The Ohio State Buckeyes are going to hang their hat on their offense this season. Coming off of their bowl suspension they are hungry to be back in the national spotlight. They ran the table last year and after turning in an undefeated season I'm sure everyone feels a little disappointed. Imagine being in the process of pitching a shutout and then the coach pulls you in the 8th inning for something you didn't do. I know it's the rules, but as a player you would have to feel cheated to not be able to play in the biggest games. Luckily, they are bowl eligible this year.
They team has one of the most dangerous weapons in college football in Braxton Miller. He is an athletic, talented player who will have another year in the system. Urban Meyer has already said in the media that he will be disappointed if they don't have the best offense in the Big Ten this year. A big part of that success will depend on Miller, but I feel comfortable putting it on his shoulders. Last season many scouts and personnel didn't really consider him a QB, he was looked at as an athlete who played behind center. Even with those raw skills he still managed to throw for 28 touchdowns. At this point he is likely to be able to contend for the Heisman Trophy.
The team also has a more experienced line and greatly improved players at the skill positions as well. Hyde will start in the backfield, but it's not just about him. They have a talented stable that also includes Hall, Dunn and Ball. Hall is a fifth-year senior who possesses a deceptive, shifty speed. While Dunn and Ball are younger players who have a lot of potential but are still finding their style. The team also has a legitimate threat at wide receiver in Corey Brown. He led the team in receptions last year with 60 and this year he could become an All-Big Ten candidate.
Lets not forget about the defense though. You don't become one of the most storied teams in college football on offense alone. The defense only gave up 22.8 PPG last season, but they must replace seven starters. The defensive line took a particularly big hit by losing all four starting guys. The two new ends will be sophomores Washington and Spence. They both have a lot of potential and could develop into real pass threats. The two of them combined for seven sacks in the spring game. The linebackers and secondary look much better with each unit boasting a top player. Shazier was one of the best linebackers in the country last season. He was second in the league last year with 115 tackles and there is no reason he can't match that this year. Roby emerged as one of the best cornerbacks in the nation last year also and two players on that level can really anchor a defense.
The Buckeyes didn't get a lot of hype last year because of their sanctions but everyone should remember how good they are. They were dominant last season and they have a lot of room to grow. Meyer and offensive coordinator Herman have said they were extremely in what they could do on offense last year because Miller couldn't understand all the complexities of Meyer's playbook. With another year in the books we should see an intellectual gain to go along with the physical. When you combine that with the hyper-competitive Meyer at coach you have every reason to believe the winning train will continue. Unfortunately, they would have to run the table again to be able to play for the National Title. If they did that it would mean 24 consecutive wins, I think that may be asking a bit much, but winning a Big Ten title isn't.