When Jim Bollman’s reign of terror ended nearly nine months ago, Buckeye fans instantly started looking forward to a moment that is now just 15 days away. Ohio State has a new coach, a new offense and a newly renewed energy coming off of last year’s 6-7 clunker of a season. As we close in on Urban Meyer’s debut -- and a new era at Ohio State -- it’s important to look ahead and find an appropriate level for your expectations.
Doing that requires you to identify both extremes -- the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. This is especially tough because the range of success for teams going through coaching transitions can be so wide. For a historical example, look at Rich Rod’s first year at Michigan (3-9) compared to Brady Hoke’s 11-2 campaign last year.
To help you set your expectations properly, part one of Ohio State’s best case scenario for the 2012 football season is laid out after the jump. Part two will come next week along with Ohio State’s worst case scenario, which may or may not include Urban Meyer’s heart exploding right out of his chest cavity.
Braxton Miller throws three touchdown passes and runs for one more in a 49-0 shutout of the Miami Redhawks. In the fourth quarter, John Simon accidentally over-pursues a Miami ball carrier out of bounds and tramples a sideline guest, which unfortunately triggers a five month paralysis as a result. That sideline guest is Ben Roethlisberger. Later that night, Michigan throttles Alabama by 20 points.
Riding high from his week one performance, Braxton has another solid outing in an easy 38-13 victory over UCF. Carlos Hyde has a breakout game, rushing for just under 200 yards with two trips to paydirt. After the game, Gene Smith unexpectedly announces that Ohio State will never wear pro-combat uniforms again.
Cal gets blasted by an early barrage of points from the Ohio State offense -- thanks mostly to the running game -- and the Golden Bears never recover. Jordan Hall makes his first appearance of the year, and he and Carlos Hyde gladly share the load in a 35-16 victory.
The Buckeyes round out non-conference play with a 63-6 thrashing of UAB. Miller throws two touchdown passes before being pulled midway through the second quarter, and Brionte Dunn makes positive headlines for the first time in his collegiate career by rushing for 124 yards in mop-up duty. Meanwhile, Michigan improves to 4-0 with a 13 point victory over Notre Dame. In a fit of fury, Brian Kelly turns a shade of purple that instantly sets the Internet on meme-fire.
Ohio State’s first road trip of the season is a success as the Buckeyes defeat the previously unbeaten Michigan State Spartans in a hard fought 17-12 slugfest. A police dog somehow gets loose inside the stadium and chases Sparty the mascot around until he collapses from exhaustion. Even Michigan State fans cheer the dog on.
The Buckeyes struggle terribly through three quarters as visiting Nebraska builds a commanding 28-6 lead. The tides turn on the first play of the fourth quarter when Taylor Martinez throws a terrible interception that’s returned for a touchdown. Sparked by the swing in momentum, the Buckeyes score two quick touchdowns before kicking a last-second field goal to win the game. Bo Pelini is apprehended before murdering someone via pure rage, allowing Columbus residents to rest peacefully.
Check back next week for the conclusion of Ohio State’s best case scenario for the 2012 football season.