Is 24 in a Row Realistic?

By Kyle Rowland on December 17, 2012 at 10:00a

During the 2012 regular season, Ohio State finalized several future home-and-home series. Among the high-profile opponents the Buckeyes will meet over the next decade are Oregon and Texas. No such marquee matchup occurred during the 2012 season, which is one reason why Ohio State’s chance at capturing an Associated Press national championship is all but eliminated despite an unblemished record. 

Can Urban Meyer win his first 24 games at Ohio State?

The slate of games in 2013, at this point in time, also doesn’t offer Ohio State a boost of respect should it encounter multiple teams vying for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. The non-conference quartet of Buffalo, San Diego State, California and Florida A&M is short on quality.

The Buckeyes were supposed to open the season with a home game against Vanderbilt. While the Commodores might be looked down on in the mighty Southeastern Conference, they’re still an SEC team. That alone automatically draws headlines. But when ESPN came along and promised a season-opening night game against a conference opponent, Vanderbilt bailed on Ohio State in October. Not only that, but it didn’t have the decency to notify Ohio State by phone, choosing instead to write a letter via U.S. mail.

Left scrambling less than a year before the opener, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did his best to find a suitable replacement on the schedule. San Diego State ended up being that school. It is the only non-conference opponent on the Buckeyes’ 2013 schedule that is playing in a bowl game.

A popular talking point since the regular season ended has centered on Ohio State’s chances of making the title game had it not been banned. Some have said an undefeated Buckeye team would not be left out, while others say they would have been leapfrogged by one-loss Alabama due to a weak strength of schedule.

The debate could continue in December 2013. After many scoffed at the possibility of Ohio State finishing 12-0, talk of 24-0 has already commenced. The Buckeyes return all of their playmakers on offense, including quarterback Braxton Miller. But with the Big Ten’s credibility hitting, perhaps, an all-time low in 2012 and the stigma of Ohio State’s past struggles on the national stage still lingering, it is not a shoo-in to compete for the game’s ultimate prize should it go unbeaten once more.

The 2012 season could have been an outlier, however, in terms of the Buckeyes’ perception. Because of their bowl ban, there is a high probability that there has been a negative bias against them in the AP poll.

The Buckeyes were ranked 18th in the initial poll of the 2012 season and slowly crept up the rankings. Part of that contributed to close wins. But one poll voter believes Ohio State was treated unfairly.

“I think there has been (bias) in the polling all year,” Cedar Rapids Gazette sports columnist Mike Hlas told Eleven Warriors in November. “In any normal year, if Ohio State was unbeaten, it would be ranked higher than it’s been.”

Keep in mind that undefeated seasons don’t come around often. Ohio State has only finished unbeaten and untied six times in program history. Luck is every bit as important as good coaches and skillful players. In 2002, the Buckeyes were the recipients of countless plays that gave the season a “destiny” feel. This past season included a game in which backup quarterback Kenny Guiton led an improbable comeback that ended with an overtime victory. Notre Dame’s perfect regular season also was long on luck.

Ohio State might be favored in every game during the 2013 season. Weak schedule or not, though, the Buckeyes’ path to 24-0 isn’t as easy as one might think.

Ohio State opens with Buffalo. The Bulls, not the Bills.


The Mid-American Conference enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012. Buffalo, however, was not among those success stories. Rather, the Bulls are still in the midst of rebuilding after experiencing a heyday under former head coach Turner Gill. Current coach Jeff Quinn has a 10-28 record in three seasons at Buffalo, and the 2012 team finished 4-8. Buffalo returns 17 starters, and like Ohio State, the Bulls’ quarterback, running back and top receiver will all be back. That doesn’t mean they’ll push Ohio State to the limit, though. The 2013 season opener should represent win No. 13 for Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. 

San Diego State

The replacement for Vanderbilt, San Diego State, has continued a recent history high on success that started under Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. Aztecs coach Rocky Long guided San Diego State to a 9-3 record in the competitive Mountain West this season. The Aztecs play BYU on Thursday night in the Poinsettia Bowl. Quarterback Ryan Katz is a senior, but 1,300-yard rusher Adam Muema returns. With Ohio State’s starting defensive line departing, Muema, a sophomore and the proud owner of 16 touchdowns, will be at the forefront of the defensive game plan.

At California

The Golden Bears nearly put an end to Ohio State’s undefeated dreams in September. But the first dose of heroics for the season took place and Ohio State escaped. Jeff Tedford is out in Berkeley and former Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes is in. That means Cal is likely to implement a pass-heavy offense. Louisiana Tech finished 9-3 in 2012, led the country in points per game (51.5) and finished second in total yards per game (577.9). For Dykes, though, the two players who would have been perfect for his offense – quarterback Zach Maynard and wide receiver Keenan Allen – are gone. But a West Coast road game against an tricky offense will not be a walk in the park for Ohio State.

Florida A&M

There’s no word on whether Florida A&M will reassemble its iconic band this season after a yearlong ban due to a terrible hazing tragedy. If it does return, the halftime show with TBDBITL will be far more riveting than the actual game. The Rattlers have had famous alums go on to successful NFL careers, but those days are in the past. This is a game that probably shouldn’t have been scheduled. The HBCU is an FBS school that 4-7 in 2012, losing 69-13 to Oklahoma. Expect more of the same when the Rattlers travel north to Columbus.

Decisions, decisions. 


Wisconsin has been a late-season staple for several years. But the Badgers move to the conference opener next season. Even with Bret Bielema’s strange move, taking the head-coaching job at Arkansas, this game should shake up the Leaders Division race early. Wisconsin still doesn’t have a head coach, and quite honestly, no front-runner has emerged. Whoever takes over will do so without the help of Montee Ball. Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis will be back, but no one can even begin to guess who the starting quarterback will be. On defense, Wisconsin returns seven starters. The Badgers will be the underdog, though that hasn’t mattered much in this series. Unless they hire Nick Saban, Ohio State keeps its perfect record at home intact.

At Northwestern

Fans, coaches and players will certainly welcome a trip to Evanston in early October. Ryan Field can still be blustery with its lakeside location, but the temperature shouldn’t be hovering near freezing. Once again, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has the Wildcats in a bowl game. And, ironically, Northwestern, a school that hasn't won a bowl game in more than half a century, might be the Big Ten’s best hope. It plays floundering Mississippi State on New Year’s Day in the Gator Bowl. The 9-3 Wildcats return a bulk of their offensive and defensive production next year. They’ve been on the cusp of being a Legends Division contender, with 2013 possibly being the year. Athletic quarterback Kain Colter is a game changer, and Northwestern’s offense offers a tricky matchup.


Ohio State has two bye weeks during 2013. The first week off will take place between the Northwestern and Iowa games. The Hawkeyes will venture to Ohio Stadium coming off a disappointing 4-8 season. Despite his ridiculous buyout, head coach Kirk Ferentz is on the hot seat, needing some semblance of success in 2013. He’ll have to do that without quarterback James Vandenberg, who showed so much promise as a freshman but never fully developed. During Ferentz’s tenure in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes have feasted in seasons when expectations were low. The 2013 season would qualify as such. Might Iowa rise up and surprise the conference again? Maybe. The Legends Division will be down, but traipsing into Columbus and walking out victorious likely won’t be a part of Iowa’s season.

Penn State

Penn State surprised everyone with eight wins in 2012. Few thought that was possible after a 0-2 start, but Bill O’Brien is a clear upgrade at head coach. Now the NCAA sanctions will begin to take hold of the program, though. Providing a repeat performance of the storybook 2012 season will be challenging over the next decade for the Nittany Lions. The reality is scholarship restrictions combined with the departures of Matt McGloin, Jordan Hill and Mike Mauti leaves Penn State near the bottom of the division. Players are also eligible to transfer without penalty until the beginning of the 2013 season. The Nittany Lions suffered though some down years in the early 2000s, years Ohio State won big. That time period is on the verge of repeating itself.

Might Darrell Hazell continue OSU's torture in West Lafayette?

At Purdue

Purdue was expected to challenge Wisconsin this past season for the division championship. Those hopes fizzled quickly as did the coaching tenure of Danny Hope. Still, Purdue gave Ohio State its biggest scare of the season but couldn’t close the deal, even with Miller suffering a game-ending injury. Former Ohio State assistant Darrell Hazell takes over for Hope, and the 2012 expectations have returned. Can Purdue compete with Ohio State in the Leaders Division? The better question might be, if not Purdue, then who? The Boilermakers do lose a considerable amount of the roster. But Hazell is coming from Kent State, where rebuilding arguably the worst FBS program took all of two years. Losing a few seniors might not be a major roadblock for Hazell. Also, Ross-Ade Stadium has been a house of horrors for Ohio State since the turn of the century. The Buckeyes have lost two straight in West Lafayette and are just 3-3 dating to 2000. Meyer should be able to rouse the team for a slump-busting victory.

At Illinois

Ohio State goes to windswept Champaign following its second bye week of the season. Whether Tim Beckman is still Illinois’ head coach at this point in the season remains to be seen. But there is credible evidence that he may not be. A segment of the boosters wanted him relieved after a disastrous first year. If the Fighting Illini only have two wins in mid-November, the writing could be on the wall. One of the biggest problems throughout Beckman’s career has been spotty defenses, and he’s a defensive-minded coach. That is the first warning sign. That trend continued in 2012, when Illinois was simply atrocious. Now, in a possible win-or-get-fired season, Beckman has to rely on inconsistent quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. His freshman season offered so much promise, and then the first half of his sophomore season gave Illinois fans hope for a bright future. But the Illini have since lost 13 of their past 16 games. That is why a November trip to central Illinois will not strike fear in Ohio State.


Kevin Wilson has the Hoosiers going in the right direction. The defense is lacking, but the offense is potent. Ohio State learned that the hard way in 2012, by allowing 49 points to the Hoosiers. It’s the highest point total against the Buckeyes in a game they won. In 2013, Indiana welcomes back starting quarterback Tre Roberson, who suffered a broken leg in September. Even with losing its quarterback, Indiana controlled its own destiny for the Rose Bowl in November. Competing for conference titles might be too much for the Hoosiers, but winning records look like they’re on the horizon with Wilson at the helm.

At Michigan

Talk of the Ohio State-Michigan game never ends. Here we are less a month removed from the Buckeyes’ 26-21 win and we’re already talking about the 2013 edition of the “The Game.” Denard Robinson’s nerve injury looks like it was luck for Michigan, because they found out Devin Gardner is the future quarterback. At the time, Gardner had been moved to wide receiver. He’ll have new protection in front of him, as Michigan graduates a bulk of its line. But running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Thomas Rawls will return. The defense loses a boatload of experience and leadership, though cornerback Blake Countess, who suffered a season-ending injury against Alabama, will be back. We all know anything can happen when Ohio State and Michigan step on a football field together. That rings even truer when you’re the road team. Ohio State’s chances of being favored in this game are good, but being a favorite on the road against your archrival can be a scary situation. If the Buckeyes avenge their loss in Ann Arbor from 2011, they have a high probability of being in their first Big Ten title game the following week. Who knows, Michigan could also be there to set up a historic rematch. 


Comments Show All Comments

Charlotte Buckeye Chip's picture


~Charlotte Buckeye Chip

bassplayer7770's picture

Just fyi, the scUM game ended with the score 26-21.

bhartman13's picture

It's never easy to run the table but the schedule sure does set up nicely for the Buckeyes next season.  24 straight wins will be tough regardless of the competition but we all know this team is very talented and led by one of the top 2-3 coaches in the nation.  There will be a lot more pressure on the 2013 team with lofty expectations and a preseason top 5 ranking so that could come into play, especially with many young players having to step up on both sides of the ball. 
Anyways I like the Buckeyes chances of another undefeated season!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Lets see:

1. Best coach in the conference/top two in the country.
2. One of the best players in the country.
3. A potentially great D/OLine
4. A running back that keeps getting better
5. A potentially great receiving core
6. RB depth.
7. It's tOSU

It is realistic as long as the work is put in.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Et_Tu_OSU's picture

The Hazell picture needs a mouse-over stating, "The rest of the conference has had it up to here with Ohio State's dominance...we just can't do anything about it."

"The revolution will be televised."

buckeye76BHop's picture

Not going to say it's a definite...but just look at that schedule's not rocket science.  On any given Saturday, OSU can take a loss (look at the Purdue game this year)...I just don't see it happening next year with tB1G being so bad and the OCC isn't very tough like in 2012.  Look out for tTUN and pray they're good....that's going to be our one shot at a big game at years end (and potentially play them for a second time in the B1G championship game).  This may be the first year in a long time (2006) that I'm routing for tTUN in every game to win...yep I said it... 

"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 

bukyze's picture

I'm saying this - I hope scUM loses every game from here to eternity.

Maestro's picture

No reason it shouldn't be possible.  That schedule is going to be ridiculed tremendously though so it might not matter in terms of a NCG appearance.

vacuuming sucks

buckeyedude's picture

Starting in 2014, the winner of the B1G is almost guaranteed a spot in the 4 team playoff. Especially if they are undefeated.
Next year, anything could happen. Just take care of bidness, and the rest will sort itself out.



BoReincarnated's picture

And, ironically, Northwestern, a school that has never won a bowl game, might be the Big Ten’s best hope.

Northwestern won the Rose Bowl back in 1948. They haven't won one since though. 

Hasbro's picture

If we're gonna talk 24 in a row, let's make it 25 in a row.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The best part of 25-0, is a chance to go 26-0.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Hasbro's picture

Uh, right. But 25-0 implies a bowl win (presumably the National Championship game).

bassplayer7770's picture

Actually, the 25th win would imply a B1G Championship game win.

RBuck's picture

Hell, why not 26?

Long live the southend.

Hasbro's picture

Uh, right. But 25-0 implies a bowl win (presumably the National Championship game).

RBuck's picture

I think 25-0 implies a B1G championship.

Long live the southend.

Maestro's picture

Big Ten CCG

vacuuming sucks

bhartman13's picture

Actually 25-0 implies a B1G Championship Game victory and berth in the BCS National Championship game.  The ultimate goal heading into next year is to end the season with 26 straight wins and the crystal ball!!

bassplayer7770's picture

I certainly agree the strength of schedule looks pretty bad next season.  We can hope that teams with new coaches (Cal, Wisky, and Purdue) will have better seasons, then we also have to assume we'd need to win the B1G Championship game.  Then we'd have to wait and see what other teams are undefeated.
Obviously, our biggest question mark for next season will be all the new starters on Defense.  They will need to step up and play well, and the hard work and preparation started on November 25th.

VintonCountyBuck's picture

I am not by any means prognosticating a loss @Cal, but that game worries me a little more than it should. Sonny Dykes can coach him some offense. With our defensive losses, especially along the line this one could be a struggle again.

I do think the Bucks get it done, but I just hope we dont let complacency set in after going 12-0 in 2012 and what should be two blow-out victories to begin the 2013 season.

“Right now, Michigan is not at the pinnacle of college football, and that’s all Urban Meyer cares about...He’s been there and knows what it takes to get there.” 

buckeyedude's picture

I think losing Simon and Hankins on the D-line hurts, but I actually think we could have a better defense next year. I am so looking forward to Washington, Spence and some of the other players stepping in. I think OSU will get more sacks next year with the increased athleticism and speed. Next year, I believe this OSU defense is going to be....wait for it.....very SEC-like.
Year two of Urban Warfare is going to be fun to watch. And no stupid jokes "yeah, but what bowl are you playing in?"   



buckeyepastor's picture

Even with an awful schedule, I don't think an OSU team with 25 straight wins over two years could be kept out of the title game.   Though, God help us if we don't win it.   The cries of "over-rated" will make Florida 2007 feel like a walk in the park.   Really ridiculous expectations 2012 has generated, in my mind.  But, this is what UFM lives for, I think.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

pcon258's picture

the michigan game, and ideally, the b1g championship, will have to be impressive performances against good teams. if there are two other undefeated bcs teams, there's a pretty good chance osu would be jumped. 24-0 or not, it would be hard to keep a one-loss sec team out, especially if bama embarrasses notre dame (which seems pretty likely).

Nick's picture

I see Notre Dame beating Bama. Bama is a two trick pony called Lacy and Yeldon and I doubt they can run on ND's dline. Can't wait until all those guys leave after this year and ND goes back down to the cellar where they belong.

buckeyedude's picture

The year: 2002.
The teams: Ohio State vs. Miami.
The pre-game take: ESPN reporter badgering Larry Coker over and over again for an answer to, "C'mon Larry. How many touchdowns are you going to beat Ohio State by? One, two three TDs? Four? C'mon Larry."
I also remember similar comments about Ohio State before the 2006 MNC game. That year the shoe was on the other foot.
My point is: don't count out ND. I'm no fan of ND, but anybody can win that game. And I believe Bama has lost once. They are comprised of humans and can lose again.



Maestro's picture

Just a note.  Playoffs don't start until 2014 season.

vacuuming sucks

gobucks5413's picture

As laughable as that schedule is, it'd be hard to keep 13-0 (25-0) Ohio St. out of a nat'l title game. I think this year was huge as far as next years perception is involved.
I do think however, that we are going to have to put up some big numbers next year. Can't afford many UAB, Cal, Purdue type games....need to see some 50+-single digit games.
Similar to this year, the offense is going to have to carry the team for the first half of the year, until the defense comes around (shouldnt be a problem)

btalbert25's picture

It seems to me there is a strong belief by many that since the 2012 Buckeyes went 12-0 the 2013 Buckeyes don't stand a chance of doing the same thing.  Next year is next year.  It has nothing to do with the outcome in 2013.  The schedule is weak next year, Braxton will be much improved, they'll have some new weapons, they'll have Urban in all their ears all offseason pissing the team off by telling them they weren't as good as Notre Dame and Bama and everyone thinks so.  Then there's the whole 2nd year of Urban being at a program thing.
The team may not win every game, but there will be a whole host of reasons why.  It won't, however, have anything to do with this year's team going 12-0.

Catch 5's picture

I disagree only in the aspect of over-confidence.  Historically, a team returning from a great season often has a loss (or three) that gets attributed to this malady.  It won't help that everyone is out to get you (even more than usual) with a long active winning streak.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

btalbert25's picture

That's true, for a team that has actually won something.  This team didn't because they weren't allowed to.  With a coach like Urban they'll be pissed and motivated.  If they  lose a game it's because someone gives them their best shot and they lose.  If you are Ohio State, even the 7 loss version of 2011, you are going to get everyone's best shot.  The schedule sets up well, the team will be hungry, if they do lose a game it won't be from arrogance or malaise, it'll be from flat getting outplayed.

3technique's picture

 I think ND can beat bama. I also think there is no way to kick out a 25 and 0 team. I think the offense will be a more productive, which will lead to more blowouts. The D will get better each wk as the young guns develop.. What a great time to be Bucks fan.


Miller HAS to stay healthy next season. They could afford to lose any of their role players next season but they lose Braxton I'm not sure Guiton can lead them to the national title game. Purdue is one thing, The Game at the Crap House or against an SEC team is another.
And I see Meyer scoring at least 50 points in each of the non-conference games. He knows the style points will count amongst the lazy poll voters who never watch OSU games. We thump Wisconsin and northwestern to begin the B1G slate and we'll be No. 1 or No. 2 through the end of October at the very, very least. The only thing that would cost us a shot at he NC is if we stumble and lose to TTUN (in The Game or the B1G title game) or only beat Indiana by a field goal late. We won't deserve to go if we allow those things to happen.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Doc's picture

Let's just concentrate on #13.  It is fun as fans to speculate.  I hope the coaching staff and the team have their collective heads screwed on straight and take the "One game at a time" mantra.  Boy, this off season is going to take forever! 

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Ohio State is going to open several cans of whoopass.  14 to be exact.

Class of 2010.

Alhan's picture



"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Rapping Bum's picture

I think so, #5 will have to stay healthy though.

Help is on the way.

Maestro's picture

Is Meyer looking at Hoke's chances of ever beating him in that photo?

vacuuming sucks

Buckeyeholicwompa's picture

On top of the success we have had this season......our 3 ingredients for more success next season will be......
1. Braxton excels on his progressions.
2. Receivers gain separation.
3. Defense gets nasty and gives up fewer big plays.
Those 3 happen and we'll be a top 3 team in America

OSBuckeye222's picture

I am so tired of hearing about the out of conference schedules!! Ohio State's out of conference games are no easier than the mighty SEC's!! let's look at some of their 2012 OOC games...
1. Alabama - Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, West Carolina (who??), and michigan
2. Georgia - Buffalo (this team looks familiar), Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern (I know they played in the semi-finals of the FCS but come on really??), and Georgia Tech
3. Florida - Bowling Green, LA-Lafayette, Jacksonville St, and Florida State (can't complain about this game too much)
4. S Carolina - East Carolina, UAB (another team that looks familiar, hmm...), Wofford (another FCS team), and Clemson (another one I can't complain too much about)
Now let's look at Mississipppi State... They were ranked as high as #11 in the polls and why?? Because they beat... Jackson State (I can only assume this is a FCS team), Troy, South Alabama, and Middle Tennesse (none of these are even from a BCS conference!). They also beat Auburn, Tenn, and Kentucky which went for a combined 1-25 in SEC play. So, they were ranked as high as #11 because of the perception of the SEC. They went into the game against Alabama at 7-0 and of course lost by 31. Northwestern ought to win their bowl game against them by 10+ pts.
Ohio State's real problem is the conference they play in.

buckeyedude's picture

Ohio State's real problem is the conference they play in.

What the hell are you talking about? The B1G just added two powerhouses in Maryland and Rutgers! Surely that will help our SOS.(insert sarcasm detector here)



Bucksfan's picture

The bullseye is going to be even bigger next year, particularly with some of those teams who lost close games.  Wisconsin, at Purdue, and at Michigan seem like they're going to be pretty hungry to knock off the Buckeyes (we're going to be ranked #1 or #2 next season).  Cal might even feel like they have a good chance to catch an early season Buckeye team sleeping.
It is not a foregone conclusion by any stretch, especially with that team up near Canada.  They've been snagging recruiting classes that are on-par with ours, some are even ranked higher.  That is definitely the game to be most-worried about.  It's good we miss Nebraska and Michigan State.  But Michigan will be pretty scary, at their place, in the last game.  I think Michigan also has a good chance to go undefeated or have just 1 loss before going up against Ohio State.

BrewstersMillions's picture

College football is a cruel, evil game but at the very least OSU should be favored in every game they play in next year, including Michigan (And assuming no major injuries). Its never easy to go undefeated, hell a perennial powerhouse OSU program just has 6 of those seasons under their belt. Its almost impossible to follow on undefeated season up with another as like you said, OSU should be seeing everyone's best game next year assuming they are ranked in the top 5 (and upward as the season moves along). With that said, they should be a totally loaded roster with returning stars in every unit as well as budding stars getting their first real PT-the schedule sets up nicely and its by no means a foregone conclusion but if anyone has a shot at it-its a Meyer coached, loaded team going up against a really lack luster schedule.
I do hope they see a few tough games next year. I don't want another Purdue repeat but a game or two like Sparty\Wiscy this year will remind them they can win the tough contests. That's what was so awesome about this team. Before Meyer had his space station fully operational he at least had a group of tough kids who knew how to win and did the things in aggregate winning teams do. If this group can come out the victor in an otherwise ugly\tough game, it'll only help down the road.
I really see it happening personally, partially because OSU is really up against a weak schedule but partly because they will have so much talent in the system under Meyer and Co (Coach Mick included) for another year. Bigger, stronger, leaner, faster, smarter. Too much to handle next year and Meyer really doesn't have many 'let down' losses on his resume. Of course the Ole Miss game is the most famous one-but that helped spawn another national title in Gainesville.

carton's picture

wrong title.
Is 26 in a row realistic?