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Ohio's Quarterback Nathan Rourke prepares to throw the ball during Ohio's homecoming game against Central Michigan University on October 7, 2017. The Bobcats lost 23-26 (Blake Nissen | Photo Editor)

Football: Ohio's recent bye weeks, broken down

After squeaking by Howard last weekend, Ohio will take a Saturday off before traveling to Charlottesville, Virginia, to take on Virginia. 

The bye week comes early for the Bobcats, who opened their season just a week ago. It has its advantages, but whether it will be a good thing is yet to be answered.

“We’ll see if it’s a good time or not,” coach Frank Solich said. “You like to have two. One right now and one a little later in the year, but that ain’t going to happen.”

Here are the last five years of byes for Ohio:

2017: The Bobcats didn’t have a true bye week. They did, however, have two 10-day breaks between games. They defeated Miami, 45-28, after destroying Kent State, 48-3, 10 days earlier. Then later in the season, they lost to Buffalo 10 days after they lost to Akron.

2016: In 2016, Ohio had a bye week in November on its way to a Mid-American Conference Championship Game appearance. The Bobcats defeated Buffalo on Nov. 3 before they had 12 days off. After their bye, they were beaten by Central Michigan, 27-20. Seven days later, they defeated Akron to clinch a spot in the championship game, where they ultimately lost to Western Michigan. 

2015: Ohio had two noteworthy breaks. One fell between Sept. 3 and Sept. 12, and it beat Idaho and Marshall with nine days between. Those wins were part of a 5-1 start for Ohio. But then, between Oct. 24 and Nov. 4, it lost to Buffalo and was defeated by Bowling Green, respectively. The two games capped a three-game losing streak for the Bobcats, who went on to lose in the Camellia Bowl.

2014: Ohio’s campaign was average, posting a 6-6 record. The Bobcats had a late bye week, and they lost to Northern Illinois at home after defeating Buffalo 13 days prior. Although they were bowl-eligible, the Bobcats missed out on the postseason. 

2013: The Bobcats’ bye week came between conference and non-conference play. On Sept. 21, they defeated Austin Peay 38-0. They traveled to Akron on Oct. 5 and pummeled the Zips, 43-3, in what was the Bobcats' most successful game following a bye in the last five years. They also had a 10-day gap between wins over Kent State and UMass to end the season. 

So what does that mean?

Well, Ohio doesn’t have a trend when approaching the bye or coming off the bye. The matchup with Virginia is the first time Ohio will play a Power Five opponent following a bye week since 2001, when the Bobcats played West Virginia nine days after facing Akron. In 2005, the Bobcats played two Power Five opponents in an eight-day span when they hosted Pittsburgh before playing at then No. 4 Virginia Tech.

Coaches often say their teams make the most improvement between the first and second game of the season, but Ohio won’t know until 14 days after its first game. Virginia, meanwhile, will play at Indiana, a fellow Power Five opponent, on Saturday. 

This scenario, while odd, allows Ohio to watch two different game tapes of Virginia, while the Cavaliers will only have one tape on Ohio — without Ohio’s starting quarterback for most of it.

On the flip side of that, Ohio will have to play 11 straight weeks after the bye week, including two games in six days between Oct. 20 against Bowling Green and Oct. 25, a matchup against Ball State.


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