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Where does Phil Steele place Buckeyes in toughest schedule ranking?

Spencer-Holbrookby:Spencer Holbrook07/09/24


COLUMBUS — Ohio State has a loaded Big Ten slate this season, the first year of the new 18-team Big Ten. The nonconference slate, well, it’s not so loaded.

But the schedule is still quite tough, featuring road trips to Oregon and Penn State — both slated to be top-10 teams this season — and a home matchup in The Game against Michigan. The Buckeyes have the 11th toughest schedule among Big Ten teams and the No. 35 toughest schedule in college football, according to college football preseason magazine legend Phil Steele.

UCLA and USC, two of the new Big Ten teams, have the toughest slates in the league, according to Steele. He believes Purdue, Michigan and Wisconsin also have some of the toughest schedules to play this season. Steele has Florida ranked with the toughest schedule in college football. UCLA, USC, Georgia Tech and Houston round out his top five.

Steele also broke down his preseason Power Poll. And he loves the Buckeyes heading into this season.

Only problem? He likes one team a bit more than he does the Buckeyes: the Georgia Bulldogs. Yes, the same team that took down the Buckeyes in the 2022 Peach Bowl at the College Football Playoff on its way to the national title is ahead of Ohio State entering this season.

Steele loves both of them, though. Ohio State is No. 2 in his preseason Power Poll, one spot ahead of Big Ten newcomer Oregon and three spots clear of fellow Big Ten power Penn State. Texas is in the fourth spot. As for the rest of the Big Ten, Steele has defending national champion Michigan at No. 12 entering this season. He has Iowa, which Ohio State plays on Oct. 5, at No. 18, Big Ten newcomer USC at No. 24 and Wisconsin at No. 25.

Phil Steele’s toughest schedules among Big Ten teams

(Ranking is based on national rankings)

3. USC
6. Purdue
15. Michigan
20. Wisconsin
21. Washington
22. Michigan State
25. Northwestern
30. Illinois
34. Maryland
35. Ohio State
37. Minnesota
41. Oregon
47. Iowa
49. Penn State
50. Nebraska
61. Rutgers
68. Indiana

2024 Ohio State Football Schedule

Aug. 31 – Akron (3:30, CBS)
Sept. 7 – Western Michigan (7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network)
Sept. 14 – Idle
Sept. 21 – Marshall
Sept. 28 – at Michigan State
Oct. 5 – Iowa
Oct. 12 – at Oregon
Oct. 19 – Idle
Oct. 26 – Nebraska (Noon OR 3:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., TV TBD)
Nov. 2 – at Penn State
Nov. 9 – Purdue
Nov. 16 – at Northwestern (Noon OR 3:30 p.m., TV TBD)
Nov. 23 – Indiana
Nov. 30 – Michigan (Noon, FOX)

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