The football season is less than two days away and it can't come soon enough for any college football fan. The Buckeyes would be one of the favorites in the Big Ten this season if they were eligible to win the league and move on, but that doesn't mean that this team and the individuals on it still can't be successful.
For the past week, the staff at BuckeyeGrove.com took a stab at predicting how the 2012 Ohio State football season will play out. These predictions included educated guesses about everything from who will lead the Buckeyes in major statistical categories to which players will have breakout seasons. Today, we do our best to predict what the Buckeyes' record will be at the end of the 2012 season.
Kevin Noon - Publisher
The 2012 Buckeyes will go 10-2
I said on Las Vegas radio a couple of weeks ago that the over/under for Ohio State wins should be set at 9.5 but that I would be willing to put a lot on the over if I actually wagered on college football (which I don't). With that being said I really believe that every game is winnable for Ohio State but I just think that 'a couple of things' will happen here and there with the ball bouncing the wrong way or a young team showing its youth on the road will cost this team a pair of games. I would not be disappointed one bit if I am wrong with a 10-2 predicted record and I would not be disappointed if I am reminded of my pick at the end of the season and am labeled an 'unbeliever' if the team proves me wrong.
Ben Axelrod - Lead Team Writer
The 2012 Buckeyes will go 11-1
The schedule could not set up any better for Urban Meyer in his first season as Buckeyes' head coach. No big out of conference opponent, Michigan State and Wisconsin both breaking in new quarterbacks, and Michigan at home. But just because every game on the Ohio State schedule is winnable, doesn't mean that the Buckeyes will win every game.
While every game is winnable, I think only three are losable: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan. And fortunately for Buckeye fans, Meyer holds a grudge. Don't think for a minute that the first-year OSU coach will forget about the drama that was occurred when he flipped Se'Von Pittman from Michigan State and Kyle Dodson from Wisconsin. For those issues alone, I fully expect Meyer to put an extra emphasis on beating Mark Dantonio and Bret Bielema this season, just as he did when Lane Kiffin was at Tennessee and he was at Florida.
That leaves Michigan. Although Meyer has made it clear that he gets gets the rivalry, but it's also clear that Brady Hokegets it just as much. If Hoke is going to have the Jim Tressel-like impact that many expect him to have at Michigan, it's going to take more than one win over the Buckeyes in a down year for Ohio State. The Buckeyes will be playing for something big if they enter 'The Game' undefeated, but Michigan could be playing for something bigger.
Marc Givler - Recruiting Analyst
The 2012 Buckeyes will go 10-2
The Buckeyes have a young, but talented team and a team that should come out hungry under a new and energetic head coach. Looking at the schedule, I see three games that will provide major hurdles for the Buckeyes with road tests against Michigan State and Wisconsin and of course 'The Game' at home against Michigan. Ohio State will need to stay healthy, particularly along the offensive line and defensive secondary. With several young players on the verge of stardom, this is a team that should see a lot of success in 2012.
Jeremy Birmingham - Team Writer
The 2012 Buckeyes will go 11-1
Aside from the public shame, the institutional embarrassment, and the loss of perhaps the greatest coach in school history, the single worst thing about Ohio State's 2012 post-season ban is that it prevents this very talented team from making a serious run at the crystal ball. The Buckeyes' schedule with the exception of challenging contests at Michigan State and Wisconsin sets up incredibly favorably for Ohio State.
When the Buckeyes play host to what could be a one-loss Michigan team the weekend after Thanksgiving, I believe they enter that game with a 10-1 record. Who they lose to along the way is anyone's guess, but I think that one blemish is the only one they will suffer and that they play spoiler against Michigan, upsetting the Wolverines 38-31 en route to a final 2012 record of 11-1.
Tom Levenick - Time and Change Contributor/Former Player
The 2012 Buckeyes will go 12-0
The non-conference schedule sets up well for Ohio State with Miami and UCF both being 'locks' in my opinion but one will be closer than expected. The Cal game could be a struggle but the Bucks will prevail and then the UAB game will be a lay-up before the start of the conference schedule.
Road games are never easy but East Lansing isn't thought of as one of the most difficult places to play in the Big Ten. The Spartans have been really tough in recent "Dantonio years". Last year the Spartans squeaked by the Buckeyes in a game that the Buckeyes had no business even being close. 2012 will be a different story. The Bucks will be stout on defense and their speed and athleticism will rule the day.
The Buckeyes will not fold when the Cornhuskers comes to town and the demons of blowing a 21 point lead in the second half will be exorcised. Bo Pelini's homecoming to Ohio State will see him leave as a loser.
A win against Indiana will make for 7-0 and a revenge game against Purdue will lead to win number eight. Next comes a visit to "Unhappy Valley" and while everyone thinks this will be a walk in the park, it most likely will be a close game. PSU will still have many good players, pride to play for and an always loud supportive home crowd. Our Buckeyes will prove to have more "firepower" and will head back to Ohio having won 13 out of the 20 games played against Penn State since It joined the Big Ten.
Ohio State will get over on a rebuilding Illinois team for win number ten and then a trip to Madison against the Badgers and this will be a grudge match after the Buckeyes "upset" of the Badgers in 2011 and also due to the recruiting "quarrels" between Meyer and Bielema. The Buckeyes have a bye week prior to the Wisconsin game and Meyer has a 33-3 record with his teams when they have more than one week to prepare for an opponent. Win No. 10.
Last but not least in comes 'the team up north', coming south, for Hoke's first visit to the "Shoe" when it will be on fire just like 2010. The Bucks will win convincingly completing a tremendous eye opening.