So far, so good for the 2013 Badgers as we come to week 4 of the season and week two in their Big Ten schedule. Yes, you read that correctly. It's the earliest the Badgers have started the Big Ten season in many, many a year. According to our staff it's Wisconsin opening up Big Ten play with a big time win over Purdue, so make sure to check that out.
But, that's where the fun ends as Wisconsin gets a date with Ohio State up next and if it weren't for the BYU and Purdue games being flipped on the schedule the Badgers would've opened up conference play against Ohio State. There will be a lot of layers to this game to say the least.
First there will be the fact that OSU was 12-0 last season and Wisconsin was the actual Big Ten champion. Second, it's teacher vs. pupil as Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes will host his former assistant from Utah in Gary Andersen. Lastly, it's a game that has been crazy good over the past three years with OSU winning two in a row in dramatic fashion. Lord knows this has become a juicy game on the schedule and will easily be the most difficult test to date in the 2013 schedule.
With that, let's get into our breakdown of the Buckeyes, shall we?
2012 Record: 12-0
Head Coach: Urban Meyer – 2nd year at OSU (12-0, 116-23 in 11 years overall)
2012 Billingsley Ranking: No. 4
|Scoring Offense||37.2||Scoring Defense||22.8|
|Rushing Offense||242.2yds (37TD's)||Rushing Defense||116.1yds (14TD's)|
|Passing Offense||181.5yds (17TD's/7INT's)||Passing Defense||243.5yds (15TD's/14INT's)|
Crazy 2012 Stat: 30 – That's the number of sacks the Buckeyes gave up…. and the number of sacks they produced as well. Not too often you have both of those stats equal out and it shows where OSU may need to get better in 2013 up front.
What 2012 Tells Us About Ohio State: Hard to argue with a team that went 12-0, but this may have been the luckiest 12-0 team in the country – Notre Dame included – that we've seen in quite some time. Don't tell that to the Buckeye Battle Cry though, they think they're national champions, or something like that. They got lucky in escaping teams like Cal and UCF in the non-conference season. In Big Ten play? Well, we all know about their OT win at Wisconsin, but there was also their 17-16 narrow W at Michigan State and their OT win over Purdue at home as evidence of being lucky. It's safe to say the 2012 Buckeyes were doing a high wire act last season and had just enough balance to get to the end without falling off.
It also told us just how good of a player Braxton Miller can be and he was just a sophomore last season. He literally put his team on his back in the UCF and Cal wins, but he's not invincible – just ask Wisconsin's defense who completely shut him down. Ohio State had a great defensive line last year, but guess what? That line is gone in 2013 so it's not like you can look to that to be a strength again this year.
There was a lot to be excited about in 2012 for Buckeyes fans, but if you are being honest there were things that should've bothered you and moving forward there are issues this team needs to address if they are to repeat an undefeated season, or have a double digit win season once again.
Series History: Ohio State leads 55-18-5. Last meeting – 21-14 Ohio State (2012).
Key Loses: Jake Stoneburner, WR (16 rec, 269yds, 4TD's ); Reid Fragel, RT; John Simon, LEO (45 tackles, 14.5tfl's, 9 sacks); Jonathan Hankins, DT (55 tackles, 4tfl's, *leaving early for NFL draft); Garrett Goebel, NT (42 tackles, 4tfl's); Nathan Williams, DE (40 tackles, 3tfl's, 2 sacks); Zach Boren, MLB (50 tackles, 3.5tfl's); Storm Klein, MLB (18 tackles, 1tfl, 1 sack); Etienne Sabino, OLB (45 tackles, 3.5tfl's, 2 sacks, 1INT); Travis Howard, Safety (40 tackles, 4INT's, 6 BU's, 10 PD's, 1 fumble recovery); Ben Buchanan, P (59 punts, 41avg).
Key Returners: Braxton Miller, QB (58.3% comp, 2,039yds, 15TD's/6INT's passing, 1,271yds, 13TD's rushing); Carlos Hyde, RB (970yds, 16TD's); Jordan Hall, RB (218yds, 5.4ypc, *received medical redshirt); Corey "Philly" Brown, WR (60 rec, 669yds, 3TD's); Devin Smith, WR (30 rec, 618yds, 6TD's); Jake Mewhort, LT; Marcus Hall, RG; Ryan Shazier, OLB (115 tackles, 17tfl's, 5 sacks); Bradley Roby, CB (63 tackles, 2INT's, 17 PU's, 19 PD's)
WAY too Early Prediction: Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 21 – These two teams will once again fight it out in close fashion and there is one big reason I see OSU winning this one at home. Braxton Miller. It's certainly not because they are overtly better than the Badgers entering the season though. Wisconsin will have a major advantage up front in this one, returning it's entire starting defensive line and three starters on the offensive line. Ohio State must replace all four starters on their defensive line as well as two of three starters at linebacker. It'll also be OSU's 1st game off of non-conference play and UW will have the advantage of having already played a B1G contest. All of that is great, grand wonderful, but we all know how skill position players can have an effect on the football game and OSU has the better overall skill players. Braxton Miller vs. an untested QB (yes, Stave has only had one real test in his career), their WR's vs. our inexperienced DB's, our lack of WR production vs. a damn good secondary – it all adds up to a hard time seeing how Wisconsin wins this one, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the UW dominate on the ground and take it over either – but this is January and we reserve the right to change our thoughts based upon conditions on the ground, so to speak.