Ohio State Buckeyes Season Preview

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

2013 Ohio State Buckeyes Season Preview

The Buckeyes enter 2013 as the third favorite to win the BCS National Championship. They are behind the two-time defending champion Crimson Tide and just behind Oregon. The odds on the Buckeyes for 2103 are 7 to 1. That means the expectations are high, but there are a lot of good reasons for that.

Hit by sanctions, they were bowl ineligible in 2012. That’s unfortunate after going undefeated and having nothing to show for it. The Buckeyes were 12-0 in Urban Meyer’s first season. Now they are bowl eligible, Meyer is in his second season, and the stars seem to be lining up for a big season. It’s difficult to argue with Meyer’s track record. He is 116-23 and a 2-time BCS Champion. Since just 2004, he has coached teams to an unbeaten season twice and had three other 13-1 seasons.

In 2012, they beat Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan, en route to an unbeaten mark. 6 of their wins were by a touchdown or less. But the bottom line speaks loudest in college football. If anything, it might be safe to say that their 2012 schedule was tougher than it looks to be in 2013.

They open at home against Buffalo and then comes what should be a good test against the San Diego State Aztecs. They have a tough road game at Cal, although the Golden Bears are in rebuilding mode. Then comes a laugher against Florida A&M, before Ohio State hosts Wisconsin. The following week they go to Northwestern. Coming off the bye, they get Iowa and then Penn State at home. Road games follow against Purdue and Illinois. After a home game against Indiana, they get what should be their toughest game–in Ann Arbor against the Wolverines.

In the Big Ten, there are no monsters lurking and Ohio State catches a break by avoiding Nebraska and Michigan State this season. The Michigan road game looms as the only really troubling obstacle on their schedule. Sure, there are some tough games along the way against teams who will be motivated and might even be better-than-anticipated by the time they play Ohio State. Nevertheless, it still looks like one of the easiest schedules among the top favorites to win the BCS Championship this season.


Defense emerges as a major question mark. Not that they’re not going to be good, but we’re examining their chances to win the BCS, so the standards are going to be high. They lost 6 players from their front 7, 8 of their top 12 tacklers, and their sack leader. Sure, we assume the reload will be strong. Those guys waiting in the wings should be good. But “should” is different than “will.” Critical roles will be played by inexperienced players and that’s always a question mark, even when it’s Ohio State and Urban Meyer leading the recruiting.

QB Braxton Miller returns after a breakout 2012, where he threw for over 2000 yards and ran for another 1271. He’s a legitimate double-threat, though you’d like to see his arm come around a little bit, as it is not quite on an elite level. All quarterbacks on top teams are critical to the squad’s success, but with the Buckeyes–everything goes through Miller. This season will go a long way toward establishing whether Miller is top-shelf or not. Ohio State isn’t operating in the darkness of a bowl-ineligible team this season. The spotlight is shining brightly. We’ll see how he does.

It looked like everything was going well for the Buckeyes during their offseason. Then star RB Carlos Hyde had an assault arrest that led to an indefinite suspension. As of this writing, the word is that he’ll be cleared. And All-American corner Bradley Roby was arrested for battery, putting his status in limbo.

There are still some leading players remaining among the returning defensive starters. It comes down to the status of Hyde and Roby, the performance of key newcomers, and whether Miller can elevate his game just a little bit. If all or most of those questions are answered in the affirmative, Ohio State should have a drivable road ahead of them in 2013. Along with Oregon, they represent the best non-SEC hope to take it all this season and put at least a temporary end to that conference’s stranglehold on top honors. It won’t be easy, but make no mistake, the Buckeyes are a major player.

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