Ohio State Football: Buckeyes Should Cruise into Big Ten Play Undefeated

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2012

April 21, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) throws a pass during the spring game at Ohio Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

It would be a stretch to say that the Ohio State football season doesn't begin until the Buckeyes travel to East Lansing to face Michigan State on September 29.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Ohio State should comfortably be sitting at 4-0 when it does, however.

While I don't think the Buckeyes will win the Big Ten in Urban Meyer's first year on the job, there is no reason to expect this talented roster will fail to handle UCF, California or UAB either. Miami of Ohio might not be the most accurate litmus test for how strong this Ohio State team is, but beating it 56-10 certainly showcased what the Buckeyes are capable of.

Namely, that the offense should be explosive this season.

Everything starts and ends with quarterback Braxton Miller this season, in my opinion, and he was spectacular on Saturday, rushing for 161 yards and a touchdown and finishing the day 14-24 in the air with 207 yards and another two touchdowns.

Most importantly?

He didn't turn the ball over once. The Buckeyes will move the ball this year, no question about it, but holding on to the rock will be make or break them.

Now, I'm sure fans of UCF, California and UAB won't be thrilled that I'm penciling in three wins for Ohio State. UCF is coming off of its own blowout win (56-14 over Akron), though California has already fallen this year to Nevada, 31-24, and UAB lost to Troy by a score of 39-29.

UCF will pose a challenge for Ohio State; I don't doubt that. But if the Buckeyes don't cruise into the game against Michigan State at 4-0, it's going to be a long season in Columbus.

They'll likely be the underdogs against the Spartans and when they host Nebraska a week later. The schedule clears up after that, but they finish the year at Wisconsin and hosting the big clash against Michigan.

It's hard to imagine surviving that schedule unscathed. Michigan may have been exposed by Alabama, but it is still a good team. Michigan State opened with a nice win over Boise State. Wisconsin and Nebraska will vie for the Big Ten title. Simply splitting these games would be an excellent start for Urban Meyer.

But it all begins with momentum, with moving in the right direction, and an easy start to the season gives this team the chance to do just that. If they lose early in this season, it should be to Michigan State or Nebraska.

A failure to head into the Big Ten season undefeated would not only be shocking, it would simply be unacceptable.


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