Sports Talk: Ohio State plays one of the easiest football slates in the land

The Ohio State University’s football slate will need to get into the weight room after this season.

The Buckeyes’ strength of schedule for this upcoming fall is an embarrassment. Doesn’t the scarlet and gray want to test itself against the best?

According to football guru Phil Steele, OSU plays the 67th toughest, underrated schedule in the land.

Underrated?

Well, by the NCAA method, Ohio State’s difficulty is ranked No. 102.

Any way you look at it, the Buckeyes appear to have a soft-as-a-pillow slate, and should go undefeated again this fall – just like last year. You can almost count on it.

On the subject of Steele’s strength of scheduling, West Virginia University is ranked No. 44; Marshall University, No. 111; and Ohio University, No. 122.

Of Ohio State’s dozen 2013 opponents, seven had losing records last season, including three of its four non-conference foes.

Overall, seven of the 12 games will be played at the Horseshoe. That’s good, because according to reports, an OSU home game brings in $4.5 million in net revenue, which is needed to fund the school’s 36-sport athletic program.

People will fork out hard-earned, big bucks (no pun intended) to see Ohio State play even the Buffalo Bulls (4-8 in 2012), its season-opening foe at noon on Aug. 31. The Buckeyes, who should be able to win with their fourth string QB, can pretty much just name their score in that one.

Too bad it wasn’t the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. That would be a better game, and, yes, the Buckeyes probably would still win.

After Buffalo, there’s San Diego State (9-4), California (3-9), and Florida A&M (4-7).

According to Steele, California’s strength of schedule is the third most difficult in the nation.

Ohio State should be 4-0 when it kicks off its Big Ten opener against visiting Wisconsin (8-6) on Sept. 28. The Badgers could be competitive, but then again…..

Up next, the Buckeyes travel to Northwestern (10-3), and the experts say that this game and their season finale at Michigan (8-5) will be real challenges. Maybe.

Michigan? Gimme a break. Those rivalry days on the gridiron are over.

In between, there’s Iowa (4-8), Penn State (8-4), Purdue (8-4), Illinois (2-8), and Indiana (4-8).

Granted, upsets are always a possibility, but not likely when looking at the 2013 OSU slate.

Only the scarlet and gray fans will be upset, if the Buckeyes don’t run the table a second year in a row.

Thing is, some bench presses, leg lifts, and curls are still definitely in order here for the program’s future scheduling.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com