12-0 - perfection. It's what every team dreams about and few accomplish. However, it's also the record hanging above the 2013 Ohio State season. No matter what happens this year, fans and pundits alike are going to inevitably compare this season to last.
However, if you know us here at TheB1GTime then you know that we treat each season as it's own - only taking lessons from the previous year, records be damned. Comparing one team to the next in college football is a lesson in futility.
That said, many think 2013 could be a repeat of 2012 thanks to the schedule Ohio State faces. It's no where near the challenge they faced last season to say the least. So, as we begin to wind down our look at all things OSU let us take a look at the schedule and see where things shake out in our opinion.
Winnable Games: vs. Buffalo, vs. San Diego State, at California, vs. Florida A&M, vs. Iowa, Penn State, at Illinois, vs. Indiana
Now do you see why a lot of people think this team is capable of a repeat undefeated season? They replace the challenge of UCF with Buffalo and they host an FCS opponent - something they didn't do last season. No doubt, those two combinations make this schedule much easier to say the least. Add in a Cal team that will be playing a true freshman at QB and you have the makings of three easy wins. The one non-conference game that I am very curious about is San Diego State - a potential West division contender in the new look Mountain West. However, having the game at the Horseshoe should be all the advantage needed agaisnt the Aztecs.
In conference, the schedule is super soft thanks to no cross-division games against either Nebraska or Michigan State. At a bare minimum this team should be set up well to win 10 games depending on our next category.
Swing Games: vs. Wisconsin, at Northwestern, at Purdue, at Michigan
I know, why is Purdue on this list and not the supposed "dark horse" in the Leaders division, Indiana? Well, that would be because we've been paying attention to trends and that means a game in West Lafayette is far from a given. In fact, the last six meetings between these teams are a wash. That's right, the Boilermakers and Buckeyes have split 3-3 in the last six meetings. Outside of Wisconsin's 4 wins since 2000 the Boilermakers are tied with Michigan for the most wins against the Buckeyes since 2000.
Obviously "The Game" is on this list and for me there isn't a bigger stretch of games this season for Ohio State than it's Big Ten opening stretch of at home versus Wisconsin and on the road to Northwestern. If they lose both this season is going to go down the tubes fast. If they go 2-0 it's a safe bet they are going to Indy in December. However, a split would sure make the Leaders Division race interesting.
Not a Chance in Hell Games: NONE
This is freaking Ohio State - there isn't a team in the country this team should EVER not have a chance to beat. If that ever happens something seriously wrong happened or we are living in a parallel universe.