A national title isn’t necessary.
At least not this year.
Urban Meyer has injected great expectations into the Ohio State football program. While the Buckeyes won’t be BCS Championship contenders until a year or two from now, that doesn’t mean 2012 is a throwaway season. There are certain matchups OSU must win in order for it to be considered a success.
And here they are.
California isn’t a ranked team. It isn’t a rival. But when the Buckeyes face off against the Golden Bears on September 5th, it’ll be nationally televised.
The game is in the Horseshoe too.
It’s a chance for Meyer and company to show the entire country—and more importantly their recruits—that they’ll be a legitimate title contender sooner rather than later.
2. Penn State
Not only is Penn State an Ohio State rival, but as a result of the sanctions dealt the Nittany Lions, the Buckeyes should have a superior program.
A loss, even at State College, would be disastrous.
Penn State defeated them last season after the Buckeyes had beaten them down the previous two years. Losing two in a row under the given circumstances would not look good (of course, they’re riding an eight-game winning streak if you don’t count vacated victories).
Urban Meyer vs. Bill O’Brien. Enough said.
You had to know this was coming.
A loss to the Wolverines wouldn’t be more damning than any other year, especially considering Denard Robinson’s crew is a BCS title contender. But Michigan’s promising season only makes this even more of a must-game.
Right now, the Wolverines are seen as the better squad. Not only would an Ohio State triumph destroy their championship dreams, but it’d signal that the Buckeyes are back in the Big Ten driver seat once again.
And at home, on national television, the stakes are only heightened.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.