Ohio State Football: Which Teams Should Fear the 2012 Buckeyes the Most?

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJuly 9, 2012

Ohio State Football: Which Teams Should Fear the 2012 Buckeyes the Most?

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    Ohio State is starting a campaign to get back to being Ohio State after a dismal 2011 season.

    Before then, the Buckeyes had been a team many teams in the Big Ten and in most areas of the country were afraid of.

    Urban Meyer's arrival into Columbus has been an image changer and is working to alter the program into becoming a much more explosive team hoping to play for a national championship.

    In the regrowth of the Ohio State brand, Meyer and the Buckeyes are working to become a feared team again.

    Here are some teams that need to be worried about the Buckeyes this year.

Penn State

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    Give Bill O'Brien quite a bit of credit for helping to turn Penn State around in the eyes of recruits and beginning the repair work after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

    The Nittany Lions do have a strong recruiting class coming in 2013, but their 2012 class took a massive hit in talent—most of which is due to Ohio State grabbing Penn State decommits.

    Penn State is moving to a spread attack on offense, but may struggle unless Matt McGloin improves as a passer after looking mediocre for two seasons.

    OSU will be looking for revenge after Penn State ran all over them in Columbus and still only won by a touchdown.

Purdue

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    Danny Hope and Purdue seem to have Ohio State's number when they host the Buckeyes, posting two big upset wins in two home games.

    But in 2010, when Purdue came to Columbus, Ohio State rolled over the Boilermakers, winning 49-0.

    The bottom line is when teams beat Ohio State, more times than not the Buckeyes deliver revenge in a huge way.

    Ohio State's offensive philosophy last year compared to this year is one that other defenses might not be able to key on as easily as Purdue did a year ago, making the rematch a much tougher challenge for Hope to make it 3-1 against the Buckeyes.

Cal

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    Cal and Central Florida are the two toughest non-conference opponents that Ohio State will play this season, and the Golden Bears do present a challenge that OSU needs to worry about.

    Jeff Tedford's team presents a few tough matchups on offense with RB Isi Sofele and stud WR Keenan Allen among the big weapons to watch.

    The problem with the Bears last season were some tough losses, including a 17-point loss at UCLA and managing just 10 points in their bowl game against Texas.

    Cal is not as good as it used to be, but they still can be a challenge.

Wisconsin

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    Ohio State got some revenge for a loss that not only ended Ohio State's perfect season, but also kicked them out of the national championship picture. The Buckeyes upset the Badgers 33-29 thanks to a magical late touchdown by Braxton Miller to Devin Smith.

    The scenario going back to Camp Randall is a little similar to that of last year: Ohio State is coming off of a bye, and is facing a Wisconsin team playing for a Big Ten championship with a transfer QB starting.

    Danny O'Brien has come into Madison on the two-year plan as opposed to Russell Wilson's one-year stint, and he has Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball to hand the ball off to quite a few times a game.

    The Badgers, though, are losing five starters on a defense that gave up Ohio State's fourth-highest offensive output all season, and let Braxton Miller look better against them in one game than Terrelle Pryor did in three.

    An offense that is more suited to better exploit the lack of perimeter speed in Wisconsin's defense can be a problem that grows a little more every year.

Michigan

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    Michigan finally ended an eight-year drought against Ohio State by beating the Buckeyes 40-34 in Brady Hoke's first game against his arch rival.

    Two days later, Urban Meyer was named head coach at Ohio State, and the rivalry has just never been the same.

    For a team that has no postseason due to NCAA sanctions, the game against Michigan on November 27 will be circled on all the calendars in the state of Ohio.

    Meyer is an expert at motivation and getting guys to play with fire against their biggest rivals—just ask Georgia.

    If Ohio State doesn't win against Michigan, even if it's not by the 40-plus points some Ohio State fans expect, it would be a real shocker considering everything that has happened in the past nine months. That's not to say OSU is a guaranteed winner, but that Ohio State has all the intangibles in their corner to serve some revenge to their neighbors to the north.

    Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.

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