As we sit here a little more than fourteen hours from kickoff, watching Day 2 of the 2012 College Football Season, here are some questions I posed to the MotSaG writers, a roundtable of preseason hopes, expectations and predictions.
The 2012 Season
What the season will look like? 12-0 and ranked #1 in the AP Poll? Or a flaming disaster of a season at 6-6?
Kade: The season will look like an Ohio State season. Whether it’s Meyer or Tressel, it doesn’t matter. Walrusball or the Meyer spread. The results will be similar. Ohio State will be elite once again. They will have a double digit win total and command respect from the rest of the nation. And with that “respect” the hate will follow. OSU will hear vitriol from Florida fans as they look at what could have been. OSU will hear disgust from Big Ten rivals like they did with Wisky and MSU during the recruiting wars.
SYR:I am going to say OSU finishes 11-1 and top 5 in the AP poll….. The one thing people seem to have wanted to see gone the most was Tressel Ball and they will get their wish. Here is to hoping you all wont regret your wish. It should be exciting to see a high power offense to go with a stout defense at OSU.
Bacon Ninja: I’m thinking optimistically. This team was a few breaks and a passing game away from a much better record last year, and their improvements should outweigh what they lost.
Jason: I don’t think 12-0 is all that far-fetched, with @Michigan State & @Wisconsin the only truly worrisome road games (not that PSU can’t be good, but it’s unlikely). By the time we get to Nebraska, things should be running smoothly.
sportsMonkey: I figure a 10 win season is likely.
el Kaiser: This season is going to feel weird. So many things are new, so many things are different. The first loss (heaven forbid) is going to feel strange. It’s just going to be an odd season. But I do think we’ll finish the season with a great record.
Speaking of that, what will Ohio State’s final record be?
Kade: 10-2. Losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State. The “bowl game” will be a blowout win vs. Michigan that will set the stage for the 2013 title run.
SYR: I think you already asked that but I will say 11-1.
Bacon Ninja: 11-1 or 10-2.
Jason: I’ll go with 11-1.
el Kaiser I think 12-0 is a possibility, so I’m going with that. Twelve and oh, baby.
Which victory would be the best win of the year?
Kade: The Game. Ohio State hangs 40+ on Hokes Michigan south team.
SYR: Beating TTUN is all I care about this year. When we do that it will feel amazaballs…… We have no bowl game to look forward to so THE GAME will be our bowl game and it is a must win this year to set the tone for the next 10 years.
Bacon Ninja:Do you really have to ask? It’s the Weasel Bowl on the Saturday after Thanksgiving
Jason: Michigan, naturally.
sportsMonkey: Michigan, natch.
el Kaiser Yep, Michigan. Screw those guys.
Kade: Michigan State. First away game, the Buckeyes will struggle with the overpowering defensive line of MSU and lose a heartbreaker on some BS fake heart attack play from Dantonio.
SYR: I think we will lose at MSU…. since it is the only game I think we will lose it is here by default.
Bacon Ninja: At Wisconsin. I just have a bad feeling about it for some reason.
Jason: Losing to Michigan twice in a row would be just awful. I have completely forgotten about the Cooper years and I don’t need to be reminded.
Losing to either Wisconsin or PSU would also suck. Obviously, losing to the non-AQ teams would be the “worst” but the others would hurt more, emotionally.
el Kaiser: ALL OF THEM.
What is a successful season for you?
Kade: Finish out an already stacked recruiting class, beat Michigan and let everyone else in the Big Ten know who’s boss…even though the record books won’t recognize it.
SYR: beating TTUN is all that matters this year PERIOD…. ENOUGH SAID.
Jason: A winning record, blowouts of lesser teams, a win over Michigan.
sportsMonkey: Eight wins minimum with one of them against UM.
Stand out players
Who will be the offensive MVP?
Kade: Braxton Miller. No brainer really. Miller is electrifying…he was stunning at times as a freshman and really didn’t know what he was doing. He is now in an offense that caters to his skill set. It’s like putting Brady Hoke in front of an all you can eat buffet…it’s just right.
SYR: Braxton Miller is tha main cog in this machine. How well he plays will determine how well OSU will do. My guess is he is a better fit for this offense then he was whatever that was we ran last year.
Bacon Ninja: Braxton.
Jason: Braxton. It’s going to be amazing.
sportsMonkey: Can I give it to Urban? If not, Braxton Miller.
el Kaiser: I wanted to go with a sleeper here, but I can’t. It’s obvious that Braxton Miller is the dynamic player that’s going to make the biggest impact in every game. He’s going to do some things that are going to leave people’s mouths gaping wide open in disbelief. The monkey and I used to talk about how many “Are you kidding me?” would we hear Musberger proclaim during the 2006 season with Ginn, Gonzo and Troy. I think we’re set for about 30 ARE YOU KIDDING MEs.
Kade: John Simon. Tough to single out a single player as I believe a defenses success is cyclical. It starts up front. A strong defensive line means that the linebackers are able to roam free. A strong defensive line means that pressure on a QB leads to the secondary making plays. It all starts up front, and John Simon leads the charge.
SYR: I am going to reach on this one and say Curtis Grant he is so important for our success this year. We need a leader of the defense and that usually falls on the shoulders of the MLB and Curtis has to step up and be the field general we need.
Bacon Ninja: Simon.
Jason: John Simon, who has already won the award, now known as the Victims of John Simon Memorial Trophy.
sportsMonkey: Simon will accept the MVP, but only after it has been passed through Chuck Norris’ lower intestine.
el Kaiser: I’m with SYR on this one, I’m going on a limb. I love Johnny Simon, but I think teams will key on him and double and triple team him on the regular. So I’m going with the bald one, Ryan Shazier as my defensive MVP. He’s gotten bigger, quicker and has a year of game time under his belt.
Who will be this year’s standout senior (offense, defense)?
Kade: John Simon. He will be a force to be reckoned with.
SYR: Offense- Stoneburner, He is by far our best play maker in the passing game. Defense – Simon, he came back to OSU to help restore our legacy as a top tier defense that wins games. He is a beast and will be the backbone of the defense.
Bacon Ninja:Stoney and Simon.
sportsMonkey: John Simon, runner up Zach Boren.
el Kaiser: No surprise here, number fifty-four, John Simon.
Standout freshman (offense, defense)?
Kade: On offense it’s Bri’onte Dunn. He will command playing time. I’ve watched him once in practice and once in the spring game and the dude has star written all over him. He won’t be the leading rusher on the team, but he will contribute and look good doing so. On defense Noah Spence is a guy that stands out among the rest. Speed off the edge from the defensive line is something OSU needs desperately. And with Nathan Williams recovering from injury, Spence will fit in perfectly.
SYR: Offense – Taylor Decker, If he wins the RT spot he will be a star on the OL even if he doesnt start he will play a lot. Defense – Noah Spence, He will provide a speed rush like we haven’t seen in years has burning speed and desire to get to the QB and he will often.
Bacon Ninja:Michael Thomas & Devin Bogard
sportsMonkey: Bri’onte Dunn
Who’s going to surprise people and why?
Kade: Philly Brown. He will be playing the “H” position and filling in for an injured Jordan Hall. He will be taking reverses, screens, handoffs and catching balls down field. He will be playing the “Harvin” role and after Hall comes back will fold back into a traditional WR position. He is blazing fast and versatile. He will produce early and often.
SYR: Chris Carter has really done a 180 from nearly not being able to be a Buckeye due to criminal case to changing to DL from OL and getting lots of playing time. He lost a bunch of weight and will provide depth at the DT position.
Bacon Ninja: Kenny Guiton. I’ve always liked that kid.
Jason: Devin Smith is the elite receiver we didn’t know we had.
sportsMonkey: Big Hank will surprise people when it’s revealed he was voiced by Bill Cosby all along.
el Kaiser: Zach Boren. I know everyone knows who he is and it’s not going to be a surprise with how hard he plays, but it’s going to surprise people how integral he’s going to be the offense.
Who’s going to be a bust?
Kade: I hate to say it, but too much is being put on Jake Stoneburner. We hear it all the time…he’s the next Aaron Hernandez…yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ll believe it when I see it. I think he will be productive, but not as productive as we hope he will be. Stoneburner caught a lot of TD’s last year but had a bunch of drops as well. He should be open based on the spread option zone read attack off playaction…lets see of he can cash in.
SYR: Travis Howard has bustability in him and at times it shows he has lost his spot as our best CB to Brad Roby lets just hope he hasn’t lost his confidence as well.
Bacon Ninja: Carlos Hyde. I don’t know why though.
sportsMonkey: Brady Hoke
What legacy does this senior class leave?
Kade: This will be Meyers first OSU senior class. They set the tone for the younger guys. They will teach the pups how to win. How to do things the right way, how to be true Buckeyes. Anytime Urban Meyer compares a player to Tim Tebow…it’s a good thing…and he’s done so with John Simon…multiple times.
SYR:This Sr. class stands for everything I love about Ohio State. They are dedicated and loyal and mentally strong. Overcoming adversity like champs that they are. They won’t be able to play for any titles or bowls but they will get a chance to define their own legacy.
Bacon Ninja: Overshadowed by bigger events. Like Generation Y
Jason:Ultimately, they will be remembered as the ones who opened the door for the great things to come, a group that fought hard even with the knowledge that they wouldn’t get the shot they deserved.
sportsMonkey: Ask me in December.
el Kaiser: These guys have been through some crap that a lot of them had nothing to do with and it’s a testament to their character that they stuck it out when some of them could have jumped ship.
Who busts a blood vessel in their forehead first Kerry Coombs or Mike Vrabel?
Kade: Kerry Combs is a walking, talking stroke. His reply: “I don’t get strokes dumbass, I give them.”
SYR: Kerry Coombs for sure he only has one gear and it is aneurysm worthy. Vrabel though you can tell he has a softer side that comes through often.
sportsMonkey:Vrabel, but his incident will unfortunately result in the untimely deaths of all those nearby.
The rest of the league
Who looks to have the strongest Big Ten team this year (besides the Buckeyes, duh)?
Kade: I don’t believe the Big Ten has a “great” team. I don’t believe they have a complete team outside OSU. I truly believe OSU is the best team in the Big Ten and will hit their stride come November. But other than them I’d pick Wisconsin and MSU to play for all the marbles.
SYR:MSU has the defense of a champ. Wisky has the offense. I will say MSU wins it all.
Bacon Ninja: Probably stupid Wisconsin. Because at least it’s not scUM.
sportsMonkey: Michigan State
Who scares you the most on our schedule?
Kade: MSU.on the road….a guy named Gholston.should be a dog fight.
SYR: TTUN because losing to them hurts for 365 straight days. I don’t think they are as good as their 11-2 record from last year says they were though. I think they will have trouble winning at least 8 games. Problem is records don’t matter in this game ever.
Bacon Ninja: UCF. Orlando is pretty far south so their players are wicked fast and it would be really embarrassing to lose to them.
Jason: Probably Michigan State, mostly because of the timing.
sportsMoneky: Michigan State
el Kaiser: Wisconsin. Because losing to Bret Bielema is like an enema.
Which non-Buckeye games are you looking forward to this season?
SYR: TTUN vs Bama and USC vs Ore and Bama vs LSU and pretty much every other game I LOVE CFB….. they are top ranked teams playing each other enough said.
Bacon Ninja: I look forward to seeing scUM get whooped by Alabama and watching everyone take Shoelace’s August Heisman away.
Jason: Navy/Notre Dame (Ireland!) Michigan/Alabama (someone has to lose!) USC/Oregon, & WVU in the Big 12 in general. And whichever B1G games turn out to be important.
sportsMonkey: Ohio-PSU in opening week, and USC-Oregon on November 3rd.
You can have one other player from another Big Ten team. Who is it and why?
Kade: Monte Ball. He scored nearly 40 TD’s last year and every team new what they were going to do. Imagine him in Meyers spread with Miller a threat to read and keep? Who are defenses programmed to be more afraid of? Carlos Hyde or Ball? The offense would be completely unstoppable.
SYR: Chris Borland from Wisky. He is an Ohio boy excelling at LB for Wisky and we need more LBers this year.
sportsMonkey Will Gholston, for nostaliga’s sake.
And just for fun…
How awesome is the SEC? So very awesome?
Kade: I am not a supporter of “conference” affiliation. I have never understood the practice of rooting for hated rivals. I laughed out loud…yes…LOL’d when Penn State lost to Houston last year. With that said…I hate the entire SEC, for multiple reasons. They do practice the rooting for hated rivals and have perfected in into an art form. I recall being that the Sugar Bowl and having Arkansas fans chanting SEC…SEC…SEC among their other ridiculous ramblings. I believe they are the best top to bottom conference in college football currently, however they are not as good as everyone thinks they are. Sure, they have won their share of titles, however it’s easy for the SEC to win if they are constantly in the title game and playing that title game close to home. Things get harder for them in a few years with the playoff format.
SYR: I think this is the year they knock each other out of the NCG race. 2 non-SEC schools will play for it. So not so awesome……
Bacon Ninja: We’d be awesome too if we signed 35 players a year and cut the half of them that didn’t pan out.
Jason: Not much more awesome than any other conference. They have more teams capable of being great, but only a couple of them are in any single season. I don’t know that that’s necessarily better than, say, Texas & Oklahoma dominating the Big 12 90% of the time.
sportsMonkey: While their struggles have brought them shame and misfortune, I look forward to a time when the media finally gets off their back and gives them a break.
el Kaiser: SO AWESOME.
Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit enter the Coliseum, gladiators both of them. What is their weapons of choice and who leaves victorious?
Kade: Mark May is armed with a plate of hair gel and a signed poster of Tony Shalhoub for no reason. Herbie enter the arena with a VHS tape of OSU’s 72-0 victory over Pitt and upon seeing it Mark May explodes.
SYR: Stupid question Mark May is too much of a wussy to enter and Kirk is too pretty to risk messing up that fab face of his.
Jason:Mark May uses his superhuman ignorance to stun Herbie before pummeling him relentlessly with weapons grade false outrage. However, Kirk is finally victorious when, the two of them locked in each other’s futile grasp, he impales May with his poison frosted tips.
sportsMonkey: May enters with a tiny voodoo doll of Herbstreit. Unfortunately, it is only mildly effective because May neglects to spray bronzer on it beforehand. Herbstreit chooses a Trev Alberts Halloween mask, which bewitches his opponent and causes a feeling of deep insecurity and sadness. The two then girly slap-fight for hours until both die of exhaustion. All fans of college football emergy victorious.
Urban Meyer looks (and if you strain your ears, sounds) like Shia LaBouf in 15 years. Discuss.
Kade: HOW DARE YOU COMPARE URBAN MEYER TO CAPTAIN TRANSFORMERS. End cap locks.
Bacon Ninja: Urban Meyer is definitely in Indiana Jones’ lineage. He coached at Utah, Last Crusade opened in Utah. Not a coincidence.
Jason:In 2027, Shia LaBouf wins an Academy Award for his portrayal of Meyer in the dramatized segments of Michael Moore’s documentary Gone Blue, a look at what led the University of Michigan to disband football ten years earlier. Industrial Light & Magic wins a technical award for their animatronic “Brady Hoke,” a massive device that requires 17 separate engineers just to control the mouth and one unpaid intern to control the brain.
sportsMonkey: In 15 years Shia will have returned to his homeworld of Planet Douchbagia.
el Kaiser: Sam Witwicki and Urban Meyer turn out to be the same person, and John Simon reveals himself as Optimus Prime and Braxton Miller as Bumblebee. Due to a loophole in the NCAA rulebook, they are allowed to participate in college football. They go on to an undefeated season and win co-Heisman Trophies. The AP and the BCS award them the Title Champions of The Universe Forever. Optimus Prime sends out the signal to other Autobots in the universe and Urban Meyer has the greatest recruiting class ever in 2013.
… and finally
What do you hope to see against Miami?
Kade: I’d love to see Miller run for 80+ yards and throw for ball park of 300. I’d like to hang about 50+ on them. I’d like to see Big Hank eat the 1st and 2nd string QB’s.
Jason: Confusion and despair on the RedHawk sideline.
sportsMonkey: Something, anything that makes us glad Bollman is gone.