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Bill C. | June 29, 2014

2014 Ohio State season preview

2014 Ohio State season preview

at Navy, August 30 (Baltimore)
at Navy, August 30 (Baltimore)
12:00 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Navy has a theme (triple option offense, bend-don't-break defense), a hell of an option quarterback, and a rather cakey schedule in 2014. Ken Niumatalolo's team should expect to win at least nine games for the sixth time in 13 years.

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Virginia Tech, September 6
Virginia Tech, September 6
8:00 p.m., ESPN

With a Bud Foster defense and a schedule that features only one team projected better than 30th, Virginia Tech could once again win 10+ games in 2014 ... if its offense can at least be mediocre. But it wasn't even mediocre the last two years.

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Kent State, September 13
Kent State, September 13
12:00 p.m., ABC/ESPN/ESPN2

Kent State's win total dropped from 11 to four in 2013, and now the Golden Flashes must replace a couple of truly unique, talented stars. Depth is decent, however, and if they withstand a brutal early schedule, they could approach bowl eligibility.

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Cincinnati, September 27
Cincinnati, September 27
6:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

Tommy Tuberville teams have a tendency to surprise, for better or worse, and now he's in charge of perhaps the most hard-to-figure team in a hard-to-figure conference. 11-1? 4-8? It's all on the table for the Bearcats.

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at Maryland, October 4
at Maryland, October 4
TBA

In an injury-free utopia, Randy Edsall's Maryland Terrapins could be deep, experienced, and all sorts of athletic in 2014. They'll need to be just that, as their first Big Ten schedule is daunting.

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Rutgers, October 18
Rutgers, October 18
3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN/BTN

Rutgers was young, explosive, and all sorts of erratic in 2013. The Scarlet Knights move to the Big Ten with more experience, serious athletic potential ... and plenty of reason to doubt that potential turns into consistent production.

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at Penn State, October 25
at Penn State, October 25
8:00 p.m., ABC/ESPN/ESPN 2

Penn State's sanctions are easing up, and with the hiring of a local, charismatic, and successful new head coach, it's hard not to see the future becoming infinitely brighter for the Nittany Lions. But what does that mean for 2014?

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Illinois, November 1
Illinois, November 1
8:00 p.m., ABC/ESPN/ESPN 2

Take the name off of the jersey, and everything about Illinois looks like a team that will still be about the country's 70th-best. But Illinois seems addicted to huge surges, backward and forward. Which will it be in Tim Beckman's third season in Champaign?

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at Michigan State, November 8
at Michigan State, November 8
8:00 p.m., ABC

Michigan State has to replace a few defensive difference-makers and probably won't be quite as good in 2014 after a magical 2013 campaign. But if the Spartans beat Ohio State at home, that might not matter.

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at Minnesota, November 15
at Minnesota, November 15
TBA

Under fourth-year coach Jerry Kill, Minnesota might be able to pull off something it hasn't achieved in quite some time: a third straight forward step. Kill's 2014 squad is low on star power but has both experience and depth on its side.

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Indiana, November 22
Indiana, November 22
TBA

Indiana has the most explosive running back and maybe the most deeply experienced O-line in FBS. As long as a reconfigured defense doesn't somehow get worse (if that's even possible), the Hoosiers should be both fun and more successful in 2014.

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Michigan, November 29
Michigan, November 29
TBA

Awful offensive line play and youthful defensive mistakes turned a solid start into a feckless finish for Michigan in 2013. Can a more experienced Wolverines squad, replete with a new offensive coordinator, bounce back?

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