It has been difficult to get into breaking down Arkansas State for Ohio State’s upcoming game. I have already done a Tale of the Tape; I have submitted my pick for our staff predictions, and I have struggled in finding an analyst from the Red Wolves side of things to come over and talk about the game.
Sure, a line that has been hovering around 44 points in Ohio State’s favor has also probably led to me not looking all that hard at finding an Arkansas State expert to talk to. You never want to get to the point of assuming a game is just a formality, but when it comes to this one, the outcome really does not seem to be in doubt. Covering the line may be a different story.
So instead of going through and asking someone “how can the Red Wolves win this game” we are going to take a detour and just look at a couple of different angles in a bigger picture surrounding the Buckeyes as we get closer to the Arkansas State game.
The Buckeyes have been a 35-point or greater favorite 15 times going back to the 2006 season. Five touchdowns are a lot of points under any circumstances and the Buckeyes generally do a solid job in scheduling.
Six of those 35-point-plus games were in conference games while nine were out of league with just one against a Division I-FCS opponent (Florida A&M).
The Buckeyes are only 8-7 against the spread in these games. Of course, it is about winning the game and Ohio State as expected is a perfect 15-0.
Ohio State is just 1-2 in its last three games ATS with 35-plus point lines after running off covers in the previous three games.
When you move the spread to 40-plus, Ohio State is 5-3 in those games and when you equal the current line of 44 points (at this moment) the Buckeyes are 4-1.
What does this have to do with Saturday’s game? Well, nothing. It is just an interesting point to look at as people decide where they may want to put their money, if so inclined to wager on this game.
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The Game After The Game
Nobody wants to be ‘the guy after the guy’ when it comes to filling a vacancy and it got us thinking about the ‘game after the game’. What happens after Ohio State plays a ranked team?
We can go back to a very graphic and painful memory of how Ohio State looked at Iowa after a thrilling comeback against Penn State at Ohio Stadium. You may not buy into the whole “emptying the bucket” sports psychology talk but what can’t be denied is that 55-24 happened in 2017.
Ohio State is coming off a big win against a then-No. 5 ranked Notre Dame team and now must follow it up. Granted, this is not a case of Ohio State following this game up with Arkansas or an SEC team or another ranked team, it is Arkansas State.
The Buckeyes are 31-7 in their game following playing a team ranked in the top-25, including when the Buckeyes go on and play another ranked team that following week going back through the 2012 season.
Once you get to the postseason (Big Ten Championship Game or Bowl Season) you are going to be playing ranked teams, and Ohio state has been 8-4 in those games over the same window of time, meaning that Ohio State is 23-3 in the regular season in the game after playing a ranked team.
So, with three losses, what were they? 2021 the Buckeyes fell to “that team up north”, the aforementioned loss to Iowa in 2017 and a 2016 loss to Penn State in Happy Valley.
Teams that have gotten Ohio State in those seven losses? Only Clemson checks in on the list more than once with three while Michigan, Alabama, Iowa, and Penn State join the list.
Don’t expect to see Arkansas State make it eight.
Against The Top Five
The last set of numbers that I want to look at have nothing to do with Arkansas State because as I said before, I am just having a hard time getting into talking about Arkansas State.
Instead, I wanted to see how Ohio State has fared against Top-5 (at the time of playing) opponents through the years.
For all the wins that Ohio State has had this century, the record has to be pretty good, right? Well, maybe not as strong as you would think.
We went back through the 2003 season and the Buckeyes are 11-13 over that timeframe with wins over Top-5 teams.
Now, in many of those games the Buckeyes were ranked, in others, maybe not. If you are a considerable underdog, nobody is expecting you to win. In other games, Ohio State was the favorite and things just didn’t break the right way.
Going back to the 2017 season (five seasons plus one game in 2022) the Buckeyes have played in nine of these games and are 5-4 including wins over Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Clemson, and Notre Dame.
Ohio State’s worst stretch in these games would have been from 2007 through 2009 when the Buckeyes dropped five straight games against Top-5 teams including a pair to USC in regular season action. The best stretch is a three-game run through 2016 and 2017 where the Buckeyes took down a No. 3 Michigan team, a No. 4 Wisconsin team, and a No. 2 Penn State team.