The Ohio State Buckeyes ran the table last season with a perfect 12-0 record. However, due to NCAA violations from previous years, OSU was banned from the postseason. Now that the one-year ban has been served and head coach Urban Meyer is undefeated after his first season in Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeyes will make the 2014 BCS National Championship Game.
Three main factors will allow Ohio State to make the college football title game in the final year of the BCS. The Buckeyes are led by potential Heisman Trophy quarterback Braxton Miller, Urban Meyer has a career record of 116-23 as a head coach, and by matching last year’s regular-season record, the Buckeyes would be a shoo-in for the national championship.
Braxton Miller: A Heisman Trophy Candidate
In his sophomore campaign, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller threw for more than 2,000 yards and ran for more than 1,200. He was responsible for 28 touchdowns combined through the air and the ground in addition to his pair of two-point conversions.
Miller has big-play potential. In half of Ohio State’s games last season, the quarterback’s longest play was at least 60 yards.
On paper, Miller’s offensive weapons seem limited compared to last year. As a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, he will make Ohio State’s offense transition smoothly from the loss of two of the team’s top three receivers last season.
According to ESPN Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg, Miller could have a very special season in 2013 that could end in him hoisting individual and team trophies.
Miller's offseason to-do list is long, but his ceiling as a college quarterback also is very high. He won't reach that ceiling during the 2013 season, according to Herman, but he still could hoist the Heisman in December and the crystal football in January.
Urban Meyer: Winning Nearly 83 Percent of His Games as a Head Coach
Urban Meyer has won everywhere that he has coached. He led Bowling Green to a 17-6 record in his two seasons with the Falcons. Then he moved on to coach the Utah Utes for two years, and he left after going 22-2 during that stretch.
Meyer arrived in Gainesville, Fla., where he spent the next six years of his coaching career. He retired after the 2010 season. During his stint at Florida, he won two national championships and had a 65-14 record.
The point is, Meyer is a winner. His success is not confined to a conference or region of the country. He recruits at a high level and then develops his players so that his teams can contend for championships. Meyer’s worst season as a head coach was in 2010 when the Florida Gators were 8-5.
When Meyer became Ohio State's head coach, SportsCenter tweeted a question asking how long would it take until he wins a national championship with the Buckeyes. The number of head coaches in college football who command that respect can be counted on one hand.
Meyer has averaged more than 10 wins per season as a head coach. If he leads Ohio State to an undefeated season or if the Buckeyes lose only one game, Meyer could have the opportunity to win his third national championship.
A Favorable Schedule
The teams on Ohio State’s 2013 regular-season schedule combined for 70 wins last season, which is an average of 5.8 wins per team. The Buckeyes played and defeated seven of those teams last season.
Ohio State only has two potentially challenging road games—Northwestern on Oct. 5 and Michigan on Nov. 30—and both are after starting running back Carlos Hyde’s three-game suspension is over.
The release of the USA Today Coaches Poll shows why the Buckeyes could potentially run the table this season. Ohio State is ranked second and the next Big Ten team, Michigan, is 17th. Three more Big Ten teams are ranked between 18th and 25th.
While the coaches poll is a just a collection of opinions and it doesn’t carry much actual weight, it shows that the general consensus in college football is that Ohio State is one of the best teams in the country. The Buckeyes’ competition in their conference is considered much weaker.
A perfect regular season is not out of the question for Ohio State, and avoiding a loss through the Big Ten Championship game would earn the Buckeyes a berth in the national championship.
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit tweeted that OSU has the easiest schedule of the top three teams in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
If all goes according to plan for Urban Meyer and his players avoid team violations and injuries, Ohio State will make the 2014 BCS National Championship Game.