At the halfway point of its regular season, Ohio State is statistically the most complete team in college football.
Even in its toughest test of the season to date against Michigan State on Saturday, Ohio State earned another decisive win, 34-10, in which the Buckeyes topped 500 yards of offense for the fifth game in a row and held their opponent under 300 yards for a sixth straight game to begin the year.
As a result, Ohio State ranks near the top of the Football Bowl Subdivision in just about every major statistical category.
Ohio State’s defense ranks third nationally in yards allowed per game (234), tied for third in points allowed per game (8.8), and fourth in yards allowed per play (3.69), while its offense ranks fourth in points scored per game (49.3), seventh in yards gained per play (7.31) and eighth in yards gained per game (534.5).
The Buckeyes are the only team in the FBS to rank in the top 10 in all six of those categories, demonstrating just how good they’ve been on both sides of the ball.
A look at how that compares to the nation’s other 15 undefeated teams, ranked by each team’s lowest ranking among those six categories:
|School||Points/Game||Yards/Game||Yards/Play||Opp. Pts/Gm||Opp. Yds/Gm||Opp. Yds/Pl|
|OHIO STATE||4th (49.3)||8th (534.5)||7th (7.31)||3rd (8.8)||3rd (234.0)||4th (3.69)|
|PENN STATE||5th (47.0)||12th (499.6)||9th (7.22)||2nd (7.4)||4th (240.4)||2nd (3.60)|
|GEORGIA||12th (42.8)||11th (512.2)||4th (7.93)||7th (10.8)||12th (278.6)||15th (4.45)|
|CLEMSON||20th (38.0)||16th (486.0)||13th (7.08)||9th (12.0)||6th (255.2)||6th (3.94)|
|BAYLOR||19th (38.8)||28th (465.6)||15th (6.99)||15th (15.4)||26th (306.2)||16th (4.49)|
|LSU||1st (54.6)||2nd (571.0)||5th (7.67)||29th (19.8)||17th (278.8)||13th (4.43)|
|WISCONSIN||11th (43.4)||32nd (456.8)||33rd (6.36)||1st (5.8)||1st (178.6)||1st (3.09)|
|ALABAMA||3rd (51.8)||3rd (554.6)||2nd (8.30)||13th (14.8)||35th (325.4)||19th (4.58)|
|MEMPHIS||16th (39.8)||29th (461.0)||11th (7.16)||27th (19.2)||35th (325.4)||25th (4.74)|
|OKLAHOMA||2nd (53.4)||1st (643.8)||1st (9.94)||25th (19.0)||46th (346.4)||63rd (5.45)|
|BOISE STATE||48th (32.6)||21st (482.2)||30th (6.38)||16th (16.0)||25th (305.6)||31st (4.81)|
|FLORIDA||53rd (32.3)||61st (424.3)||26th (6.54)||5th (9.5)||10th (276.3)||16th (4.49)|
|SMU||10th (44.2)||13th (498.8)||46th (6.12)||69th (27.3)||63rd (386.3)||52nd (5.15)|
|WAKE FOREST||30th (35.8)||10th (515.0)||39th (6.28)||35th (21.0)||71st (393.2)||73rd (5.67)|
|MINNESOTA||30th (35.8)||73rd (439.0)||54th (6.03)||68th (27.2)||28th (314.4)||41st (5.04)|
|APPALACHIAN STATE||5th (47.0)||56th (429.3)||19th (6.79)||86th (29.0)||94th (420.0)||87th (5.94)|
Based on those statistics, the second-most complete team in the country has been Penn State, which ranks in the top 12 in all six categories and the top 10 in five of them. The Buckeyes will host the Nittany Lions in their second-to-last game of the regular season on Nov. 23.
Georgia also stands out for its well-roundedness, ranking in the top 15 in all six categories. Those are the only three undefeated teams to rank in the top 10 in a major statistical category on both offense and defense.
For a more specific look at how the nation’s elite teams compare so far this season in regards to how well their offenses and defenses complement each other, the following tables rank the 16 undefeated FBS teams in points differential, yardage differential and yards per play differential. These metrics were calculated by subtracting the number of points per game, yards per game and yards per play each team's offense has accumulated by the number of points per game, yards per game and yards per play each team's defense has allowed to its opponents.
|Points/Game Differential||Yards/Game Differential||Yards/Play Differential|
|OHIO STATE||40.5||OHIO STATE||300.5||OKLAHOMA||4.49|
|APP STATE||18.0||MEMPHIS||135.6||BOISE STATE||1.57|
|BOISE STATE||16.6||WAKE FOREST||121.8||SMU||0.97|
|WAKE FOREST||14.8||SMU||112.5||APP STATE||0.85|
|MINNESOTA||8.6||APP STATE||9.3||WAKE FOREST||0.61|
Oklahoma’s gaudy offensive production leads it to the nation’s top mark by a substantial margin in net yards per play, where Alabama also edges out Ohio State and Penn State, but Ohio State is the only team in the FBS that has scored over 40 points more and gained over 300 yards more than its opponents per game this season, and it’s achieved that consistency of dominance while already playing one more game than every other undefeated team except Florida and SMU.
Ohio State is the only team to rank in the top four of all three differential categories. The top eight spots in all three categories, though, are held by the same eight teams – Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Georgia and Clemson – demonstrating a gap between those eight teams and everyone else in college football so far this season.
The most simple measure of how dominant Ohio State has been in its first six games of 2019, though, is simply how convincingly it has won every single game it has played this year. The Buckeyes have won every one of their games so far by at least 24 points; Alabama, who will play its sixth game of the season this weekend against Texas A&M, is the only other team that can make that claim.
Of course, not all schedules are created equal, which needs to be factored in when comparing the résumés of college football’s top teams. Georgia has won all of its games by at least 24 points except its six-point win over Notre Dame, which is currently the top-ranked one-loss team in the AP Top 25; LSU has won all of its games by at least 28 points except its seven-point win over Texas, which is currently the second-ranked one-loss team in the AP poll.
Ohio State doesn’t have a signature win on its résumé yet this year – it'll have those opportunities in the second half of the regular season against Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan – but the Buckeyes have been as consistently dominant as any other team and overall, their schedule has already pitted them against more above-average teams than any of the nation's other top teams.
Ohio State has already played five teams this season that have winning records – Florida Atlantic (3-2), Cincinnati (4-1), Indiana (3-2), Nebraska (4-2) and Michigan State (4-2) – and none of the other 15 undefeated teams can say that.
A look at how the winning percentage of Ohio State’s opponents so far compares to the winning percentage of opponents (excluding FCS teams) that the other undefeated teams have played:
|School||Opp. Record||Opp. Win %|
By that measure, one could say that the Buckeyes have played the strongest schedule of any undefeated team in college football so far this season – and in the process, they’ve outscored and outgained their opponents more consistently than any other team in the nation.
Consider all of that, and Ohio State hits the midpoint of its regular season with a very real and statistically defendable case for being the best team in college football so far this year.