I am an Ohio State fan, and needless to say, I’m very optimistic this year. It’s the Urban era, jam packed with a new offense and no bowl ban. Ohio State has the overall talent to win it all this year, but there are a couple road blocks in front of them. Ohio State will open Big Ten play this week against #23 Wisconsin (3-1), the next big test will be playing away against the Northwestern Wildcats. Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana should all be easy wins for Ohio State. However, the annual rivalry against Michigan will be played in Ann Arbor this year and The Big House will be fiery. The Big Ten Championship game will likely be the Buckeyes’ biggest challenge this year, likely taking on either Michigan or Nebraska. It’s going to be tough, but the Bucks have one of the best coaches in the nation under Urban Meyer.
10. They are able to rotate quarterbacks if they need to.
Kenny Guiton has more than proved himself, taking over for the injured Braxton Miller. Guiton has passed for 664 yards, thrown 13 touchdowns over three games. Meyer recently mentioned that he wants to integrate both of the QB’s in the offense going into Big Ten play. Meyer loves having two proven quarterbacks in his system; if you think back to 2006 with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow winning the national championship.
9. Even without Adolphus Washington, their pass rush is still dominating.
When healthy, Adolphus Washington is one of the best defensive end’s the nation has to offer. At 6’3, 295 pounds, Washington is both agile and quick coming off the line. Joey Bosa, Noah Spence, and Steve Miller have all stepped up that past two games without Washington; and with Washington back, they will dominate even more.
8. Their run game is more refined with Hyde back in the picture.
Jordan Hall has picked up most of the carries this year with Hyde suspended the first three games. It took a definite push in goal-line situations without Hyde. Against Cal, it took the Buckeyes four times to get into the end zone from one yard out, not to mention a failed fourth down conversion against Buffalo on a fourth and one. Hyde ran for 970 yards last year and looked like a top 10 back entering the season before he was suspended. With Hyde now back into the picture, the Bucks add power running back into the offense.
7. The rest of their schedule is a piece of cake.
Ohio State has been criticized for picking an easy schedule. In their defense, Florida A&M was not supposed to be on their schedule (Vanderbilt backed out last second). The only opponents that will test Ohio State are Wisconsin, Northwestern, maybe Penn State, and Michigan. I’ll leave it at this, if they don’t go undefeated, it’s not because of their strength of schedule.
6. Braxton Miller dominates Big Ten play.
In eight games last year, Miller rushed for 830 yards, threw for 1,285 yards in Big Ten play. Also, Miller makes clutch plays when Ohio State needs them. Miller pulled off one of his best juke moves last year against Penn State, scoring the dagger touchdown to put the Nittany Lions away. Miller is expected to be back in the lineup against Wisconsin this week.
5. They have playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Ohio State is a complete football team this year. Last year, we saw their flaws on the defensive side of the ball at times. However, Preseason All-American, Bradley Roby, is one of the nation’s best at cornerback and has proved to be effective covering any receiver. CJ Barnett and Christian Bryant, who have impressed many NFL scouts this year, have stepped up for the Bucks as well. After losing seniors Etienne Sabino and Zach Boren, it looks as if Ohio State’s linebacking core is lacking depth. We all know about Ryan Shazier, who led the team with 115 tackles, but if Ohio State wants to make it to the BCS championship game, fellow linebackers Joshua Perry and Curtis Grant need to make plays. The offense has few flaws, if any. Braxton Miller is able to make big plays, along with Devin Smith seemingly always getting behind the secondary when we need a touchdown. Jordan Hall has proven that he can carry the ball at least 20 times a game, and Dontre Wilson has been able to show his speed.
4. The BCS has always been on their side.
Yes, I know this sounds a little over-the-top, but the BCS has always been kind to Ohio State. I’ll be the first one to admit that Ohio State has never played a competitive schedule since 2005 (where they played #2 Texas). It seems as if the BCS looks the other way when other college football teams have obviously played a competitive schedule. When you are a nationally accredited school with all-around good sports teams, I guess that’s what happens.
3. They run the newest offense the nation has ever seen.
Ohio State for the most part has always ran a pro-formation style offense. Enter Urban Meyer and Tom Herman. Meyer brought in Herman for one main reason: to run a spread offense. Ohio State’s spread offense includes a variety of the read-option, jet-sweeps, and play action passes. With the players they have, it has proven to be one of the most efficient in the nation. Ohio State has also been able to recruit SEC speed as we have seen early remnants from stud freshman, Dontre Wilson.
2. The have the best coaching staff in the nation.
When Urban Meyer was hired as coach at Ohio State, it shocked the nation. Meyer was seen as a savior by Buckeye fans after the tattoo scandal forced Jim Tressel to resign. Meyer has been able to bring in a plethora of assistants at Ohio State. He brought in Tom Herman from Iowa State; Herman transformed Iowa State into of the most prolific offenses in his tenure there. Mike Vrabel, former New England Patriot linebacker, was kept on the staff because of his stellar efforts on the defensive line. Kerry Coombs (cornerbacks coach) and Stan Drayton (running backs coach) have also transformed players like Bradley Roby (cornerback) and Carlos Hyde (running back).
1. They went 12-0 last year and haven’t lost any playmakers.
Ohio State went 12-0 last year. It doesn’t matter who they played or who they could have played. 12-0 is a hard feat only accomplished by great teams. They were able to recruit Dontre Wilson, who is a dual-threat type of player that can play running back or wide receiver. Also, they were able to sign cornerbacks Eli Apple and Gaeron Conley, who are expected to make big plays as freshman. The Bucks have two proven quarterbacks in Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton, and have a run game that should wear opposing defenses down. The Bucks have a talented team that has a chance to bring home the hardware the SEC has owned seven straight years.