Why the Buckeyes Will Go Undefeated in 2012

By Jeff Beck on June 20, 2012 at 6:00p
FREAKishDefense: Wins championships and soils undergarments 

In my most recent Skull Session I ruminated for a spell on the possibility of Ohio State going 12-0 in 2012. While I still believe that would be an incredibly difficult situation to stomach, I don’t think it’s completely out of the question. That’s why I’m here today to offer up five reasons why Ohio State WILL go undefeated this upcoming season. 

Of course in the interest of fair and balanced journalism I’ll be offering up five reasons why Ohio State WONT be riding dirty with an unblemished record next week. So stay tuned loyal readers.

With that said, let’s get to it.

#1 Ohio State’s Up-tempo / Unseen offense.

It’s no secret Urban Meyer and Tom Herman are speeding things up on the offensive side of the ball. The Buckeyes will be running a style of offense patrons of the Shoe may never have seen from their boys in the Scarlet and Gray in any decade (exciting.). The no huddle, quick-strike mentality seeks to stretch opposing defenses from sideline to sideline ultimately moving the ball from end zone to end zone (at least in theory). The philosophy appears to be working as Meyer definitely has the whole scoring thing down.

It’s a system in which Braxton Miller should thrive. Often last year it seemed the freshman was moving the ball in spite of Bollman’s playcalling. In 2012, Braxton gets the keys to an offense that is tailored to his strengths. One that rolls him out of the pocket, builds confidence with short passes, and forces defenses to account for his scrambling ability at all times.

Fans of the Scarlet and Gray aren’t the only ones who will be seeing this offense for the first time as opposing defenses will be in the same boat. Meyer didn’t unveil a ton in the spring game and it’s safe to say he wont be showing much of his hand until the Sept. 15 matchup against Cal. 

This gives an undeniable advantage to the Buckeyes as defenses wont be entirely sure what to prepare for. Sure they can study some of Meyer’s Florida tape, but this offense will be incorporating bits and pieces of both Meyer and Herman’s philosophies. Basically it’s a high-powered offensive Frankenstein pieced together by two of the finer scoring minds in college football. Light your torches and bring your pitchforks Big 10 villagers, because it could be a long day.

#2 Dominating Defense

The MonsterMeyer and Herman's offense. Fear it.

This defense has everything you could ask for in terms of potential for domination. There are clear leaders in John Simon and Jonathan Hankins, there’s depth, and there’s experience with nine returning starters.

Tom Dienhart of the BTN ranked both OSU’s 2012 defensive line and secondary at No. 1 in the Big Ten. The stout defensive line should give a relatively young group of linebackers (led by Ryan Damn Shazier) the opportunity to roam and use their athleticism to make plays.

In addition, the consistency in the defensive coaching staff should afford this group less of a learning curve than most experience with a new head coach. The comfort in having Coach Fickell and Coach Vrabel back on the sideline can’t be understated. Far from the offense's situation, this group can “X and O” (read: think) less and simply play football. 

#3 Relative Ease of Schedule

Unlike in years past where Ohio State has taken on a powerhouse program early, this season’s home and away is Cal. The Golden Bears wont be a cake-walk by any means, but USC and Texas they are not.

From there the Bucks will be tested on the road against MSU, but the Spartans will have an unproven signal caller under center. If the defensive line can get pressure, I like Ohio State’s chances.

Following the Spartans, the Bucks get a Nebraska team in Columbus they should have beaten last year (BAUSERBOMBS!!!), a few nameless teams in Indiana (I can say that because Ohio State plays Purdue at home which means they win by 24 instead of experiencing Purdue-Harbor on a loop) and a Penn State team with Matt McMoxie at the helm. Not exactly daunting.

Then comes what I believe to be the biggest test of the season: an away game at Camp Randall. The Badgers will likely have Danny O’Brien under center, the athletic Maryland transfer who threw for 29 TDs and 18 INTs during his time with the Terrapins. The game will be a tough one, but when playing Wisconsin, the unthinkable tends to happen. Hopefully the Buckeyes can bring that luck on the road.

Finally, Michigan rolls into town. This game will be the Buckeyes bowl appearance, and Meyer will demand perfection. It’s hard to see the Buckeyes losing this contest at home, especially since they were only a few Miller overthrows away from a win last season in Ann Arbor.

The schedule isn’t a complete cupcake, but it’s much more manageable than in years past.

#4 Improved Overall Coaching Staff

Throughout the Tressel years, it was clear he ran the show. The consummate micro-manager, he had his hand in every facet of the program. During last season’s train-wreck we may have learned more about Tressel as a coach than in any season he was actually on the sideline. He was the glue holding the Bollmans and Sicilianos of the world together. Without him, everything fell to pieces.

Top to bottom, this coaching staff is better than any group Tressel had in Columbus (with the possible exception of 2001-2003 with Mark Dantonio as DC). Meyer made it a point to hire or retain some of the best assistants available, specifically so he wouldn’t have to re-live his stressful days in Gainesville.

The staff is an enthusiastic bunch that knows how to work from the ground up. When you get a lot of great minds in the same room, good things tend to happen.

#5 Spoiler Mentality

This effectiveness of #5 relies solely on the effectiveness of #4, but I think playing spoiler is something the coaching staff will harp on all season. With no postseason to play for, this team is going to have to find something to motivate them week-in and week-out. I believe that motivation will come from players wanting to ruin the season of each and every team they face in 2012.

It’s not hard to see guys like Kerry Coombs and Mike Vrabel pounding this into players’ skulls, and I believe it will be a rallying cry for the team.

Spoil everyone’s season, go 12-0 and sit back and watch the world burn. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me.

If all goes as designed the Buckeyes’ high-powered offense and terrifying defense will be driven by an undeniable want to play spoiler during every week of 2012’s manageable schedule, propelling them to a 12-0 season. (Whew that was a long sentence…take a breath).

A few things will have to fall their way, but no team goes undefeated without a little luck am I right?



Tanner's picture

I hope I'm wrong but I think there's almost no chance this team goes undefeated. The only unit there are basically no questions about, the only unit that is basically guaranteed to perform at a high level is the defensive line (and tight end if you are counting that as a unit.) You could make a case for running back but it's hard to write that in pen when you aren't sure if there is a true #1 back on the roster for the upcoming season. I just don't see how a team that has legitimate questions to answer (to varying degrees, of course) at quarterback, offensive line, wide recieiver, linebacker and secondary can be seen to have a real shot at going undefetaed.
Semi related note: that UCF game really scares me.

buckeyedude's picture

I think OSU's chances of going undefeated are much, much greater than 0, Tanner.
Although I do agree it would be difficult. Certain teams may still be thinking OSU is "down" and this is their chance to beat them. Anything can happen. I just like the new attitude in town with the new coaching staff makes anything possible. Look what Tress did in his second year with Coop's players.
If I had to guess, I think OSU goes 11-1, the lone loss in Wisconsin. This IS going to be a MUCH improved team from last year, without a friggin doubt. Just how much...that is the question.



buckeye76BHop's picture

Our Defense in the first two games will make you more at ease...you'll see.  UCF will be a better match up than most think (so will Cal).  But OSU will have an all around better team in 2012.  Have no fear Tanner...Urban's here.  Offense isn't the only thing he'll be coaching...you can be sure of that. Think he may have noticed our O-line was sluggish and not capable of a match up vs Dunlap and those other DE's at FL in 2007...??? I'd go with yes he did...he's a beast and so are the new assistants (not to mention the ones who were retained are outstanding, which is why they're still there).  Go Bucks....can't wait till 9/1!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

M Man's picture

I actually don't buy any of these non-quatifiable metrics.  I don't think "Ohio State’s Up-tempo / Unseen offense" means squat.
I don't think you guys will go undefeated for the simple reason that very few teams do go undefeated.
But I'll be darned if I know who it is that is going to beat OSU.  I know that Vegas has you guys favored everywhere except in East Lansing and at Camp Randall.  And rightly so.  I'd take OSU and the points versus Sparty and Bucky Badger.
I hope Michigan wins in Columbus but I wouldn't bet on it.
So that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.  It's not that complicated.  I have no idea who can beat the Buckeyes; I just think that somebody will, just because that's what happens.

buckeyedude's picture

I'm seeing some ink in the periodicals about Denard and the Heisman. I think he may be invited to the show, but I believe he isn't going to win it. UM has a tough schedule this year, and Urban is going to have the Buckeyes ready.
Is the Heisman Award usually before the OSU/UM game? Can't remember. I know it's kind of early, and that would increase Denard's chances, but I don't think he gets it.



Menexenus's picture

IIRC, the Heisman is awarded in December - after the regular season, before the big bowls.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

buckeyedude's picture

Ok, well...if it is indeed after the OSU/UM game, I believe that is going to decrease Denard's chances. Now tell me how good my scarlet colored glasses look.



Jdadams01's picture

Agree completely with you, M Man. OSU has the talent to beat every team on their schedule, but I see 2 losses happening for the simple reasons of motivation or just plain luck. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Yeah, or the other team plays lights-out, with the QB playing out of his mind, or something. I tend to look at these things in terms of probabilities. 
Hypothetically, even if we assume that "Great Team A" plays "Okay Team B" 12 times in row and each time is 0.97 likely to win, we'd still project that Team A would go 12-0 only about 70 percent of the time.
If a team is ridiculously good - say like Nebraska 1995 - then maybe they'll be 0.93 likely to beat their toughest opponent, 0.97 likely to beat the good ones, and 0.99+ likely to beat the crappy ones - at that point, those teams are likely to go undefeated. Yet, some amazingly great teams have lost a game or two. And if they go up against several very good teams, they're that much more likely to lose at least once along the way.
Meanwhile, the odds of teams that are merely very good going undefeated are fairly low.
Obviously, there will often end up being around 1 - 4 undefeated teams in spite of the odds facing any individual team. If there are 1-2 great teams and 8-12 very good teams a year, some of them will survive, perhaps assisted by a little luck, etc. Sometimes, you'll even have teams like Kansas 2007 (almost!) that really skirt the odds.   

buckeye76BHop's picture

I don't agree at all with the opening statement by one of our favorite TTUN fans but I'm a closet Buckeye fan bc i come here to chat;-) It will be a better "up tempo" offense than Rich Rod buddy and you can take that to the bank (we all know that's what you guys keep referring to by saying OSU will not be improved bc of no huddle & up tempo..and yes you're wrong again).  
As far as going undefeated...I unfortunately have to agree.  I have to admit after seeing Vegas with 10-2 with losses at MSU and Wisky away...I'd say that would be more what will prevail or 11-1.  Do I think it's possible OSU will go undefeated....yes...same as you apparently.  I just think it could be unlikely but with a what do we have to lose/spoiler mentality...if those SR's get the rest to buy in...you never know.  
I'll say this MMan...in exactly 157 days, Denard Robinson will surely not be doing that stupid ass eating reference on the sidelines of the Horse Shoe, I can guarantee you of that!  You guys and Wisky are our Bowl Game and Championship games back to back.  I can see a possible slip up in East Lansing or possibly Wisky, but not you guys....no way!  GO BUCKS!  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

M Man's picture

Don't forget Purdue.

GoBucksOSU's picture

OSU only loses to purdue when it is @ Purdue. And the 2012 game vs purdue is a home game for OSU.

hail2victors9's picture

Denard should stick to kneeling; however, he does the "Let's eat" thing after every score he's involved in.  He will score or will throw a TD in Columbus (if he's healthy) and, therefore, will likely make that stupid gesture...unless officials start to flag him for it.

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

M Man's picture

Denard did it after every score in one game only; the 2011 Ohio State game, in Michigan Stadium.  And, he did it a couple of times in the Sugar Bowl game.
All of it bothered me.  Honestly, I think Bo Schembechler would have kicked Denard's ass if he had seen such a thing.  I hope -- actually, I expect -- that we have seen the end of 'we've been hungry; time to eat.'  I wish it had never happened.

Bucksfan's picture

Going undefeated next year would be a cruel, cruel joke.

BED's picture

Until the AP awards us a Championship ala USC in 03.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

buckeyechad's picture

I have next season as alright with 9 wins, very happy with 10. Anything more is just icing

GABuckeye's picture

I'd have to agree with you sir!

TheBadOwl's picture

If we go undefeated and the big dogs at the top knock each other off, do we win the AP title?

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

factor11's picture

Braxton to Devin was one of my favorite memories in the Shoe, despite the season.  I watched that clip ten times before continuing to read this story.  I make a trip to Columbus once a year since I graduated to catch a game... picked a good one last year.

Jeff Beck's picture

I was there for that one as well. I lost my mind when Smith reeled it in. As great as that play is, the best part of the clip is Braxton smiling at the camera at :14 as if to say, "Yup, deal with it".

factor11's picture

Fantastic Stuff.  I don't think it is possible to, even with the clip, to discern how loud it was at that moment Smith reeled it in. It was insanely loud.

Jeff Beck's picture

Yeah the clip doesn't do it justice. It may have been the loudest I've ever heard the Shoe. The entire USC game was raucous, but 2011 Wisky was on another level.

UFest57's picture

I was there...almost fell down the steps as I was drunkenly jumping up and down with fellow fans. Truely deserving on a "Holy Buckeye" moment, although a TON less on the line.

hodge's picture

I was there, sitting in the handicap seats while I recovered from foot surgery.  I'd just started walking, but was using crutches to stay myself.  When Brax hit Smith...man, my girlfriend had to physically restrain me from rushing the field.

buckeyechad's picture

I was in in the North section for that game. Jumped as hard as I could when he caught it, got my feet stuck on the seats in front of me and proceeded to fall on my face. Was still awesome

factor11's picture

Great Comment, lol.

pcon258's picture

This is very well thought out and all, but i liked DJ's version on SBnation where he claimed jordan hall will win the heisman. 
in all seriousness though, i agree with all of these points, i think there will be some small hiccup along the way a la purdue last year, that throws a wrench in the undefeated season, but its definitely plausible

Alex Root's picture

Undefeated would be awesome, can they do it sure they can. I think this team is much better then we all might think. But I would have to say 10-2 or 9-3 is what I would say is a sucessful season. 8-4 wouldn't be terrible but would be a dissapointment. I think 10-2 is probably where they end up, maybe 11-1 I think camp randell is a tough place to play and Wisconsin always gives us a good game, I think the rest of the big ten is down this year so I think they have a good schedule for all the concerns of this team.

avail31678's picture

It's tough to judge.  We very nearly won every game that we lost last year (except Miami).  Holding Sparty to 10 last year was pretty impressive (all things considered).  Holding Wisconsin and Nebraska to nearly nothing, until the 4th quarter where we collapsed, was also impressive.  And this year's D won't be all freshman, and will have more depth, and should have Nate Williams rejoin.
And the offense?  Has nowhere to go but up from last year.  The short quick passes are going to be very tough to defend (think NC game against Fl in 2007).  The biggest question is the O-line, but it's - even according to pessimistic Urban - showing improvement.  And I know we supposedly don't have any playmakers, but I think we do.  If we just "gamble" (sarcasm) and throw the ball more than 15 times a game, we might see that. 
It's tough to get a read on Urban and what he REALLY means when he says "we need lots of work here" or even when he says "we're improving there."  Because you kow his standards are so darn high.  I guess I kinda agree it's very tough to go undefeated for ANY team.  But it is not out of the realm so to speak. 
I just really want to crush Wisconsin and DESTROY Michigan.  I'm so sick of hearing "they're back."  They may be, but one cupcake season with a cupcake bowl game (V Tech was NOT good last year...they barely beat Duke...DUKE!) doesn't convince me yet.  I can stand losing to Sparty.  For some reason I just don't mind that.
CAN'T WAIT.  Go Bucks!

Maestro's picture

The defense will be good, but if they haven't figured out how to get off the field on 3rd downs (65th in the nation last season) there will certainly be at least 2-3 losses this season.

vacuuming sucks

Idaho Helga's picture

^^ agreed  and now we won't have all those offsides lineman calls. Geeze.  Could someone get a graduate paper on how bad that hurt us?
I think an undefeated season would hurt us and if you look.... John Cooper 2nd year, Jim Tressel 2nd year, etc, you might be better off with the 'dis from NCAA during 1st year.
Have not looked up stats, just going from memories.

Doc's picture

Damn it Jeff!  You've got me so pumped up for the season right now I can hardly type.  IS IT SEPTEMBER YET!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I'm hiding baby and I'm dreaming
I'm riding down your moonlight mile

Maestro's picture


vacuuming sucks

RBuck's picture

I am really getting tired of Wisconsin and their Rent-A-QB system.

Long live the southend.

hail2victors9's picture

Games that would concern me if I was a Buckeye:
California - Noon ET start is pretty early for a West Coast team
@MSU-Depends on if MSU finds an offense
Nebraska-Homecoming and prime time at Ohio Stadium; Neb will have to bring their A++ game
@Penn state-night game.  Last few years the away team has had the advantage in this series
Illinois - big time trap game and "B" rivalry game
@Wisconsin - likely a night game and a revenge game for the Badgers; tough challenge
Michigan - everyone knows what's at stake; I think Michigan's record and what they have to play for will have a huge effect
To clarify, I don't think OSU will lose (or win) all of these of these games.  I think Braxton takes a huge jump, in terms of success, capability, and running the offense.
Do you guys think Urban pulls out all the stops and puts the "pedal to the metal" this season, or does he use this season as a stepping stone for a run next year?

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

We play Cal at home man.  The one team I think everyone is overlooking is Illinois. They have a Braxton-esque QB in Scheelhaase, He's a solid passer and keeps them in games. They lost Mercilus on D, but they always manage to have a stud to lead the Defense. J Leman was a beast in that 07 game. Undefeated isn't out of the question though. All of our losses were less than 7 points exept Miami where we flat out sucked. Our schedule lines up nice with Michigan at home and easier non-conf games. UCF is a good team though.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

OSUBias's picture

@Hail, I honestly don't think Urban has any other speed than pedal to the metal. However, I don't think that means we'll go undefeated. I'd love to see it but, as has been said several times, it takes everything going right to have a perfect season. This is a team one year removed from being incredibly mediocre. I think they'll be much improved, but a 7* win jump (it'll actually be 6 with no bowl game, but you get the point) is a mighty big leap to take in one year. I think they'll play pretty well in the big games, probably win more than they lose, but I think they'll drop at least one gimme.
8-4 should be pretty easily achievable. A lot better than that (10-2 or better) will require a ton of improvement out of a lot of different units. Not impossible, just a long way to go.

Shitter's full

grant87's picture

Though tOSU was 6-7....never were they blown out.  They may have not been too far off 9-4 season.  We are not talking about Minnesota to national title in one season jump.
MSU is the biggest concern of mine.  Being early and on the road, I can see the offense having trouble scoring.  I see it a s a close game.  By game 6 I see the offense really humming along.
Nebraska losses a some on defense. Cornhusker being in Columbus. Stop Husker's run game is key.  Get a lead and make Martinez throw the ball, this could get ugly. .... I like tOSU by 7+.
tOSU get a bye before the Badger game and it is NOT a night game.  Let us remember Brett has beaten the Bucks ONCE.  It took 2 special teams TD to do so on a Saturday night.  Bucks seem to have his number for whatever reason.  I might add Brett's "illegal" comments just might make the bulletin board that week.  Expect Coach Meyer to give NO QUARTER.
Lastly the team up north.  Loss of Koger, Molk, Hemingway and the DL are big for Wishigan.  If Shazier can play all game with both his legs and Miller hit those wide open guys, this game isn't very close.  I see a 37-17 type of win for the Bucks.
I say 11-1 or 10-2 finish.

Maybe tomorrow, when today will be yesterday things will be clearer.


Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I don't see us losing to Wisc at all!!! Urban is thoroughly pissed at baby Bret for his ridiculous little tantrum over recruiting and he will use that game to absolutely beat the living snot of him in his own house!  I see him tossing in a few 4th Qtr TD passes just to make sure baby Bret's little brain explodes.
Same as for AACC - I really don't see Urban losing The Game, at home, during his innagural season.  I think he will do the same thing to Flounder Hoke as he does to baby Bret. I can't think of a better way to help the recruiting battle then bitch slapping Flounder and company in front of 105,000 rabid fans!!! 
MSU is the team that worries me but on the plus side, they have a brand new QB as well.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

hodge's picture

I would love to beat the Hell out of them, and then go for two late in the fourth quarter.  That way, Bielma can whine, and Urban can just blame it on his coaching card.

BED's picture

That way, Bielma can whine, and Urban can just blame it on his coaching card.


The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009