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Ohio State National Title Odds Tumble After Purdue Loss

Alex Kilpatrick

by Alex Kilpatrick in College Football

Oct 23, 2018 · 4:15 PM PDT

Purdue's terrifying mascot
Purdue beat Ohio State fair and square, and are worthy of your respect. Photo by Tom Britt (Flickr).
  • Ohio State lost to Purdue last weekend, 49-20
  • Their national title odds have taken a severe dive as a result
  • Does that make the Buckeyes a value pick?

Ohio State lost to Purdue on Saturday. No, really. We didn’t even have that picked in the Upset Picker, because that’s like asking Santa for a helicopter.

Ohio State National Championship Odds


You can see Ohio State’s average odds balloon if you click on the fourth tab in that graph. For more, check out our National Championship Odds Tracker.  Here’s the odds right now at online sportsbooks:

Team  Odds
Alabama -200
Clemson +500
Notre Dame +650
Ohio State +1200
Michigan +1200

As you can see, +1200 is the longest Ohio State’s national title odds have been since the lines opened in January. That has a lot to do with their loss to Purdue last weekend.

Ohio State’s Disastrous Game Against Purdue

The big takeaway from the Purdue game was that it wasn’t an aberration. It wasn’t like a handful of weird bounces and wacky plays handed this to a Boilermakers team that was playing out of its mind. Ohio State just wasn’t very good at a few key things, and Purdue was able to take advantage of that.

Ohio State is a wildly talented team, with more four and five-stars on its roster than unheralded recruits. They’re also very inefficient at playing defense. Let’s put this in perspective: here’s a list of teams by defensive S&P+:

Team Defensive S&P+ Rank
Miami-Ohio 47
South Carolina 48
Ohio State 49
Indiana 50
East Carolina 51

That’s the level Greg Schiano has been able to achieve with some of the best recruits in the country: “somewhere between East Carolina and the other Miami.” David Blough threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns against this defense. DJ Knox average 8 yards per attempt and scored three more touchdowns. If you’ve never heard of either of these two, I forgive you.

Previously, the offense has been able to paper over this weakness in a manner similar to Oklahoma papering over theirs, but that stopped working on Saturday. Dwayne Haskins threw the ball 73 times during this game, because of two things:

  1. Ohio State was behind, and by a lot
  2. Ohio State could not run the ball

JK Dobbins entered the season as a Heisman Trophy favorite and managed just 2.2 yards per attempt in this game. Mike Weber led the Buckeyes in rushing, with 45 yards from 9 attempts. Ohio State could not run the ball.

The Oklahoma approach, which we can broadly define as “making up for your mediocre defensive coordinator by fielding Heisman Trophy favorites on offense,” should be abandoned for a few reasons. Firstly, Oklahoma lost to Texas and fired Mike Stoops shortly after. Secondly, it doesn’t work if your Heisman contenders can’t score more than 20 points.

Is Ohio State a National Championship Value Pick?

Ohio State will recover, and probably beat Nebraska into a fine pulp next weekend. That’s fine. That doesn’t mean they’re a good pick to win the national title.

While the Buckeyes might get back into shape and beat the hell out of Maryland, elite teams are going to take advantage of the same things Purdue took advantage of. Michigan, currently rated as the most efficient defense in the country, might be able to do a lot of the same things Purdue did. Michigan State might also be trouble. Last time I checked Greg Schiano is still on the Ohio State payroll. This isn’t a recipe for success.

Most importantly, if the Buckeyes do make the Playoff, they’ll be eaten alive. I’m not projecting another shutout, but if Ohio State meets Clemson or Alabama on a neutral site they’ll have to dig into the hat they pulled Cardale Jones out of and find one hell of a rabbit.

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