Sowegalive Preseason Top 30: # 11 Ohio State Buckeyes

By | August 18, 2016

Ohio State BuckeyesOhio State Logo
Urban Meyer – 5th year (50-4)
2015 Record: 12-1 (7-1, T-1st)
Ohio Stadium (104,944)

It’s hard to believe that the Buckeyes can have the kind of players on the roster that they do after two straight years of being absolutely pillaged by graduation and the NFL Draft but head coach Urban Meyer just keeps reloading in Columbus. Last season Ohio State lost only one game by a last second field goal to Michigan State but beat everyone else on their schedule by an average margin of 22.5 points which is unbelieveable when you consider how underwhelming we all thought the Ohio State Buckeyes were in 2015.

Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer

Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer

This season the Buckeyes only return three starters on offense but this roster is still loaded with talent including returning junior quarterback J.T. Barrett who only threw for 992 yards as a backup & in spot duty for the Buckeyes but he was second on the team in rushing with 11 touchdowns and almost 700 yards. The only other two returning starters for this unit is on the offensive line in senior center Pat Elflein and junior right guard Billy Price. Elflein was a 2nd team all-american in 2015 and a 1st team Big Ten performer in 2014 while Price was 2nd team Big Ten last season while playing at two different positions. They’ll lead newcomers Jamarco Jones, Isaiah Prince and freshman left guard and camp standout Michael Jordan. Urban Meyer teams have never had a shortage of skill players and this Ohio State team will not be any different. The player with all eyes on him will be redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber who will be replacing 1,800 yard rusher Ezekiel Elliott. It’s unfair to think that he will replace Elliott’s production but all reports point to a big season for the young back. Sophomore receiver Noah Brown and oft-injured Corey Smith will be the key receivers on the outside and returning leading receiver Curtis Samuel will fill the ‘Percy Harvin’ position. This is a very inexperienced unit but returners at center and quarterback mean that the offense won’t miss many beats in 2016.

Ohio State’s defense only allowed 15.1 points per game last season and allowed over 20 points just three times in the regular season. Only three starters return from that group but back will be the team’s leading tackler Raekwon McMillan who had 119 total tackles in 2015. He’ll lead an inexperienced but veteran group of players on defense including juniors Dante Booker and Chris Worley at linebacker. On the defensive line, junior Tyquan Lewis returns from his 49 tackle season and will anchor an all new defensive line. Sophomore Sam Hubbard and juniors Tracy Sprinkle and Michael Hill will complete the defensive line. All three of the new starters got considerable playing time in 2015 but this will be the first time they’ve been in a starting role. The secondary is anchored by cornerback Gareon Conley who has 14 starts under his belt. Conley had 2 interceptions and 5 passes broken up last season and will lead a group of two sophomores in Denzel Ward and Malik Hooker who both played in 13 games last season and a junior in Cam Burrows who did get one start a year ago. The Ohio State defense won’t be as good this season as it has been the last two but it will be good enough to keep the Buckeyes in every game they play in 2016.

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

The Buckeyes open the season with two home games against the Bowling Green Falcons who will be breaking in a new head coach as well as the up-and-coming Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. Week three brings one of the biggest games in the country in the first month of the season when the Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Norman, Oklahoma, to take on the top 5 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. These two teams combine for over 1,700 wins all-time and the first meeting between the two college football ‘blue bloods’ since 1983. In the last ten years, Ohio State is 8-2 in true road openers and are 11-3 against ranked teams under Urban Meyer. This is going to be a big game on September 17th. The Buckeyes get their bye week the following week before beginning October with back-to-back home games against Rutgers and Indiana. The next two weeks Ohio State play back-to-back road games against Wisconsin and Penn State who will both be coming off of bye weeks. Ohio State will close out October with a home game against Northwestern before the Nebraska Cornhuskers pay a rare visit to Columbia where the home team is 4-0 in that series. Ohio State travels to Maryland and Michigan State the next two weeks before the big home game against Michigan on November 26th. Normally, this schedule wouldn’t cause Buckeye fans to bat an eye but with two separate back-to-back road games on the schedule may cause a headache or two for the young team.

This will be in no way the most talented team that Urban Meyer has fielded at Ohio State but the Buckeyes are still just as talented as any team in the country and especially in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s standards are a little bit higher than the other teams in the conference but that doesn’t mean that Coach Meyer and the Buckeyes won’t be trying to make the College Football Playoff in 2016 after missing out in 2015.

2016 Ohio State Buckeyes Schedule

Sept 3rd          Bowling Green
Sept 10th        Tulsa
Sept 17th         at Oklahoma
Sept 24th        BYE WEEK
Oct 1st             Rutgers
Oct 8th            Indiana
Oct 15th          at Wisconsin
Oct 22nd        at Penn State
Oct 29th         Northwestern
Nov 5th          Nebraska
Nov 12th        at Maryland
Nov 19th        at Michigan State
Nov 26th       Michigan

Ohio Stadium 'The Horseshoe' - 1922 - 104,944

Ohio Stadium ‘The Horseshoe’ – 1922 – 104,944

#30 – Arkansas Razorbacks
#29 – Texas A&M Aggies
#28 – Nebraska Cornhuskers
#27 – Washington State Huskies
#26 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Miami Hurricanes
#24 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#23 – Baylor Bears
#22 – Oklahoma State Cowboys
#21 – Michigan State Spartans
#20 – Louisville Cardinals
#19 – Boise State Broncos
#18 – Texas Longhorns
#17 – USC Trojans
#16 – Georgia Bulldogs
#15 – Houston Cougars
#14 – Tennessee Volunteers
#13 – Iowa Hawkeyes
#12 – Washington Huskies
#11 – Ohio State Buckeyes
#10 – Friday, August 19th
#9 – Monday, August 22nd
#8 – Tuesday, August 23rd
#7 – Wednesday, August 24th
#6 – Thursday, August 25th
#5 – Friday, August 26th
#4 – Monday, August 29th
#3 – Tuesday, August 30th
#2 – Wednesday, August 31st
#1 – Thursday, September 1st

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