The Ohio State Buckeyes faced some criticism in 2013 because of their weak schedule.
They got through their regular season schedule unscathed, but once they faced their first true challenge against the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten championship game, the Buckeyes proved their critics right with a 10-point loss to the Spartans. Ohio State then preceded that loss with a loss to the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl.
The 2014 schedule will be no easy task for the Buckeyes. They face challenges in both their conference and non-conference schedules. The realignment of the Big Ten will put them in a division with the Spartans, Michigan Wolverines and Penn State Nittany Lions, which doesn’t seem like much of a challenge now with Michigan’s struggles in 2013 and Penn State with a brand new coach for 2014, but in the future it will definitely be an interesting division race.
Ohio State’s non-conference schedule in 2014 includes the Navy Midshipmen in Baltimore, then the Kent State Golden Flashes, Virginia Tech Hokies and Cincinnati Bearcats all at home. Their conference schedule starts off relatively easy with Big Ten newcomers Maryland Terrapins and Rutgers Scarlet Knights, but later in the season they will face Penn State in State College and Michigan State in East Lansing. The outcome of the Buckeyes’ game against Michigan State could end up determining who wins the East Division and goes to the conference championship. The surprising Minnesota Golden Gophers could potentially be a problem as well since the Buckeyes will travel to Minneapolis to play them.
It will definitely be no easy task for the Buckeyes to get through their schedule undefeated, but if they improve as much as they hope to and become the championship-caliber team that they want to be, then their difficult schedule should be no problem.
At least the Buckeyes won’t face any criticism in 2014 about playing a weak schedule.