Thoughts on the Buckeyes, the AP 25 and a Break From the BCS

As I confessed in a earlier post, with the Ohio State Buckeyes taking a break from the BCS, I’ve paid very little attention to the polls. Although it is disappointing to see my beloved Buckeyes branded with the scarlet letter of NCAA sanctions (especially in light of other violations to arise in the past year) there is something purifying about a coming season where once again a big  win in the biggest game in college football is all that matters.

But as much as I enjoy this break from the bs that is the BCS, I keep finding myself being pulled back into the fray and my annual frustration with the polls. Yes, I again find it tiring to see USC, Alabama and LSU sitting in the top 3 spots in all polls. I find it somewhat amazing that Michigan is ranked No. 8 (above Michigan State and Wisconsin).  This may be due to their season opener against Alabama than anything else.

In the world of college football rankings the Alabama/Michigan game is something of a win/win. If Michigan wins, Alabama only has to worry about falling 2-3 spots in the polls and will have plenty of chances to rise due to the earlier discussed influence of the SEC on rankings. A Michigan win will also place much more emphasis on The Game as we get the opportunity to play spoiler. That said, Michigan being Michigan will probably blow the opportunity either against Alabama, Notre Dame or Michigan State.

If Alabama wins…well…there’s always the joy of a good Michigan loss. Problem is it will only be used to justify Alabama’s ranking.

Ohio State at 18

Leave it to the good old AP Poll to pull me back into the world of Ohio State rankings. Regardless of what the NCAA says, the AP goes on and has place the Buckeyes in the No. 18 spot. In relation to the optimism running through Buckeye Nation, that is a fairly poor spot. The problem is (as is the problem with all preseason polls) we just don’t know if that is a good spot. More so this year more than in years past.

What we do know:

1) 2011 Season Sucked

It was a tough year for the Buckeyes. A potential top-ranked team with top ranked talent was throttled by the NCAA and the loss of Coach Tressel. Although all credit goes to Coach Fickell, it was not his time. The Tressel holdouts were still there (ie. Bollman) and for most of the season they were going through the motions.

Not a good basis for 2012 rankings

2) Spring Game looked just as bleak

O.K. Maybe not that bad but that was the general message coming from Urban Meyer.

3) Urban Meyer Likes Smoke and Mirrors

One of the big reasons Spring Game looked so bad was that Meyer kept telling us it looked so bad. Through spring practice, summer practice and preseason camp, all we’ve heard is how this team is not ready for prime time. That is until recently. Like a perfectly choreographed waltz, we are starting to hear comments that the wide receivers are coming around and that the offense is getting a handle on the no-huddle, fast-pace football that both Meyer and offensive coach Tom Herrman expect.

Maybe it was motivation, maybe they really were that bad. Maybe it is Urban Meyer’s way of deflecting the attention away from himself if the season doesn’t go all that well. Until we see them on the field, we just won’t know.

What we do know:

1) Expectations are beyond big

Buckeye fan expectations are nothing short of an undefeated season. Although that may be a tall order, it’s not out of the question. Meyer’s winning expectations are clear and we have the talent.

2) Braxton Miller will be exciting

Miller got thrown into the game too soon last year. Since the Gator Bowl, he’s had plenty of time to grow and develop. He has the speed and the arm for the spread offense Meyer wants to see. I’m looking forward to big things from Miller

3) The receivers have got to be better than last year

Yes, the receiving corps had a lot to be desired last season but how much of Meyer’s complaining has been aimed directly at motivating said receivers. This past Monday, Meyer said that they were “Not where we need to be, but so much improved.”

No question there is some interesting potential in Corey Brown, 6’6″ Tyron Williams and Jake Stoneburner’s move back to wide receiver. Miller has also had much more time to work with the receivers so the timing and connection should be much better.

Personally, I believe that the passing game will be spot on come opening game. Meyer has too much riding on the spread offense for it to be a weak spot in the program.

4) There’s always Tresselball

No matter how badly Meyer wants the run the spread, if the receivers aren’t ready he can still fall back on his defense and some powerful running potential. Sports Illustrated called the Buckeye line “arguably” the best in the nation and I’m personally looking forward to seeing Ryan Shazier pick up where he left off last year. Shazier made the most tackles as a freshman since Andy Katszenmoyer and he should continue in the Big Katz footprints.

On offense, the running trio of Carlos Hyde, Jordon Hall and Braxton Miller still provide the potential for good old threeyardandacloudof stuff if need be. All else fails, run some sort of option between the three of them. All have the potential to break out of the backfield for some big yards.

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Starting at 18 provides a good starting point. I’m prognosticating that the team will likely have a record somewhere between 8-4 and 10-2. So starting at 18 and all other things held constant, Ohio State can finish the season from #20 to #6-8. This would allow for a great point to continue into next season. There has to be definite improvement over last year though between the receiving corps, linebackers and special teams for Urban Meyer to have a second year coach running at the national title which seems to be the norm nowadays.

  2. gulfportcarl says

    I think 8 and 4 is achievable,but I still don’t believe the spread offense will work in the Big Ten. I’m still not sold on Urban Meyer as I have stated before. It really dose not matter if the Buckeyes are 18 or 25 or not even in the top 25. They can’t go to a bowl game, hell they can’t even go to the conference championship, so who really cares where they are ranked. I believe the only reason they are ranked at 18 is because of the Urban Meyer reputation which is as Jim said smoke and mirrors.
    Peace out

    • Tony the"Quacking Duck" says

      Carl,

      I believe that Wisconson lost the Rose Bowl last season to a team that was running a spread offense. Braxton Miller is is a good dual threat QB that should flourish in this system. The other positive here is that I think Meyer will trust the players on the field more than Tressell did. He will allow the players to make plays instead of controlling the game with “three yards and a cloud of dust”. I look forward to seeing how Meyer puts the pieces together (still not a Meyer fan though).

        • Dave Smith says

          I don’t think this will be normal spread.
          I agree Rich-Rod’s spread wouldn’t (and didn’t) work so well. Almost got his q-back killed.
          But this version will still be a power running game… just with fewer players piled up in the middle.
          Might also point out that it worked pretty good against us a few years ago.

      • gulfportcarl says

        Tony, remember 2010 and how well your sread offense didn’t work againt Ohio State. OSU 26 Oregon 17, OSU 419 total yards Oregon 260. JT was still the coach running pretty much a standard Big Ten offence angainst a spread. Do I need to say anymore. There are still alot of good programs that don’t run a spread, even in the vaunted SEC.
        Braxton Miller has a lot of improving to do. TP was a beter dual threat QB than miller will ever be. He had a better arm and had more speed than Miller. Don’t get me wrong I want the Buckeye’s to succeed regardles of what type of offense they are running. I hope Meyer proves me wrong, but until that happens I’m a skeptic.
        Peace, out

        • Tony the "Quacking Duck" says

          Carl, I would have to admit that in 2010 tOSU had much better athletes than Oregon. Also, we had not been to a BCS game in quite a few years and I think our boys were a little shell shocked just to be there. That game wasn’t really reflective to how we played the regular season. You can chalk it up to a good tOSU defense or Oregon not being prepared. That being said ….. this spread type offense has been to 3 straight BCS bowls. From what I have read on the internet …… Urban is modeling his offense off of Oregon. If this is indeed true than I think tOSU will be unstoppable. Oregon will never be able to fill a recruiting class of top talent like tOSU can (but we have “cool” uniforms). Our success has come at the hands of 3-4 star recruits…. tOSU can easily fill a class of 4-5.

          This should be a fun year to watch tOSU….. let your kids learn a new system without the pressure of getting to a BCS bowl. There will probably be a learning curve and I don’t think they will go undefeated. But, it will be a great building block for Urban Meyer going into year two.

          • gulfportcarl says

            My friend Tony, I have yet to see a NC Come out of Chip Kellys vaunted spread offence. I agree that your sucess has come from second tier players fom California.
            If, as you put it Ohio State getes the 4 and 5 star recruits, under Urban Meyer the spread should be succesful. Yes it will be fun to watch as an outsider , but from an insider who has been watching Ohio State footbal for all of his adult life, forgive me my reservations on the spread.
            In Urban Meyers tenure at Florida the only reason the spread worked was Tim Tebow, you take him out of the mix and it’s just another second rate offence. Ohio Stat does not have a Tim Tebow not anyhing close. Braxston is a project and it will be his junior or maybe his senior season before he makes it work, if at all. I feel I should have been born in Missouri you know the show me state, I have to see it work good enough to win a NC before i’m a believer. Forgive me my skepticisms old friend, but thats the way it is.
            Peace out,

  3. Dave Smith says

    I like the Buckeye’s chances of a 2 or fewer loss season. I think the new staff has them in a state that has been unknown since Woody’s days.
    I don’t like to give ESPN much credit, but the special that ran last night was really quite good.I don’t see anything even slowing them down maybe Nebraska.. but most likely Wisconsin.