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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 11:32 AM

Ohio State's Biggest Edge Over TCU And Alabama To Win 2nd Straight National Championship Has Everything To Do With A Much Weaker Schedule

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Thought For The Day
"If my mother put on a helmet and shoulder pads and a uniform that wasn't the same as the one was wearing, I would run over her if she was in my way. And I love my mother."-Bo Jackson, former College, NFL and Major League Baseball great.

 

By Kelso Sturgeon

With the National Football League training camps underway and with the first pre-season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings still two weeks away it's time to start paying attention to college football with teams set to report in just one week. Ohio State is the 5-2 favorite to repeat as national champion and should be because it plays a much easier schedule that the two other major contenders, Alabama and TCU who are the 5-1 co-second choices.

Before all you Ohio State fans go nuts because of the "weaker schedule" observation that is not a knock nor is it mean to detract from what the Buckeyes are capable of accomplishing against all comers. It is my opinion that if Ohio State again makes it to the national championship game it will lose to either TCU or Alabama.

You can break down the talent, experience and depth of Ohio State, Alabama and TCU and can easily conclude it is a dead-heat in those departments. The schedule is otherwise as the Crimson Tide play the toughest one in the country and TCU definitely plays a much tougher schedule than does Ohio State.

The elements used to pick the Final Four that will compete for the championship begins with a team's won-lost record. Going unbeaten is of major importance and it is all but a cardinal sin to lose more than one game.

See for yourself in reviewing the schedules with last year's record of each opponent which of the three contenders has the best chance to go unbeaten and which has an excellent chance to lose 1-2 games.

Ohio State Buckeyes (14-1)

At Virginia Tech (7-6)
Hawaii (4-9)
Northern Illinois (11-3)
Western Michigan (8-5)
At Indiana (4-8)
Maryland (7-6)
Penn State (7-6)
At Rutgers (8-5)
Minnesota (8-5)
At Illinois (6-7)
Michigan State (11-2)
At Michigan (5-7)

The Buckeyes will be heavy favorites in every game they play, except Michigan State and they get the Spartans at home. Ohio State opens its season Monday night, September 7, at Virginia Tech in what has to be one of the biggest revenge games of the season.  The Buckeyes' single loss last season came against the Hokies, 35-21, in the Horseshoe. Ohio State was an 11-point favorite in that one and is a 12.5-point favorite over Virginia Tech-bet down from the open of -14. In last year's playoffs the Buckeyes were 9-point underdogs to Alabama in the semifinals and won impressively, 42-35, and went on to bag the title with a 42-20 blowout win over Oregon-a 6.5-point favorite. In other words, they earned the championship, period-no questions asked.

Alabama Crimson Tide (12-2)

Wisconsin (In Arlington, TX) (11-3)
Middle Tennessee (6-6)
Ole Miss (9-4)
Louisiana-Monroe (4-8)
At Georgia (10-3)
Arkansas (7-6)
At Texas A&M (8-5)
Tennessee (7-6)
LSU (8-5)
At Mississippi State (10-3)
Charleston Southern (8-4)
At Auburn (8-5)

It is difficult to look at the schedule and deny how difficult it is. The Crimson Tide lost at Ole Miss, 23-17 as a 5.5-point favorite last season and to Ohio State in the aforementioned semifinal playoff game. In spite of the fact Alabama is again loaded with talent, the schedule will take its toll and it is not out of the question the Crimson Tide will lose from 1-3 games.

TCU Horned Frogs (12-1)

At Minnesota (8-5)
Stephen F. Austin (8-5)
SMU (1-11)
At Texas Tech (4-8)
Texas (6-7)
At Kansas State (9-4)
At Iowa State (2-10)
West Virginia (7-6)
At Oklahoma State (7-6)
Kansas (3-9)
At Oklahoma (8-5)
Baylor (11-2)

The TCU schedule is very tough, especially at the end of the season where it plays at Oklahoma and then faces another outstanding Baylor team at home. It is of note, TCU's only loss came at Baylor, 61-58, as a 7.5-point underdog. The biggest thing the best TCU team in decades is the chip it has on its shoulder for not being invited to the Final Four last season and you can bet the Horned Frogs will take the incentive of that chip on to the field in every game they play. That said, the odds against TCU going undefeated are rather stiff.

It also must be noted while Ohio State, Alabama and TCU are the three favorites (the remaining 122 teams are all double-digits) there are at least 12-15 other teams that have all it takes to win it all. Time will supply the answers.

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