Ohio State is 10-0, and the winner of 22 straight games. The Buckeyes are 6-0 in the Big Ten, and on cruise control as they head to the Big Ten championship game, and a BCS bowl game -- likely the Rose Bowl, if not the National Championship game.
But with just Indiana and rival Michigan standing in the path to a second straight unbeaten regular season, the Buckeyes are taking a close look at what got them to this point. Head coach Urban Meyer, who has yet to lose in his Ohio State tenure, speaks to how far his players have come in their development.
"You look at the transitions," Meyer said about the distance his players have covered. "To think that those guys have developed, I go fight for those guys. I love who they are. I love who they've become. If I was a college kid, that's who I would hang out with. They're sincere, great people that work their tails off. They love Ohio State and they love football."
After allowing himself a reflective moment, Meyer quickly reels himself back in. As he approaches an Ohio State record for consecutive wins, he wants the spotlight on his players, and on their upcoming game with a sometimes scary and sometimes high-scoring Indiana team.
"I think someday you'll be able to look back and reflect, but now is not that time," Meyer said. "We have too much work to do. If you spend too much time on it . . . We spent I think 30 seconds on it, moved on, and started working."
While prepping for the Hoosiers, Meyer lamented the fact that the Buckeyes are dealing with a rash of injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
"We're beat up a little bit. I want to say nine players are out for the season, scholarship players," Meyer said. "Right now we're just going through it. It's showing up in our coverage units a little bit. Seven or eight of them are guys we were all counting on."
But injuries, three months into the season, are the reality of college football. The extent of the injuries to the defensive unit have forced the Buckeyes to play some freshmen who are not quite ready for prime time, and they've had to convert some offensive players to play defense.
"We're asking them to do things that they really haven't done a lot in their careers. We're asking offensive players to tackle right now," Meyer said. "Every team is dealing with those issues right now, injuries, and making it right. That's our job."
While readying his team for the home date with the Hoosiers, Meyer has centered his attention on rehabbing the walking wounded in hopes of getting some of them back, while also coaching like crazy on the practice field to prepare the young players who could be pressed into service.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
--RB Carlos Hyde positioned himself as the top back in the Big Ten with his 248 yards rushing and five touchdowns in the recent win over Illinois. Hyde rushed for four scores, and caught a pass for a fifth.
--DB Bradley Roby continued his exceptional play in recent games by intercepting an Illinois pass and returning it 63 yards.
--LB Ryan Shazier leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 14.5 and is also second in the conference with 10 tackles per game.
--QB Braxton Miller exploded for a 69-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the game at Illinois, and finished with 184 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
--DE Joey Bosa has made seven starts for the Buckeyes as a true freshman and Bosa had 2.5 sacks in just two quarters of play in last week's win at Illinois. Bosa is ranked in the top 10 in the conference with 4.5 sacks this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "This team can score points in bunches. We've got to control the clock, control the time. This is a very good team, with very good players, and well coached. We have to really focus this week on facing a very potent offense." -- Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on facing Indiana.