Captain's Corner: The Next Five Games

Most people look at OSU's upcoming schedule and see smooth sailing up to the Michigan game. But Jerry Rudzinski sees another possible side of it. Check it out in this Captain's Corner.

Another win for the Buckeyes and another step towards the desert. The attitude and outcome was pretty predictable on the opening play when Bowling Green avoided the deep kickoff. So much for attacking Ohio State. A touchdown pass to Nicol, a blocked field goal, a Gholston pick, a few Pittman scores and the route was on. Bowling Green showed a pulse with a 9 minute scoring drive to start the second half, but Cleveland Glenville pretty much just took over from there.

Despite the lop-sided score, I can't help but feel very nervous about the next five games. No, I am not saying OSU will lose a ball game before Michigan. The Buckeyes should be unscathed and I hope the two and three deep are staying loose on the sidelines because some of these games will get lopsided. OSU will manufacture highlights and W's against MSU, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern.

I am just nervous that Ohio State will be lulled to sleep.

Adversity makes you better. Adversity makes you stronger. Adversity makes you improve. Nobody to blame for the scheduling lapse, it just so happens that the next five opponents are not on the same level as the Buckeyes. Michigan and the star-studded bowl opponent will face some adversity in the coming weeks which will force them to get better. Ohio State will lack challenges and it is those challenges that force you to raise your bar.

The Buckeyes can plateau and head into Michigan undefeated. I just worry that a plateaued team isn't good enough to win those last two.

Now the good news…there is plenty that OSU has going for it. Great leaders in Smith and the other three captains. Head Coach Jim Tressel has overwhelming experience enduring championship runs. Ohio State has incredible depth that will bring out the best in people during practice. Eric Lichter will make sure the Buckeyes are advancing themselves physically every week. The coaches can play the No. 1 offense versus the No. 1 defense in a practice here and there to keep the tempo right. And don't get me wrong, these are Big Ten opponents with scholarships so we need to show up.

It is hard to deny that Ohio State has looked its best when playing the best opponents. Ohio State looked awfully crisp on the road against Texas and Iowa. Focus and concentration will be critical as the Buckeyes face a bunch of un-Texas-like and un-Iowa-like teams in the next five weeks. Woody Hayes used to say, "If you are not getting better, you are getting worse." Makes sense to me.

What a great problem to have! Think about it…OSU's next five Big Ten opponents are inferior. Ohio State has created a monster. The only team that can beat the Buckeyes is the Buckeyes.

Buckeye Leaves…

Vernon Gholston – First of all, he should be on the cover of some muscle magazine. Gunzilla. TFL's and interceptions help with an All-Big Ten campaign. Rory Nicol – Tremendous athlete with tremendous upside. I am on the Nicol bandwagon. Keep going to him. That won't be his last TD.

Ted Ginn Jr. – He scored on the deep ball, but also important is his intimidation of opposing coaches. Squibbed kickoffs, soft corners and punts traveling into the East and West stands are very helpful if you are an OSU player, coach, or fan.

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