Tue May 22 10:32am EDT
The B1G Schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons were released yesterday and rather than just present the schedules without comment, UnScripted Ohio has reached out to a few members of The Buckeye Blogger Network to get their thoughts not only regarding the schedules, but how they might play out in the years to come.
Over the next few months, UnScripted Ohio will be bringing you our Yearly Preview, in which we handicap and predict the 2012 season. For now, the UnScripted Roundtable focuses on the years of 2013-2016. Since we are covering four complete seasons, we have broken this roundtable into four parts for the sake of our readers. No tl;dr's here.
Part 2: 2014
Part 3: 2015
Part 4: 2016
Many thanks to everyone who participated: Jeremy Birmingham, Professor of Birminology at UnScripted Ohio, Grant Edgell, Editor in Chief of BuckeyeHouseCall.com, Jeremy Schneider of OurHonorDefend.com and my good friend Chris Hunt, writer for TheBuckeyeBattleCry.com
We went through many virtual adult beverages in this conversation, had a few laughs, and generally had a Real Good Time discussing Buckeye Football in a positive manner. The questions may have been written down beforehand, but the answers are all UnScripted.
THE 2013 OHIO STATE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
1. Ohio State makes a cross country trip to Berkeley, CA in September before the Conference games start. Do you think that the jet lag has any effect on the Buffalo game the next week?
Jeremy Schneider, OurHonorDefend:
Honestly, the game of those two I'd be most worried about is against Cal. The last time the Buckeyes played a game on the west coast was the Rose Bowl, and the furthest west they've been since then is Lincoln, Nebraska. Plus you add in the relative strength of the two opponents, which favors the Bears, and the game in Buffalo the following week doesn't frighten me at all, jet lag or no jet lag.
Jeremy Birmingham, UnScripted Ohio:
I will try and say this as diplomatically as possible. If, in his first "real" season at Ohio State (since 2012 is 12 exhibition games), Urban Meyer's Buckeyes, who will likely be a top 5 preseason team struggle in ANY way with Buffalo, then there is something awfully wrong. I don't care if the Buckeyes were coming back from Bangkok after a week long bender with Lou Holtz and Lee Corso; it's BUFFALO.
Grant Edgell, BuckeyeHouseCall:
While Cal may not end up being that great of a 'test' in Urban's 15th game at the helm, that cross country trip - coupled with Wisconsin coming to Columbus the week after Buffalo - could make the game against the Bulls a little slow going out of the shoots. That being said, Ohio State will have it together enough to put it away relatively early, by halftime anyway, if recent history shows us anything. Of Buffalo's last 5 road games heading into big-six-conference territory (Baylor, Central Florida, Connecticut, Pitt and Tennessee) they're 0-5 having lost by a combined score of 179-63.
Chris Hunt, TheBuckeyeBattleCry:
I'm of the belief that the Bucks will stick around an extra day, take in the sights, and get back to work after a day off to take care of business with Buffalo.
2. The Buckeyes only have two back to back road games, but there is a bye week in the middle. Advantageous or a trap waiting to happen?
Any time that you can get an extra week off to prepare and rest up any lingering injury issues, it's a good thing.
Seeing as how the games are at Purdue and Illinois, I'm going to have to say a trap. The Bucks seem to have trouble playing in both of those places, but there is that bye week in there to get minds and bodies right and back on the same page. The only way it could be an advantage is if there is tons of hype around the 2013 team (and there will be), Urban Meyer could use this as a bubble of sorts, keeping the players grounded and building them together.
Advantageous. That bye lands in week ten, perfect timing to get healthy leading into @Illinois and home against TSUN. Illinois has always been a scare game for Ohio State, regardless of records, but Urban's memory is free of all things Fighting Illini.
I've never liked bye weeks prior to a big game, but this one comes in a good place. Gives the team an opportunity to work more in familiar surroundings before hitting the road again.
3. What do you see as the biggest stumbling block to this season?
I have two concerns in this season that could have the Buckeyes winning it all. At Purdue and at TTUN. Purdue has been ridiculously good at home and most especially against us in recent years. And TTUN will be the game to decide who makes it to the National Semis.
Coming off the bowl-less 2012 season, will these players know how to answer the bell in a big game? True, 2012 brings visits to Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin, but by and large, these guys could be a bit untested without that experience in a top-tier or BCS bowl game. And we all know how much hype is going to surround this season, with the chance for Meyer and Co. to play for the B1G championship and a spot in one of those coveted bowls; they'll be coming off a two-year stretch of bad news and not really being a factor nationally, so it will be interesting to see how they respond.
The loss of John Simon, Nathan Williams, and likely Jonathan Hankins on the defensive line, and Travis Howard, Brad Roby, mean the very talented youngsters on the defensive line will not only have to be talented players, but also developing as leaders.
Something tells me, while Michigan may not have a 2012 that matches their 2011 success, any trip to Ann Arbor will be far less of a bargain than in recent years. It's easy to forget last season's loss up north, all things considered, but those trips over the border are going to get tougher as we go. I truly don't see Urban posting anything less than a 4-1 record in his first five against the Wolverines, but the days of building 2,400-day streaks of success might be behind us.
Thanks again to Jeremy, Grant, Chris, and Jeremy for sitting down at the not-so Roundtable here at UnScripted Ohio. Don't forget to check out our articles on the other seasons as well.