12 Foes in 12 Days - Ohio State

Kirk Irwin

Less than two weeks to go until the Buffalo Bulls start their 2013 season. Who are we playing?

Who are they?

One of the most storied programs in college football got their start  when George Cole and Alexander S. Lilley in 1890. In 1902 they helped form the he Ohio Athletic Conference they would briefly share an affiliation with Ohio University and Miami of Ohio before leaving to join the Big10 in 1912.

The Buckeyes claim seven national championships along with 36 conference championships and ten undefeated seasons, including last season which saw them denied a bowl because of Tat-Gate.

Ohio State is second among all Big Ten programs in terms of conference championships (34) and has an overall record of 460-195-28 in big 10 conference play. With 837 wins in over 123 seasons of football, Ohio State ranks fifth among all programs in terms of total wins and is fifth all-time in win–loss records in the NCAA.

In 2009, ESPN ranked Ohio State as the third most prestigious college football program in history behind only Southern California, (USC), and Oklahoma.

Do we know them?

Well this will be the first meeting between Buffalo and Ohio State but it will be the second between Urban Meyer and Jeff Quinn. In the 2010 Sugar Bowl Meyer's Florida Gators stomped Cincinnati. The Bearcats were coached by Quinn in the stead of Brian Kelly who was off to Notre Dame. Meanwhile Quinn had already made committed to the job of replacing Turner Gill at Buffalo.

What are they look like this season?

Ranked #2 in the Nation OSU is every bit the team that would have been in the national championship last season were it not for their post season ban. While they are losing players here or there to off the field issues the Buckeye's are the odds on favorite to win the Big10 and are looking to compete for a national championship.

Who is their coach?

Urban Meyer is modern coaching Royalty, just look at the resume. Two National Championships, Three BCS Bowl wins, seven total bowl wins against just one loss. He has not had a season outside of the top 25 since 2002.

On the down side is the fact that he ruined the MAC for a good several seasons when his influence caused everyone to go gaga over the spread he ran at Bowling Green, then at Utah.

Who to watch on offense, what can we do?

Braxton Miller is Ohio's star Quarterback, think Tim Tebow but bigger. The question for Miller is one of his passing game which has been far weaker than his ability to run the ball.

With Ohio State starting running Back Carlos Hyde out because of his July arrest, and his backup, Rod Smith, suspended for team rules violations Ohio State may still use Miller in a more Tebo-esq fashion than they would like. It's still going to come down to how UB's front seven manages Ohio's line but the pool of talent running behind that line is thinning out pretty quickly.

Buffalo's secondary is going to have their hands full with Ohio's receivers but the Buckeye rocking a run first Quarterback using his third string half back might make things a bit easier on them.

Who to watch on defense?

Ryan Shazier, Ohio's best linebacker, gets it done covering passes and rushing the quarterback. He is also the only member of Ohio State's front seven who started last season.

The Buckeye's have more experience among their defensive backs but Bradley Roby, OSU's best back will miss the opener with his own legal issues. Between that loss and a very green front seven there is a chance UB can be somewhat effective against the OSU defense so long as the right side of the line holds up and Oliver can provide enough of a threat to open things up in the mid range passing game.

Verdict?

This is a David and Goliath type of match-up. But Ohio State is doing everything they can do to level the playing field by losing star players and perhaps overlooking the Bulls because of UB's horrid record under Jeff Quinn. This year's Bulls team, however, seems more stacked than any since the move up to the Bowl Subdivision, more so than the 2008 MAC championship squad.

Can Way, Mack, and Johnson lead the defense with an effort strong enough to keep UB in the game? Maybe, they did it last season for most of the Georgia game. The bigger concern, I think, will be Licata finding a receiver other than Neutz to threaten Ohio and Oliver being enough of a menace to make Ohio State forget about UB's passing game.

With Urban Meyer one thing is for certain. If UB starts getting rolled badly OSU will not take their foot off the pedal. Meyer is somewhat famous for playing his starters and his game plan well into a blowout. Jeff Quinn saw that first hand in 2010.

Want to know more?

Don't forget to check out Land-Grant Holy Land

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