There is little doubt that 1-loss Auburn has played a tougher schedule than undefeated Ohio State this season. But what isn’t clear is just how much tougher that schedule has been and whether that is enough for Auburn to overcome their loss on the road to LSU.
The chart below is a look at the current RPI ranking for every opponent Auburn and Ohio State has defeated this season (via RealTimeRPI.com). Each school’s toughest opponent is ranked next each other, followed by each school’s second toughest opponent, and so on (cont. below).
If we assume both teams win their upcoming conference championship game (Ohio State vs Michigan State and Auburn vs Missouri) the average RPI of the opponents in Auburn’s 12 wins is 68.1 which is slightly better than the 76.7 average for Ohio State’s 13 wins.
But things start to slant heavily in favour of Auburn if we go win-by-win. Each of Auburn’s top eight wins was over an opponent with a better RPI than the top eight wins for Ohio State. It is not until we get to the cupcake part of the schedules that we see Ohio State with better wins than Auburn (e.g. Cal is a better win than Arkansas State and Purdue is a better win than Western Carolina).
Of course, this requires us to ignore Auburn’s loss to LSU. But if we do that, LSU’s 12 wins are more impressive than Ohio State’s 13 wins and it’s really not close.
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