Ohio State Has Emerged As a Legit Playoff Contender, but the Toughest Tests Are Yet to Come

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IAMTHIRD's picture

I agree this team has a different feel than last year - more like 2015 when we also had an upset loss.  Hopefully we stay hungry and humble.  Hopefully they will not allow all the praise we are getting in the national press to cause them to become complacent.  They seem to be business like and so I am optimistic this year.  I am glad we have Wisconsin and Penn State at home - both teams are more balanced this year.  and _ichigan still sucks!

IamTHIRD

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

I don't think this team is like the 2015 squad. The 2015 Buckeyes played uptight and under-achieved all year long until after they lost to MSU. Then they played the kind of football they were capable of playing. The current team is hungry and focused and I believe that the coaching staff will keep them that way. The only loss we can afford this year is to Wisconsin in the regular season. If we were to lose to PSU then the Nittany Lions would have to lose 2 conference games for us to qualify for the CCG. Hopefully the team gets fully healthy for the stretch run and stays healthy to the end with no major injuries. 

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bd2999's picture

Totally disagree. The 2015 team had all the talent in the world but never really clicked. They played well at times but then would struggle the next game. Various reasons that have been beaten to death but this team has not looked like that through this point. Does not mean they do not lose, but they seem very different to me.

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Colortv1967's picture

One of the reasons they didn’t click is the way Meyer screwed around with the QB position. 

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ballotboxco's picture

On the beanie wells podcast for letterman row - Cardale Jones pretty much well says this.  He also says that Meyer didn't like him much at all.

Number one, win the rivalry game. And number two, win every game after that.

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PhillyNut's picture

I don't if this has the feel of any season in the past 20 years. Obviously anything can happen going forward but when was the last time we have seen them so dominant in all phases for all six games to start a season? I think that is what is so impressive thus far. They do not change the foundation of who they are but they make adjustments much quicker than any Buckeye team I can remember. And no matter what teams try to do that is different to throw them off the Buckeyes so far have had a quick answer while the other team showed that they emptied out their chambers.

Not trying to look ahead but so anxious to see how they do against Wisconsin.

I don't buy one goddam drop of gas in the state of Michigan!

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southalabamabuckeye's picture

I still don't like the Friday night game. Hopefully this will be the one and only ever regular season Friday night game. That said, NW is not very daunting, which is a bit scary. I do believe that Day will have the Buckeyes ready and they will deliver a dominant beatdown. Wisconsin is going to be an epic battle, but I believe Ohio State will show superior with athleticism and talent. PSU is very good and improving. That will be another huge test and a very competitive game. Ohio State is better and the Shoe will be rocking and breaking Richter scale records. TTUN is a paper tiger and the Buckeyes will handle them in a dominant manner.

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NavyBuckeye91's picture

Northwestern held Wisconsin’s offense to 10 points, and Jonathan Taylor to about 4 YPC. The Cats legitimately could’ve won that game if they had any semblance of an offensive line. A pair of defensive TDs gave Bucky that win. 

They're also coming off a bye. I don’t think it changes the outcome, but I’m thinking this game will be tougher than it looks on paper.

"You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, & in the manner in which you live.
So, live. Live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you. "
- Stuart Scott

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PRO8's picture

I even worry about the Maryland game, they shown at the start of the year that their O can be explosive  and the Bucks barely got by at their place last year in OT.

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Berg2004's picture

Northwestern is a poor man’s Wisky. They play similar styles but sadly, NW has no offense. I think we roll NW 55-10 and then roll Wisky 38-17. We have too many gifted football players. Wisky beats talented football teams with crappy coaching or mediocre talented teams with good coaching, but typically struggles with good coaching and good athletes combined.

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5thDown's picture

Have great respect for both teams, They ever crack top 20 recruiting class yet play smart,tough and disciplined football. Wisky gets a few moe 4* and they will us a run for the conference titles.

No...Michican’t

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ballotboxco's picture

The problem with Wisconsin though is that they are old school ground pound football.  That doesn't win championships.

Number one, win the rivalry game. And number two, win every game after that.

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Braxtonkeepsit's picture

Neither do I.  I do like that we get it after a bye, then get an extra day to prepare for Whisky.  All things considered, best case scenario.  

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kiddbuckeye's picture

Hypothetically only, we win out and Whisky wins out, they WILL be tough to beat a second time on a neutral site.

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cledaybuck's picture

It is impossible for both us and Wisconsin to win out.

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G.'s picture

He did say "tough to beat a second time" ... I think that pretty much implies that they win out following their loss to us. Then again, I don't know nothin.

G.

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SaltyD0gg's picture

59-0

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick

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cledaybuck's picture

That was five years ago.  Doesn't mean much now.

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Doc's picture

One. Week. At. A. Time.

We should be able to win out, if we stay focused.  I believe Day will keep them focused.

“Ain’t life grand when you finally hit it!”  DLR

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Hovenaut's picture

Definitely a picking up the good vibes as well - the team seems all in, focused on what's in front of them, but taking things one at a time.

Actually don't mind the two bye weeks this season, and I think they'll both serve the team well down the stretch.

Hindsight is, and in, 2020

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JJBuckeye's picture

Or we could have two bye weeks, and instead of picking up an extra Big Ten game to please a non consistent committee, we could have scheduled Citadel before TTUN game like some other conferences seem to be doing/s. Go Bucks

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Lighteyes's picture

I'm going to go further than this article did: Not only is this 6-0 team more impressive than last year's 6-0 team, I'm not sure the last time I was more impressed with an Ohio State team at the halfway point of the season. Not the teams of 2018 (defense), 2016 (offense), or 2015 (offense), which had all shown notable flaws. Not the 2017 or 2014 teams which already had a double-digit loss in Columbus. Even though all these teams ended up with stellar years, they'd all shown at least something which gave me pause...which this year's team has not done.

Maybe the answer is 2013, but honestly, might have to go all the way back to 2006 to find a team where after six games, I was this impressed with the first half of the season. 

(Of course, the first half of the season doesn't guarantee anything, as a quick look at the final results of those above seasons would tell you)

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cledaybuck's picture

The 2016 team looked pretty good through 6 games.  The poor passing attack didn't really show up until late in the season.

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TurboNut's picture

That shouldn't repeat with the offensive coaches we have now. 

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5thDown's picture

Not sold on the defense yet. Will have to see how they deal with a top offense. Wisky game will tell and penn state game will show if the silver bullets are back. Without the silver bullets we are not a playoffs team

No...Michican’t

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BucksPartyof3's picture

The toughest test is themselves. If anything the game against Sparty proved the coaches will make adjustments on the fly and get it going when they need to. They have to stay focused on each week.

DON'T STOP UNTIL YOU SING CARMEN OHIO!

Beat scUM

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buckeye phi's picture

There are major differences between this year's team and our teams that have stumbled against inferior competition in years past.  

It's mainly balance.  Not just offensive balance - although the offense is very balanced this year, of course.   But the defense is balanced as well.  We're really not any more vulnerable through the air than we are on the ground. 

Special teams seem to be solid, too. 

That's why a pundit like Joel Klatt has Ohio State as his top team right now.   No weaknesses.  

I also think this bye week is almost perfectly timed.  It'll be interesting to see how a refreshed Buckeye squad will perform in the next couple of games.  Plus, the coaches will have plenty of time to game-plan -

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement. - Will Rogers

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stlbuckeye15's picture

Toughest tests are definitely ahead of us but you can’t beat 6-0 and we have won all of those games in a very convincing manner. Wisconsin and Penn State will be tough games but thankfully we have them at home. We have historically done well against Wisconsin(recently) but Penn State has given us fits. I’m really hoping this is finally the Penn State game that won’t have my blood pressure up the whole time. This team is special and if we stay healthy and focused I believe we can beat all of our foes. Go Bucks!

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Steveoeg6's picture

You know, everyone has the Whisky game circled, and I do as well, but I am starting to feel like this Pen State game is really going to be the one for all the marbles.

Hope we come into that one on fire

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Coach Hype's Hype Man's picture

I’m hoping that’s the case with Penn State being the game to decide it all for the B1G. As good as we have looked so far we haven’t really played anyone of note. Our next 3 weeks will show where we really stand. I’m honestly not worried going into Iowa. The game that scares me the most in this stretch is at MSU as we have struggled against them majorly the last 5 years except for 2016. The good thing is our defense looks spectacular and MSU offense looks like trash. Hopefully we get out of these 3 weeks unscathed and then make it to the shoe with 2 10-0 teams squaring off to decide the B1G and CFP spot. 

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Extramedium's picture

Yeah I think Penn State is going to give us the bigger scare, just because Franklin seems to love to do that to us.  

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BUCKEYE3M's picture

I think everything about this team feels different.  As Phi stated above, there are no glaring weaknesses.  The offense, defense, and special teams are all playing at a high level.  What's even more impressive is how effective Ohio State's second unit has performed defensively.  That is on area where depth is uber critical down the stretch, and since FAU, they've been up to the task.

For those looking to nitpick, the question marks are there: 
How will Justin Fields play against better competition?  I think we've had a taste.
How will Ryan Day do when he faces adversity?  Well, a widely respected coach hit him with the kitchen sink last Saturday night, and he responded by curb stomping him in the second quarter.

I think that anyone finding flaws in this team right now wants to find them.  If they were in the SEC, they'd be ranked #1, and it wouldn't even be close.

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buckeyepastor's picture

Penn State concerns me most of the three.  Wisconsin is what they always are, physical and very good on defense and in the run game.  But even though their QB is effective, their pass game isn't scary to me.   PSU has been as stingy as us on defense, and has shown a lot more of a balanced offensive attack, efficiency and skill players with the run and the pass.  PSU is the most complete team we have left on the schedule.  While I don't expect us to sleepwalk through the Maryland or Rutgers games, we can probably afford to peek ahead just a tad towards the PSU matchup during those weeks. 

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

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UpIrons's picture

No doubt this is a different team in many ways. But as the MSU game showed us, this is a different coaching staff too, on all fronts. Just the ability for the offense to adjust after Q1 and then dominate is not something I've seen before quite so drastically. Not even picking on previous coaching staff. Just seems like this staff is clicking way better than they have a right to be in their first year. But it makes a huge difference. Purdue last year doesn't happen with a staff that can adjust like this!

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LWiegand91's picture

Am I old or just older than everyone posting. This team feels closest to the 1998 team. offense balanced, defense good etc. Looked like every week, the best team in the country. first 6 games then, only averaged winning margin of 29.5 but also had played at number 11 WVA, home against number 21 Missouri and Number 7 PSU. They were steam rolling everyone and felt like they were heading to the first BCS championship game.

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awlinBrutus's picture

I think we all tend to forget about Wisconsin’s defense when we talk about them. Everyone focuses  on their offense and heisman candidate @ RB. Forgetting that we have to score on them to win not just slowing down their running game. These are the type of offenses our defense is built for. A game Tuf and the rest of the LB’s are going to have to step up. Like to see Young,Hamilton,ZHarrison,Werner,Browning,THarrison,White,Wade,Okudah,Arnett,Fuller-blitz Harrison and Wade on a delay blitz. I think the emergence of Wade is more of the reason we are not seeing White in the bullet than Werner playing well. Wisconsin,psu&ttun are the games we need our veterans stepping up for. Especially the seniors,Hill, Hamilton,Landers,Harrison Bowen Victor Mack.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

I expect the "Wisconsin defense in The Shoe 2019" to look a lot like the "TTUN defense in The Shoe 2018."

Pin this tweet.

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BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

I think a "1 win Northwestern the week before Wisconsin" is much more of a trap game than a "Competing for the B1G West Northwestern" would ever be...

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TurboNut's picture

Let's hope that PSU game isn't a fight deep into the 4th quarter. IMO, TTUN's only chance of beating us is if we come out completely gassed for that game. It has the possibility to be like the 2017 PSU come from behind win, then head to Iowa and get boat raced looking physically and emotionally drained. I think this team has better depth and character than the 2017 team but they haven't been pushed hard into the 4th quarter yet either. 

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Steelydan54's picture

As others have alluded to, I'm not nearly as nervous when we start a little flat, ala Miami O, MSU because we have demonstrated the ability to score in bunches, starting from our potent ground game. Give that O line a couple of series to figure out what the stunt of the week is and all of a sudden the road graders are clearing a path for a pair of dynamic running backs, not to mention the best athlete on offense, Justin Fields. Then all kinds of opportunities open up, including that rarest of events, the TD pass to the Tight End.  Add a defense that swarms to the ball, rarely allows an uncontested pass and gives opposing QBs about .07 seconds to find a receiver before the sky goes dark and the earth begins to shake underfoot, and you've got a very upset resistant team.  If we lose any game before the CFP championship it will be an upset, but I seriously doubt we will lose to NW, R, MD scUM. UW and PUS are decent tests of our skills and will serve as a midterm exam prior to post season. 

Steelybuck54

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Davep160's picture

Agreed, we are one loss away to penn state to not even making the big ten tourney. The road is tough.

The lord of brevity.

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BuckIDave's picture

After 6 games watching the Buckeyes, an undefeated record, a B10 title, and a CFP berth will be tough but much more doable than what was thought in the preseason.

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ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

All aboard the Curb Stomp Express!!!

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

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Smooth Lee's picture

What he said:

"BUT THE TOUGHEST TESTS ARE YET TO COME"

Yep, no doubt about it. But it's just what the Buckeyes need, the stiffest of challenges, with Wisc and PSU looking like truly bad ass challenges, to emphatically prove their CFP worthiness. One loss to either, or to UM, even if they go on to win the B10 Conference (which won't happen if beaten by an undefeated PSU), will likely have to settle for a non-playoff Bowl Six. No shame there, but . . . . . that's not the goal. We shall overcome. 

15-0 Buckeyes Believe! 

smooth lee

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ronaprhys's picture

We all knew that the back half of the season was going to be the most difficult.  The only real change to what we expected here is that PUS is looking better (though, honestly, who have they played that's good?) and the skunkweasels are looking discombobulated when they were expected to be challenging this year.  Essentially, that's a push to the level of difficulty.  

What we didn't expect, and what's happened, is that Fields appears to be in complete control of a balanced offense.  Sure, we hoped Dobbins would bounce back, but this is better than I think we hoped.  Same with Fields - figured he'd learn the offense, but not be this far along.  That being said, the biggest surprise here is the defense.  I'm pretty sure we all would've been happy if they'd made if halfway out of the hole of suck they resided in last year.  But no, they weren't content with that - they're back at the top of the charts.

Right now, in terms of how challenging Wiscy and PUS will be, I'm looking at the next two weeks when Sparty has to play both.  That'll give us a measure of how those two play vs how we played them.  Another game to watch is the PUS-skunkweasel game.  That'll have kittens facing the first might be competent team.  

'97 - Molecular Genetics

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Smooth Lee's picture

UM will be at PSU (next wknd 10/19), and the way the Lions are playing, but more importantly, how the Woefulrines are generally poorly playing (credit, though, to some outstanding defense vs Iowa), it's looking like it could be an (another) unpleasant day for Harbaugh. We all enjoy UM losing, but for this one game I hope for an upset. An UM upset of PSU, however, doesn't mean the Buckeyes can be any less concerned about the Lions. 

Btw: My favorite regular season game of this decade was 2017 PSU @ OSU. I've YouTube-watched that all time best, come-from-behind match, at least a dozen times since. 

smooth lee

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ronaprhys's picture

I'm actually hoping for a skunkweasel loss, but I want the game to have PUS's offense look anemic.  Maybe something where it's a 9-6 contest.  

Then I want to see Sparty beat them 2-0.  That's right.  No offensive scoring, just a safety.  In overtime.  

'97 - Molecular Genetics

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Buckeyedrw23's picture

Wisc and Penn St will be here soon enough. I hope the team sets focus on the next best team we play, Northwestern. No mental side trips to Iowa City or Purdue!

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osufan2002's picture

The talent level is above 1995, 1996, and 1998, which is amazing.  This team is talented, hungry, focused and well coached.  Go Bucks!!!

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JoshieD's picture

The schedule is working out just right...the bye weeks - big games of Wisconsin and PennState at HOME but with Maryland and Rutgers in between...all of this is aligning perfectly...Bucks just have to take care of business - one game at a time.

vicariously living through tOSU since 1987...

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stantmann's picture

6-0 is not unfamiliar territory for the Buckeyes, even Cooper managed it a few times. It's what you do in late October, and November that counts. Tressel excelled in it. Urban was really good at it. Cooper, well he tried. Ryan has yet to have his first OCt/November. Buckle up fellas, it's going to be a helluva last 6 weeks.

Recent Buckeyes teams starting 6-0

Coop:  1993 (10-1-1),1995 (11-2),1996 (11-1),1998 (11-1)
Tress: 2002 (14-0),2006 (12-1),2007(11-2),2010 (12-1)
Urbz: 2012 (12-0),2013 (12-2),2015 (14-1),2016 (11-2) ,2018 (13-1)
Ryan: 2019 (?)

"When you're part of a team, you stand up for your teammates. Your loyalty is to them. You protect them through good and bad, because they'd do the same for you." Yogi Berra

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buckzilla1's picture

We are what we are and we will be much more coming up. Sit back and enjoy.

You never lose to those pricks. Ever. Ever. Urban Frank Meyer

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Buckeyebobby1968's picture

I think this team will lose a game and it will be a close one. Going undefeated is extremely difficult and Ohio State will have to run the table in order to get into the playoffs. The commitee has yet to be sold on the Big Ten as a better conference

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Buckeyebobby1968's picture

I think this team will lose a game and it will be a close one. Going undefeated is extremely difficult and Ohio State will have to run the table in order to get into the playoffs. The commitee has yet to be sold on the Big Ten as a better conference

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