Playoff contenders with easiest schedules

Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes have a relatively clear path to the college playoff. Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

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At Insider, we often talk about title tracks, and the paths are now somewhat wider for every team thanks to the advent of the four-team playoff format. One thing hasn't changed, though: The Big Ten still maintains the clearest path to the title. And this year its best threat, Ohio State, must capitalize on it. That's a direct way of saying the Buckeyes have the easiest schedule in the easiest league to win.

Urban Meyer and Ohio State lead our discussion of the playoff contenders with the softest schedules. A rep from each of the other four power conferences follows. And here's an early tease: Our ACC selection might surprise you. It certainly surprised me as I examined the schedules.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Swing games: Virginia Tech (Sept. 6); at Michigan State (Nov. 8); Michigan (Nov. 29).

Scheduling Virginia Tech probably looked better when it was originally put in the books. It would be a big surprise if the Hokies could pull off an early-season upset, or even keep the game close. Still, credit coach Frank Beamer and the program for continuing to schedule big-name opponents year after year.

In the league, the Buckeyes avoid both Wisconsin, a team that really pushed them a year ago, and Nebraska.