Tue May 22 02:34am 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 1: 2013
Part 2: 2014
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 2015 OHIO STATE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
1. This season looks to be the "easiest" path to a National Championship. The tougher games are at home, save Michigan. Do you see this team playing for a crystal football in 2015?
Grant Edgell, BuckeyeHouseCall:
In years past that schedule would scream, "if we can get through the Hokies we're headed for the NCG." That may not be the case in '15 with a trip to Ann Arbor, a B1G Championship game and potentially a Playoff game standing between Ohio State and a shot at the crystal trophy. I'd go so far as to say we have just as good of a chance in 2013 as '15.
Jeremy Schneider, OurHonorDefend:
Wow, we're seriously floating in uncharted territories here. I'll say this -- I expect Ohio State to compete for the National Championship every single season ... except when they're sold down the river and get their postseason playing rights ripped away, but that's a different question entirely. Anyways, I look at road games at Va Tech, Purdue, Illinois and TTUN as huge stumbling blocks, but expect for Meatchicken, none absolutely scare me. The only problem I could see here, with the BCS in its current incarnation anyway, is backlash from voters due to OSU's seemingly "easy" non-conference schedule.
Jeremy Birmingham, UnScriptedOhio:
There is zero reason the Buckeyes should not be hoisting the Nick Saban Trophy in 2015. Except for how difficult the schedule is, and also because the Buckeyes will have a new QB for the first time since Luke Fickell, now the head coach at the newly formed "No Fear Academy of the Arts", was the head coach.
Chris Hunt, TheBuckeyeBattleCry:
Coach Meyer's first recruiting class will be Seniors and they will have ushered in Braxton's replacement very successfully. Hoke's reign as the head coach if TTUN could already be in question, having lost out on an opportunity to play in a National Semi or a second time at the hands of the Buckeyes.
2. We haven't yet seen an FCS team in the Ohio State schedules. Is this a sign that more FBS teams are getting wary of playing the subdivision as a way to ease their path in the polls?
Man, I hope so ... and I'm looking at you, precious Southeastern Conference. It's an absolute joke when these big boy schools schedule the multi-directional state schools and A&M's of the world (Texas A&M notwithstanding). Yes, TTUN got beat by Appy State, which I will never, ever let the Maize and Blue forget, but how often does that happen? For every upset, there's a 70-6 score scrolling across the ESPN ticker. And as a fan, I would much rather see OSU lose to Texas than rout Jackson State or something. There is at least honor in defeat there, whereas there is nothing to be gained from playing a FCS school, no matter how good they might claim to be. There are over 100 schools in the FBS, more than enough to schedule against the cupcakes there than cherry pick against FCS schools.
I don't think that it's that as much as the Buckeyes need to keep their SOS high with a declining B1G. There's no value in playing a FCS team as a "big dog." Nothing is gained from it. The crowd will be there just the same as it would be for Akron or Kent State, but the media scorn and potential for embarrassment is higher with an FCS team. I mean, think about it, can you imagine how awful it would be to lose to an FCS opponent? At a school of Ohio State's caliber? That would be all kinds of embarrassing. (Ahem, I am looking at you, UM'ers)
I do think you'll stop seeing the upper-tier programs playing FCS teams. While Appalachian State knocking off a #5 Michigan team is a nightmare in it's rarest form for the bigger programs, even a 60-point win counts as zero against those teams. While they're great financially for the smaller school, I see no benefit to bringing them into your schedule aside from, for example, Tressel doing YSU a favor. Under any other circumstance it's been rendered useless, and I think you'll see those match-ups all but eliminated.
It's really a mystery to me why this hasn't been happening more. I do know that we can probably thank teams like Appalachian State, among others, to create a need to steer clear of them. Any team really wanting a shot at the National Semi should only schedule FBS teams to secure a spot.
3. This is a schedule that, at first sight, looks to be loaded with "cupcakes." Which do you see as the toughest test on this season?
For me the away games against VA Tech and Illinois can be tough. Lane Stadium can be a very difficult place to play especially if it becomes a prime time affair in Blacksburg. I has WVU friends who have made the trek on more than one occasion and didn't enjoy the game very much. Illinois should have things right where Tim Beckman wants them and his calling card will be to defend their own house. Look for this game to possibly decide the B1G.
Maybe I should have read down a bit before answering question No. 1. I'll go with Nov. 14 at Illinois. As I said earlier, it's not an easy place for OSU to play; it follows a huge game against rival 1A (in my book) Wisconsin; and it's two games before traveling "north until you smell it, west until you step in it," Ann Arbor. I could see OSU 8-0 at this point, sitting high in the polls and coming off a blood-fest against the Badgers, easily making this a let-down game.
That game in Blacksburg. While I just spoke of tougher trips to Ann Arbor being on the horizon, and the Buckeyes scheduled to play at Michigan in 2015, there's at least some familiarity with that road trip. Heading into a stadium you're not familiar with on any level, to play someone who will likely be out for revenge on their own turf, has to strike some fear into your heart. A whole lot can happen between now and then, but that will likely be another night game and Lane Stadium won't be a walk in the park.
North Carolina, at Virginia Tech, at Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, at Purdue, and Wisconsin are cupcakes? I fear we may have different ideas of what is and what is not a delicious frosted treat.
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.