The staff of Writing Illini gives their opinions about whether or not the Ohio State Buckeyes are the team to beat in the Big Ten for 2013. The Illinois Fighting Illini will play the Buckeyes on November 16th.
Ricky: Without a doubt, Ohio State is the team to beat in the Big Ten this season. Last year, they KNEW they could earn a bowl bid, but still finish the season with zero losses. They return a lot of players and still have elite coach, Urban Meyer, at the helm. In my mind, OSU will be playing for the Nation Title this season.
The only team on their conference schedule that “could” give them a run is the Penn State Nittany Lions. Although, Ohio State will play for the conference championship (against Nebraska) and then play for a National Title. OSU will be undefeated this season.
Austin: Yes. Plain and simple yes. Look, Urban Meyer, no matter how dirty I think he is, is one heck of a recruiter. Kids are lining up around the block to play for this guy. All he does is win. That’s it. Rarely has there been a guy as dominant as he is in coaching.
The guy went 12-0 with a team that KNEW they would not have the chance to play in a bowl game. That is how the man coaches. The kids buy in to him and know that under him they will get to play in the NFL. Good coaches don’t have rebuilding years. They just keep reloading. I know that it is not all about the coach, so let me say that the team as a whole is extremely talented, and if they finish outside the top 5 i will be shocked.
Ryan: Not only is Ohio St. the team to beat in the Big Ten heading into this college football campaign, but they are most likely going to be in the National Championship discussion at the end of the season. They are coming off an undefeated season, and are probably still stinging from their bowl ban from a year ago. Therefore, I fully expect them to come out with an extra chip on their shoulder, as if tasting National Championship glory isn’t enough motivation already.
From a talent perspective, tOSU returns highly talented QB Braxton Miller who led the team in rushing yards (1524 yards on 227 carries), #2 Rusher Carlos Hyde (995 yards on 185 carries), and their top 2 wide receivers, Devin Smith and Corey Brown. Defensively, they return their top 4 tacklers from a year ago: LB Ryan Shazier (115 TT), S Christian Bryant (71 TT), DB Bradley Roby (63 TT), and DB C.J. Barnett (56 TT). It’s fairly safe to say, their strength on D will be their secondary. That said, their only major visible issue is the fact that they lost their entire defensive line, but their cupcake non-conference schedule should allow the new guys to get some solid game experience, and in the process afford them an opportunity to gel as a unit prior to Big Ten play.
The Writing Illini staff includes lead editor Ricky Widmer along with staff writers, Austin Jabs and Ryan Kraemer.
Follow Ricky on Twitter @RickyWidmer.
Follow Austin on Twitter @AustinJabs85.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.
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