Unless You Root for One of These Teams, Pipe Down.

Thanks to everyone at Men of the Scarlet and Gray for letting me toss this little article out to you guys. I hope you don’t think it’s a huge embarrassing pile of failure. -BN

The Catalyst

The other day I was on Facebook because I’m ancient. It showed me a photo from three years ago of my kids and niece playing in their Ohio State jerseys. Seemed like a nice moment so I shared it with the two hundred-ish people I grew up with/went to high school with/worked with at some point but didn’t burn all the bridges on my way out. I should’ve predicted what happened next, but I didn’t.

One smart-ass who will remain nameless (mainly because I know he was messing around) joked, “Those poor kids being made to wear Ohio State clothes. Lol.”

Lol indeed.

So I replied, “You’re right. We should’ve put them in the colors of a team that sucks.” #sickburn

Because he’s either a Purdue fan or a Notre Dame fan to the extent he cares about college football at all. Still, I knew he was kidding and it was all in good fun.

The Epiphany

Still, the exchange made me think. Which fanbases, if any, really have any credibility or room to talk when they run down the football program at The Ohio State University (est. 1870 in accordance with the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862)?

What criteria should we use to decide this? Win percentage against Ohio State and total number of wins against Ohio State seemed logical. What timeframe? We certainly don’t want to go back to 1892 because 1: all of a sudden a certain Team Up North will rather inaccurately resemble Not A Dumpster Fire, and 2: it’s not really relevant data. College football has changed a lot in the last two years, let alone the last century.

No matter the cutoff date it’s going to be somewhat arbitrary and prompt cries of Selective Endpoints™ from people in denial about how much their team sucks. That being the case, I realized I could go ahead and choose whatever timeframe I damn well felt like.

TL;DR I went with my lifetime, which means we’re looking at data beginning with the 1978 season.*

In case it comes up (and I imagine it will) the 1978 Sugar Bowl was played in January of 1978, a month before I was born. This actually impacts the stats a tiny bit but I didn’t know that when I started this. You’ll see.

The Numbers

Thirty-seven years is a REALLY long time. I’ve never experienced a span longer than that, if we’re honest. Ohio State has played 458 games in that span and won 347 of them (a 0.774 win percentage; not too shabby!) They’ve even tied six times, maybe one of which I can remember.

Results by conference (linked image shows each team’s record vs. Ohio State, not OSU’s record against them)

Since February of 1978, a total of eleven teams are over .500 against Ohio State as of this writing. A grand total of two of those (USC, Florida State) have beaten Ohio State more than twice.

One thing about this list: none of these teams play in the Big Ten. The B1G team with the best winning percentage against the Fightin’ Buckeyes of the Olentangy is Nebraska with a 1-1 record in that time. Next up from the B1G is a certain Team Up North with a 0.473 win percentage, followed by Wisconsin and Penn State who each have beaten the Buckeyes about 38% of the time they’ve played in the last 37 years. No other B1G team has even won three in ten against the Buckeyes.

More like the Big One and Little Fifteen, amirite?

Another result that was less surprising was that more than half of the teams on that list played in the Mighty SouthEastern Conference Pawwwwwl (MSECP). What was more surprising (to me) was that none of those teams have beaten Ohio State more than twice. Not nearly as dominant as the obnoxious Kentucky, Mississippi, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt fans might have you believe when they’re whooping about their apparent superiority-by-osmosis.

The Results

There are seven teams that, in the relevant period, are over .500 against Ohio State and have beaten them more than once. Any team that’s just 1-0 against the Buckeyes in that time, well… I’d just point to this and leave it at that.

7: Texas (2-1, point differential: Ohio State +11) – Texas has two wins by a total of six points, thanks in many ways to Ryan Hamby and Anderson Russell. On the other hand, Ohio State has one win by 17 points thanks to Heisman Winner Troy Smith. Also, Texas was 6-7 last year, so…

6: Alabama (2-1, point differential: Alabama +6) – Alabama won the ‘94 Citrus Bowl 24-17 and the ‘86 Kickoff Classic 16-10.* On the other hand, Ohio State won this game, so…

* – and here’s why I said earlier the 1978 Sugar Bowl might come up. Alabama beat Ohio State 35-6 in that game. A few things: 1 – Although the game was played in 1978, it’s considered part of the 1977 season. 2 – Like I said above, I wasn’t born until a month after the game was played. 3 – I didn’t even realize all this when I did the analysis. 4- Spend a few hours making your own pretty Excel file, and post that or whatever if you don’t like it. 5 – Shut up.

5: Clemson (2-0, point differential: Clemson +7) – Two close and surprisingly infamous games, the 1979 Gator Bowl and the 2014 Orange Bowl, which saw the end of the line for Saint Wayne Woodrow Hayes (pbuh) and Everett Withers, respectively. Fair enough. If you’re one of the dozens of Clemson fans out there, feel free to talk trash about Ohio State. I guess.

4: South Carolina (2-0, point differential: South Carolina +24) – Back to back Outback Bowls in which the Gamecocks beat Steve Bellisari twice. On the other hand, in games not started by Steve Bellisari the Gamecocks are 0-0 all-time against the Buckeyes. That seems relevant, so…

3: Florida (2-0, 1.000; point differential: Florida +34) – Props where due, the 2006 National Championship Game was brutal. I’ve almost gotten over it by now. Then in the 2012 Gator Bowl a mediocre Gator team beat possibly the worst Ohio State football team of my lifetime by seven points. On the other hand…

2: Florida State (3-0, point differential: Florida State +43) – Two Seminole wins in the early 80’s and the Sugar Bowl curbstomping in 1998. Fair enough. If you’re a FSU fan, feel free to talk trash about Ohio State.

1: USC (6-0, point differential: USC +87) – Can’t really argue here. The Trojans have consistently whooped our boys since my birth. Credit where due. If you’re a USC fan, feel free to talk trash about Ohio State.

Oh Yeah…

If you’re a fan of one of the following teams, you really oughta think about swallowing whatever clever comment you had in mind about Commodore Urban Francis Xavier Meyer and his mighty squad of ne’er-do-wells.

Notre Dame (0-3, point differential: OSU +46) – Many of my fuzziest memories come from those.

Oregon (0-4, point differential: OSU +66) - One of my best friends is a Duck fan. Still, woof.

Cincinnati (0-5, point differential: OSU +91) – Ohio’s Other BCS Team. Roflcopter.

Pittsburgh (1-6, point differential OSU +147) – Suck it, Fat Urkel.

Indiana (2-30-1, point differential OSU +LOL)

Minnesota (2-28, point differential OSU +ROFL)

Northwestern (1-25, point differential OSU +LMAO)

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