2012 Ohio State Buckeyes
Record: 12-0(8-0 B1G)
B1G Standing: 1st Place- Leaders Division, 1st Place overall (yeah, I know they technically didn't win...but come on now)
Offensive Stat Leaders: Passing: Braxton Miller: 2,039 yards, 15 TDs, 6 INTs (58.3 comp %)... Rushing: Miller: 227 att., 1271 yards, 13 TDs... Receiving: Corey Brown: 60 recs., 669 yards, 3 TDs
If AD Gene Smith could time travel, what do you think the odds are he goes back to November 2011 and announces a self-imposed bowl ban of that subpar (.500 regular) season for the Buckeyes?
At the time, it made a sort of sense; Ohio State wasn't sure what sanctions, if any, it might receive from the NCAA--let alone who would come along to take the reigns from (temporary) head coach Luke Fickell. In hindsight, however, with new coach Urban Meyer and his tailor-made-for-Braxton-Miller offense, this was possibly the stupidest thing for the Buckeye athletic department to do, as the 2012 team would go on to be undefeated but ineligible not only to compete for an outright Big Ten title, but arguably for a National Championship as well (because, for as much as we hate the Buckeyes, at least their defenders this year didn't tackle air).
Putting all of your offensive eggs in one basket can be very, very dangerous--or it can pay off in dividends. It was both for Meyer's Buckeyes in 2012, as Miller was indisputably their entire offense (see the stats above), though backup Kenny Guiton was serviceable in coming into OSU's close game against the Boilermakers, and leading them to a hard-fought victory.
Last year's schedule was arguably very favorable for the Buckeyes, hosted all of their non-conference games as well as key cross-divisional games against Nebraska and Michigan (and inevitable Achilles' Heel Purdue). Preseason, their two toughest tests on the road were at Michigan State and at Wisconsin, and those games certainly lived up to the billing, with OSU winning by a combined 8 points. And preseason it looked like a walk, but the game at Penn State turned out to be a tough one for the Buckeyes.
Ultimately, Ohio State did what it could do, beat every team in front of it, and ended the season ranked a paltry (in this blogger's opinion) #3 in the AP poll, the only post-season ranking for which it was eligible (I mean, I get Oregon was good--but they had a loss, and didn't play for the MNC. So, OSU should've been #2).
A Quick Look Ahead
Recruiting: Class of 2013 Rankings - 247Sports: 2 - Rivals: 2 - Scout: 1
Or, as I'll go ahead and call it, the Urban Meyer effect.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves; Ohio State pretty much always has been, and always will be, a recruiting tour de force, a program that will sell itself to much of the nation. Combine that with vaunted recruiter Meyer, and you'll have a top ten recruiting class EVERY. DAMN. YEAR.
Last year's class started off relatively slow for the Buckeyes, with their OMGARCHRIVAL Michigan getting the bulk of the B1G news, but OSU pulled ahead late, and compiled a whopping 20 combined 4- and 5-star recruits (according to 247). That's some heavy hitting right there.
Way too early prediction: 10-2 (6-2 in B1G)
I can't let my distaste for all things Buckeye (except you, Humble--you're cool with me) to cloud my objectivity, unfortunately, though I did resist the urge to predict a perfect regular season for OSU.
Miller's back. So is Meyer. Perhaps most importantly, though, is the return of four of their offensive line starters--a line that, in addition to protecting and springing Miller (sometimes by questionable means), allowed starting running back Carlos Hyde (also returning next year) to gain 970 yards in ten games. Yeah, their offense will be stellar--and their defense will be good enough to have them win.
So, why not a perfect season? I'm just not thinking lightning strikes two years in a row. I think the Buckeyes had luck on their side last year, winning two games in OT and another (MSU) by one point in regulation. That pendulum will likely swing the other way this year, but if pressed to name which two teams will beat Ohio State, I'm going to give you a big, fat I DON'T KNOW.
But I sure hope it's Indiana.
For more information on the Buckeyes, head to Land Grant Holy Land (#DoWorkLuke).
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