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B1G 2015 // Ohio State Cocktail Party Preview

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We Dress Up for Our Cocktail Parties

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

From the banks of That Dark and Bloody River to the wave-lapped shores of our Great Lake, it's been one hell of a year for the Buckeye state. So grab yourself a Dortmunder Gold, pull up some real estate at the White House cash bar, and let's talk about it.

About Last Season

The Good News

Well, there was the National Championship and all...if you're into that sort of thing. Quite frankly, I don't know what more I can say about that. We all bore witness to the slaying of two major myths: the incomparable defensive speed of the SEC and the supernatural offensive talent of the Pac-12. If nothing else, we should all be thankful that the Buckeyes put both of those discussions to rest for at least one off-season. Let us all take a moment to thank the football god Hayes-zeus who dwelleth upon Mt. Woody-lympus for our good fortune.

As if that wasn't enough, the Buckeyes managed to pull off the destruction of the Great Crimson Devil and the Frisbee-Catching Ducks in what might go down as the most improbable of fashions. Having lost Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller just days before the season opener (against the wretched filth that is Navy), Ohio State asked mild-mannered upstart J.T. Barrett to save the season. Barrett then proceeded to do just that, until he was laid low by the accursed Mitten Weasels in an attempt by Brady Hoke to ruin just one more thing on his way out the door. Enter Cardale Jones, who quite obviously did not come to "play school" (and God love him for saying what 99% of FBS scholarship players believe). A quick dismantling of Wisconsin, a come-from-behind smashing of the University of SEC, and a steamroller performance against the Ducks brought the first ever undisputed National Championship to Columbus.

In short, you're welcome B1G. But in our right and proper adoration of all things Ohio State, let us not forget that those Buckeye victories were the icing on a very good bowl season cake for the B1G. Sparty, Penn State, Rutgers, and Wisconsin also pulled out big victories that left the rest of the college football world doing this number...

Let yours truly be clear in saying that there was a lot to love about last season, and not just in Columbus. While we may not give one another over-the-pants tugs on New Years Day like those SEC folks, there is no one else we'd rather bump heads with than you B1G types.

So let's toast all our successes. Here's to you, B1G friends. PS: May we dominate you forever.

The Bad News

If we're honest, the Buckeyes did not look at all like a championship team for roughly 10/12ths of the season (or 5/6ths for those among you who delight in reducing fractions). There's an argument to be made that they peaked at just the right time. It was entirely possible that the team we saw struggle in St. Paul, and who let Indiana's stop-gap signal caller complete 11 passes (yes, that was a lot for Zander Diamont), could have easily been steamrolled by Wisconsin. Hell, even the Michigan game was a toss-up for the first three quarters. Oh, and that's to say nothing about the week two self-immolation against Virginia Tech. The point is that it's easy to overlook the regular season warts in light of the fantastic finish. But warts they were, and like any virus they can reappear when you least expect it. A week to the left or right, and perhaps the trophy is rusting in the dripping climes of Oregon.

Oh, and that QB thing? Every rose has its thorn. The problem with having three great QBs is managing three great QBs.


On the Offensive Side of the Ball

The Good News

They're back. Most of them, anyway. Jones and Barrett will both be around to take snaps, and one expects that Cardale hasn't lost his cannon and that J.T. hasn't lost his touch.

That leaves Miller. It should not be news to anyone that after much sturm and drang in the off-season, Miller has called it quits as a QB and will take his talents to the WR position. Simply watching the kid walk to the water bucket feels like witnessing an athletic feat, so there's little doubt that he has the chops to snag balls out of the atmosphere. Route-running remains a question mark, but he's spent a career using his legs to leave folks grasping at shadows. All signs point to some measure of success for him on the edges of the formation.

Zeke Elliott will resume his duties in the backfield, backed by Curtis Samuel. Enough said.

Jalin Marshall will resume his duties as insanely talented receiver/runner/wildcatter/returner. Hopefully he resumes with fewer fumbles.

But the biggest (literally) and best news comes up front: four of the five "Slobs" return on the offensive line. Only one new blocking talent will stand at the line of scrimmage for the Buckeyes, in the form of Chase Farris. The departure of RT Daryl Baldwin means that Farris--last year's relief man for the gang of five--steps into a spotlight role.

Did I mention the other guys? Michael Thomas and Corey Smith at receiver? Suffice it to say, this offense is primed to score points in bunches.

The Bad News

This is a short section by necessity. If you read the Good News, you know why. The only notable losses for the offense were Daryl Baldwin, Devin Smith, and Jeff Heuerman.

Losing Devin Smith to the pros is nothing to sneeze at, and the vacancy he leaves downfield could be problematic for the Buckeyes. It's quite likely that Braxton has the speed to stretch the secondary, but it's not likely that he can match Smith's seemingly unnatural feats in plucking balls out of the sky.

Oh, and everyone will miss Jeff Heuerman. Talk about a guy who vexed defenses with his hands, whether blocking or catching. But even bad news on this OSU team comes with good news, as his replacement is the equally capable Nick Vannett, as Oregon learned the hard way.

On the Defensive Side of the Ball

The Good News

Pretty much everything except the defensive line. Linebackers Darron Lee, Raekwon McMillan, and Josh Perry all return, as do three of the four defensive backs. Redshirt Sophomore Conley Gaeron is the presumed new starter at CB, joining veterans Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, and Tyvis Powell in the Department of Stealing All Yo' Passes.

The Bad News

Ohio State possessed the best defensive line in college football in 2014. Period. Full stop. Indisputable. Sadly, only Bosa and Washington will be back this year. Steve Miller and Michael Bennett both ended their Buckeye careers on the highest of high notes. Now, there are two gaping holes to fill among the gang charged with filling holes. Senior Tommy Schutt and underclassmen Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis are expected to step into those roles. Schutt has battled his share of injuries over his time as a Buckeye, and this is his last chance to make his mark in Ohio Stadium.

On Special Teams

The Good News

Jalin Marshall. The man turns punts into touchdowns. Dontre Wilson makes an able backup. Of course, there's the B1Ggest player of all, punter Cameron Johnston. The Wonder from Down Under is an expert at his craft, which is impressive given how little he had to do it down the stretch.

The Bad News

Jalin Marshal. The man turns punts into turnovers.


On the Schedule

Date Opponent
9/7/2015 at Virginia Tech
9/12/2015 Hawaii
9/19/2015 Northern Illinois
9/26/2015 Western Michigan
10/3/2015 at Indiana
10/10/2015 Maryland
10/17/2015 Penn State
10/24/2015 at Rutgers
11/7/2015 Minnesota
11/14/2015 at Illinois
11/21/2015 Michigan State
11/28/2015 at Michigan

The Good News

The odd Monday opener against VT is backstopped by an easier tilt against a jet-lagged Hawaii team five days later. Penn State and Michigan State at home this year, thankfully.

The Bad News

For starters, having to travel to New Jersey. Get your shots, boys. Secondly, the Tour of Michigan as the last two games of the year will test the depth of the team by that point in the season. And Directional Michigan, because ick.


If You're Talking to an Ohio State Fan, Don't Mention:

Tattoos, John Cooper, Virginia Tech, J.T. Barrett's ankle, Governor Kasich, or that cesspool of self-aggrandizing human excrement up north.

Do Mention:

Alabama, Oregon, bowl games, Urban Meyer, and how we've ruined November for that cesspool of self-aggrandizing human excrement up north.


B1G 2015: Ohio State Week

MONDAY - Cocktail Party Preview

TUESDAY - Personnel Files/Smartest Guys in the Room

WEDNESDAY - Ohio State Potluck

THURSDAY - Wildcard

FRIDAY - Hate. HATE!