There may not be a universal consensus, but I think most observers would share the opinion that college football’s top two head coaches are Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. Where as Saban’s particular genius may lie in knowing how to structure a program to take advantage of the resource advantage he has over almost every other D-1 school in the sport, Meyer’s shown an aptitude for gaming the system with regard to the CFP.
Ohio State is currently 9-2, with lopsided losses to Oklahoma at home and 6-5 Iowa. In comparison with the rest of the playoff field, it doesn’t own a lot of quality wins, either.
And yet, the Buckeyes are right in the middle of the CFP chatter and show strongly in several advanced stats rankings. Meyer’s team is second in ESPN’s FPI and first in Bill Connelly’s S&P+ Rk. Sagarin has them sixth, ahead of Oklahoma.
Again, that’s with two bad losses on the résumé. What’s Urban Meyer’s secret sauce? Basically, it’s beating the crap out of every team from which it scores a win. In those nine games, the average score is 50.4 – 14.7. Advanced stats eat that stuff up, for the most part, and that in turn feeds into the national narrative peddled by… well, you know.
Maybe that’s why I find myself a fan of Brian Fremeau’s FEI ratings this year.
All I know is that if Ohio State beats Wisconsin to win the Big Ten championship, it’s going to make for a final week debate that will range from somewhere between interesting and obnoxious, depending upon your point of view, especially if Miami and Alabama lose a game.