Ohio State has won 10 or more games each of the past five season, a total matched only by two other FBS teams. The Buckeyes have played in 8 BCS bowl games, the most all-time, and 7 straight. They've won National Championships and Heisman Trophies. Current head coach Jim Tressel is second in the nation in total wins, behind Penn State legend Joe Paterno.
The Buckeyes are 8-1 in conference openers in Tressel's time at Ohio State, with the only blemish being in 2004. They lead the series with Illinois 62-30-4, and they are a sparkling 33-12 in Champaign. October is their favorite month with an all-time record of 360-126-28 in October games. The list of accomplishments is practically endless.
Some consider the 2010 edition to be one of the best ever in Columbus. Proof begins with a junior quarterback everyone in the country knows about. Terrelle Pryor is 6'-6", 233, runs a 4.35 forty and has a gun for an arm. He has developed his passing accuracy to become as big a threat passing as running. All teams focus defenses on trying to stop the man-child. He is a definite Heisman Trophy candidate.
Pryor alone is averaging 302 yards of total offense through four games, rushing for 269 and passing for 939. As a team, the Buckeyes are averaging 240.2 yards rushing and 266.5 yards passing. Brandon Saine (6'-1", 219) and Dan Herron (5'-11", 202) share the tailback role and provide sufficient threat to balance Pryor's passing. Zach Boren (6'-0", 252) and Adam Homan (6--2", 238) are the battering ram fullbacks who run interference.
Senior Dane Sanzenbacher (5'-11", 180) and junior DeVier Posey (6'-2", 213) are great starting receivers. Sanzenbacher has 316 yards on 20 receptions to lead the team. He had nine grabs last week against Eastern Michigan. Posey has added 242 yards on 15 catches.
They get excellent support from a corps of super subs. Chris Fields (6'-0", 185) and freshman Corey Brown (5'-11", 170) have blinding speed. Taurian Washington (6'-1", 181) and Grant Schwartz (6'-0", 210) are seniors who provide quality depth also. Tight end Jack Stoneburner (6'-5", 245) has 9 grabs for 110 yards, and he shares time with Reid Fragel (6'-8", 260). They are both sophomores.
The OSU offensive line is loaded with high school All-Americans, as usual. The tackles are Mike Adams (6'-8", 300) and J.B. Shugarts (6'-7", 297), both juniors. Seniors Justin Boren (6'-3", 320) and Bryant Browning (6'-4", 313) man the guard spots, and Mike Brewster (6'-5", 293) is back for his third year as a starter at center. Andrew Norwell, younger brother of former Illini Chris Norwell, is a second string tackle as a true freshman.
As much attention as the offense gets, the Ohio State defense may be even better. It has given up just 5 touchdowns this season and has forced 13 turnovers in four games. It is second in the nation in turnover margin and second in the Big 10 and fifth nationally in rush defense, giving up a meager 71 yards rushing per game.
If Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure is to get his fourth 100 yard game of the young season, he will have to wade through an OSU defense that hasn't given up that many yards by one ball carrier in 27 straight games. It is averaging 6.5 three-and-outs per game this season.
The Buckeyes are loaded everywhere on defense. The front four is especially formidable. Defensive ends Nathan Williams, a 6'-3", 260 pound junior, and senior Cameron Heyward (6'-5", 288) are both NFL prospects. They are backed ably by junior Solomon Thomas (6'-5", 255) and soph Garrett Goebel (6'-3", 281).
John Simon (6'-2", 270) is a star at defensive tackle, and he is just a sophomore. Senior Dexter Larimore (6'-2", 310) was an Illini recruiting target back in the day. True freshman Johnathan Hankins is a future star backing Larimore, as is redshirt freshman Adam Bellamy (6'-4", 295), who backs Simon.
Senior Brian Rolle (5'-11", 218) holds ground from his middle linebacker spot. Senior Ross Homan (6'-0", 227) is equally talented at WILL, and junior Andrew Sweat (6'-2", 238) is a prototypical SAM. These linebackers are probably comparable with any threesome nationally. They have plenty of backups waiting in the wings.
Cornerbacks Chimdi Chekwa (6'-0", 190) and Devon Torrence (6'-1", 200) are seniors with special skills and plenty of experience. Free safety Jermale Hines (6'-1", 216) is also a senior, while strong safety Orhian Johnson (6'-2", 205) is a sophomore. Hines is backed by junior Nate Oliver (6'-0", 215). The nickel back, or "star" in OSU designation, is senior Tyler Moeller (6'-0", 210), with true freshman Christian Bryant (5'-9", 178) a future star.
Senior Devin Barclay is averaging 2.25 field goals a game, fifth nationally. He is fourth in NCAA scoring. Ben Buchanan punts, while Jordan Hall (5'-9", 195) handles both punt and kick return responsibilities. Corey Brown and Posey are punt return backups, while Jamaal Berry (5'-11", 200), Saine and Herron help with kickoff returns.
Those unfamiliar with the big names of high school and college football may not see much difference between the OSU team and many other high major schools. But rest assured, when they are playing their best they are among the best in the country.