While you may be thinking to yourself that ranking Ohio State this high after last season’s turmoil may be a little bit of a reach, I have two words for you URBAN MEYER! Yes Meyer is in his first season with the Buckeyes, but looking back over Meyers resume, he’s done nothing but win in his first season as head coach everywhere he’s been. He produced an 8 – 3 record his first season at Bowling Green after they went 6 – 6 the year before. He led the Utes to a 10 – 2 season his first year after a 5 – 6 season the year before. In his first season at Florida, in the toughest conference in the country, he went 9 – 3 after Zook led the Gators to a 7 – 5 season the year before. So it should be duly noted that Meyer’s first year at a program has generally ended in success. Whether that will be the case at Ohio State is yet to be determined, but the odds are in his favor.
The major factor that works out in Meyer’s favor is that Ohio State returns 9 offensive starters and 10 defensive starters from last season. Those are staggering numbers for a program that generally produces a decent amount of draft picks every year. Braxton Miller will lead the Buckeyes at quarterback again this season. Miller had an ok season last year, but not one that will produce a nine win season. We’re anticipating the sophomore will have grown under the tutelage of Meyer, and will be way more prepared for the Big 10 this season. Miller is a great scrambling quarterback who rushed for 715 yards last year, but he isn’t Tebow and will have to rely on his running backs to take the pressure off of him when he starts getting banged around. Sophomore running back Carlos Hyde and Senior Jordan Hall will be the front-runners for the starting job. Both had mediocre seasons last year behind the Buckeyes leading rusher Dan Herron, neither produced over 600 yards.
The receiving stats for the Buckeyes last year were terrible. None of the Buckeyes wide outs produced over 300 yards, and while Senior Jake Stoneburner had 7 TDs last year he only had 193 total yards. That won’t be good enough for the Buckeyes this year if they want to keep up Meyer’s trend of winning at least 8 games in his first season, so again, we are predicting massive improvements.
We expect the Ohio State defense to be solid and perform about as well as they did last year considering the whole defense is returning.
Why Ohio State should be ranked higher:
Urban Meyer’s first year record as a head coach is outstanding, and with the Buckeyes returning so many players on both sides of the ball it’s almost impossible for them to not be ranked higher than 19th.
Why Ohio State shouldn’t be ranked higher:
There are no standout stars on this team. Braxton Miller is a decent quarterback, but may rely too heavily on his legs in the Meyer system which could come back and render him injured. The receiving corps for the Buckeyes is about as good as a pee wee football teams, if Miller does decide to throw, he better be dead on or the ball is probably going to end up in the opponents hands.
Returning Starters: 9 Offense / 10 Defense
Best games: at Michigan State, Nebraska, at Wisconsin, Michigan
2011 Total Offense: 107th
2011 Total Defense: 19th
2011 Turnover margin: 30th
Championship odds: 25:1
Projected record: 9 – 3