Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Friday, July 22, 2016

THE GAME 2016 May Rival 2006 For B1G, Possible CFP Spot

“ Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…” ~ Thomas Edison

Leave it to Thomas Edison, an Ohioan and considered “The Father Of Invention”, to appropriately summarize the goals for the 2016 Ohio State football team. No rules – just accomplish something.

“Something” is a pretty vague and open concept. Considering how much talent Ohio State lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, considering how I have written throughout spring practice about how 44 players on Ohio State’s roster are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen…Damn right, Mr. Edison. There are no rules. Ohio State fans are just looking to see what this team can accomplish against a much tougher schedule in 2016 than 2015, with tremendously talented, yet inexperienced, players.

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“That Team Up North”, AKA Michigan Wolverines (Game 12)

2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 2 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State:  DB Jabrill Peppers, DE Henry Poggi, LB Mike McCray, RB Ty Isaac, DE Taco Charlton, RB Wyatt Shallman, TE Chase Winovich, RB De’Veon Smith, DB Dymonte Thomas, LB Ben Gedeon, DL Chris Wormley, OT Mason Cole, OL David Dawson, OL Kyle Kalis, DT Maurice Hurst Jr., WR Drake Harris, DE Lawrence Marshall, RB Kareem Walker, DT Rashan Gary, OT Ben Bredeson, OL Michael Onwenu, WR Ahmir Mitchell, DE Ron Johnson, and WR Eddie McDoom.  Ohioans from this group are McCray, Charlton, Smith, Thomas, Gedeon, Wormley, and Kalis.  I am more than willing to bet I may have inadvertently missed on some players; please let me know and I am happy to correct my error(s).

Game Date: November 26, 2016

Kickoff Time: TBD

Location:  Ohio Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking:  Yes, I know Ohio State crushed TTUN (sometimes using abbreviations just make things easier when you’re trying to write an article…) up in Ann Arbor in 2015, 42-13.  Yes, I know THE GAME is at home this season, unlike last year.  Yes, I know that Ohio State is playing TTUN the week after the Buckeyes play Michigan State, just like in 2015.  (I point this out, because my man Shannon Sommers has a buddy who disagreed with my rankings, which is entirely okay.  I appreciated his perspective.)

But…Look up at that list of players who were recruited by Ohio State.  Regardless of what you think of those players now, regardless of any hurt feelings you may have that those players chose TTUN instead of Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes…Those are players that Ohio State wanted and recruited.  In my humble estimation, that means those are some talented players who are now suiting up for TTUN, and TTUN has a wily and talented head coach in Jim Harbaugh.

Here’s where the game against Michigan State comes into play.  No matter how Ohio State does against Michigan State, win or loss, I expect that game to be a close, hard-fought, physical battle, as they all have been since the 2012 season.  Then the Buckeyes get to finish out the season with THE GAME, which is always a physical battle?

Prediction:  Looking at TTUN’s schedule, I anticipate the Wolverines coming into Ohio Stadium with no more than one loss.  It could be when TTUN visits East Lansing in late October; it could be when TTUN travels to Iowa for a night game in mid-November – hey, stranger things have happened when those teams have played before in Iowa.

Remember the hype for THE GAME in 2006?  This one could rival it, with the winner earning The B1G East Division title and a trip to The B1G Championship Game.  And this game could also have an impact upon a possible College Football Playoff spot, if both teams enter it with only one loss on their respective records.  As usual, it should be something to watch.

Previous Rankings:

Monday, July 11, 2016

East Lansing Equals Even Level For Buckeyes In 2016

“ Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…” ~ Thomas Edison
 
Leave it to Thomas Edison, an Ohioan and considered “The Father Of Invention”, to appropriately summarize the goals for the 2016 Ohio State football team. No rules – just accomplish something.
 
“Something” is a pretty vague and open concept. Considering how much talent Ohio State lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, considering how I have written throughout spring practice about how 44 players on Ohio State’s roster are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen…Damn right, Mr. Edison. There are no rules. Ohio State fans are just looking to see what this team can accomplish against a much tougher schedule in 2016 than 2015, with tremendously talented, yet inexperienced, players.
**
at Michigan State Spartans (Game 11)
 
2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 3 out of 12
Players Recruited By Ohio State:
Players Recruited By Ohio State: DL Malik McDowell, DB Montae Nicholson, DB Demetrius Cox, OL Dennis Finley, RB L.J. Scott, OL Noah Listermann, WR Donnie Corley, WR Justin Layne. There are many players from the state of Ohio on Michigan State’s roster (more on that later), but did not receive offers from Ohio State. A shout-out to Avon Lake FB Collin Lucas, from my hometown. I am more than willing to bet I may have inadvertently missed on some players; please let me know and I am happy to correct my error(s).
Game Date: November 19, 2016
 
Kickoff Time: TBD
 
Location: Spartan Stadium
 
Rationale For The Ranking: Ohio State returns to Spartan Stadium, determined to avenge last year's heartbreaking, waterlogged, last second 17-14 defeat to Michigan State.  

 
Ohio State fans will eagerly point out how the Buckeyes went up to East Lansing in 2014, and avenged the 2013 B1G Championship Game defeat to Michigan State, 49-37.  Good point.
 
Here's something to contemplate - Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer is 50-4 since becoming the head coach for Ohio State in November 2011.  Want to know which team has contributed two of those four losses?
 
Yep - Michigan State, in 2013, and 2015.  Ohio State has defeated the Spartans twice, both in East Lansing (2012, 2014).  Hence my title of this article - one of these teams will pull ahead in this grudge match.  This game will go a long way towards determining the B1G Eastern Division representative for The 2016 B1G Championship Game, and may also impact the college football playoff discussion.
 
Prediction: I have been stating the importance of this young Ohio State team developing experience and toughness for the November stretch run.  All of the other games leading up to this one will be crucial in having the Buckeyes ready for what should prove to be a raucous and rowdy environment in East Lansing.  Even though it is a later November game, I will not be surprised if this game is a night game; at worst, I expect it to be a 3:30pm kickoff.  The number of Ohio players on Michigan State's roster who did not get offers from Ohio State always give the Spartans that little extra motivation to truly play their hearts out; Michigan State Mark Dantonio always seems to push the right psychological buttons to have the Spartans ready for this game against Ohio State.
 
Previous Rankings:
 

Friday, July 8, 2016

"White Out" At Penn State For OSU Is More Often "Loud Out"

“ Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…” ~ Thomas Edison
 
Leave it to Thomas Edison, an Ohioan and considered “The Father Of Invention”, to appropriately summarize the goals for the 2016 Ohio State football team. No rules – just accomplish something.
 
“Something” is a pretty vague and open concept. Considering how much talent Ohio State lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, considering how I have written throughout spring practice about how 44 players on Ohio State’s roster are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen…Damn right, Mr. Edison. There are no rules. Ohio State fans are just looking to see what this team can accomplish against a much tougher schedule in 2016 than 2015, with tremendously talented, yet inexperienced, players.
 
**
 
at Penn State Nittany Lions (Game 7)
 
2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 4 out of 12
 
Players Recruited By Ohio State: WR Saeed Blacknall, TE Mike Gesicki, OT Paris Palmer, OT Sterling Jenkins, DE Garrett Sickels, RB Saquon Barkley, OL Steven Gonzalez, OT Ryan Bates, DB Garrett Taylor, DE Shane Simmons. I am more than willing to bet I may have inadvertently missed on some players; please let me know and I am happy to correct my error(s).
 
Game Date: October 22, 2016
 
Kickoff Time: 8pm EST, telecast TBD on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2
 
Location: Beaver Stadium
 
Rationale For The Ranking: Ohio State returns to University Park, Pennsylvania, for the first time since escaping in 2014 with a 31-24 victory in a double overtime period.  Yes, I am blatantly and openly stating that Ohio State escaped with a victory, as even Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer has stated that the Buckeyes were fortunate to emerge with the win in such a tough environment.
 
Playing at Penn State in "White Out" conditions are nothing new for the Buckeyes.  Ohio State played at Penn State under the lights in 2012, 2009, 2007, and 2005.  Ohio State emerged as the victor in all of these games, except the 2005 contest.  Below are some thoughts from Kevin McGuire, a fellow contributor to AthlonSports, on how tough it can be to play at Beaver Stadium...
 


Prediction:  Penn State's fans will be ready for this one, especially with the 2014 defeat so fresh in their collective memories.  Throw in the bye week the Nittany Lions get before this game, while Ohio State will be coming off a tough road trip to Wisconsin.  These are the type of games this young Ohio State team will use to accelerate their collective maturity and experience, as the Buckeyes approach the November stretch run.
 
Previous Rankings:
 
8 – at Maryland
9 – Indiana 
10- Rutgers
11- Bowling Green
12- Tulsa

Friday, July 1, 2016

Camp Randall Always "Badgers" The Buckeyes At Night

“ Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…” ~ Thomas Edison

Leave it to Thomas Edison, an Ohioan and considered “The Father Of Invention”, to appropriately summarize the goals for the 2016 Ohio State football team. No rules – just accomplish something.

“Something” is a pretty vague and open concept. Considering how much talent Ohio State lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, considering how I have written throughout spring practice about how 44 players on Ohio State’s roster are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen…Damn right, Mr. Edison. There are no rules. Ohio State fans are just looking to see what this team can accomplish against a much tougher schedule in 2016 than 2015, with tremendously talented, yet inexperienced, players.

**
at Wisconsin Badgers (Game 6)

2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 5 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State: I may be mistaken, but I do not believe there are any players on Wisconsin’s roster who were offered by Ohio State.  Please let me know if I am mistaken.

Game Date: October 15, 2016

Kickoff Time: 8pm EST, telecast TBD on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2

Location: Camp Randall Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking: Ohio State makes its first trip to Camp Randall since 2012, Urban Meyer’s first season as Ohio State’s head coach.  Ohio State escaped with an overtime win over Wisconsin, 21-14.  How about back in 2008, when Terrelle Pryor was able to pilot Ohio State to victory, despite being a true freshman at the time?  The point I am making is Camp Randall has been, and probably always will be, a very difficult place to play.  Throw in the added factor of a night game, meaning the fans will be even more amped up for this game, and I believe this will reflect the difficulty the Buckeyes will have in this one.

A benefit Ohio State has, versus Wisconsin – the timing of this match-up.  Yes, Wisconsin has a week off to prepare for the Buckeyes, while Ohio State will be coming off a home game versus Indiana.  But…that preceding game is in Ann Arbor, against “That Team Up North”, on October 1.  Throw in the fact that Wisconsin opens up versus a nationally-ranked LSU team on Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the season opener, plus plays at Michigan State on September 24th…The Badgers may be a little banged up for this bout with the Buckeyes.

Prediction: The intangibles favor Wisconsin, no doubt about it – a week to prepare, home crowd, and night game.  Considering Ohio State will have played a night game earlier in the season, on the road, at Oklahoma in September, will give me the belief that the young roster will not be completely unprepared for Camp Randall.  It should be a good one, as they usually are when the Badgers and Buckeyes clash.

Previous Rankings 

Friday, June 24, 2016

It May Be Wild When The Wildcats Play At Ohio Stadium

“ Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something…” ~ Thomas Edison
Leave it to Thomas Edison, an Ohioan and considered “The Father Of Invention”, to appropriately summarize the goals for the 2016 Ohio State football team. No rules – just accomplish something.
“Something” is a pretty vague and open concept. Considering how much talent Ohio State lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, considering how I have written throughout spring practice about how 44 players on Ohio State’s roster are either redshirt freshmen or true freshmen…Damn right, Mr. Edison. There are no rules. Ohio State fans are just looking to see what this team can accomplish against a much tougher schedule in 2016 than 2015, with tremendously talented, yet inexperienced, players.
**
Northwestern Wildcats (Game 8)
2016 OSU Opponent Ranking: 6 out of 12
Players Recruited By Ohio State: DE Ifeadi Odenigbo was for certain.  DL Ben Oxley claimed to have an Ohio State offer, but I did not see that on any of the recruiting sites I visited.  Oxley does hail from my hometown of Avon Lake, which is a plus in my book.
Game Date: October 29, 2016
Kickoff Time: 5:30pm EST, telecast TBD on ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2
Location: Ohio Stadium
Rationale For The Ranking: Northwestern makes its first trip into Ohio Stadium since 2007, when Jim Tressel was the head coach for the Buckeyes, Todd Boeckman was the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes, and virtually everyone on both teams were still in grade school.  Ohio State played at Northwestern in 2013, when Carlos Hyde came back from a three game suspension to score three touchdowns and rush for 168 yards in a 40-30 victory.
Here’s a better reason why I think Ohio State needs to be on their toes for this one - Ohio State will be coming off two road games at night (at Wisconsin, at Penn State), while Northwestern will have played a home game versus Indiana the week before.  This is the kind of game that Ohio State cannot afford to be complacent about, as Northwestern won ten games in 2015.  Pat Fitzgerald will have the Wildcats thinking upset.
Prediction: Ohio State will be excited to be playing in front of the home crowd for the first time in weeks.  While not a traditional "night game", the sun will have set by the time this game concludes.  Considering this is Halloween weekend, the fans will be in good form for this one.  As long as Ohio State comes into this game in the right frame of mind, after two potentially challenging road games, look for the Buckeyes to finish up October on a winning note.
Previous Rankings:
8 – at Maryland
9 – Indiana 
10- Rutgers
11- Bowling Green
12- Tulsa