In order to win a Championship, you have to first and foremost have a talented team.
Aside from getting some breaks, the schedule must also be set up with a favorable slant.
There have been many uber-talented teams falter because of the stacked land mines they must traverse in the football wilderness known as the schedule.
OSU fans need only look up the year 2005 with the losses at home to eventual National Champion Texas and at the Orange Bowl Champion, Nittany Lions.
So how does Ohio State’s schedule size up this year?
There are an almost unfair amount of home games.
Of the twelve games on the schedule this year, a whopping eight of them are in the “Shoe.”
For a team that has only lost three home games in the past five years, this has to be the biggest positive.
The biggest challenge will most likely be the made for television home game vs. Miami (the lack of speed comments should commence just after the preseason polls). Though the Hurricanes will be no cake walk, it always works in the home team’s favor to have the big intersectional match up at home.
Ohio State has made a habit of making a National Title type of run on the even years.
Why you ask?
These are the years in which Ohio State gets both Penn State and Michigan at home.
2002 and 2006 are exhibits A and B.
As we fast forward a few years however, the traditional powers of the Big 10 have gotten turned nearly upside down.
Penn State will still be good, so it is still a break to get them at home. However, almost all prognosticators have both Iowa and Wisconsin as the most likely candidates to dethrone the run of five straight conference championships by Ohio State.
Being that this is an even year, it unfortunately means that this particular year the Buckeyes must go to Wisconsin, where they always have issues. Also, to Iowa, where the “overachieving” Hawkeyes will be primed and rowdy for revenge.
As good as Ohio State is expected to be this year, sweeping these two games on the road will prove to be easier said than done.
There are three night games already confirmed on Ohio State’s schedule.
The first is an opening Thursday night game against Marshall where there could be some rust, not to mention a less than frisky crowd because of students not yet arriving for the start of the fall semester.
There is also a night game at Wisconsin.
Camp Randall always seems to be a little more rowdy/hydrated once the sun sets.
Lastly, and a bit overlooked is a night game at Minnesota in late October.
Suddenly, the Metrodome doesn’t look so bad.
The OSU coaching staff is probably already dreading playing outside in late October in the Twin Cities where winter comes early and leaves late.
Exciting as night games may be, all three of these have some quirks and dynamics that could make things a little more interesting.
It wouldn’t be surprising to also see either ABC or the Big 10 Network pick up the game at Iowa as a twilight affair.
Ohio State has the potential to do big things this year.
The schedule also looks great on the surface.
Begin to look a little deeper though and one can begin to see some obstacles that will have to be dealt with.
Despite what everyone will expect in the football mad town of Columbus, there will be tight games and tense moments.
It is how and where these occur that will ultimately determine whether the few land mines encountered will be diffused.