We went through an exercise of trying to identify the best Ohio State football team of the last twenty years. But instead of just using our noggin, we decided to simulate all the matchups using our friends at WhatifSports.com. Here’s how it all played out in a winner-take-all single elimination tournament.
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Ohio State Football Simulation Series: Best Buckeye Team Of The Last 20 Years
It’s fun to debate which Ohio State team was the best — especially with a program the caliber of the one that sits on the banks of the Olentangy. So we decided to pose the question to our writers, and the opinions widely varied.
So it got us to thinking about trying to simulate some of the best teams to see which one would come out the other end as champion. As we embarked upon this journey of Scarlet and Gray proportions, there was only one problem. We could only find one website that would simulate historical teams, and it only went back twenty years.
So, undaunted, we took the challenge still and decided to try and come up with a tournament comprised of the best Ohio State football teams of the last twenty years. I mean, c’mon right? There’s still plenty of talent running that ran through the tunnel in Columbus over that time, so crowning a champion during a two-decade run would still be a heck of a team.
To prove this point, over that time period, the Buckeye football program has hauled in two national titles, had more BCS Bowl Game appearances than any other program (10) — winning six of those — churned out a ton of NFL talent, won nine conference titles, and a slew of other bowl games.
So yeah, the fruit is plentiful.
Here’s what we did. We used the seeding method used by the Sports-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS) to seed the teams. SRS uses both strength of schedule and margin of victory, so it gives preference to teams that beat quality opponents — not necessarily where you might think teams would be slotted based on record and trophies.
Then we matched them up, ran the game-by-game simulations, and poof! a winner emerged. Here’s how it all played out, with what may be a surprising champion.
Championship: 2015 vs. 2013
And there you have it. Maybe it’s surprising that two Urban Meyer teams squared off for the mythical title, maybe it’s not. But one thing is. Neither the 2002 or 2014 national title teams made it to even the semifinals in what can only be described as a deep and talented twenty year run at Ohio State.
Anyone else ready for an eight-team playoff?