Projecting the schedule
As other blogs are going into heavy detailed game-by-game previews, I'm keeping things a bit more concise. No offense to any of the other bloggers, but doing full previews for games in October just doesn't make much sense to me. Too many things could happen between now and then.
Game 1: Northern Illinois
Final pick: OSU 31, NIU 21
Garrett Wolfe is the real deal, but expect the Buckeyes to jump out to an early lead and force NIU to have to throw.
Game 2: @ Texas
Final Pick: OSU 28, Texas 24
Last time I checked, home teams without a surefire starter at QB have never won in this series. Expect more of the same as Tressel forces Texas to run and run often and shutdown the Texas offense.
Game 3: Cincinnati
Final Pick: OSU 35, UC 17
UC is still at least one year (probably two) away from being a team to really reckon with in the Big East. The offense is inexperienced, and Troy and Teddy will totally overwhelm the Cincy defense.
Game 4: Penn State
Final Pick: OSU 27, PSU 10
We saw last season how the spread offense is revolutionizing the game of college football. The loss of Michael Robinson makes one less thing for the Buckeye defense to worry about, and if Derrick Williams doesn't get his touches, the Nittany defense will have trouble doing much of anything.
Game 5: @ Iowa
Final Pick: Iowa 21, OSU 17
This game is the game that worries me the most as a fan. The last time we were at Kinnick, the results weren't pretty, and our team's recent history of playing under the lights doesn't help things much either. This game will probably be decided by a late turnover, and as much as I'd like to see OSU go undefeated, I think the schedule is just too much to handle.
Game 6: Bowling Green
Final Pick: OSU 38, BG 7
Bowling Green is an average MAC team that will find themselves playing an OSU team hungry to get back on track. Those two things don't necessarily mix, and it this will all blow up in BGs face.
Game 7: @ Michigan State
Final Pick: OSU 28, MSU 14
Here is a game that most people are viewing as a potential landmine for the Buckeyes. I don't think so. John L Smith is a mediocre coach, and even though Drew Stanton is an NFL stud in waiting, this team is primed for another late season blowup.
Game 8: Indiana
Final Pick: OSU 38, IU 13
Name one Indiana player other than James Hardy. Go ahead. I dare you. Can't? Well ain't that a shame. That's because IU is an average team at best, and won't have any business being on the same field as Ohio State come this time during the season.
Game 9: Minnesota
Final Pick: OSU 27, Minn 17
Had Gary Russell made the grade, this game would have scared me. However, he's no longer a member of the team, which makes them much less of a threat. Glenn Mason is a good coach, however, and these guys will come to play, but it won't be enough to stop the Bucks.
Game 10: @ Illinois
Final Pick: OSU 28, ILL 21
The days of Illinois being the laughingstock of the Big 10 are over. I can't believe it myself, but Ron Zook may actually bring a team to respectability. This game will be Illinois showing to the world that they are for real, and this team will probably find themselves in a bowl game come December.
Game 11: @ Northwestern
Final Pick: OSU 31, NU 10
Unfortunately, this will be a long season for Northwestern. It was obvious that the loss of Basanaez would hurt these guys offensively, but the loss of Randy Walker will turn out to be too much of a loss for these guys to overcome. Tyrell Sutton is the one positive that this team has, but he can't do it himself.
Game 12: The Game
Final Pick: OSU 21, UM 17
Michigan lost a lot of respect from pollsters and fans alike after a relatively mediocre 2005 campaign. However, I have a good feeling that this team will be much better than last year's, and will give the Bucks a run for their money. However, like most of these games in the Tressel era, a late score will put the Buckeyes over the top, and fans will start calling for Carr's head.
Final season results: 11-1 (7-1), Big Ten Champs.