A Look Ahead at the Buckeyes’ Non-Conference Foes

Over the past decade the Buckeyes have faced some tough opponents in their non-conference schedule, facing the likes of Texas, USC and Miami (FL). This year they really don’t face any high ranked foes or preseason favorites. With this being the last year of the BCS, this can be a double-edged sword. The Bucks should be able to navigate through the non-conference schedule with relative ease if they play to their potential. But with such a ‘weak’ non-conference slate they have to win them all if they hope to play in Pasadena for the big crystal ball (most likely against the Nick Saban juggernaut). Let’s take a look at their opponents in chronological order:

August 31 – Buffalo
The Buckeyes kick off year two of the Urban Meyer era against Mid-American Conference foe Buffalo. This is the first time these two teams have met each other on the field, which surprised me. Since the 2000 season the Buckeyes are 17-0 against MAC teams (found in Phil Steele’s 2013 College Football Preview Magazine, which I highly recommend). Last year, they defeated another MAC team in the opener, Miami (OH), 56-10. The Buckeyes have won an astounding 34 straight home openers, with the last loss coming to Penn State in 1978 (Phil Steele).

Buffalo is coming off a 4-8 season, with three of their wins coming in the final four games. During this 3-1 stretch they turned to then freshman QB Joe Licata, who is now their starting QB. In the 2012 season, Licata threw for 1045 yards, 7 touchdowns and 3 INT. Their other big return on the offensive side of the ball is WR Alex Neutz, who had over 1000 yards receiving and 11 TD in the 2012 campaign.

Buffalo has opened the last two seasons on the road against BCS opponents (Pittsburgh in ’11 and Georgia in ’12) and actually put up solid fights against both opponents. I don’t see this being the case against the Buckeyes, who look to make a statement in their opening game. I expect a huge win for the Bucks and some playing time for the younger players.

September 7 – San Diego State
In Week 2 the Buckeyes have another home game, this time facing Mountain West opponent San Diego State. (Remember: This is the team the fat one up north used to coach). Ohio State is 3-0 all-time against the Aztecs, with the last game coming in 2006 when the Buckeyes won 27-6 en route to an undefeated season.

The Aztecs are lead by head coach Rocky Long, who I consider to be an underrated coach. They’re coming off a solid season in which they went 9-4 and lost in the Poinsettia Bowl to BYU (23-6). Their most notable win was on the smurf turf against Boise State, winning 21-19.

San Diego State is considered by many to be one of the favorites in the MWC this season (Phil Steele picked them to finish 2nd in the West Division). This is mainly due to the fact that they return 15 starters and a key offensive threat. That key offensive threat is running back Adam Muema, who rushed for 1502 yards and 16 TD.

Don’t be surprised if the Aztecs put up a good fight early in the game, as they usually aren’t slouches in their non-conference games. With that being said, the strength of depth charts should show as the game progresses and the Bucks should win this game by a comfortable margin.

September 14 – @California
Ohio State hits the road in week three, going to Berkley to face the California Golden Bears. This is easily the toughest opponent on the non-conference schedule, being a West coast trip against a BCS team. As I wrote previously, I consider this to be one of two trap games on the schedule for the Buckeyes. This is the eighth time these two teams have met, with Ohio State leading the all-time series with a 6-1 record.

Reiterating what I have said, the Bucks nearly lost to Cal last season because the defense forgot how to tackle at times. Cal is lead by another coach I respect; head coach Sonny Dykes, who had 17 victories in his last two seasons at Louisiana Tech (Phil Steele). For those that don’t remember, Dykes’ offense can score a ton of points when defenses are caught sleeping (or if your defense is as bad as West Virginia’s last season). One of my favorite games of the 2012 season was Texas A&M’s thrilling 59-57 win over Dykes’ Bulldogs (if you haven’t seen this game I highly recommend watching it).

Notice how I got sidetracked and stopped talking about Cal? Well that’s because the Golden Bears are rebuilding and are picked by many to finish last in their division (Steele picked them to finish behind Washington State. Seriously.). The Buckeyes are 2-3 on the road against BCS teams, but I’ll give you another stat to forget about this. Urban is 25-1 combined in his second seasons at Utah and Florida (Steele). Roll Buckeyes!

September 21 – Florida A&M
Are you actually expecting me to say something here? The biggest question of this game is whether or not the Buckeyes score more than 60 points. Ohio State isn’t like that team up north, who loses to teams like Appalachian State (as long as I’m alive I won’t let them ever forget this). I’ll be so happy when BCS teams finally stop playing these ridiculous games against FCS teams.


  1. That Florida A&M game will be much closer than anyone thinks….. hahahaha jk


  1. […] non-Carlos Hyde coverage, Josh too a look at the Buckeye’s non-conference schedule. While not as strong as it has been in the past, a couple of these non-conference games are no […]

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