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Speaking of playing abysmally bad MAC programs, let's move on to Ohio State, lest anyone think that it's just the SEC that's guilty of poor non-conference scheduling.
The only difference here is that the Big Ten conference as a whole entered into a contract with the MAC to have each Big Ten team play a MAC school each season. Of course, this was done not only out of the pretty much guaranteed win the Big Ten program would get, but as a favor to the MAC as well.
In the Midwest, the MAC is virtually ignored. MAC games are not shown on television. MAC games are poorly attended. MAC games rarely get covered in the newspaper beyond a box score. Game highlights are not shown on the 11 o'clock news. The MAC, even if its own backyard, gets no recognition.
The Big Ten and the MAC hoped to change all of that with the contract that goes one step further than scheduling games. Each year, at least one Big Ten school will play a road game against a MAC school. This, of course, almost never happens on the MAC school's campus, but at a regionally available NFL stadium.
Still, Ohio State is facing two MAC programs this season, in Weeks 1 and 2. The first victim will be Akron.
So much press has been devoted to the “Tattoo Five” and their resulting suspension. While it's true that Terrelle Pryor and the rest won't be playing against Akron, there's absolutely no one who believes that will make one ounce of difference in the outcome of the game.
The Zips were a laughable 1-11 (1-7) last season, and they don't appear to be headed for any breakout seasons anytime soon. Ohio State, for its part, is loaded with talent, even without the suspended players on the sidelines. The plain facts are that even if Ohio State lost all of its starting players, it'd still be able to beat Akron by three or four scores.
Ohio State is also in the position of having to prove to the rest of the Big Ten that it should still be taken seriously. If the Buckeyes don't beat Akron by five touchdowns, the rest of the conference could take that as a sign of weakness.
Expect Ohio State to pour it on and not stop until the final gun.