A Look at the Ohio State Football Schedule

A Look at the Ohio State Football Schedule

Tyler Vaysman
3 years ago
3 min read
A Look at the Ohio State Football Schedule

For fans of Ohio State who are wondering if the Buckeyes can return to the College Football Playoff, where they lost to Alabama 52-14 in the championship game, the 2021 schedule will provide them ample opportunity to contend for the Big 10 title while still impressing the CFP committee.

The combination of a favorable conference schedule along with a signature non-Big Ten matchup will allow the Buckeyes to make enough of a statement to garner significant consideration for inclusion in the playoff should they prevail in their league.

COVID-19 in rear-view

College football appears to be headed back to some form of normalcy following a COVID-19 influenced season that resulted in Ohio State playing just five regular-season games and getting a ruling from the conference to allow them to play for the Big Ten title against Northwestern. With the pandemic warning, conferences and schools have announced full schedules, and the expectation is that games will go on as planned.

In all Power Five conferences except the Big 12, the teams are split into divisions, with teams playing all schools within their own division while drawing some, but not all, of the opponents in the other one. Sometimes that can create some significant inequities, and for 2021, Ohio State is the beneficiary of that scheduling quirk.

Big Ten East Schedule

Ohio State plays in the Big Ten East, and in addition to their six division opponents, they face off against three of the seven teams from the West. Last season, the top three teams in the Big Ten West were Northwestern, Iowa, and Wisconsin, none of which are on the Buckeyes' schedule in 2021.

In addition, traditional Big Ten East powers Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State all finished with losing records in 2020, making Ohio State the presumed favorite for the upcoming season and potentially weakening what is generally the toughest part of their conference schedule. The early highlight of the Buckeyes' slate is on September 11, when they host the 2020 Pac-12 champion Oregon, another preseason top ten team.

Without the Ducks on the schedule, it could have been possible for Ohio State to have been left out of playoff consideration even if they run the table, especially if the Big Ten East ends up being weak again in 2021. Oregon is expected to not only contend in the Pac-12 but to be in the national spotlight as well if they can navigate their own balanced conference. 

Ohio State also hosts Tulsa from the American and Akron from the Mid-American, neither of which should pose much of a problem for the Buckeyes. In the Big Ten East, a surprisingly important game could take place on October 23, when Ohio State travels to Bloomington to take on last year's Cinderella team, the Indiana Hoosiers.

The Buckeyes then host Penn State the following weekend and after a pair of games against West division teams, close out the regular season by hosting Michigan State and traveling to rival Michigan. While it's hard to handicap much of college football after all of the COVID-19 issues that interfered with the sport in 2020, it would be a surprise if Ohio State, especially with their favorable schedule, wasn't in serious consideration for a return to the College Football Playoff following the 2021 season.

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