Urban Meyer's first season as head coach at Ohio State will not be as successful as his past seasons because the NCAA has barred the Buckeyes from postseason play this year.
Twelve games is all Meyer gets in his first year running the Buckeyes.
Even with the limitations of the schedule and how far Ohio State will get to go this year, there is still a lot left to play for.
Meyer's advantage is the fact that he is a first-year head coach.
He has to put his systems into place and make sure his players are playing hard, or else they will not get to see the field next year and beyond.
It's all about the now with Meyer, and now it about getting guys into the mentality he wants them to have: focusing on putting together 4-6 seconds of intense focus and concentration.
That's a mindset that takes time and mental repetition to get into, and they have a whole year to do it.
Of course, they do have many holes to fix, especially on the offensive end, where they were No. 115 in passing yardage and No. 81 in points per game.
Braxton Miller should improve tremendously in his second year as the starting quarterback and playing in a system this year which is better suited to his skills.
It will allow him to run more than he did last year, as he will be reliant on his legs when it comes to the inside zone-read game.
When it comes to the motivation to play every single game, that is pretty easy with Urban Meyer in charge—if you're not ready to play this year, you won't play next year when a chance at a national championship is staring you straight in the face.
USC is the perfect example, as they finished out the second year of a two-year postseason ban at 10-2, including a big win at Oregon.
Because of that success, the Trojans are among the favorites to play for the national championship this season.
Ohio State has to go in with a similar type of mentality, in that a great year this year will set them up to play for a national title next season.
If they can take that approach, Ohio State should have no problem having something to play for.
That is the advantage Meyer has in his first season as head coach of the Buckeyes.
He will make sure his players play hard regardless of where the season ends and that there is something positive to build from in 2012 going into 2013.
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