Let me start by first acknowledging the facts. The Ohio University Athletic Program is fantastic. The football team won 10 games last season and won their first ever bowl game, the basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament last year and nearly beat North Carolina to advance to the Elite 8. The football team continues to upgrade their brand by adding new jerseys, helmets, ect. And yes, in week 1 of the football season they knocked of Penn State of the Big 10. All great accomplishments for any school, let alone a MAC school.
However, some of the things in the media and around their program bother me. It started last year when they were making their run in the NCAA’s. Their Athletic Director was quoted in talking about how it bothers him that the school is still referred to as, “Ohio University” and not simply, “Ohio.” He even compared the idea to how the University of Arkansas is known as just “Arkansas” and the University of Indiana is known as just “Indiana.”
Lets get right to the point on this one, Ohio University is not Arkansas of the SEC or Indiana, arguably the best program in college basketball. I get what he is trying to say, but you are the Athletic Director of a MAC school. No one, outside of your own campus, will ever refer to you as just, “Ohio.” Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand people’s arrogance about this conference. No one thinks this conference is worth anything, and it bothers me just as much as the next guy. But its reality, and by no means is Ohio University that much ahead, in the grand scheme of things, than any other MAC school.
The next thing that bothers me is a more recent topic. The Bobcat’s QB, Tyler Tettleton said that his school is sort of becoming the Boise State of the Midwest. I don’t remember his exact words nor do I care to look them up, but they were almost exactly that. Ohio won their FIRST ever bowl game last season, and they didn’t even win the MAC. So first things first, win your own conference every single year and then win a BCS bowl game, before you can even consider talking about how your school is even in the same breath as Boise State.
Yes, Ohio had a nice win against Penn State in week 1 that got a lot of recognition. And rightfully so. They were not supposed to win that game. No MAC school is supposed to win a game against the Big 10. But lets not kid ourselves here. The Penn State football team is probably THE biggest named school right now, out of any sport, that is struggling the most (For obvious reasons). Their best player transferred to USC, various other big time players transferred to other schools, they lost a ton of scholarships, they can’t play in a bowl game for years to come, they lost the face of their program, they can’t even make an extra point anymore, and technically, they have not won a game since 1997. The program is a complete mess. I am convinced that multiple teams in MAC could beat Penn State this year, and I think a lot of coaches around the league would agree with that. Penn State will be lucky to win 5 games this year.
Next, is the schedule that Ohio has this year. It is by far the easiest schedule in the conference. Their other non-conference games are Norfolk State (Who?), New Mexico State and Marshall. They avoid the two best MAC teams this year in not playing Northern Illinois (MAC Champions) and Toledo. Their hardest game within the conference is a HOME game against BGSU. Not being bias there either, it will be their lowest spread for the rest of the year. Ohio is probably going to be ranked too, as they keep getting more AP votes each week and they aren’t going to lose anytime soon.
So I will take my school for example. If BGSU and Ohio switched schedules this year, things would be much different. Ohio would not have won in the Swamp, they would not have won at Virginia Tech and they would probably would lose to either BGSU or Toledo (Both would be on the road), if not both.
This article isn’t intended to be negative or to shoot down the great success that the Bobcats have had. This article is simply pointing out the facts of the situation that are covered up because Ohio plays out of the MAC, and no one expects a team from the MAC to have any success, let alone the type of success that Ohio has had.
Also, I am mainly talking about the football team here. Ohio has a great basketball program. They would compete and beat many of the big time programs as they showed last year.
But the same cannot be said about the football team. The schedule has MUCH to do with the team’s success, which is not all of their fault. When they scheduled the game to play Penn State, there was no way in knowing that they would be playing against the biggest mess in college football. They probably thought that they would be going against a ranked powerhouse.
Nevertheless, Ohio University will never be a Boise State and in my opinion, they will never even be a real football power within the conference. Call me crazy, but the Bobcats are not going to win the MAC this year, even though they have gotten all of the attention.