Ohio State finished the 2014 regular season on a surge keyed by big road wins against Michigan State and Minnesota, one more victory over rival Michigan and a blowout of Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. Despite many writing Ohio State off at the beginning of the season, the Buckeyes battled back and made a strong enough statement to the College Football Playoff selection committee to earn a spot in the first four-team playoff field. It was well deserved, and the recruiting impact should be significant for the Big Ten’s top program.
Head coach Urban Meyer (or someone with access to the account) occasionally sends out some recruiting propaganda on his Twitter account that pumps up the program. He, of course, is not alone in this recruiting tactic. Any coach with a sense of Internet savvy knows how to reach recruits and deliver a message even during the now in-season dead period in recruiting. Wednesday morning started off no differently with this tweet that caught my eye in my feed (the original tweet has since been deleted but I caught a screen shot before it disappeared);
At a quick glance the message is Ohio State was number one in sacks this season. Upon a quick review, there is some not-so-hidden fine print reading that stat only covers games from Week 10 to the end of the season, as if this is an official stat that anyone outside of a football marketing office will pay attention to. There is no doubt it helps reinforce the idea Ohio State finished strong on defense, and that is part of the reason why the Buckeyes will now play for a national championship. It helps sell the idea that Ohio State’s defense buckled down in crunch time, and nobody can dispute that.
But there are a few problems with this piece of promotional material. For starters, Ohio State was not even number one in sacks since the start of Week 10. They were second, behind Arizona State.
I did some quick fact checking using the handy and resourceful site, CFBStats.com, and my numbers conflict this particular stat. I checked the top 10-15 programs in the FBS in total sacks this season and found not only was Ohio State not number one in sacks since Week 10, but the Buckeyes were second with more games played than any other school in the top 10 in sacks this entire season.
Week 10 came at the beginning of November, so I included all games played during the week of November 1. Here are the nation’s leaders in sacks since that week, and how many games they played in that span.
22.0 sacks – Arizona State (5 games played)
19.0 – Ohio State (6)
18.0 – Virginia Tech (4)
17.0 – Utah (5)
17.0 – Utah State (5)
15.0 – Washington (5)
14.0 – Boise State (5)
14.0 – Clemson (4)
14.0 – Missouri (5)
13.0 – Stanford (4)
Ohio State likely counted their sack total from the Big Ten Championship Game (3.0 sacks vs. Wisconsin). If you took out conference championship games (I included Missouri’s 2.0 sacks vs. Alabama and Boise State’s 4.0 vs. Fresno State in the above counts), the Buckeyes drop below Virginia Tech (of course they do), Utah and Utah State.
No. 5 in QB Sacks Since Week 10 just doesn’t sound as good on the recruiting trails though.