ESPN College Football Playoff analyst Heather Dinich picked her top four this week, ranking Ohio State first ahead of Georgia, Tennessee and Oregon, in order. And she defended her choice, noting why she picked the Buckeyes despite their lack of competition to this point.
“I have Ohio State No. 1 in spite of crap schedule b / c they are 1 of the most consistently dominant teams, scoring at least 49 points vs. Big Ten competition, ” Dinich tweeted. “Only team in FBS that has scored on 100% of its red zone drives. And CJ Stroud makes NFL throws scouts should drool over. “
Ohio State is coming off a 54-10 victory over Iowa where the Buckeyes scored 37 unanswered points. Stroud threw four second-half touchdowns to help Ryan Day’s bunch move to 7-0.
Ohio State doesn’t just boast the nation’s second-best scoring offense at 49.6 points per game, the Buckeyes have won each of their seven games by at least 11 points.
“We talked about at halftime that our defense had to continue doing what they were doing and the offense needed to finish off some drives and the scoreboard would look a lot different,” Day told Fox Sports’ Jenny Taft on field after the game. “We felt like we dominated on defense in that first half and on offense … it was hard early on, but we stuck with it and got in a little bit of a rhythm.”
And while the Buckeye offense gets the lion’s share of attention, Day was quick to credit his defense after they forced six turnovers against the Hawkeyes.
“They’re winning the line of scrimmage and anytime you play Iowa, they do a great job running the ball,” Day said. “I think it’s just the confidence, when you match the experience of last year and guys getting a lot of reps under their belt, and just the energy that coach (Jim) Knowles and his staff is bringing, it’s making for complimentary football and the guys are playing with excitement. “
As for Ohio State’s “crap schedule,” the Buckeyes have yet to beat a team currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. That’s not necessarily Ohio State’s fault; Notre Dame was a top five team when the two played in Week 1. And it’s worth noting that the Buckeyes have done what they’re supposed to do to unranked teams, defeating Notre Dame by 11, then the other six teams by at least 29 points.
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But that unranked string could come to an end this week, as Ohio State travels to take on No. 13 Penn State in Happy Valley. Win that, and the Buckeyes appear to be on a potential undefeated collision course with rival Michigan to end the regular season.