In an idea cribbed straight from the other half of this blog - the 'Eer - I thought I'd take a quick tour through Ohio State's 2010 opponents. While the Buckeyes' schedule isn't the toughest they've ever faced, there are some big challenges coming up in 2010, especially on the road.
12. vs. Eastern Michigan (Sept. 25)
I can't believe i'm going to shell out $70 for this nightmare. EMU may not be the worst team in college football, but they're real, real close. Next time you complain about your big, favorite D. I squad playing a Non-Bowl Subdivision squad, remember this - they could be playing Eastern Michigan.
All-time record: 0-0-0
11. vs. Indiana (Oct. 9)
The Hoosiers are typically a scrappy bunch under Bill Lynch, but this team doesn't appear to have much in the tank and seem headed for the bottom of the Big 10. IU typically doesn't fare well in Ohio Stadium.
All-time record: OSU 66-12-5
10. vs. Marshall (Sept. 2)
In 2004 the Thundering Herd came to Ohio Stadium and were a last-second Mike Nugent field goal from at least sending the game to overtime. That Herd team was pretty good and this squad under first-year coach Doc Holliday should be solid, returning lots of starters from last year's 7-6 team.
But that Ohio State 2004 team was a trainwreck at the start of the year and this group isn't.
All-time record: 1-0-0
9. vs. Ohio University (Sept. 18)
Ah, the Bobcats. A few people know my disdain for the plucky little school located in the heart of Appalachian Ohio, mostly because of their chip-on-the-shoulder alumni. Anyway, OU will keep it close for a half because this is their Super Bowl. The Bucks will end their dreams of upset in the third quarter and the OU fans will get really, really drunk.
All-time record: OSU 6-0-0
8. vs. Purdue (Oct. 23)
The Boilermakers are improving under Danny Hope and bring new quarterback Robert Marve and a solid receiver in Keith Smith to Columbus. But after last year's debaucle, this is a game Ohio State's been looking forward to.
All-time record: OSU 37-13-2
7. at Illinois (Oct. 2)
The Zooker has taken Illini to the highest highs - and now - the lowest lows. Even if Memorial Stadium has been a tough place for the Buckeyes historically, it's hard to imagine this year's group of Illini giving much of a fight.
All-time record: OSU 62-30-4
6. at Minnesota (Oct. 30)
Tim Brewster, the Zooker of Minneapolis, will be fighting for his job one year after the Gophers opened TCF Stadium. Mostly because a beautiful new facility shouldn't have empty seats. Considering UM isn't going to win the league, only an upset of a power like OSU could help save Brewster. Uh, that'll be tough.
All-time record: OSU 42-7-0
5. vs. Michigan (Nov. 20)
It was difficult to rank the Wolverines as the fifth-toughest game on OSU's schedule, but I'm giving them some historical benefit of the doubt. One just has to assume the Buckeyes will get UM's best effort, just because of how lopsided the series has been in recent years. RichRod will be fighting for his job. A win here could save it.
All-time record: Michigan 57-43-6
4. vs. Penn State (Nov. 13)
This seems like it should be a good game, but the Nits have rarely put up a fight in Columbus. Quarterback questions could hamper a strong rushing attack led by Evan Royster.
All-time record: Ohio State 13-12-0
3. vs. Miami, Fla. (Sept. 11)
The highlight game of the Big Ten's non-conference season (sorry, Penn State-'Bama) this is an interesting game with lots of historical subplots. From the 2002 national title game loss which sent Miami, Fla. into a Larry Coker-induced tailspin, to all the South Florida players on the Buckeye roster, these two teams will be plenty excited. The Canes are looking for a big non-conference win. But Miami's poor performance against Wisconsin last year makes me skeptical they'll be the biggest challenge on Ohio State's schedule.
All-time record: 2-1-0
2. at Iowa (Nov. 20)
Iowa is loaded again this year and last year's game was a nailbiter in Ohio Stadium. Ricky Stanzi and a stout defensive line will make the Hawkeyes a difficult challenge. Plus, Kinnick Stadium is one of the toughest places in the league to play. But Kirk Ferentz hasn't had a ton of success against Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes.
All-time record: OSU 45-14-3
1. at Wisconsin (Oct. 16)
While I think Iowa might be a better team than Wisconsin, the combination of a liquored up Camp Randall, the bruising running of John Clay and a talented Wisky offensive line will make this Ohio State's biggest challenge of 2010. Last year, the Badgers outgained and pretty much outplayed Ohio State in Columbus, but were undone by turnovers. Plus I still have nightmares of all those games Earle Bruce dropped in the early 80s against truly poor Badger teams.
All-time record: OSU 53-17-5