Ohio State Football: Why the Buckeyes Should Be on Upset Alert vs. California

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IISeptember 10, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 8:  Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes watches a replay during a time out in the game against the Central Florida Knights on September 8, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

Urban Meyer’s team has looked pretty good so far during his tenure as the head coach at Ohio State. That tenure has been a short one at just two weeks, and this week will be the first test for the Buckeyes this season. The California Golden Bears are headed to Columbus, and the Buckeyes must be on guard against a very possible upset.

You may be asking why. After all, Ohio State is clearly more talented and will be playing at home against a team that really has not looked that good so far this season. Cal lost to Nevada and beat lowly Southern Utah by just 19 points. Cal really does not look like anything special, so why should Buckeye fans be wary of them?

That attitude and mindset right there is a big reason why. This Buckeye team is talented, but it does not have the depth or experience of past Ohio State teams. That is compounded when you considered the fact that the team is learning a whole new system with new head coach Urban Meyer.

No one can expect this team to be dominant right from the beginning, so each of these games should be viewed with a certain amount of trepidation. So far, the Buckeyes have been able to get by non-BCS conference opponents fairly easily. However, BCS conference opponents are almost always more talented, and that will be the situation with Cal this week.

Jeff Tedford’s team is underrated and has probably underperformed a bit as well. They always seem to have a decent amount of talent, but are never really able to put it together for a really good year. This year will probably be no different, but that does not mean that the Bears will not be ready for the Buckeyes on Saturday.

This Cal team is one of those teams that likes to ugly things up and never really quits. Those are a good combination for a upset, especially combined with a Buckeye team that is settling into a new identity under a brand-new head coach.

Playing at home will help the Buckeyes somewhat, but they are not at all invulnerable to losing at home. A home crowd only does so much for a team, especially when they are playing poorly.

That could happen in this game. The Buckeyes have yet to face even this level of competition under Meyer. It could trap them into losing to an inferior team, similarly to what happened to Oklahoma State at Arizona last week. Plus let’s not forget that this Ohio State team did end up with a losing record last season. The team is talented, but it has yet to really prove anything.

This incoming Cal team will be looking to prove something as well. Tedford’s job is on the line, and he always seems to come up with a big win when he needs one in order to keep it. A win at Ohio State could be just what he needs to stay employed and just what his team wants to show itself as more than just a mediocre afterthought. Buckeyes beware, this game will not be a cupcake by any stretch of the imagination.