Can Urban Meyer possibly top his first season in Columbus?
Buckeyes fans had reason to expect some success in 2012, but few, if any, could have foreseen Ohio State finishing the season unbeaten.
Given the players coming back and the relatively easy non-conference schedule, it’s realistic to expect the Buckeyes to go through the regular season unscathed again.
If that is to happen, OSU will have to make it through what is a gauntlet of a conference slate. Ohio State has no respite from September 28 to November 30. Of the eight Big Ten games, these four will give the Buckeyes the most problems.
October 5, at Northwestern
This is one of the best Northwestern teams in a long, long time, and it’s certainly the best Pat Fitzgerald has ever had. If the Wildcats want to be contenders in the Legends Division, they’re going to have to go into Columbus and pick up a victory.
Fitzgerald should be at somewhat of an advantage for this game, as Northwestern has a bye week before facing off against OSU. That gives him extra time to try and devise a game plan to slow down Braxton Miller. Plus, the Buckeyes will be fresh off what should be a tough game against Wisconsin.
Northwestern has a very experienced team. The Wildcats return 15 players from a team that finished 10-3 last year.
One of those players is Venric Mark, who had the third-most rushing yards in the conference, with 1,366. If Mark can get going, he’ll help to ease the pressure on the Wildcats and set the tempo of the game.