No, not the Oregon D. I am asking if we should respect the OSU defense. Personally, I am a little tired of hearing, "You have never seen a defense like ours," as the only argument for why the Buckeyes will win. Sure, they have some gaudy statistics but shouldn't we consider the level of competition they built those stats against?
Answers after the jump.
I am only looking at scoring offense and defense here because nobody ever won a game by racking up yards.
Ohio State's defense was the 5th best scoring D in the country this year, giving up only 12.17 points per game. Very impressive on the face of it. Oregon, by comparison, gave up 23.58 per game for the 52nd best defense in the country. We already know that the overall strength of schedule is heavily tilted in Oregon's favor (7 vs. 61 according to Jeff Sagarin). However, we can look a little closer at the offenses tOSU put up such stellar numbers on.
Team Scoring Offense Ranking
N. Mex. St. 120 (and you thought Washington State was bad!)
Penn St. 41
For an average of 66.5
On the flip side, Oregon's #7 scoring offense has seen the #15 and #19 defense in the country as well as #118 (WSU). The average of the scoring defense ranks that Oregon built that record on: 50.83. So no, Oregon hasn't seen a defense quite like tOSU's, but over the course of the season they played better defenses week in and week out than the offenses tOSU's defense played.