Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Buckeyes Cannot Be Complacent Against Northern Illinois Huskies

“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.” ~ Ulysses S. Grant

Leave it to a native Ohioan to spell it out what needs to be done in order to win. West Point graduate, Civil War general, and former United State President, I am willing to bet Ulysses S. Grant would have given football coaching a shot if it had been around in his day.

While counting down the days until the 2015 college football season begins, I thought I would pass the time by ranking and reviewing the upcoming 2015 Ohio State opponents, from least difficult to most difficult. This ranking system of mine will be highly subjective, prone to possibilities of injuries, transfers, or other unforeseen events that could dramatically impact its accuracy. As always, I encourage comments and critique about what I have projected.

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Northern Illinois Huskies (Game 3)

2015 OSU Opponent Ranking: 7 out of 12

Players Recruited By Ohio State: N/A

Game Date: September 19, 2015

Kickoff Time: 3:30pm EST. ABC/ESPN telecast.

Location: Ohio Stadium

Rationale For The Ranking: Last season, Northern Illinois went to Northwestern and defeated the Wildcats, 23-15. In 2013, Northern Illinois went to Iowa and Purdue, and was victorious in both contests (30-27 over Iowa; 55-24 over Purdue). The point I am trying to raise with you is that Northern Illinois is the type of team that thrives on being the underdog, coming into a hostile environment, and playing well enough to win over a higher-ranked opponent.

I can already hear the disbelieving commentary and can see the eyes rolling from the skeptics. “Minnich actually believes that Northern Illinois can play with Ohio State…”

Here is another reason why I am concerned ~ where Northern Illinois falls on the schedule.

Do not forget who Ohio State will play the week before – Hawaii. The same Hawaii that I am predicting will be little to no contest at all for Ohio State.

Hence my reasoning – after what should be a considerably easy win for Ohio State, it may be challenging to keep the players properly focused and not become too complacent. It kind of reminds me of a classic quote from the character Tony “Duke” Evers, who played the part of Apollo Creed’s trainer in the first Rocky ~ “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show. He thinks it’s a damn fight.”.

Prediction: Ohio State will be a considerable favorite over Northern Illinois, and may not come out with guns blazing against the Huskies. The longer this stays in this category, with Ohio State possibly just going through the motions, the more Northern Illinois will believe the upset is possible. Ohio State has the superior talent and potential to end this quickly, but it will be interesting to see if my fears were warranted on September 19th in Ohio Stadium.

Everyone loves an underdog. It will be interesting to see how Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer prepares his Buckeyes against a team that thrives on the underdog role.

Previous Posts In The Series:
12 – Hawaii
11 – Western Michigan
10 – at Indiana
9 – at Illinois
8 – Maryland

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