We finally made it everybody! We are at the end of the line and the only thing that stands between us and a successful B1G 2013 is one more potluck and a hate day. Not a bad way to finish off the run if you ask me. With that in mind, we do not want to short change our good friends from Columbus either. Our resident potluck organizer, Chad, got stuck with a lot of real person work, so I am stepping in with some Buckeye questions and will be bringing you dishes inspired by the Buckeye. Since I have heard you cannot eat the Buckeye due to some sort of poisonous aspect, we will be focusing on nut-based dishes guaranteed not to kill us all off, you know minus all of our Nut-Allergy friends. Sorry about that.
With no further adieu, the OTE Ohio State Buckeyes Potluck. As always, dishes include links to real recipes.
"Why yes, yes I am the best coach in the conference and yes, I do plan on feasting on the tears of your children. Next question."
1. Pistachio Pesto Pizza: Undefeated. That is what Urban Meyer can claim his record is at Ohio State so far, and with a lot of talent returning, why wouldn't he aim to keep that streak alive? The talk around town is National Championship or bust, and with what is definitely perceived as a weak B1G, that does not seem too out of the question. Still, the fact still remains that in a major conference, it is difficult to go through a season unscathed, and it's not like Ohio State was a world beater last year. With that in mind, what do you all think happens this year? Are the Buckeyes going undefeated? If not, what will be their undoing?
Ted Glover: "It's not like Ohio State was a world beater last year"...yet they went 12-0 with nothing to play for, except pride. Urban Meyer has brought in some ridiculous talent at the two places the Bucks were hurting at the most, offensive skill positions and defensive line, so it's not a stretch to say that Ohio State has the most talent, top to bottom, in the conference. And no disrespect to the other coaching staffs in the B1G, because we've seen a dramatic upgrade at just about every school in the last few years, but c'mon, Urban Meyer is still the best coach in the conference.
"RAWR TED YOU HOMER RAWR".
Okay, let me ask you...would any other coach in the conference from last year taken that 6-7 mess and turned them into an undefeated 12-0 team?
Yeah, didn't think so.
What I think happens this year is OSU runs the table, and if they can overcome the torrent of negative press about their weak schedule and playing in a weak conference (and it's already started), they should play for the national title.
What will be their undoing? A lack of senior leadership and injuries. We've already seen poor judgement with Carlos Hyde, and as a senior, that's unacceptable. Heck, it's unacceptable for anyone, period. But a senior like Hyde needs to be setting the example, not doing crap like that. Injuries could wreak havoc on this team, too. I would match up these starters with anyone in the country, but depth is a big concern, and if someone gets hurt, especially Braxton Miller, there will be a quick recalibration of expectations in Columbus.
Brian Gillis: It's not just a weak Big Ten that gives Ohio State a legitimate chance to run the table and advance to the BCS title game this year, it's that they also manage to avoid playing a couple of the tougher teams in the conference that gives such talk merit. That's the real weakness of Ohio State's schedule, not just its non-conference foes, but rather its Big Ten slate. But such is life in the new and not-so-improved Big Ten, and Ohio State certainly didn't choose its conference schedule. But even with a schedule that many are saying includes "only 2-3 losable games," going undefeated will be difficult. I don't think Ohio State runs the table this year, but they give it a good run.
Babaoreally: It won't happen. Ohio State will lose at least one game next year. It's too hard to run the table, and almost impossible to do it twice in a row. The Buckeyes aren't so great that they will do it.
C.E. Bell: I think your question gets to the heart of the issue - it's VERY hard to go undefeated over two straight regular seasons. Ignoring Boise State and TCU for purposes of this analysis(sorry), only two BCS conference/level teams (Ohio State, Notre Dame) went undefeated last season; none went undefeated in 2011; only Oregon and Auburn managed it in 2010; only Texas, Alabama, and Cincinnati managed it in 2009 (and Florida, if you ignore conference championship games). So the odds are stacked way against Ohio State this year. Also stacked against them? The pressure. Look, last year, Ohio State was loose, since they knew their season ended with The Game (and not with a BCS championship game or Rose Bowl). Do you think they may have tightened up a bit when the odds were stacked against them (see: Purdue game) if they faced losing a title shot? I think so. And, keep in mind, it's not like Ohio State was killing every opponent last season. They won by a TD over Cal, one point over MSU, a FG over Indiana (seriously, that happened), and had to go to OT against Wisconsin and Purdue. So I think the Buckeyes drop at least one game this season, just because the degree of difficulty is so high.
Jesse Collins: I hate committing to a prediction without doing an entire grid, and that grid will be done soon, but for the sake of answering my own question, I am leaning towards an OSU undefeated season. Why? Because I'm always wrong. Look, I don't doubt the Buckeyes will have more talent than every team they play. I don't doubt they aren't capable of playing with anyone. I also don't doubt that things like the Purdue game happen, and if that talent is turned up a notch -- the opponent's talent that is -- then the Buckeyes are in trouble. Still, Urban is one of the best coaches out there and who am I to argue with what he has accomplished already?
"Why yes, that is indeed a full windsor. Does that mean I'll win the Heisman? Yes."
2. Walnut Chicken Salad with Green Apple Vinaigrette: Heisman. That is what Braxton Miller is gunning for this year. After highlight plays and some pretty spectacular numbers, he is poised to give OSU another trophy for the case. Still, one has to wonder if that is really going to happen. His throwing numbers have been suspect so far and honestly, people will be gunning for him more than ever. Not to mention he has yet to get through an entire season without a few dings. Honestly, how many OSU fans held their breath during the MSU game last year when Braxton was on the ground? All that said, what do you see the chances of a B1G Heisman winner in C-bus this year? What does Miller need to do to take home the hardware?
Graham Filler: I love watching Braxton Miller. But he's not a linebacker like Tebow and his arm hasn't been as accurate as needed in the offensive system. I say the chances of Miller winning a Heisman are...10%. No one likes a repeat, we like new stories, new hype...
Ted Glover: Unfortunately, the Heisman has gone from 'best college football player in the country' to 'best quarterback on a nationally relevant team that will more than likely play in a BCS Bowl'. Miller qualifies. To win, he needs to put up better numbers than last year, not get hurt, and go undefeated. The over/under chance is set at 50%. Right now, today, I'm taking the over.
Brian Gillis: Miller will be in the mix, but a lot of it comes down to good fortune and the unexpected. Miller looks poised to have a great season, but he'll need some luck. And speaking of Luck, remember, Andrew never won the Heisman. Instead, RGIII and Johnny Manziel, players who were known by few outside their respective fan bases prior to their breakout seasons, took home the last two Heisman Trophies. Miller will likely be in the mix all season, but is he the favorite? I don't think so.
Babaoreally: Let's just say he has a 12.5% chance to win the Heisman and leave it at that.
C.E. Bell: Let me preface this by saying that undeniably Braxton Miller is the best returning athlete/QB in the conference, and the conference's best (but not only) chance at the Heisman. But he won't win. I think you hit the nail on the head -- he's too open to injury given his style of play. Throw in the fact that the Buckeyes will drop a game or two, and how the Heisman seems to go to SEC players heading to title games (or damn near close to it), and I think Braxton ends up as a top 5 guy in Heisman voting, but not the winner.
Jesse Collins: Braxton is probably not winning the Heisman. That is not to say he isn't capable of doing so, but I just don't think he gets it done. I think a season in which OSU is at two losses or less gives Braxton a trip to New York, but anything less than a National Title game run keeps him out of the discussion. Unless his passing gets that much better. Like, RGIII better. I just don't see that happening. This is before we look at the ridiculous athletes poised to make that Heisman run this year. It's a strong class.
The Ohio State Dynasty! Wait... wrong dynasty.
3. Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Pinwheels: Dynasty. It is entirely way too early to talk about dynasties, especially with a pretty legitimate claim to one down south, but Urban is building up the talent stockpile and taking very few prisoners. With another top-notch class on its way and a few years forward worth of recruits jonesing to play for the almighty Urbz, is Ohio State back? Moreover, are there any scenarios in the foreseeable future where we don't see the Buckeyes as the team to beat? On the flipside, do we honestly think Ohio State can compete on the National Stage for any of this to matter -or- does this just reek of another domination of the B1G while the B1G gets a black eye for the Buckeye's futility on the big stage?
Graham Filler: OSU can and will compete on the national stage for titles. If we want to look at some kind of comparison for how this all might go wrong, look at Urban and Florida. He had a bad year, his leader/point guard was gone...and his health problems hit hard. So that looks like the recipe for how things might end the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut he's created in Columbus.
Ted Glover: Again, without sounding like 'that guy', Ohio State never really left. Jim Tressel set the bar ridiculously high, and although 2011 was a major disappointment, there was talent there and a good, but not great, recruiting class on the way before Urban Meyer was named head coach. Meyer took recruiting to ludicrous speed when he got hired, matched one of Tressel's accomplishments (undefeated season), and turned everything up to an 11.
It seems arrogant to say that OSU will be THE team to beat every year, but as long as Meyer is the coach, they will be one of the two or three teams to beat every year. Are they good enough to win the national title? This year, I don't know. They have some ridiculous speed at the skill positions, but this is a very inexperienced group. But assuming Meyer keeps bringing in the recruiting classes he has been, I firmly believe he will bring a national championship to Columbus sooner rather than later.
Brian Gillis: Let's hold off on the dynasty talk. Alabama is in the middle of a great run, similar to those that USC and Miami had not too long ago, but three titles in four years is not a dynasty. Winning 11 NBA titles in 13 years or 10 NCAA basketball titles in 12 years or even 14 pennants and nine World Series championships in 16 years - those are dynasties. If Nick Saban can keep what he's got going for another five years, then we can start talking about a dynasty. As for the Buckeyes, they look to be well positioned to have a strong run over the next few years, but you don't predict dynasties. And is there anything that could prevent Ohio State from rolling off a decade worth of Big Ten (or BCS) championships? Yes - and it's gaining steam about 200 miles to the north.
(What, you didn't see that one coming?)
Babaoreally: I guess it depends on how you fine dynasty. If you set the bar at Alabama and competing for the National Championship each year, I would say no. If the standard is being the team to beat in the B1G every year, then the Bucks would certainly be a dynasty.
C.E. Bell: I'm not sure Ohio State ever really left - last year they were undefeated, and they had the conference's best record (or tied for the best record, ignoring tiebreakers such as head-to-head) in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005. That being said, I think Ohio State will not become a B1G dynasty, simply because I think the conference is better, top-to-bottom, than when Ohio State was breaking off that impressive streak. Brady Hoke has Michigan recruiting and playing like a top tier team (and challenger to the Buckeyes) again. Bill O'Brien (assuming he stays) looks like the real deal at Penn State. Mark Dantonio fields one of the nation's best defenses year in and year out at MSU. Recruiting rankings have never been higher at Northwestern, where Fitz and the team are coming off a 10 win season and bowl win, and are about to get some awesome new facilities. Wisconsin just scored again, has gone to a bunch of Rose Bowls recently, and maybe has a coach with better in-game management that Bielema now in Gary Anderson. Nebraska has played Ohio State very competitively, and may always be a B1G conference challenger. Jerry Kill is turning around Minnesota (and is heading into Year 3, where he always succeeds), and Kevin Wilson has Indiana getting fiesty. And Darrell Hazell seems like the right fit for Purdue. The competition is getting better, the coaching is getting better....so it's going to be harder to be a "dynasty." That being said, Ohio State? They're still gonna be REALLY good.
Jesse Collins: This was probably a silly question. See, Ohio State is already a B1G powerhouse and with the legitimate exception of maybe one or two years, they've been close to the top of the heap since Tressel. With that said, I don't think they'll ever get back-to-back titles. Heck, I think the day and age of that is gone with the CFP in place. It's hard to win out and win the extra championship game. Now teams will most likely go through a Conference Championship Game, Semifinal Game, and then a National Championship game. To do that will be much more difficult. Not impossible, but definitely much more difficult. Ohio State will be the team to catch in the B1G for the foreseeable future. People will do it on occasion, but they've got the resources to stay where they are. They won't be a real dynasty though. At least not nationally.
Pants head. Awesome.
4. Peanut Butter Cream Pie: The end. This week wraps up B1G 2013 and we have touched on all 12 members and even got some chime-ins from the new guys. It's been a ridiculously fun ride for all of us. So, to cap it all off, what has been your favorite moments of the series? Was it Bobby Holtz? Was it the Purdue Board Games? How about our guests from Maize n Brew, Testudo Times, A Lion Eye, Corn Nation, LGHL, and a host of others we've had come through these parts? Was there a brand of hate you didn't find annoying? Heck, does this make up for the fact that we don't watch football? Here's your chance to weigh in on B1G 2013 before we actually, you know, get into football.
Graham Filler: I liked the Urban Meyer gif where the blocker gets run over.
I liked the apparel and the fact that we sold some t-shirts. But not enough. Go buy a t-shirt please, it will be good for capitalism and loyalty and fall fashion, etc.
I loved the Friday Rivalry pieces. Just a wide variety of...feelings toward other teams. Even some Pitt hate toward PSU! Didn't see that coming.
I loved Maryland's welcome and the ESPN invasion.
Ted Glover: I got an email forwarded to me from the SB Nation higher ups from someone who thought I should have been fired because of my Michigan hate piece. That was pretty kewl. And I gotta say, I enjoyed the influx of new folks we got from Rutgers, Maryland, and ESPN as this thing chugged along. Hope you guys found a new home for your B1G football fix!
Babaoreally: I liked the part where there someone wrote a funny comment and then somebody else did the same. I like the off-season articles, but the comments can turn a ho-hum article about a team I don't care about into something fun.
C.E. Bell: What have I learned through B1G 2013? Honeycrisp apples are terrible. Some people hate Wrigley and the Rose Bowl (and I will fight those people). Old Bay is good on everything. Some people deny that Chicago is a great city (again, I will fight those people). Stay off of Ted's lawn. FIVE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. Illinois will never have nice things. The only people with better job security than Kirk Ferentz thanks to his contract are Supreme Court justices.
And I cannot wait for the season to start.....
Jesse Collins: So much good stuff this year. I think that we've had some of the most ridiculous conversations in the history of OTE this year. I like that we gained regulars from Purdue, Indiana, and even Illinois. I like the Maryland and Rutgers folks. I like the new ESPN friends we picked up. Loved the drop in pieces by the various B1G sites in the network (and really, we've got some of the best writing teams following our favorite schools). Loved that I now like Peruvian Chicken. Really love that we have had some homemade hate in the Fan Posts. Not sure about honeycrisps. I still think they are tasty. Like my new tinfoil hat avatar. Oh, and despite my lack of football watching, I love that the end of this means we're close to the start of football.