For the next couple of weeks, I will be covering just a few non-SEC teams who might be in the mix for the final BCS Championship. If you are wondering what this has to do with the Crimson Tide, know that one of these teams may be an opponent in January or a spoiler who takes a spot away from the Tide. Believe it or not, there are some people out there who absolutely do not want Alabama in this coming season's championship game at all costs. Know thine enemy:
Could Ohio State turn into the Notre Dame of 2013?
Ohio State 12-0 (8-0) in 2012*
*Did not participate in post-season due to tattoo-gate probation.
Synopsis: After a miraculous recovery from Coach Urban Meyer's mysterious ailment in Gainesville, OSU fans hope year two brings them a national championship. On paper last season's 12-0 record looks promising. Closer inspection reveals a season that had close calls with the likes of Purdue (29-22 OT) and Indiana (52-49), along with a less-than-impressive non-conference schedule of Miami (OH), UCF, Cal, UAB - all home games and only one blowout. This year's non-conference slate is not much stronger (see below) as well as Michigan State and Nebraska rotating off. Additionally, remember that they did not play in the Big 10 Championship game or a bowl game in 2012 - two more opportunities for a loss.
The offense is loaded but OSU must replace a right tackle, H-back, and fullback. On defense, the Buckeyes lose all four starters on the defensive line and two linebackers. What's the old saying? "Offense wins games. Defense wins championships."
Key Losses: DT Johnathan Hankins, DE John Simon, DE Nate Williams, LB Storm Klein, LB Etienne Sabino, OT Reid Fragel, CB Travis Howard, H-B Jake Stoneburner
Key Returners: QB Braxton Miller, LB Ryan Shazier, CB Bradley Roby? (bar fight), RB Carlos Hyde (suspended first 3 games for hitting girls), OT Jack Mewhort
Newcomers: Bowl Eligibilty, S Vonn Bell, CB Eli Apple, DE Joey Bosa, CB Cameron Burrows
8/31/13 Buffalo (Columbus, OH) - Win
9/7/13 San Diego State (Columbus, OH) - Win
9/14/13 at California (Berkeley, CA) – Hmm. So this is the BIG out of conference BCS game for OSU. What happened? Was Kansas busy? Win
9/21/13 Florida A&M (Columbus, OH) - Win
9/28/13 Wisconsin (Columbus, OH) - This could be a tough game but the Badgers lost a ton of DBs. Home team gets the Win
10/5/13 at Northwestern (Evanston, IL) – Don't overlook what Pat Fitzgerald has done with the Wildcats. 1,366-yard/12-TD rusher Venric Mark could take advantage of the young Buckeye front seven. Call me crazy but I see a Loss
10/19/13 Iowa (Columbus, OH) - Win
10/26/13 Penn State (Columbus, OH) The Nittany Lions put up a good fight but home advantage goes to OSU - Win
11/2/13 at Purdue (W. Lafayette, IN) - Win
11/16/13 at Illinois (Champaign, IL) - Win
11/23/13 Indiana (Columbus, OH) - Win
11/30/13 at Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) - Big Blue has won once (2011) in the last 9 years. What will happen to Michigan Coach Brady Hoke if he starts a new losing streak? Win
Let's go Bowling! They probably head to Pasadena but on January 1 not January 6.
* The media (especially SEC haters) are trying to pump up this team in the public eye, but this is a weak schedule. With the BCS and strength-of-schedule still in play, one loss could eliminate the Buckeyes. Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, and the Big 10 Championship Game are all prime candidates.