Countdown Until THE GAME 2018

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.

“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.

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