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Ohio State Buckeyes: Is it Too Early to Start Thinking About Urban Meyer Starting 26-0?
By Bob Evans
When Urban Meyer took over as the new head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes last season, many people expected the loss of scholarships, one-year bowl ban and changes from the Jim Tressel era to impact year one for the former Florida Gators coach. Instead, Meyer led his Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 season in year one, and the Buckeyes’ young group of players showed a fight and resiliency that was nowhere to be found in their 6-7 season under Luke Fickell in 2011.
After going 12-0 in what was supposed to be a year of learning and transition for the Buckeyes, one has to wonder if a 26-0 start to his career in Columbus is on the horizon for Meyer?
With all due respect to the schedule makers, the Ohio State Buckeyes do not exactly have a “juggernaut” of a game all season. Their non-conference schedule is a joke, opening the season with home games against Buffalo and San Diego State before heading to California to take on the Cal Bears. After that, they return home for what should be a real “barn-burner” against Florida A&M.
Barring a disaster, the Buckeyes should head into their Big Ten slate at a rested and confident 4-0 when they host a Wisconsin program in the middle of change. Gone is Heisman candidate Montee Ball to the NFL, as well as the man who rebuilt their program—Bret Bielema—who took his talents to the SEC to coach Arkansas. While games against Wisconsin are always tough, this 8 p.m. matchup in Columbus should favor the Buckeyes.
The following week should prove to be the Buckeyes’ biggest challenge until Michigan week, as Meyer and company hit the road to take on Northwestern. The Wildcats finished the 2012 season at 10-3, defeating Mississippi State in the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl 34-20. Their only three losses came in an overtime defeat at the hands of Michigan, a one-point loss to Nebraska and an 11-point loss to Penn State after opening up 5-0—so look for the Wildcats to give the Buckeyes all they can handle.
If the Buckeyes survive Northwestern unscathed, they head home for two in a row against Iowa and Penn State. Neither program should pose much of a threat in 2013, as both are still suffering through rebuilds of their own. The Buckeyes did not play Iowa in 2012, but they defeated Penn State 35-23 in Happy Valley.
The Buckeyes then hit the road three of their final four, with only a November 23 home game against Indiana. They take on Purdue and Illinois on the road before that game, then end the season with a trip up to Ann Arbor to take on that team up north in the season finale. Purdue has given the Buckeyes fits in recent history, but a healthy Braxton Miller and a more explosive Buckeyes offense should put a lock on that.
If everything goes well, the Buckeyes could be staring 24-0 right in the face as they head to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines. With dual-threat nemesis Denard Robinson gone to the NFL, the Buckeyes should stand an even better chance on the road to move to 24-0 with their first ever Big Ten Championship game appearance waiting in the wings.
Obviously the college football season is a long one, and the ball has to bounce the right way for a team in any division to go undefeated during the regular season. But if the Buckeyes can take advantage of a weak scheduled and win the Big Ten Championship, that would put them at 25-0 heading into what would presumably be the National Championship game against an SEC team.
While the Buckeyes have not fared well against the SEC, they did not have a man who dominated the conference at the helm in the past. And if Meyer could pull off a 26-0 start in his first two seasons in Columbus, it wouldn’t take long for dynasty and legendary to start floating around the collegiate football ranks.
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