The following 12 “reasons” why the Buckeyes will go “12-0” are more along the lines of justifications of why Ohio State will win each game. There’s not much else to say as far as the intro goes, so let’s dive on in…
Last season, Ohio State opened up against Navy, a team whose triple-option offense can give opposing defenses headaches, even if a defensive unit is familiar with slowing down this particular style of offense.
Ohio State actually did a pretty good job of stuffing the run, but was still burned by two touchdown passes, including an 85-yarder late in the second half.
Marshall poses no such threat when they visit Ohio Stadium Sept. 2 for a rare Thursday night game in Columbus.
The Thundering Herd lost their best offensive player, Darius Marshall, to the NFL. Although their quarterback, Brian Anderson, has plenty of experience, Marshall’s offensive line doesn’t, which plays right to the strength of the OSU defense.
Watch for: Marshall’s defensive line. If the strength of Marshall’s defense can force Terrelle Pryor into turnovers, they can keep themselves in the game.
In the end: Marshall’s offense won’t be doing much of anything. OSU should win handily.
In each of the past two seasons, the Trojans handed the Buckeyes devastating mid-September losses. The former was a complete thrashing, the latter was a heartbreaker.
OSU fans haven’t forgotten. Nor have the players. They know what is at stake. A shot at the BCS title game may be lost with another early-season defeat.
That’s not to say Miami of Florida won’t come looking for a fight. Although no current Hurricane played in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, I’m sure boosters, former players, and fans alike have been spoon-feeding them revenge since this game was announced.
This group of Hurricanes is no stranger to big games either. They’re trying to restore glory to “The U.”
Last season, they opened the season against four ranked teams, winning three of them and finished the season 9-4 after a loss to Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Watch for: Jacory Harris. Think Terrelle Pryor-light. If he can space out the green Buckeye secondary, Miami has a real chance.
In the end: The Silver Bullets will be too much for Harris. Expect defensive coordinator Jim Heacock to take a page out of Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s playbook and pressure the bejesus out of Harris. Last season the Hokies forced Harris into an interception, a lost fumble, and misfires on 16 of his 25 passes.
Ohio gave the Bucks fits two years ago in Columbus. The Bobcats actually led 14-12 going into the fourth quarter.
I don’t see a repeat in 2010.
Ohio, which runs a pass-heavy pistol offense, is breaking in a new quarterback. The Bobcats were No. 11 in the MAC last season in rushing offense. That’s double the offensive headaches for OU head man Frank Solich.
Watch for: If OSU is coming off a loss, I wouldn’t want to be wearing green and white come Sept. 18.
In the end: Since I don’t see OSU dropping to Miami, Ohio would be well-served to try and jump out of the gates early. Maybe try and surprise OSU with an onside kick or trick play. Big brother OSU will win easily for what seems like their 900th straight win against an Ohio college.
Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed that Ohio State is playing Eastern Michigan.
Rivals ranks EMU No. 117 out of 120 teams in their preseason rankings.
The Eagles are headed by former Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English and haven’t won more than four games in a season since 1995.
Watch for: The second team offense and defense to get a lot of work.
In the end: Buckeyes win by at least 40.
Ron Zook and Rich Rodriguez. Both on the hot seat, both under tremendous pressure to succeed in 2010. Yet, it is unlikely Zook will get the boot before Ohio State plays the Illini in Champaign on Oct. 2.
However, that makes this Illini team desperate. Desperate teams can be dangerous. Illinois could very well be 3-0 heading into when they meet Tressel’s crew.
On the other hand, the team has to adjust to a slew of new assistants as well as a new quarterback. Exit Juice Williams, enter Nathan Scheelhaase.
Watch for: OSU to attack the putrid Illinois defense early and often. Last season the Illini ranked last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and 10th in pass defense.
In the end: Jim Bollman’s offense has put up 30 points in each of the last two meetings. Don’t expect that to change.
Indiana shouldn’t have a problem scoring points this year. All of their notable offensive stars are back. The problem for Bill Lynch is that his squad probably won’t be able to stop anyone.
Chances are that quarterback Ben Chappell, running back Darius Willis, and wide receiver Tandon Doss will have a tough time running their pistol offense when 105,000 plus are screaming their lungs out in early October.
Watch for: OSU’s focus. The IU game is a week before the Bucks travel to Wisconsin. They don’t want to get caught looking a week ahead.
In the end: Terrelle Pryor will have a monster game and maybe backup Kenny Guiton will snag a few snaps.
I firmly believe this game will be Ohio State’s toughest test of the season. The Buckeyes saw their 19-game winning streak snapped in Madison in 2003. Pryor and the boys barely escaped with a win in 2008.
The star of this Badger team is 2009 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay. A Beanie Wells clone, Clay is your typical bruising Badger back who also has surprising quickness.
A concern for Wisconsin is that the fact they lost three starters on the defensive front. OSU’s veteran offensive line could manhandle the newcomers.
Watch for: OSU’s run offense. If Boom and Zoom are effective, Pryor will assume full control of the game with the Badgers bringing defenders closer to the line of scrimmage. The Scarlet and Gray offense is at its best when Pryor is out of the pocket on play-action plays.
In the end: The game will go down to the wire. I say the Bucks come on top by three.
110 yards of offense through three quarters.
One big embarrassment.
Methinks 2010 will be a bit different. While Purdue is bowling with Miami-transfer Robert Marve at quarterback, they won’t be upsetting the Bucks again, especially in Columbus.
Watch for: Purdue had the league’s worst rush defense last year. Expect plenty of Boom Herron and Zoom Saine.
In the end: The OSU defense is marvelous, picking off the Boilermaker signal-caller multiple times.
Tressel and the boys will be making their first trip to Minnesota’s new pad in 2010 in a night game featured on the ESPN family of networks.
Pryor accounted for over 340 yards of offense by himself in last year’s meeting, which OSU won 38-7.
Golden Gophers quarterback Adam Weber has plenty of talent but regressed in 2009 after he was second-team All-Big Ten in 2008.
Watch for: OSU caught looking ahead. After Minnesota, the Buckeyes end the regular season against Penn State, Iowa and Michigan.
In the end: The game could be close in the first half, but OSU has too much talent and depth for the Gophers. Bucks win by at least 17.
When Penn State comes to Columbus Nov. 13, OSU begins a crucial end of season stretch that will come to decide their BCS title game hopes.
After Penn State broke their hearts in 2008, the Buckeyes returned the favor in Happy Valley last November.
The Nittany Lions return Heisman candidate Evan Royster at running back and a sturdy offensive line, but are breaking in a new quarterback in Kevin Newsome.
Watch for: The Silver Bullets to stack the line with eight and nine men in the box to pressure Newsome.
In the end: A tough game for Bollman’s offense, but the defense saves the day by forcing three turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown.
Back in 2006, Troy Smith led his No.1 Buckeyes into a hostile Kinnick Stadium and came out with a 38-17 victory.
Last season, in the de facto Big Ten championship game in Ohio Stadium, Devin Barclay’s overtime field goal sent OSU to the Rose Bowl.
The Iowa defense is led by defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who is one of the nation’s best pass rushers and could give Mike Adams and J.B. Shugarts problems.
Ricky Stanzi, who missed last year’s game with injury, begins 2010 as the starter. Stanzi also has two capable receivers in Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt.
Watch for: Trick plays and misdirection from a Bollman offense? Not usually. But I think the combination of Iowa’s defensive prowess and the Kinnick Stadium crowd may force OSU’s hand.
In the end: No blowout this time, but Pryor is no stranger to tough Big Ten atmospheres and tends to perform well on the road. Bucks by 10 as they return home to face Michigan with a trip to the national championship on the line.
If this were the Cooper era, Buckeye fans may be concerned. In 1993, 1995, and 1996 undefeated Ohio State teams fell to Michigan.
Things have changed under Jim Tressel. In 2002 and 2006, undefeated OSU teams took care of business at home against Michigan.
Expect more of the same in 2010.
RichRod’s offense still isn’t running on all cylinders and the Wolverines are switching their defensive alignment to a 3-3-5.
Watch for: A fast start for Michigan. The OSU players will be having all sorts of emotions thanks to Senior Day, playing Michigan, and being undefeated.
In the end: Pryor quickly corrals the troops and leads four first half scoring drives. Michigan gets within 10 in the third quarter but long touchdowns by Posey and Saine seal the game.