With the 2012 football season nearly upon us, you, the fan, likely have lots of questions. Luckily for you, we just happen to have the answers. Here is a staff chat addressing some of the biggest topics of the year.
ON OHIO STATE
Q: What are the chances of Ohio State making it through non conference play undefeated?
A: Everybody but me said 95%+ and I hedged my bets and said 80%. Here are some sample answers;
-Matt Brown--"80%. UCF and Cal aren't bad football teams, but neither are likely to be top 25 teams this year.OSU also gets everybody at home. Miami and UAB are cannon fodder." I have to admit though, after reading the pounding this blog (and other Buckeye blogs) has taken on some UCF forums, I hope OSU wins by 30.
-David Regimbal--"93%. Cal was on the upswing when Ohio State scheduled this game, but Jeff Tedford has sucked all the success and promise from the program like a weird vampire that sucks success and promise out of things."
Q: OSU's leading rusher at the end of the season will be...
A: Braxton Miller-5 votes Carlos Hyde: 3 votes
From Team Carlos, Ian Cuevas--"While Jordan Hall will certainly be a main cog in the offense, Hyde is more of a power-type back. Expect El Guapo to receive the majority of the carries while Hall will be playing all sorts of different roles within the spread offense.
Team Braxton, Eric Schieve--" Wow, good question. Honestly I think it'll be Braxton Miller. Braxton running was the Buckeyes' best offense last year. While Tom Herman is already looking like he'll install a far more progressive system than #WALRUSBALL, it doesn't mean that Braxton Miller still won't be the most dynamic running threat the Bucks have. Plus, I think an inexperienced O-line plus questionable targets besides Jake Stoneburner mean that Miller will still be scrambling often on pass plays"
Many guys who voted for Braxton said this was because OSU has several backs that are likely to split carries, not that Miller is going to run for 1,200 yards, although that would be dope.
Q: The Under the Radar Player most likely to surprise fans will be..
A: Lots of different answers here. WR Michael Thomas was the only player to get more than one vote.
D.J Byrnes --"Michael Thomas. I have watched all the YouTube clips, browsed his Twitter timeline, and watched him during the Spring Game. I love everything about this dude."
Ian-- "Nick Vannett. I covered this in a previous post, but Nick Vannett has all the potential to be an extremely dangerous tight end for Ohio State. With the move of Stoneburner to receiver, Vannett will most likely be put into more pass situations than Jeff Heuerman. Both are capable, but Vannett is more versatile with his route-running ability and speed. Heuerman will most likely share time with Vannett but I'm going out on a limb and guessing that Vannett becomes the more reliable receiving target."
Other players to receive votes: Zach Boren, Jeff Heuerman, Doran Grant, Taylor Decker, Tyrone Williams.
Q: With no bowl, what has to happen for you to consider this season a success?
A: General consensus: win at least 9 games and beat Michigan.
Chip Minnich--"A victory over Michigan. Defeating Michigan in the first season under Coach Meyer will only ramp up the enthusiasm for both teams, as well as on a national scale, can only help Ohio State's recruiting, and will only stoke the fires in anticipation for an even bigger 2013 season for the Buckeyes."
David--"Nine victories? A win over Michigan? All those sound good, but I'll settle for an offense that doesn't make me want to set myself on fire."
Luke--"Beat Michigan, beat Michigan, beat Michigan, and beat Michigan."
Q: What's OSU's final record going to be?
A: 9-3 (2 votes) 8-4 (1 vote) 12-0 (1 vote) 11-1 (1 vote) 10-2 (2 votes)
Luke--" 9-3. I've been dead set on 8-4 all summer (as going from 6-7 to anything more than give or take two wins is damn near impossible under ordinary circumstances), but this Ohio State team is better than everyone they play but will still probably find ways to lose games they shouldn't."
Ian--"This is a new offensive system and despite all of the fireworks we may get to see during the season, the team won't be perfect. I see the Buckeyes dropping two games this season, probably to Michigan State and Wisconsin. Both are away and playing good football in Camp Randall is no small task. Past Buckeye teams have learned that lesson the hard way. As for the Spartans, they do lose much of their offensive firepower but the defense should still be able to stand toe to toe with the best of them."
For what it's worth, nearly every staff writer thought Michigan State would beat OSU. Wisconsin was another popular pick for a loss. After that, we just kinda assumed some other random team would win. Of course DJ thinks OSU's going undefeated.
***ON ALL THINGS B1G****
Q: What Big Ten team is most likely to be a disappointment?
A: Nebraska (3 votes) Michigan (1 vote) Michigan State (1 vote) Northwestern (1 vote) Iowa (1 vote) Illinois (1 vote)
Our staff does not appear to have a lot of faith in Taylor Martinez.
Matt--"Nebraska does seem to be a likely candidate here. Their defense isn't as good as their reputation, and if I was a Nebraska fan, I'd be terrified watching Taylor Martinez play. I could easily see Nebraska beating Michigan or Michigan State, and then losing to something like a Purdue 14-9"
Luke--"Illinois. I *gulp* wanted Beckman to be the guy for OSU assuming Urban was playing them for his ego's sake and Dantonio wasn't interested and/or the athletic department wanted a clean break from the Tressel era. Can't be more glad that didn't come to fruition."
Q: What Big Ten team is most likely to overachieve?
A: Iowa (3 votes) Illinois (2 votes) ) Purdue? (1 vote) Ohio State (2 votes)
My fellow staff writers reminded me that Iowa has an uncanny ability to be good when nobody expects anything out of them.
Luke--"Iowa. For what little is expected, much is given. That's what they say in the Bible, right?"
David--"Iowa. I say this only because no one is talking about them, and that will inevitably trigger the black magic that controls Kirk Ferentz's life to pull 10 victories out of absolutely nowhere. Part of me wants to doubt this, but the 2009 Hawkeyes are just sitting over there mocking my lack of faith and patriotism."
DJ-"Ohio State. I don't think the B1G is ready for the Urbicane and Mickey Marotti's newly mutated brand of football."
Q: How many games will Penn State win this year?
A: 6 wins (3 votes) 4 wins (1 vote) 5 wins (3 votes) 7 wins (1 vote)
Most folks gave the 5-6 wins range, so let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say six. I won't copy everybody's responses, but I will say that several of us think that Ohio has a great chance to beat Penn State in the opener.
Q: Who wins the Leaders Division?
A: Wisconsin got all of the votes except two. DJ and Chris think this is the year of the Indiana Hoosiers
Chris "Indiana. #Indiana4B1GChampions #Jointhemovement #hashtags #butreallywisconsin #hopefullynot"
Q: Who wins the Legends Division?
A: Michigan State (4 votes) Michigan (3 votes) Nebraska(1 vote)
(Not ashamed to admit that more than one of us admitted to not knowing without cheating who was in the Leaders and who was in the Legends division.)
Q: Who will be the Big Ten MVP this year?
Q: Who will be the B1G champs?
A: Michigan State ( 3 votes) Michigan (1 vote) Wisconsin (2 votes) Ohio State (1 vote)
We are aware that technically OSU can't play in the B1G title game, but if you're calling them to go undefeated, you might as well claim them as the champ.
***ON ALL THINGS GENERAL COLLEGE FOOTBAWWWWWWW***
Q: What team outside the top 20 do you think has the best chance to make some noise?
A: Kansas State (2 votes) Utah (1 vote) Texas A&M (1 vote) Washington (1 vote) Florida (1 vote) Virgina Tech (1 vote)
--"The Florida Gators. Despite Urban Meyer's best efforts to destroy the program, there's still plenty of talent on the roster and a lack of decisions being made my Charlie Weis. Plus, the schedule is as favorable as you're gonna get in the SEC. The Gators get LSU at home and avoid Bama, and their toughest conference road game is a toss-up between Texas A&M and Tennessee. "
Eric--"I'm actually going to go with Washington. Keith Price is an extremely talented player who doesn't get a whole lot of coverage. He'd get a lot more attention if he played somewhere else. Let's not forget that Price went toe to toe with RGIII in the Alamo Bowl. They also fired their crappy defensive coordinator so that defense has nowhere to go but up. They have some really talented targets for Price too. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a stud."
Q: What team currently ranked in the top 20 is most likely to end up being a huge disappointment?
A: Florida State (3 votes) West Virgina (1 vote) Alabama (1 vote) Georgia (1 vote) USC (1 vote) TCU (1 vote)
Q: Which team has the best chance of being CFB's "mid major sleeper" this year?
A: Boise State (2 votes) Louisiana Tech (2 votes) Navy (1 vote) BYU (1 vote) UL-Lafa (1 vote)
Matt--"BYU is technically a mid-major I guess, and I think they'll end the season in the top 25, but Louisiana Tech should be a team to keep on your radar. They return most of the important guys from a squad that nearly upset TCU, they have a great coach, a cake of a WAC schedule, and some games against beatable bigger schools (Texas A&M plays there, and they face Houston as well)."
Chip--"I am going out on a limb here with Navy. I think Coach Ken Niumatalolo is a good coach, the Navy offense is tough to defend, and the schedule seems favorable for Navy to bounce back from a losing season. Not BCS-buster, but good enough to be in a bowl game again."
Who is winning the Heisman?
DJ--"Matt Barkley will probably ride his easy-ass schedule and ESPN love all the way to the Heisman Ceremonies. He'll then promptly be broken at the spine by some rabid DT from the SEC and go onto a disappointing NFL career (probably in Cleveland)."
Who is winning the national title?
A: Clemson (1 vote) USC (2 votes) Alabama (1 vote) LSU (1 vote) Arkansas (1 vote) Texas (1 vote)
So...we either get more blood and horror from the SEC, Texas or Clemson getting lucky, or WORLD CHAMPION LANE KIFFIN.
Can OSU be unbanned now plz?