A Look Into The Future

By Johnny Ginter on November 4, 2010 at 1:00p

The future, Conan?


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to the Bye week, we here at Eleven Warriors can now devote our full mental faculties (normally directed toward determining which image macro to use for an article and writing random historical allusions that have very little to do with football) to the noble task of peering through the ether in a truly H.G. Wellsian effort. Yes, loyal reader, today we shall examine the 2011 Ohio State Big Ten schedule, and attempt to see through the fog of Chronos so that we may understand the shifting landscape of college football and how the Buckeyes might navigate a truly murky path. Prepare yourself! For this journey is not for those faint of heart or spirit. Those with weak constitutions or an aversion to away games in Lincoln should leave at once.

However, my friends, if you think you can handle endless rows of corn and a maddening beat pounded out by the world's largest drum, we shall press on...

October 1st, 2011: Michigan State

Our first stop into the future takes us to a home game against Sparty to open the Big Ten season. In 2010, Michigan State is able to avoid the Ohio State Buckeyes due to a scheduling quirk and is able to ride a win over Wisconsin and uncharacteristically steady play to an 8-0 record and a #5 ranking (despite not getting any Top 25 votes in the preseason poll), when they are unceremoniously dumped by Iowa to end any National Championship dreams they might've had. In 2011 they will lose most of a senior-laden offensive line, plus LB Greg Jones, but most of the skill position players will be back, including Kirk Cousins, Edwin Baker, and Le'Veon Bell. A very dangerous team, much moreso than many thought, especially to begin Big Ten season against.

October 8th, 2011: @Nebraska

Ohio State will venture into Lincoln, Nebraska to take on Bo Pelini and a tough Nebraska team. In 2010 Nebraska fields a very young defense that still ranks 19th in the country in total yardage allowed per game. Make no mistake though, in 2011 the identity of the team will be very closely tied to Taylor Martinez, a dual threat QB capable of both Denard-like brilliance and Nick Sheridan-like incompetence. The defense will likely be very good to excellent; the real question is if Martinez can carry the offense the way Pelini hopes he can.

October 15th, 2011: @Illinois

The fighting Ron Zooks showed some surprising grit in 2010, with a promising young QB in Nathan Scheelhaase and a tough defense that ranked 15th in the country 8 games into their season. The Illini lose very little going into 2011, and, like Nebraska, will base most of their offensive identity on a sophomore QB, and like MSU, will hope that their good defense will carry them through the games that Scheelhaase has any growing pains. Make no mistake, this three game stretch is much, much tougher than it looked a few months ago, especially if the young defenses on these teams continue to improve.

October 29th, 2011: Wisconsin

2011 will be very, very interesting for the Wisconsin Badgers. No Scott Tolzien. No TE Lance Kendricks. Four men on defense lost, including Jay Valai. Two offensive linemen gone. Possibly no John Clay (or maybe even DE J.J. Watt). With that said, there is no doubt about the offensive gameplan: if Clay comes back, all sophomore QB Jon Budmayr will be asked to do is hand it off to him 50 times a game. If Clay doesn't, Budmayr will be handing off to James White 50 times a game. Of course, on October 29th, a very angry OSU team and fanbase looking for revenge might be the more pressing issue for the men from Madison...

November 5th, 2011: Indiana

In 2011 Indiana will lose QB Ben Chappell and WR Tandon Doss, faced with the prospect of having to catch passes from a sophomore named Dusty with a 51.16 passer rating, will most likely decide to leave early. That means that a reeling Hoosier team will probably rely on Darius Willis, an RB who has never rushed for more than 5 ypc in a season, to carry them. Truly this is a disturbing future indeed.

November 12th, 2011: @Purdue

Like Indiana, in 2011 Purdue will also lose their best player in DE Ryan Kerrigan, and like many other Big Ten teams, will hope that a young and athletic QB, Rob Henry, can carry them through the season. In other words, the 2011 version of Purdue will be much like the 2010 version of Purdue. That version, by the way, lost to Ohio State 49-0. Hmmm.

November 19th, 2011: Penn State

Sensing a theme here? Mainstay offensive starters (WR Zug, WR Brackett, OG Wisniewski, RB Royster) gone. Young QB trying to keep an offense treading water with not a lot of support. A somewhat decent defense will help here, but either Bolden or McGloin had better be spectacular or Penn State is going to come into Ohio Stadium like a leaky, urine filled balloon, and Ohio State would be all too happy to pop it right over the heads of the visiting Lion faithful.

November 26th, 2011: @Michigan

A wildcard. Does it really matter at all who will remain on defense in 2011? It's highly unlikely whoever plays will be any better than "not too embarrassing," but the real issue here is whether the University of Michigan will be willing to pony up the $6,000,000 to rebuild Denard Robinson. Better. Stronger. Faster. They have the technology (remember, it's the future). Or, will Michigan somehow find a complementary RB so that Denard doesn't risk life and limb every game? Will it even matter, with the defense being so bad? Will Rich Rod even be around to coach this team made up of flesh and bone and steel and computer chips? The answer to all of these questions: "Probably not."

And so, we pull back the lever on our time machine, and return to the present day. After looking into the future, a few things become clear: the beginning of the Big Ten schedule will be brutal, especially for a young OSU defense. They will be helped out, however, by not having to face a "complete" offense; that is to say, one with a veteran QB, RB, and O-Line. Nebraska will, unsurprisingly, be the most difficult game in all likelihood, but any of the first four teams have a shot at taking down the Buckeyes.

The back end of the schedule is much easier, but in this new look Big Ten, the games are going to get even tougher. The future, for now at least, seems laden with danger. Hopefully Pryor and company can navigate the tides of time and peril unscathed.



Brady's picture

Whoa!  That first 4 game stretch in the Big Tweleven (I like the name alot) is brutal.  The Buckeyes have their hands full to start next season.


goodlifesean's picture

At least they will have traveled to Miami and hosted and improving Colorado by then. If the Bucks go unscathed next year there can be no doubt they deserve to be #1

Always prepare for and expect victory, don't brace for defeat. If defeat happens learn and never let it happen again.

dannychampion's picture

@Nebraska = EPIC GAME. First time we've played them since the 50's, first Big Tweleven matchup, potential top 10 teams. Crowd will be jacked up in Lincoln.

Poe McKnoe's picture

I'd love to go to Lincoln to watch it, but don't want to shell out Ohio State-Michigan money to do it.  They may need a 150,000 seat stadium for that one.

Poe McKnoe's picture

Denard Robinson will be doing his best Percy Harvin impersonation for whoever is the next coach at Michigan...and maybe playing corner or safety, cause god knows they need him everywhere they can get him.

Hoody Wayes's picture

2011 is Our version of blitzkrieg or "Buckskrieg." Hurt Wisconsin.

Flava Flav's picture

Since we're on the expansion tangent...what would a Big Ten 2010 Champsionship game be looking like right now? Wisconsin in the drivers seat in the "east" and Iowa in the "west"? An Iowa loss to OSU would put Michigan State (or Nebraska) in the championship game I guess. We would have no shot unless Wisky drops one....hmmm...the future is uncertain indeeed...

Pam's picture

Hi guys,

I am flying to Cols. for the PSU game next week.  Is there still a 11W tailgate? 

Johnny Ginter's picture

no, unfortunately that was a once a year thing, but hopefully we can put on another sweet shindig at some point in the future.

Pam's picture

Bummer.  I was looking forward to putting faces to names. 

Johnny Ginter's picture

oh well, in that case, for me just imagine harry potter crossed with joel robinson from mst3k

tomcollins's picture

That schedule is brutal.  Look at who we are missing - Northwestern, Iowa, Minnesota.  Pretty bad luck with missing 2 easy teams and getting Nebraska and Sparty.  Michigan may even be decent next season.

My goal next season is a Big Ten title, and even that will be quite an accomplishment.

The "West" will be a beast with Sparty, Iowa, Nebraska all being fairly good and even Michigan and Northwestern capable of some upsets.

Odds of going undefeated next year have to be <5% (I gave us 20% this year).  Way too many tough road games.  Going through that first stretch 3-1 would be a huge win.

I do like having more exciting games on the schedule even if it means we might lose more.  It seems this year we really have a 3.5 game schedule (Miami, Wisky, Iowa, and Michigan), where Michigan is only half an exciting game to see how badly we wax them.

bcWEcouldn&#039;tGOfor3's picture

Everyone thought that this year's schedule was supposed to be tough...now look at it. The one big test OSU has had so far they squandered.  What once looked like a 4-headed monster of a schedule (MIAMI, WISCONSIN, IOWA, PENN STATE) has turned into a 1 and a half headed monster.

So lets not get all uptight about the potential for a brutal schedule. A lot of things can happen to teams in the next year.

But on paper...it does look bad.

I don't know off the top of my head...how many seniors is OSU going to lose on both sides of the ball?

Johnny Ginter's picture

on offense it isn't terrible. sanzo, saine, boren, browning. defense though... ugh:









also if the NCAA doesn't grant moeller another year i will tear my hair out (they will though)

bcWEcouldn&#039;tGOfor3's picture

Sanz is going to be tough to replace...IMO. The rest doesn't bother me.

Defense might be a different story.


Another question...did Nebraska give some money under the table to have OSU visit them first? 

Johnny Ginter's picture

well, nebraska has to travel to madison the week before, so they don't exactly have it easy either

tomcollins's picture

Nebraska had no say in the schedule, so it looks like they rigged it to give them the hardest schedule possible next year to make sure they didn't come in and win the conference.

BuckeyeChief's picture

I doubt they will, they are very strict about that in regards to football.

"2014 National Champions...deal with it!!!"

Johnny Ginter's picture

the extra year woud be for the year moeller lost due to him being assaulted, not the pectoral injury. the NCAA can be pretty evil, but i don't think they're THAT evil

tomcollins's picture

Wisconsin and Iowa = 1.5 headed monster?  Road games for both, that's virtually a 3-headed monster there.  Miami and PSU are trash, though.

Kurt's picture

1. The great thing about next year's tough(er) slate is that if/when we do drop a game it won't be nearly as detrimental to MNC ambitions as it was this year. 

2. The Big Ten as a whole will be a much better conference, not only bc of the addition of Nebraska, but because of the title game - right away you get another game against a top 10/15 opponent.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Agree wholeheartedly. Lets face it, over the last decade, we have had 3 and 4 game regular seasons.  Our talent and overall ability as a team was no match for conference and non-conference opponents on the whole.  We'd have one tough non-conference game, and then maybe 3 tough conference games at most.  IA, Mich St., and Wisconsin have hardly been consistently good enough to beat us.  Michigan was at one point, but not recently (obviously). And PSU has been able to beat us consistently, but only in the years they are good, which is every other year it seems. The "off years" for PSU have been frequent.

Having a better schedule is not only more exciting as a fan, it also allows for us to more accurately measure the team.  Hey, the reason an SEC team always seems to win a title is that the champion is clearly really f'n good to be the champion of a league that is brutal. We finally have that. If we get through a tough schedule that requires us to play 5-6 tough games without any loses, we will really be championship calibre, no doubt.

If we don't go undefeated or with only 1 loss, then we go to a bowl where we really belong, and our winning percentage in bowls will improve.  Basically, we won't have to wonder anymore whether we can play with the other elite teams in a given year, or whether we are battle-tested enough. 

I would much rather deal with more regular seasons where we lose 2 or 3 games if it means more exciting games week-in and week-out, and we have a better idea of where we really stack up nationally. 

Johnny Ginter's picture

I would much rather deal with more regular seasons where we lose 2 or 3 games if it means more exciting games week-in and week-out, and we have a better idea of where we really stack up nationally.

i agree with this, but i wonder how many OSU fans will have this perspective the first time we drop two B10 games in a row?

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

Well, we certainly are going to need to get used to not having the absolute run of the league quite like we have. I personally hate only having a couple games a year that match us against a formidable team.   And, I see no reason we won't still be the favorite in the vast majority of years. Even with the addition of NE, we are still clearly the best program in the B10 by a pretty wide margin.  

However, you are right, others will probably not like the fact we failed to cruise through our schedule unchallenged.  But, I would simply ask those fans, would you rather be in Boise's position then? Like beating your little brother at basketball, eventually it just gets a little boring.

With the way the non-con schedules are now structured these days (3-4 absolute cupcakes), if the league is better, the season will be more enjoyable.  Others may differ, I'm sure.  Just my personal opinion. I would be interested to know whether the majority of fans would prefer a bad schedule that guarantees us 10-11 wins, or better games throughout the season?    

tomcollins's picture

I think it will make it easier to lower expectations of irrational fans a lot easier in the long run.    Even this year with a fairly easy schedule, our odds of running the table were quite low.  We're bound to stub our toe.  But a season or two where we actually realize there are other good teams, expectations will be more reasonable.  Basketball - no one expects to win every conference game, and we still can have positive seasons winning the Big Ten.  Football will come to be the same.  We will get stronger for it, people will get used to it, and we will be even better positioned on the years where we do come out with a great record.

We still have the best talent pool to pull from in the entire conference, and while we won't be able to dominate as easily, we should be the favorite to win the most titles in any 10-year period going forward.

ATL Buckeye's picture

11-dub, thanks for this fearless look into the future. Although I take solice in knowing most of the elite teams will be missing some key pieces, I'm more worried about how we are going to look next year. Just looking at this, the Big Ten will fall a few notches next year, until some new unproven players make a name for themselves. Also, this is why the B10 is so tough this year....many elite players going to make a living on Sundays. After SEC (west), top to bottom, the B10 takes a close second.

Brutus's picture

So what is pryor going to do next year? Clearly, he's not ready to be an NFL qb and likely never will be. He will probably go through the junior evaluation and someone will tell him that he'll get drafted in an earlyish to middle round, but probably as an athlete or a receiver or something besides qb. So the question is does he stick around for his senior year chasing the dream of becoming an NFL qb, knowing that in all likelihood he still won't get drafted as a qb, or take the money this year and get started on learning a new position (just coming in to take snaps in wildcat formation for whatever team drafts him)?

Bottom line for me is that we can still contend in the B10 next year with pryor at qb. Defense will be sketchy but I'm confident that we'll scrape together some talent per usual. If he goes, I think we'll lose more game than ever in the JT era.

And how about cam newton? I question the timing and the fact that the story comes from a jilted lover in MSU. But I also believe that where there's smoke, there's fire. In the immortal words of Gorgeous George, this is going to get messy.

JakeBuckeye's picture

I have no reason to believe Pryor's leaving.

1) A main reason he came to Ohio State is to become an NFL QB.

2) He's not ready for that and won't be ready for it by the upcoming draft.

3) He really talks a lot about seniors, this one may be silly on my part, but I really really think TP would love being a senior and a team captian next year.

4) He says he's coming back, but this is the one I put the least stock into. We've seen plenty of juniors declare themselves for April after exciting a fan base with the announcement of the respective player coming back for one last season.

Johnny Ginter's picture

agree with all of this, but on #4 i don't think he's the kind of guy to BS when it comes to that stuff. if he was thinking about the draft he probably wouldn't say otherwise. TP has never been all that adept at censoring himself (which is pretty funny/cool out of a Tressel QB)

tomcollins's picture

There is no way Pryor is playing anything other than QB for Ohio State next season (assuming he doesn't get injured). Even if he wanted to be a TE or WR or whatever in the NFL, he could switch once he gets there, and would be highly unlikely to be a high draft pick anyway.  We have no QB ready to take over if he goes.  He wants to win and prove himself, and I don't see him just giving up on his team or himself that easily.  Then again, his role model is Lebron James, so maybe #6 can teach him how to master those two things.

JakeBuckeye's picture


JakeBuckeye's picture

I'm really counting on 2011 to be the year we have undoubtedly one of the toughest schedules in the country. For that to happen, Miami would have to inexplicably stay consistently good, Colorado would have to subtlely surprise, and Ron Zook and Rich Rodriguez would have to muster up solid teams. And maybe its even silly of me to presume the solidness of Sparty, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

Looking at it now, I probably shouldn't count on next year being the year. But I actually agree with Tom Collins, I WANT A TOUGH SCHEDULE.

nickma71's picture

Lets not forget after Ohio State is done with The U, the Cal Golden Bears on the schedule for a home-home. And Va-Tech after that. The Vest knows how to get BCS points. Of course, this is predicated on these winning programs actualy winning games, unlike The U as of late. And it is predicated on OSU getting the win. Better to drop the regular season game and find out than the bowl game.