Ohio State Football: 4 Big Ten Players Who Will Give Buckeyes Trouble in 2012

Love PatelContributor IIIJune 5, 2012

Ohio State Football: 4 Big Ten Players Who Will Give Buckeyes Trouble in 2012

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    Last year was a tumultuous one for the Buckeyes. The resignation of Jim Tressel and departure of Terrelle Pryor contributed to the team's fall. Ohio State finished just 6-7 last season—their first losing season since 1999.

    With the arrival Urban Meyer, expectations have risen for one of college football's elite programs.

    Here's a look at some of the guys within the conference who could stand in their way.

Montee Ball, Wisconsin

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    Ball led the nation in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns last season, and he has extra motivation to continue producing in 2012.

    According to NFL.com, Ball said in January he chose to stay at Wisconsin for another year because his projection as a third-rounder in the NFL was disappointing.

    The Badgers get Ohio State at home late in the season—a game that could have BCS implications.

William Gholston, Michigan State

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    Michigan State's defense was one of the best in the country last year, and Gholston was a big part of that.

    He entered the college ranks as a raw talent, but has since developed. He has also developed a bit of a reputation.

    Gholston has NFL-level size and speed, and he'll be looking to make a name for himself in his junior year for the 2013 draft.

    One thing the Buckeyes may have going for them is that Gholston no longer has Jerel Worthy playing alongside him to take some of the pressure off.

Denard Robinson, Michigan

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    Though he can be a poor decision-maker at times, Robinson is one of the most explosive players in college football.

    Last year's loss to Michigan could serve as extra motivation (as if they need it). But Robinson was a major factor in that win, accounting for all five of Michigan's touchdowns.

    There's no telling whether that will happen again, but that will be up to the Buckeyes.

Rex Burkhead, Nebraska

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    There are some that believe Burkhead should be in next season's Heisman conversation, and he's not even the best back in his conference.

    Still, he did damage against the Buckeyes last year, accounting for 178 yards of total offense in a 34-27 win.

    He isn't as flashy as some of his Big Ten counterparts, but he's a solid and consistent producer. If the Buckeyes want things to go differently this time around, stopping Burkhead is a good place to start.