How do you make a team that went 12-0 one season go undefeated the next as well? Get the top recruiting class in the conference and one of the best in the country while returning most of your team? It would seem that way, but the Ohio State Buckeyes will not go undefeated again in 2013.
Urban Meyer took a team that went 6-7 and had one of the worst seasons in Buckeye history and turned them into a 12-0 team with a Heisman-hopeful quarterback. The only thing that kept the Buckeyes from a national title appearance against Alabama was a one-year postseason ban.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Ohio State will be a preseason top-five team in the country and a favorite to win the BCS National Championship. However, they won’t finish the 2013 in the same fashion as they did in 2012.
They had a successful 2012 season, but the number of solid games they played was not high. They played just three ranked teams all season long and none were in the top-15 and only one was on the road against a Michigan State team that went on to finish the season 7-6.
Why do I think that they won’t finish with an unbeaten record? Well, their 2013 schedule isn’t exactly grueling. They will surely finish the non-conference schedule with a 4-0 record and head into Big Ten play with momentum.
Their first game against Wisconsin is at home where they are nearly unbeatable and the next game is at Northwestern which will basically be a home game with the away fans normally packing the stands at Ryan Field.
The Buckeyes will begin the season with a healthy 8-0 record after two more wins against Iowa and a close one against Penn State– both at home.
The next three games should be a breeze, facing a rebuilding Purdue on the road, a sorry Illinois team on the road and an improving Indiana team in Columbus. Ohio State will start the season 11-0. I know you’re thinking, ‘If they start the season 11-0, how can they not go undefeated?’.
Well, here’s the answer: Michigan stands in the way. The Wolverines happen to be the Buckeyes final game of the season, per usual, and the game happens to be in Ann Arbor. This is bad news for the Buckeyes.
Michigan and Ohio State are once again Big Ten powers and are both growing at a rapid pace in superiority. The Wolverines will be hard to beat at home especially when they will both be top-10 teams with a Big Ten title appearance on the line.
The Buckeyes may not go undefeated next season, but a Big Ten title and national title aren’t out of the question.