There are 80 days left before Ohio State football season begins. To most college football fans, the long summer months are the hardest to bear. Those 80 warm days seem to drag on forever when you’re trying to get motivated for an exciting season of football.
If you’re one of those college football fans who are jonesing for Buckeye action, we here at Fox Sports Ohio understand your pain. We’ll be taking in-depth looks at the scarlet and gray all summer long, featuring our own series of Top Ten lists. Today’s list will make any Ohio State fan happy;
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Top 10 reasons Ohio State will win the BCS National Championship in 2010
1) Terrelle Pryor has arrived. Since the day he first signed a letter of intent to play at Ohio State, fans have been expecting nothing but greatness. The junior quarterback went through his growing pains and has now emerged as the team leader. After a year and a half of forcing plays, he showed the nation he is ready for prime-time by downing three Top 10 teams (along with arch-rival Michigan) in his last four games. The crown jewel of his sophomore season was a 338 yard performance against Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Pryor was named MVP of the Rose Bowl, and his quality of play has finally caught up to his level of potential.
2) No surprises or upsets. Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel takes a lot of heat throughout any given season, but he is unmatched when it comes to keeping his players focused. Tressel will not allow his team to overlook any opponent. In the last 5 seasons, Ohio State has played 55 games against teams that would not continue on to a BCS bowl game that same year. The Buckeyes are 53-2 in those games. There are 9 games on the 2010 schedule featuring opponents that are unlikely to make a BCS bowl. If Tressel’s standard continues, those are 9 games that will end in a Buckeye “W”.
3) A favorable schedule. The Buckeyes won’t leave the comfort of Ohio Stadium the entire month of September. Their only two harsh road games (at Wisconsin and at Iowa) come after home games against middle-of-the-pack Big Ten schools (Indiana and a rebuilding Penn State). For good measure, they even get to play Michigan at home. Yes, the Miami game will be a battle and Wisconsin and Iowa are difficult places to win, but these three games are spread out, unlike the November gauntlet that OSU successfully maneuvered in 2009.
4) Depth in the backfield. Buckeye fans are used to seeing a big star at running back. Men like Beanie Wells, Eddie George, Keith Byars, and Archie Griffin eating up yardage game after game. Spreading the yards up amongst multiple RBs is something new altogether. But over the last five regular-season games of 2009, Ohio State ran for an average of 257.6 yards per game, and only twice did a player rush for over 100 yards (Pryor 104 vs. Minnesota, and Brandon Saine 103 vs. Iowa). Every player who carried the ball during that stretch returns to the field for the Buckeyes in 2010. As many as six RBs will get quality carries for Ohio State, and that doesn’t even include Terrelle Pryor’s rushing plays. 100 yard games for a single player will be hard to come by. 200+ yard rushing games will not be uncommon.
5) Experience in the trenches. Ohio State returns four starters on the offensive line, and the newcomer to the line is no rookie. Mike Adams is listed at 6-9, 310 lbs and was highly recruited out of Dublin Coffman High School two years ago. The starters will AVERAGE 6-foot-5, 307 pounds, and all five of them are on preseason All-Conference lists. Players on the offensive line are often overlooked when it comes to jersey sales. If there is any justice in the world, the names Browning, Shugarts, Adams, Boren and Brewster will be big sellers this season.
6) A new weapon. In his previous nine seasons at Ohio State, Jim Tressel has never fielded a tight end that was used primarily as a receiver. Until now. Throughout spring practice, Jake Stoneburner was sent out on pass routes far more often than he was used in pass protection. With an offensive line that can dominate, Stoneburner won’t be needed as much for protection and will be able to slip out for plenty of short passes from Pryor. With a little luck, Ohio State fans won’t roll their eyes and think of Ryan Hamby when they see a pass thrown to a tight end.
7) Offense wins games. The current offense, which has 10 starters returning from last year’s squad, is capable of putting up big points. In 2009, Ohio State averaged 29 points. Under Jim Tressel’s leadership, Ohio State is 54-0 when scoring 30 points or more. An undefeated season may depend on the Buckeyes ability to score 30 points or more in all of their games this season. But before you get worried and start thinking about low-scoring Tressel-ball games, please note that the offense scored 29 points per game in 2009. And they return ten starters. Feel better?
8) History. The last time Ohio State played Miami, they won the BCS National Championship. That season, the only way the Bucks could win a National Championship was to beat Miami, and 2010 is no different – The Hurricanes travel to Ohio Stadium on September 11th this season for a showdown with the Buckeyes. If the game goes into double overtime, it’ll be downright creepy.
9) Strength at every level of defense. Despite losing a handful of talent on defense, the Buckeyes have a core strength at every position in 2010. Up front, Cameron Heyward is preseason All-American and the most feared defensive lineman in the Big Ten. At linebacker, Brian Rolle and Ross Homan combined for 203 tackles and 8 takeaways in 2009, leading a very deep group of LBs. In the secondary, seniors Devon Torrence and Chimdi Chekwa return, each having played in every single game since they set foot on campus. Joining them in the secondary will be the talented Tyler Moeller, who looked almost too motivated during spring practices.
10) The rule of 4. Every four years, Ohio State finds itself primed for a title run. In 1998, they were four points shy of a championship. In 2002, they won it all in a 14-0 season. In 2006, they were 12-0 and forgot to show up against Florida. It’s 2010 now, and the Buckeyes are once again ready. It gives Ohio a lot of November excitement after the mid-term elections are over.