

Michigan also played six ranked teams. The Wolverines started the season with a 17-24 loss at No. 12 Notre Dame. They appeared to turn the season around by winning 10 consecutive games. During that stretch, Michigan defeated No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 24 Michigan State and No. 14 Penn State in Weeks 7, 8 and 9.

Harbaugh and company finished the season by losing to No. 10 Ohio State and No. 10 Florida. 

Like Ohio State, Purdue also finished the season with a perfect record against ranked opponents. The Boilermakers defeated No. 23 Boston College, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 19 Iowa. By defeating the Buckeyes 49-20, Purdue prevented the Buckeyes from making the College Football Playoff.

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2018 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE 6 0 1.000
2 PURDUE 3 0 1.000
3 NORTHWESTERN 4 3 .571
WORST        
14 ILLINOIS 0 3 .000
14 RUTGERS 0 3 .000
14 INDIANA 0 4 .000
4 MICHIGAN 3 3 .500

2018 NOTES

  • Ohio State and Purdue were undefeated against ranked teams.
  • Five conference teams did not have a win against AP ranked teams.
  • Against ranked teams, three Big Ten teams were above .500.
  • For the third straight year, Michigan was .500 or worse against ranked teams.
  • Ohio State had the B1G's best winning percentage against ranked teams for the third straight season.

*Minnesota (0-1) and Nebraska (0-3) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

2017 SEASON
Ohio State faced No. 5 Oklahoma in Ohio Stadium during the second week of the season. The Buckeyes lost 31-16 and Baker Mayfield planted a flag at midfield at the conclusion of the game.

Six weeks later, the Buckeyes hosted No. 2 Penn State. After falling behind big early, J.T. Barrett led Ohio State to a massive comeback victory and edged the Nittany Lions 39-38. This can be argued as Barrett's greatest game with the Buckeyes. 

Ohio State then dispatched No. 13 Michigan State, No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 8 USC. The win over the Trojans snapped a seven-game losing streak and was the Buckeyes' first win over Southern California since the 1974 Rose Bowl.

Michigan started the season with a 33-17 win over No. 17 Florida. That was the team's only win over a ranked opponent. The Wolverines then lost to No. 2 Penn State, 42-13, No. 5 Wisconsin, 24-10 and No. 8 Ohio State 31-20.

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2017 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE 4 1 .800
2 MICHIGAN STATE 3 1 .750
3 WISCONSIN 3 1 .750
WORST        
14 ILLINOIS 0 4 .000
14 RUTGERS 0 4 .000
14 INDIANA 0 5 .000
7 MICHIGAN 1 3 .250

2017 NOTES

  • The Big Ten did not have a team go undefeated against ranked teams.
  • Three schools had a winning record.
  • Six conference teams went winless against AP ranked teams.
  • Michigan had a losing record for the second straight season.
  • Ohio State had the B1G's best winning percentage against ranked teams for consecutive years.

*Minnesota (0-2), Nebraska (0-3) and Purdue (0-4) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

2016 NOTES
Ohio State finished the regular season with a perfect record against ranked teams. The Buckeyes defeated No. 14 Oklahoma in Norman, No. 8 Wisconsin in Madison and No. 9 Nebraska and No. 3 Michigan in Columbus. The win over Wisconsin was in OT and Michigan was the double-overtime thriller.

The season ended against No. 3 Clemson as Ohio State lost 31-0. It was the first shutout since losing to Michigan 28-0 in 1993. That was a span of 26 years.

Michigan eeked out a 14-7 win over No. 8 Wisconsin in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines then lost to No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Florida State. They were this close to finishing the season with wins over the Buckeyes and their bowl opponent. 

Wisconsin tied Ohio State with four wins over ranked opponents. However, the Badgers' winning percentage took a big hit by losing to three other ranked teams. 

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2016 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE 4 1 .800
2 WISCONSIN 4 3 .571
3 PENN STATE 2 2 .500
WORST        
14 ILLINOIS 0 3 .000
14 MARYLAND 0 3 .000
14 RUTGERS 0 4 .000
T5 MICHIGAN 1 2 .333

2016 NOTES

  • Ohio State and Wisconsin were the only B1G teams with winning records against ranked teams.
  • The conference did not have a team with an undefeated record.
  • Five Big Ten teams did not have a win against ranked opponents.
  • Rutgers had the most losses (4) to ranked teams.
  • For the fifth time in six seasons, Michigan had a losing record.
  • Ohio State was .500 or better against ranked teams for the fourth straight year.

*In 2016, Minnesota (0-2) and Purdue (0-3) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

2015 SEASON
Ohio State started the season by playing ten consecutive unranked teams. In Week 11, No. 9 Michigan State came to Columbus and defeated the Buckeyes 17-14 in some of the worst weather conditions I've seen a game played in.

The Buckeyes finished the season on a high note by defeating No. 12 Michigan and No. 8 Notre Dame.

Michigan lost to rivals No. 7 Michigan State and No. 8 Ohio State, but was able to finish the season with a winning record over ranked teams. That road was paved through victories over No. 22 BYU, No. 13 Northwestern and No. 19 Florida.

Michigan State finished the regular season with a perfect 4-0 record against ranked teams. They faced No. 2 Alabama in the CFP Semifinals and lost 38-0.  

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2015 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 MICHIGAN STATE 4 1 .800
2 OHIO STATE 2 1 .667
3 MICHIGAN 3 2 .600
WORST        
14 INDIANA 0 4 .000
14 MARYLAND 0 4 .000
14 MINNESOTA 0 5 .000

2015 NOTES

  • Six Big Ten teams were .500 or better against ranked teams.
  • Michigan State led the B1G in winning percentage for the second time in three years
  • For the second straight year, eight teams went defeated against AP ranked opponents.
  • Minnesota lost five games to ranked teams.
  • For the first time in three seasons, Michigan had a winning record against ranked teams.
  • Ohio State finished second in the B1G. This was the last time the Buckeyes did not have the best winning percentage.

*Illinois (0-3), Penn State (0-3), Purdue (0-3) and Rutgers (0-3) did not have wins against ranked teams.

Penn State 2017
No. 2 Penn State (2017) was the highest-ranked B1G team the Buckeyes faced. Ohio State won 39-38.

 

2014 SEASON
Ohio State had a stunning loss to unranked Virginia Tech in the second week of the season. The Buckeyes then finished the season with 13-straight wins including victories over No. 7 Michigan State, No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon.

Michigan was on the complete other end of the spectrum from Ohio State. The Wolverines lost to No. 16 Notre Dame (31-0), No. 8 Michigan State (35-11) and No. 7 Ohio State (42-28).

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2014 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE 4 0 1.000
2 NORTHWESTERN 2 1 .667
3 WISCONSIN 3 2 .600
WORST        
14 MICHIGAN 0 3 .000
14 NEBRASKA 0 3 .000
14 PURDUE 0 4 .000

2014 Notes

  • Ohio State was the only B1G team to go undefeated against ranked opponents.
  • A decade-high eight teams did not notch a win against AP ranked teams.
  • Purdue led the conference with four losses.
  • Michigan did not have a win for the second time in five seasons.
  •  
  • For the third time in five years, Ohio State had the best winning percentage.

*In 2015, Iowa (0-1), Penn State (0-2), Illinois (0-2), Maryland (0-2) and Rutgers (0-3) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

2013 SEASON 
Ohio State started the season with 12 straight victories and wins over No. 22 Wisconsin and No. 16 Northwestern. The team had a program best 24-game winning streak until finishing the season with losses to No. 10 Michigan State and No. 8 Clemson. 

Michigan beat No. 14 Notre Dame in the second week of the season. The Wolverines then lost to No. 24 Michigan State and No. 3 Ohio State. The season finished on the correct note when Michigan lost to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

After losing to No. 22 Notre Dame, Michigan State finished the year with a conference best three wins over ranked teams. The Spartans beat No. 21 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2013 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 MICHIGAN STATE 3 1 .750
2 PENN STATE 2 1 .667
3 OHIO STATE 2 2 .500
WORST        
14 ILLINOIS 0 3 .000
14 IOWA 0 3 .000
14 PURDUE 0 3 .000
T4 MICHIGAN 1 2 .333

2013 NOTES

  • For the first time, Michigan State led the B1G in winning percentage against ranked opponents.
  • The Spartans and Penn State were the only teams above .500.
  • Seven teams did not earn a victory.
  • Illinois, Iowa and Purdue had league-high three losses.
  • For the second straight year, Michigan only had 1 victory and was below .500.

*In 2013, Indiana (0-2), Maryland (0-2), Northwestern (0-2), and Rutgers (0-2) did not have wins against ranked teams. 
 

2012 SEASON
Ohio State finished its undefeated season with three wins over ranked opponents. The victories were over No. 20 Michigan State, No. 25 Nebraska and No. 20 Michigan. Urban Meyer said the win over the Spartans was a program changer and put the Buckeyes on the correct track.

Michigan faced five ranked opponents, but only defeated No. 24 Northwestern. The four losses were to No. 2 Alabama, No. 11 Notre Dame, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 11 South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2012 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE 3 0 1.000
2 MICHIGAN STATE 2 4 .333
3 NEBRASKA 1 2 .333
3 PENN STATE 1 2 .333
WORST        
14 IOWA 0 2 .000
14 PURDUE 0 2 .000
14 MARYLAND 0 3 .000
6 MICHIGAN 1 4 .200

2012 NOTES

  • For the second time in three years, Ohio State led the B1G in victories against ranked opponents.
  • The Buckeyes were the only team to go undefeated. They were also the only team with a winning record.
  • 10 teams in the conference had a losing record against ranked teams.
  • Michigan and Michigan State tied for the most losses, 4.
  • Illinois and Rutgers did not have a game against a ranked opponent.

*In 2012, Indiana (0-1) and Minnesota (0-1) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

2011 SEASON
Ohio State finished the season with a losing record against ranked opponents. This was the first and only time it happened during the decade. The wins were over No. 16 Illinois and No. 10 Wisconsin. 

The losses were to No. 24 Nebraska, a game in which the Buckeyes led 27-6 in the third quarter, No. 21 Penn State and No. 12 Michigan.

Michigan had the conference's best winning percentage against ranked opponents by defeating No. 16 Nebraska and No. 13 Virginia Tech in overtime. The Wolverines loss was to No. 23 Michigan State.

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2011 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 MICHIGAN 2 1 .667
2 MICHIGAN STATE 3 2 .600
2 WISCONSIN 3 2 .600
T4 OHIO STATE 2 3 .400
WORST        
14 INDIANA 0 3 .000
14 PENN STATE 0 4 .000
14 MINNESOTA 0 5 .000

2011 NOTES

  • For the first, and only time, Michigan led the conference in winning percentage against ranked teams. The Wolverines only had 2 victories...the lowest of any team to lead the league.
  • Michigan State and Wisconsin led the conference with 3 wins.
  • Five teams did not earn a victory.
  • This was the only season that Ohio State had a losing record.
  • The Buckeyes finished tied for 4th, their worst ranking of the decade.   

*Rutgers (0-1) and Maryland (0-1) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

2010 SEASON
Ohio State had the season vacated by the NCAA, but we know the Buckeyes defeated No. 12 Miami, FL, No. 21 Iowa and No. 8 Arkansas. Their lone loss was to No. 18 Wisconsin.

Michigan started the decade in fine Wolverine style...with five losses to ranked opponents. The men so blue lost to No. 17 Michigan State, No. 15 Iowa, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 21 Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl.

The Wolverines did defeat Massachusetts, who was ranked No. 16 in the FCS, 42-37. The Minutemen led 17-7 late in the first half and scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to put an Appalachian State sized scare in the Michigan faithful.

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...2010 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE 3 1 .750
2 IOWA 3 3 .500
3 MICHIGAN STATE 2 2 .500
3 NEBRASKA 2 2 .500
3 WISCONSIN 2 2 .500
WORST        
14 INDIANA 0 4 .000
14 PENN STATE 0 4 .000
14 MICHIGAN 0 5 .000

2010 NOTES

  • Ohio State started the decade where they finished...on top.
  • A decade-low four teams went winless against ranked opponents.
  • Michigan led the conference with 5 losses.
  • Five teams finished the season .500 against AP ranked teams.
  • Rutgers did not play a ranked opponent in 2010.
  • If you didn't see it above, the Wolverines were 0-5 against ranked opponents.

*In 2010, Purdue (0-3) did not have wins against ranked teams.
 

Best and Worst B1G Records Against Ranked Opponents...The Decade 
RANK SCHOOL W L W%
1 OHIO STATE* 35 10 .778
2 MICHIGAN STATE 21 23 .477
3 WISCONSIN 20 22 .476
WORST        
12 ILLINOIS 3 25 .107
13 INDIANA 2 33 .057
14 RUTGERS 0 25 .000
6 MICHIGAN 14 29 .326

2010-19 NOTES

  • Ohio State led the B1G in winning percentage in seven of the ten seasons.
  • Michigan had a losing record against ranked teams in seven of the ten seasons.
  • The Buckeyes had a record above .500 against AP ranked teams eight times last decade.
  • Ohio State's 6-0 record in 2018 marked the most wins for a B1G team in a single season for the decade.
  • Michigan was winless against ranked opponents twice during the decade.
  • The Buckeyes have more victories (35) than Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois and Rutgers combined (34).

*Does not include Ohio State's 2014 win over CFP Ranked Minnesota.

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