Now that spring ball following Ohio State’s incredible 12-0 season is over, it’s officially time to look ahead to September.
Offense: Up-front where the battles are won, 4 out of the 5 linemen and the two tight ends (right tackle seems to be a faux-battle, just like last year). In the backfield, everyone is back. The to-be-Heisman-finalist quarterback, all 5 running backs (Hyde, Rod Smith, Ball, Dunn, Hall) with Hall more of the in-motion fly-sweep “Percy Harvin” role, and the receiving corps-Philly Brown, Devon Smith, Spencer, Thomas and Fields.
Defense: The young pups at d-end and Leo “Viper” are back as young freaks who will make a lot of money chasing NFL QBs in a few years, one backer in the All-B1G and soon-to-be All American Shazier and 3 out 4 in the defensive backfield (Roby, Bryant and Barnett with no Howard Island). And the kicker.
Offense: Right tackle-Decker has the job but Farris could start on any B1G team, the possibility of seeing some freshmen in the mix like Wilson, you know, the guy Urb took from Oregon by way of Texas. Oh, and more PISTOL. Urban took notes on the Redskins, Seahawks and especially the 49ers and their diamond read-option and play-action sets that gashed millionaires who get paid to stop offenses. Expect to see 3 running backs with Braxton in the backfield and deep play-action off of that. I could not be more excited.
Defense: Interior lineman-Bennett, Hale and Schutt (get to know these guys), death-mate to Shazier is Curtis Grant who seems to be “totally different” and living up to his Top 5 high school ranking, Nickel as the base defense (4-2-5) and the 4-3 as more of a short-yardage look, and a few new guys in the secondary as Tyvis Powell is the leader at the Star (LB/SS hybrid) and Dorian Grant at the corner oppo All-American and top 15 draft pick Roby. Freshmen to look for in the backfield-Armani Reeves, Cam Burrows and Eli Apple.
The non-conf schedule is more like the unborn fetus of the homeless drug addict, with Cal (in Berkley) as the highlight. Buffalo, San Diego State and Florida A&M round it out. Yuck. The conference schedule provides two byes and 3 night games! Home versus Wisky (September 28th), at Northwestern a week later (October 5th-I’ll be there) and home versus Penn State (October 26th). And of course the finale in Ann Arbor. There has been some talk about who would take on the 1-loss SEC team if Ohio State was sitting there, along with perhaps a Pac-12 team and a surprise team like Notre Dame last year. Ohio State, with the weakest schedule, might be on the outside looking in, but it has also been said that if Ohio State were eligible last year and undefeated after they beat Nebraska in the B1G Championship, they would have faced Notre in the title. I am not too worried about that bridge just yet and that whole discussion falls into the wait-and-see and I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it camp.
Nothing short of winning the B1G by an average score of 50-10 and challenging the SEC 1-loss Champion in the LAST BCS GAME EVER. The media loves the Buckeyes when they are on top and pile the f*ck on when something happens.
Buckeyes should roll heading into the B1G schedule. Of course there will be hiccups, but this team could be just as outstanding at the 2006 squad, only Ohio State has Urban and won’t have to face him for the championship (and they won’t face 3 no.2 teams this year). I’m going to take it one game at a time, but anything short of reaching Indianapolis in December would be a failure. Fact. Weak schedule + majority of team back + Urban year 2 = National Championship or bust, for real. The Rose Bowl would be a consolation prize. Think about that for a second.
Picture from 11W