The 2013 season for the Ohio State Buckeyes of the Big Ten is one that is looked upon with great expectations and optimism.
The Buckeys are coming off a 12-0 regular season in 2012, but were inegiable to play in a bowl game because of their one-year bowl ban.
The 2012 season was also the first season for head coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State who came out of a short lived retirement to coach the Buckeyes.
It didn't take Meyer's spread attack offense very long to catch on for his players, coaches and fans alike. The undeafted 2012 season came as a shock to most of everyone inside the program and even more so for those from afar.
The great success from 2012 brings very hefty expecatations for 2013 and that target on their back will be the challenge for this 2013 Ohio State team.
As I always talk about when it comes to college football is to look at the schedule and how favorable it is for a team. When you look at the Ohio State 2013 schedule it sets up pretty nice for them in regards to making a run at the national title.
The first challenge they should have will be September 14 when they travel to take on the California Golden Bears. The Buckeyes will have to travel nearly half way across the country for this contest and that will be a challenge as it is for every team that travles to the opposite coast to play a college football game.
The next challenge the Buckeyes could face comes on October 5 when they travel to play at Northwestern. The Northwestern Wildcats are coming off a Gator Bowl victory against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in 2012 and they hope to carry that momentum into this 2013 season. Ohio State will have to contain the high-powered offense of Northwestern if they hope to take care of the Wildcats.
The Buckeyes continue the season playing Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana and finally one of, if not, the biggest rivarly in college football history which is Ohio State vs. Michigan. This year's version will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan and this will more than likely be the toughest challenge for Ohio State in their quest to earning back to back perfect regular seasons.
The last match up in Ann Arbor was won by the Wolverines 40-34, but a lot has changed since that game. Ohio State now has Meyer and a more experienced Braxton Miller at quarterback and Michigan no longer has Denard Robinson and are breaking in Devon Gardner as their full-time starting quarterback in 2013.
The last big time match up of Michigan vs. Ohio State was held back on November 18, 2006 when Ohio State and Michigan both entered the game 11-0 and were one and two in the BCS standings. Ohio State emerged victorious 42-39 and went on to the 2006 national title game, eventually losing 41-14 to the Florida Gators.
This 2013 version has the possibility of being the best and most significant game between Ohio State and Michigan on a national stage since that 2006 game. As I speak for college football fans, I think we all could only hope to see another classic with as much at stake as that 2006 game had for both Ohio State and Michigan.
This 2013 season for Ohio State will come down to quarterback play from Braxton Miller and how comfortable they seem to be after having a year under their belt in this Urban Meyer offense. After going 12-0 last season it seems ridicilous to think they may be even better on offense in 2013, but that very well may be the case in this type of rythem and flow offense like the spread option.
My expctations for Ohio State in 2013 are very high and would be shocked if they are not in Pasadena playing for a national title. Head coach Urban Meyer has had his best success at programs in his 2nd season including a perfect season and a Fiesta Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers for the Utah Utes in 2004.
Meyer's second season at Florida in 2006 turned out to be a national championship season as he defeated Ohio State 41-14. After hearing that, just think how ironic would it be if Meyer led the team he beat in 2006 to claim his first national championship back to the national title game and this time get the Buckeyes over the national title hump that they haven't experienced since 2002.
I believe karma will have it just that way and we will see the Buckeyes playing for a national title in 2013. All the pieces are there to get the job done and acheive greatness, but as they say the game isn't played on paper so we will have to just wait and see how it plays out!