Buckeyes Off Probation and Ready to Compete for National Title
The good news is Urban Meyer has not quit his job as head football coach at Ohio State for “health reasons”…yet. The bad news is…actually, there is no bad news in Columbus right now. The stench left behind from Jim Tressel’s final days at Ohio State is gone. The new smell is that of Urban Meyer’s “rejuvenated spirit”. After an unbeaten first season in Columbus that resulted in no postseason or Big-10 title thanks to probation, Meyer is ready to lead this program to national title contention.
Now that the Buckeyes are off probation, the Big-10 and college football world had better watch out. Ohio State is talented, experienced, deep and well coached. And if anyone knows a thing or two about competing for a national title, it’s Urban Meyer. After all, he won 2 of them at Florida. Meyer probably won’t be a lifer at Ohio State. After a few years he will get bored or claim he wants to spend more time with his family. But for now, he is firmly entrenched as the head coach of Ohio State and everyone around the country better get used to seeing the Buckeyes win big again.
The Ohio State Offense
After a Year Under Urban Meyer’s System, Buckeyes Offense Ready to Put Up Big Numbers
When Urban Meyer too over at Ohio State, the notion was that Braxton Miller would thrive in his system. Somehow, Miller managed to exceed expectations in his sophomore season as the Buckeyes starting quarterback. Now the expectations are sky-high. Miller is a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy award. Don’t be surprised to see him taking home some hardware in December.
Braxton Miller isn’t the only playmaker on this Buckeye offense. Carlos Hyde is one of the better running backs in the Big-10. He doesn’t get as many carries or the notoriety of some of the other top backs because Miller is a fantastic runner, but he could start anywhere. As a junior, Hyde rushed for just a shade under 1,000 yards and 5.2 yards per carry to go along with an impressive 16 touchdowns. Devin Smith won’t catch more than a couple of passes per game. But when he does…look out. He’s a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. Philly Brown is one of the league’s better possession receivers. The Buckeyes do need to find a reliable replacement at tight end for the departed Jake Stoneburner. But let’s be honest here…Ohio State never has a problem replacing tight ends.
The Ohio State Defense
Question Marks Arise After an Inconsistent 2012
There was one chink in Ohio State’s armor last season – inconsistent play on the defensive side. After a mediocre defensive performance against Purdue, Urban Meyer went so far as to publicly call out defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. He threatened changes would be made if the defense didn’t improve. The defense did slightly improve the rest of the season, but it still wasn’t a traditional dominating Ohio State Buckeye defense.
Ohio State returns just 5 starters on defense, but those 5 are quality, proven players. The replacements, however, are unproven. The good news is Ohio State has plenty of athleticism on defense. They’re led by linebacker Ryan Shazier, he of 115 tackles last season. No one in the Big-10 tracks down ball carriers more effectively than Shazier.
A Final Word on the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes
To be perfectly honest, Ohio State would likely lose a few games in the SEC because of their unproven defense. Therefore I will wait a few games before betting on Ohio State games. But their schedule sets up nicely for a national title run. Their toughest game figures to be the end of the season at Michigan. Barring an upset, Ohio State could cruise into their big rivalry game without a loss.