Bank Blog: OSU Season Preview

The Ohio State opener is only a few days away and Bill Greene is ready to provide his thoughts on the upcoming season in this Bank Blog.

- First off, I'm not predicting three losses for Ohio State this season. Let's get that out of the way early. The funny thing about last season was that even though I called for three losses, the only game I actually picked against Ohio State was Alabama, and even then I called for a close game that went to the wire. Just a very different season in every aspect.

- I have never called for Ohio State to win the national championship in all the years I've been doing this. The closest I came was in 2006, and in the preseason edition of Ohio High magazine (Yes, I still have a copy) I had Ohio State making it to the BCS title game, but losing to Florida. That got a lot of laughs at the time, but by about halftime of the title game there wasn't much laughter going on. I did not have the Brew Crew winning it as juniors, feeling they were a year away. As it turned out, that team never got to take their shot. I also did not have Brian Hartline and James Laurinaitis winning it all when they came back to take a shot.

- What about this year? What about being an overwhelming favorite? What about the odds against repeating? Let's break the season down into three four-game segments. The first one is the non-conference schedule, which is a cake walk for the Buckeyes. The middle segment is not all that tough, but then the ending gets kind of interesting.

- The first segment is Virginia Tech and then a bunch of bad teams, and I'm not so sure VaTech is all THAT good. I've had OSU blasting Virginia Tech to the tune of 45-20 for a few months now, and the injuries and suspensions do not have me moving off that an inch. Why? For one good reason: Urban Meyer. There's no doubt he has the biggest ego in the room, and the loss to Bud Foster and Frank Beamer last year was an embarrassment for sure. It was a coaching loss, and he knows it.

- Meyer has lost three games at Ohio State, and that one to Virginia Tech still stings today. Losing to Michigan State certainly hurt, but that was a very good Spartan team and they played at a neutral site. Tough loss, but explainable. The Clemson loss actually was a pretty darn good coaching job by Meyer. They were a beat up team with nothing to play for against a team that had just as much talent, and Ohio State battled them to the end. But Virginia Tech? Losing to that team that could not match the Buckeyes in talent, and in the Horseshoe to boot? Horrible loss. Even though Ohio State went on to win the title, that game still has to eat at Meyer. And I know for a fact that it does. He is going to lay the pimp hand down this week, I'm convinced.

- For segment-two, I think that stretch boils down to Penn State at home for Ohio State. Indiana, Maryland and Rutgers could combine their squads and still lose by 30. They have no chance. But Penn State played Ohio State even last year, and they have the two ingredients I look for in picking games: Coach and Quarterback. The fact that the Nittany Lions scared the pants off OSU last year should be a wake up call, but they had better not be caught looking ahead against Penn State. James Franklin and Christian Hackenberg can pose problems for Ohio State, but I see the Buckeyes winning this one.

- Now it gets interesting, really interesting. Minnesota and Illinois are warmups, although the Gophers will play physical football and beat you up a bit. I love Michigan State, and think they are a legit national championship contender this season. Great staff. Great players that understand their system and play it well. They can beat Ohio State in this game, without question. Am I calling for that to happen? If Connor Cook comes in with a hot hand and their defense can get a few early turnovers, they can win. Cook could throw up a 32-42 for 345 yards type of game. He could outscore Ohio State. I do not see that happening, but this is no throw-away game to me. I see Ohio State winning the game of the year in close fashion. Then you have Jim Harbaugh and Michigan sandwiched in between MSU and a possible Big Ten title game. And it's on the road. This is another loseable game, and anyone thinking otherwise does not know the history of college football. This will be another close game, and Ohio State will need to play well to win. I think the Buckeyes can get by the Fighting Harbaugh's, and then head to the next challenge.

- The pressure of running through Michigan State and Michigan should see Ohio State relaxed and ready to blast Wisconsin or Nebraska back to the stone age in Indianapolis. No worries there for me. 56-10.

- I see a Final Four of Ohio State, Auburn, Stanford and Baylor. People will think an OSU/Stanford matchup will be a cakewalk for the Buckeyes, but the Cardinal will bang with them all night long. See Ohio State winning in overtime: 35-31. Then it's on to Auburn in the championship game. Urban. Gus. Will. Lots of big name coaches, but Chris Ash celebrates his last game as a Buckeye with a great defensive gameplan that shuts down the Tigers. OSU wins it 38-28, and Urban has his repeat and puts it out there that he is shooting for the Three-Peat. Ash takes the Illinois job a few days later.

- The only fly in the ointment is the history of Ohio State, which I know well. They win titles when nobody expects them to, and they come up short when expected to do well with powerhouse squads. Other than that, I see nothing stopping Ohio State from winning it all.


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