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B1G 2012 // Ohio State Cocktail Party Preview



[Note: This year's introduction to the OSU Cocktail Party Preview has been replaced with a brief synopsis of Articles 1 & 2 of the 2012 Edition of the Uniform Rules for Writing About Ohio State Football, published by and The Sporting News which require mention of: 1. Jim Tressel's (Ohio State's best coach since Woody Hayes) forced resignation for lying to the NCAA about his knowledge of a memorabilia for tattoo scandal, 2. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor's decision to forego his senior year in the wake of said scandal, 3. Ohio State's 6-7 record in 2011, its first losing season since 1988, 3. Ohio State's loss to arch rival Michigan, it's first since 2003, 4. Ohio State's decision to hire Urban Meyer, who won two national championships while coaching at Florida from 2005 to 2010, but retired twice at the end of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family only to return to coaching after working just one year as an ESPN play-by-play analyst, 5. Urban butting heads with Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio on the recruiting trail and violation of an alleged "Gentleman's Agreement" among Big Ten Coaches, 6. Ohio State's receipt of a bowl ban from the NCAA, 7. Ohio State's signing of a Top 5 recruiting class, 8. The crumbling program Urban left in his wake at Florida, lax attitude towards player drug use and arrests, and the "Circle of Trust" which (according to unnamed sources) allowed star players to flout the law, skip workouts, assault assistant coaches, and ultimately resulted in a loss of control in the locker-room, and 9. The fact that the actual crowd at Ohio State's spring game looked much smaller than the school's official attendance of 81,112.]

On last season

The good news is...

It's over. Amidst a flurry of star player suspensions, revolving lineup of captains, decrepit passing statistics, and stone age offensive play calling, the Buckeyes limped their way to the school's first losing season since 1988. Interim head coach Luke Fickell prevented the wheels from coming completely off the bus, but far too often looked way over his head on the sideline. Yet, some how, some way, the same team that blew a 21-point second half lead to Nebraska and lost to Michigan for the first time in seven seasons, managed to hire one of the two best active coaches in the game and subsequently turned around a moribund recruiting effort.

The bad news is...

The stench of an embarrassing tattoos for memorabilia scandal still permeates the halls of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and most of Ohio State's experienced skill position players have had their last hurrah. Plus, sky high expectations for Urban Messiah (back-to-back-to-back national titles) have practically set the new coach up to fail. Unless, of course, Urbs really is as good as advertised.

On the offensive side of the ball

The good news is...

Both JBs (Backup quarterback Joe Bauserman and Offensive [as in, everyone is offended by his playcalling] Coordinator Jim Bollman) are gone, and Braxton Miller is developing a passing prowess to complement his ridiculous running abilities. Along with Miller, athletic running back Jordan Hall is primed to explode in Urban's/Tom Herman's spread offense. A no-huddle attack combined with a completely new playbook are bound to bring Columbus' age old offensive mentality into the twenty-first century.

The bad news is...

Offensive line play was supremely sub par in 2011, and this year's unit will have to play without the two best linemen from last year. Plus the Buckeyes lack the sprightly and sure handed receivers Urban Meyer depends on to keep his offense balanced (although Freshman wide receiver Michael Thomas' 12 reception, 131 yard performance in the spring game has a lot of people dreaming.)


Everyone expects big things from Ryan Shazier in 2012.

On the defensive side of the ball

The good news is...

This is still Ohio State. The program that has made its name off of stingy defensive units is primed to field another grisly roster in 2012, led by a defensive line that's deeper than Bobby Petrino's deception. The star names that rightfully get first billing are John Simon and Jonathan Hankins, but people are excited about Adam Bellamy, who turned in a sold spring game performance (two sacks and a field goal block) on the heels of a career-best effort in the Gator Bowl. The linebacker core also has two potential stars in the making in Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier.

The bad news is...

A lot of the returning starters are from the same unit that literally couldn't get off the field when it counted in 2011, and it has yet to be seen whether the unit has the maturity to go from good to great. Additionally, depth at linebacker is limited.

On special teams

The good news is...

A ton of talented athletes from a banner 2011 recruiting effort should see playing time on special teams in 2012. Plus the Buckeyes boast a pretty consistent kicker in Drew Basil.

The bad news is...

The coverage woes that haunted Ohio State in 2010 continued through last season, and who can forget the blocked punt that gave Florida an eleven point lead in the Gator Bowl?

On the schedule

The good news is...

The out of conference slate is more than manageable, with tilts against Miami (OH), UCF, California, and UAB, which should give the new coaching staff plenty of time to work out the kinks before the beginning of B1G play. Plus Michigan is at home, and Michigan is Ohio State's bowl game in 2012.

The bad news is...

The Buckeyes have to go on the road to Spartan Stadium, Happy Valley, and Camp Randall.

If you're talking to an Ohio State fan

Don't mention...

Any of the shit contained in the introduction of this post.

Do mention...

The fact that the worst Ohio State team in years was an overthrown pass away from beating an eleven win Michigan team on the road.

Urban Meyer's record against his rivals at Florida (15-1).


This week...

MONDAY | Cocktail Party Preview

TUESDAY | The Smartest Guys in The Room

WEDNESDAY | Buckeye Potluck

THURSDAY | Wildcard

FRIDAY | Keeping the Enemy Close