In the words of a particularly inane Bud Light commercial, “HERE WEGO”. Are we ready for the 2012 college football season? Has our world completely come unglued? Think about what we have seen in the last year or so. Penn State has completely and deservedly imploded. The Paterno statue is gone, Jerry Sandusky is in jail and the Nits will be on a farewell tour this season then fade from relevance for the next decade. West Virginia, somehow, has joined the Big 12 conference. Colorado and Utah joined the PAC 8, 10, 12. Missouri left the Big 12 to join the SEC. That ranked as the dumbest thing in the history of Missouri statehood until senatorial candidate Aiken started giving biology lessons. He will only loose an election. Mizzu is going to lose forever. Texas A&M got their shorts in a bunch over the Longhorn Network and seceded from the Big 12 to join the SEC. For their reward the Aggies get to play Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU every year and get to choose from Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina for their crossover games. Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the boiling inferno of hell. Wow! BYU joined Army, Navy and Notre Dame as independents. The most obvious connection between war and religion since the crusades. The BCS has agreed to a 4 team playoff at some point in the future as long as 2 of the teams are from the SEC. Bobby Petrino, after leading Arkansas to heights not seen since the days of Frank Broyles, went for just one too many motorcycle rides with his mistress. To be fair, maybe having her on payroll was stepping just a bit over the line even for Conference Bubba standards. If all that was not hilarious enough, to take his place the leadership at Arkansas chose John L. Smith. Yes, the guy, who when coaching Michigan State, once punched himself in the face during a press conference. John L. is as sane as Rosie O’Donnell is cute. John L. is to rational thought as Twinkies are to health food. This should be sooo much fun. I only hope we can somehow get the Arkansas press conferences on TV here in Buckeyeland. The really odd thing is that the Razorbacks are loaded and if coached by a remotely functional human being might be able to hang with LSU and Bama for the SEC West.
OK, I know I am avoiding the obvious. The REALLY BIG Change or at least the one we care about the most is the onset of the Urban Meyer revolution in Columbus. It hardly seems fair that Ohio State with all their built in advantages could grab the best coach this side of Nick Saban. I know they are not rational enough to grasp this yet, but pity (not really) the poor Weasels. They finally jettisoned RichRod and obtained the services of a reasonably competent coach in Brady Hoke. They even lucked into a good year in 2011 with an 11-2 record. But it is over. The End. Final. Terminated. They don’t realize it in Ann Arbor yet, but 2011 was the high water mark. Urban Meyer is going to own the Weasels every bit as much as Tressel did. I am getting a bit ahead of myself, but do circle the date of November 24 (like you had not already done that) because that game should be more fun than a Slip N’ Slide with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
Seriously, but wait. You do realize that this whole year is sort of a mulligan for 2013, right? I mean aside from 11/24 nothing really counts. This year is all about impressing recruits, scaring opponents and securing a good position in the 2013 pre- season polls. OK, back to seriously. What can we expect from the 2012 Buckeyes? Defense…….expect excellence, and look for it up front. The defensive line might be the best in the nation. Before I go any further I do want to recognize the job Jim Heacock did with the Silver Bullets. He was a great, and I do mean great, coordinator and he will be missed. Fortunately his prize pupil, Luke Fickell, is more than ready to step in. The secondary will be the best in the Big Ten. The linebackers concern me a bit, but they should benefit from the studs up front. Overall, I’m not sure they will be scored on this year. Maybe in the bowl game. Wait, we aren’t going to a bowl, so never mind.
On offense, I am not so confident. I think Braxton Miller will be outstanding and set up his 2013 Heisman run. Carlos Hyde, I think will shine, as will, once he returns, Jordan Hall. The receivers, I sense, will be a bit better than advertised. I am a bit worried about the spread offense. Urban says he wants to play power football from the spread. I am not sure how exactly one does that, but he is getting several million more in compensation than me to figure that out. I am excited, but nervous. We are all waiting to see if the Jim Bollman/Jim Tressel tandem was as bad as we think. Everybody in Columbus hated that combo, but they won an awful lot of games and rarely lost to inferior opponents. The spread as we see it across the college football world is not a new thing and defenses have been catching up to it. I worry about the spread in the red zone. What if Braxton goes down? All these worries, but I have faith in Urban’s ability to stay ahead of the curve. Even though the punt may no longer be the most important play, we do have both our kickers back in Ben Buchanon and Drew Basil and that will come in handy somewhere along the road. Our season boils down to a trip to East Lansing and Madison as well as 11/24. You have that date circled, right? If we lose to anyone other than those three it will be disappointing to say the least. And, mark it down; we are not losing on 11/24.
What about Miami you say? Urban says he wants an angry Buckeye football team. The Redhawks have two choices…show up or don’t show up. Either way the go home with their paycheck and an 0-1 record. My only concern is that our team might be a bit too jacked for this game and mistakes could result in some good things for the Miami bunch. Does anyone really think John Simon is going to let Miami ruin the start of his senior season and of the Urban dynasty? Miami brings a pretty good QB in Zac Dysert and receiver in Nick Howard. That duo racked up over 3500 yards last year. They also gave up 46 sacks while losing 8 games in 2011. They are in wrong place at the wrong time.
Elsewhere around the pigskin world.
Alabama vs. Michigan @ Dallas. Don’t both of these schools have good size stadiums, so why Dallas? I’m sure Jerry Jones money-whipped somebody, but I prefer to think that the good folks in Tuscaloosa did not want their fair city invaded by the weasel hordes and opted for a neutral venue. Sorry Big Ten loyalists but I gotta pull for the Tide. Unless the Taliban has a football team I will pull for anyone playing the Weasels.
Notre Dame vs. Navy in Dublin, Ireland. I think this neutral site thing just might be getting out of hand. The Navy fleet and Irish pubs? Not a good combo for the Midshipman.
Boise State at Michigan State. Do the Broncos have life beyond the winningest QB in college history, Kellen Moore? MSU’s loss of Kirk Cousins may actually be more of an issue. Since the Buckeyes open the Big Ten season in East Lansing this one should merit watching.
Clemson vs. Auburn: Can the Dabo Swinney miracle continue? As long as Tajh Boyd is taking snaps it sure can.
It should be a fun season. You can start scouting possible opponents for the Buckeyes in the national championship game following the 2013 season.