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NCAA Team Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Expectations are high for Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes. While they are certainly big favorites to win the Big Ten, they are also contenders to win the National Championship in June. The Buckeyes ran the table a season ago in Big Ten play, but finished 12-2 overall. Ohio State lose running back Carlos Hyde, but appear to have plenty of returning players to big a force in the national picture. Ohio State’s biggest Big Ten problem will be either Penn State or Michigan. Neither of those games will be a cake walk for the Buckeyes.

Braxton Miller, the 6’2 quarterback is back for his senior season. Miller has shown the ability to not only throw the ball, but rush the ball when needed. He will be joined by Ezekial Elliott, Corey Smith and Devin Smith as the skill players. Defensively, the Buckeyes lost Bradley Roby, the talented cornerback, but expect him to be replaced well by Gareon Conley.

A few new comers that should be a pivotal role for Ohio State include Raekwon McMillian, who was the top lineback prospect coming out of High School. Other guys that will get a chance to start on this national title contender include Joey Bosa, at defensive end and Pat Elfein on the offensive line. While they are sophomores, they are thrusted into major roles after a smaller role a season ago.

A season ago, the Buckeyes were tremendous in the red zone, converting 84.1 percent. This year, Ohio State needs to be back around that number to be great again. Can the Buckeyes do that without Carlos Hyde? Regardless it appears the Buckeyes will have a great ground game and a versatile quarterback, so look for this number to be solid once again.

The Ohio State schedule starts on August 30th in Baltimore against Navy. Following that, Ohio State will play three non conference games, both in Columbus. On September 6th Virginia Tech will come to town, followed by Kent State the following week. On September 20th, the Bearcats of Cincinnati come in for a state rivalry game. Then, the final Saturday of the month will feature the Buckeyes first Big Ten game. That will be against Maryland, in College Park. Ohio State would love to rudely welcome the Terrapins into their new conference. After that, the Buckeyes take a week off, before welcoming Rutgers to town. The final six games feature three at home and three on the road. The first game is at Penn State, which proves to be a huge challenge with James Franklin running the show in Happy Valley. A home game with Illinois will be followed by road games at Michigan State and Minnesota. Then, Ohio State finishes the 2014 season at home with games against Indiana and Michigan, before hopefully, for them playing in the Big Ten title game on December 6th.

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