Saturday, April 23, 2011

What lies ahead for the Buckeyes

Had a spirited conversation with a good friend about the state of the Ohio State football program looking ahead to the 2011 season.

His view is everything is OK. My view is no way.

First, let's take the ongoing NCAA investigation into Coach Jim Tressel and if any further punishment beyond the five-game suspension at the start of the upcoming season is levied out of the equation.

Second, let's look at the biggest concern on the field, that being four starters on offense, and another on defense, missing nearly half of the season. My argument to my friend is the losses of QB Terrelle Pyror, RB Daniel Herron, WR Devier Posey, OT Mike Adams and DE Solomon Thomas to NCAA suspension are way more of a concern than Buckeye Nation is letting on.

The Buckeyes are good, but not that good. I'm not sure any team in the nation can lose that many quality players without some problems arising in terms of Xs and Os.

My friend's rebutle: OSU's first five games are a piece of cake. Sorry, not buying it. Sure, the first two games are layups in Akron and Toledo, but after that is a trip to Miami (Fla.), a home game against Colorado and the Big Ten opener at home against Michigan State.

My friend's second rebutle: All will be well when the suspended players return for Game 6 at Nebraska. Again, not buying it. The Cornhuskers will be solid, but more than that is the fact that game will be the shool's first-ever home Big Ten conference game. Don't be surprised if that's not a night game. Either way, the emotion of that game could be too much for OSU to handle, even with Pryor and Co. back in the lineup.

My friend says OSU will be 4-1 without the tattoo five. I'm not that optimistic, but it could happen. I'm expecting a 3-2 record after five games, and another loss at Nebraska the following week.

That would put the Buckeyes at 0-2 in the Big Ten. Again, I'm not saying that will happen, but it could. If that occurs, one of the longest offseasons in OSU history could filter into the regular season.

- Mark Podolski


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