I have lived in Columbus, OH for three years and this will be my fourth football season that I will experience here. My first year here was when Ohio State played Michigan as the #1 vs. #2 teams in the country. Since it was a home game, this town was completely nuts. I couldn’t even use my cell phone, since so many people crammed into the city for the game. This year’s team is by far the worst Ohio State team in the last four season, even if die-hard Buckeye fans won’t admit it.
A lot of hype will surround Columbus on September 12th. The USC Trojans come here to play Ohio State, but both teams will only be a skeleton of themselves. USC and OSU lost most of their starters and will still be getting used to each other by the time they play. Ohio State is expecting a break-out season from Terelle Pryor, but they will definitely miss Chris Wells. Boom Herron and Brandon Saine will do their best to duplicate the impact Beanie had on move the chains, but it will be a huge task. Pryor may have to use his feet to gain yards, even more than last year. They also lose Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline to graduation/draft, two veteran targets will be missed. Dan Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey will be the go-to receivers and if Ray Small can develop any offensive game, they may start to click by the time Big Ten season begins.
The defensive side of the ball could be the Buckeyes best attribute. I am looking for a big year from safety Kyle Coleman. I’m not saying that ’cause I’m friends with his brother and have met him on many occassions, he’s a great safety and is a playmaker. He will have to make plays in the secondary, since Malcolm Jenkins is no longer out there to intercept passes. They won’t miss Donald Washington, since he didn’t do much in college, but was still drafted early in the NFL Draft. They will miss James Laurenitis and Marcus Freeman from their linebacking corpse. Tyler Moeller, Ross Homan, and Austin Spitler will have to mature in a hurry. Luckily for them, when they play USC, they will be breaking in a new QB.
Ohio State is either a 10-2 or a 9-3 team this year. Their losses will be at the hands of USC and Penn State. The bubble loss could come against Illinois, they had a bad year last season, but Ron Zook has recruited well the last two seasons. You would think that those players will have to mature this season. The Big Ten is down again this year and a 10-2 or 9-3 season could land them in the Rose Bowl, if Penn State is playing for the National Championship. I think Penn State will have a good team, it just depends how down the Big Ten really is. If they lose one game this year, it could knock them down pretty far in the polls and a weak Big Ten schedule would make it hard to make a jump up.
I know that I am going to get grilled by Ohio State fans, since they are extremely rabid and passionate. A 10-2 or 9-3 season wouldn’t be a bad season for this team. They are very young and it is something that they could build upon for the 2010-11 season. If Ohio State could pull off a win against USC, then the season could change and they could yet again be vying for a spot in the BCS Championship game. A lot will be determined by the game on September 12th, but which team will fall down to normal expectations and which team will be catapulted into the elite.