After 4 non conference games and a bye week, the Buckeyes finally launch into B1G play. The scarlet and gray make their second trip in to the state of Maryland for the 2014 season and introduce the Maryland Terrapins to the B1G. The welcome gift the Terps get…..a B1G home opener against the best team in the conference.
The Buckeyes will be coming off a tougher than usual non conference schedule and they’ll play the Terps with a bye week to follow. The Terps will be playing their sixth game in as many weeks and will have one B1G game under their belts as they travel to Bloomington the week prior to Ohio State.
There is little doubt that the Terps boast the best young WR in the country in Stephon Diggs, but quite possibly could have the best WR tandem in the country when you add Deon Long. Most notably, though, the Terps will try to overcome a horrendous injury plague season that was 2013. What would you think if I told you they ended the season with a freshman linebacker……AT QUARTERBACK. Yes, you read that right. The Big Ten’s new kid on the block has the potential to be potent offensively if it can get healthy.
Senior quarterback C.J. Brown became the first Terrapin to ever pass for 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 in a single season, but his physical style makes him prone to injury, particularly behind an unproven offensive line still hoping to add pieces this summer.
But what Brown can do for you, besides make chunk-yardage plays on the ground, is get the ball to the aforementioned Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, both back from broken legs. Their return should make the Terps better on third down — where they converted just 32 percent of the time (114th nationally) in 2013 — and make Maryland a quick-strike team in a pound-on-the-ground league.
The return of sophomore tailback Wes Brown from suspension improves a running back-by-committee that boasts Brandon Ross and his 776 rushing yards last year. C.J. Brown and Diggs, who will get the ball in a variety of ways in multiple receiver formations, are the main threats, though. Read More
It’s time for Buckeye Nation to smile with the commitments of 5 star LB Justin Hilliard and 4 star DE Jashon Cornell. These highly rated and recruited players are the latest addition to the class of 2015 and are looking forward to “terrorizing offenses” together. The fact they have developed a strong relationship with each other, current players and fellow recruits only will bolster this ELITE 15 class. Landing these two today should be considered a great day in Ohio State recruiting.
Hilliard, who attends St. Xavier High, had narrowed his college choices to Alabama, Notre Dame, Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan in May. But today he went with his heart and chose Ohio State. Coach Urban Meyer is putting in work in regards to keeping the fence up around the Buckeye border.
The 6’2″, 230 pound linebacker also held offers from Penn State, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and will participate in Nike’s “The Opening” competition/expo later this summer.
Hilliard possesses a great get off and can really take over as a pass rusher. He can also play the pass with his speed and agility he can match up with running backs and tight ends. He’s not a top five player in Ohio on just about everyone’s list without reason. After the jump (and introduction of his future teammate), you can see why Buckeye fans are excited to have him on board.
For Cornell, a 6’4 and 260 pound defensive end from Cretin-Durham Hall (Minn.) High School also developed a great relationship with Larry Johnson, particularly given all of the Defensive Line talent Coach Johnson has developed over the years. You also have to figure Coach Johnson is just as excited to have a player of this length, quickness and athletic ability, not to mention he has the frame to allow Coach Marotti to put that much need muscle weight on him.
Cornell and Hilliard had discussed playing together quite a bit recently, comparing their friendship and on the field abilities to the Baltimore Ravens’ (sorry, Bengals/Browns fans) Terrelle Suggs and Ray Lewis. He also held offers from Notre Dame, Alabama, Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan and Oklahoma, and will be joining Justin at The Opening, albeit on different teams.
Are you ready to watch them in action? Click through for highlights on both of the newest Buckeyes!
Look, I know that today’s SBP is the girl that you’re dancing with while you’re looking around the club for that special someone else. I can live with that, and assure you that the news you’re refreshing your computer for will be here around… say… 10:00 or so. In the meantime this is stuck in my head (thanks Jason), so let it wash over you until you find your next dance partner.
Our friends at Campus Insiders are taking a look around the nation to help fans get ready for the inaugural “College Football Playoff” season. Here’s their take on the Scarlet and Gray, including a look at breakout players and scheduling possibilities:
Gotta’ say that I agree with their assessment of the Buckeyes’ biggest challenge, but disagree vehemently with their prediction on that outcome.
In the world of improvement on a year to year basis, last year should have been Braxton Miller’s last season in Columbus. With that being said he should have left with a Heisman Trophy and National Championship (ok at least a B1G Championship). After battling through all sorts of issues earlier in his career like, offensive line and lack of a supporting cast, everything seemed to jell last year. He shared the backfield with one of the toughest running backs in college (Carlos Hyde), he became a better passer (with the exception of not throwing to the TE enough) and really avoided sacks much better, and he owes some credit to the veteran offensive line he had in front of him. Just because he went forward with his progress in 2013, he need not take a break and work even harder for 2014.
When you evaluate Miller’s tape you will see he no longer takes a sack on one of every five or six attempts, but like so many mobile quarterbacks, he still takes too many. The big questions I would love to have answered is: How will Miller perform with a young offensive line and skill position players? How long did he have his shoulder injury? Where is he at in regards to rehabilitation of that shoulder? Who had the biggest impact on his improvement? I know I will probably never get the answers to those questions, but I’m still curious. It’s so much fun to speculate how well your favorite team/player is going to perform heading into the next season. Read More
|Part two of our conference preview looks at the “group of death” and a likely conference title game:|
Many feel the east will be a battle of 2 teams and the winner of the November 8th battle in East Lansing between Ohio State and Michigan State can go ahead and make plans for Indy.
OHIO STATE 12-2 (8-0)
There is no doubt that all of Buckeye nation is still reeling from the 10 point loss to Michigan State in last year’s B1G Championship game.
There are so many “what if’s” from that game: What if they don’t have the 3 personal fouls on the Spartans first drive? What if they give the ball to Hyde on 4th and 1? What if……..okay, I’ll stop. There’s no doubt Urban Meyer will use that loss as motivation for the 2014 Buckeyes.
The turnover for this squad was quite large. Gone are 4 5th’s of an offensive line that many believed was one of the best in the nation last year as is its work horse back Carlos Hyde. Also gone are Philly Brown, Ryan Shazier, Bradley Roby, Christian Bryant, and C.J. Barnett.
Now, some will say that losing players on defense isn’t such a bad thing. The front seven should be very very solid. Joey Bosa, Noah Spence, Adolphis Washington, and Michael Bennett should keep a ton of pressure on B1G qb’s while the secondary led by Doran Grant and Von Bell begin to mesh.
The best news of the offseason was most surely the return of Braxton Miller. Miller is considered by many to be a preseason top 5 Heisman candidate but will have to do it behind a rebuilt offensive line and with a new running mate in his backfield. Ezekiel Elliott is the odds on favorite to take the torch from Hyde. Elliott showed glimpses of greatness when given a chance last year. The Buckeyes B1G portion of their schedule shapes up rather nice.
Home games against Rutgers, Illinois, Indiana, and TSUN seems rather easy and to most, their only tough road test will fall on November 8th as they travel to East Lansing for a date with Sparty. Other road games include Maryland, Penn State, and Minnesota putting the Buckeyes in a great position for a return trip to Indy and a date with Wisconsin.
MICHIGAN STATE 13-1 (8-0) Read More
|Not content to only preview Ohio State’s schedule, Patrick is taking a two part look at the B1G for 2014. Here’s a look at the newbies and our Western Division brethren; after lunch the East gets due scrutiny in addition to the championship game predictions.|
When the dust settled on the 2013-14 season, the B1G had a Rose Bowl champion and……another bad bowl record as a conference.
Michigan State and Nebraska were the lone winners (Rose and Gator Bowls respectively) and the conference was 2-7 overall. Yet even after that showing, many pundits feel like the B1G is poised to be a top tier conference this season. When the season opens, they will more than likely have two top 10 teams (Michigan State and Ohio State) as well as a slew of others ranked in the top 25.
The B1G welcomes two new members this season as well. Maryland and Rutgers will make their football debuts in 2014. The B1G received a ton of criticism for the recent additions. Other conferences such as the SEC are adding schools like Texas A&M and Missouri while many people feel the B1G adding “schedule padders” for football. What people won’t tell you is that these two schools gets the B1G into markets (Washington DC and New York) that they haven’t been in since its inception.
The non conference schedules for a lot of the B1G schools is very very good this season. Defending champion MSU will travel west to Eugene, Oregon to take on the Ducks, Ohio State welcomes Va Tech into Columbus, Wisconsin takes on LSU in Houston, Nebraska travels to Fresno for a battle with Fresno St and then back home the following week to take on the Miami Hurricanes, Michigan will try to avenge a loss to Appalachian St (did I really just type that) as well as take on Notre Dame for the last time and welcome the Utes of Utah to Ann Arbor, and Minnesota will travel to Texas to battle TCU. The B1G as a conference will need a lot of wins from these non conference tilts in order to gain some respect from the rest of the country and the national media
2014 will also mark the first year of new conference alignment. Gone are the awful Leaders and Legends divisions and we finally get a traditional East/West divisions.
*2014 will also mark the 3rd year that Penn State will be ineligible for post season play.
Even though the B1G divided up the divisions by east/west location, many feel the west is by far the weaker of the two. Nebraska and Wisconsin should battle for the next few years for the west crown with little challenge. Read More
As the Buckeyes come off their first bye week of the 2014 season and prepare for B1G football play, they’ll have one more task standing in front of them in the form of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. This will be the first meeting between the two Ohio schools since 2006 when the Bucks came away victorious 37-7.
The Bearcats are coming off the first year for head coach Tommy Tuberville and a very successful one it was. UC was 9-4 (6-2 in the AAC) and lost to North Carolina 39-17 in the 2013 Belk Bowl. The 2013 season also included wins over B1G members Purdue, and soon to be member Rutgers. They also beat something called Northwestern, but it’s not the one you’re thinking of.
The biggest and best news for the Bearcats this offseason was getting transfer QB Gunner Kiel. The former big time recruit made national news over his recruiting process by committing to Indiana, then LSU, THEN finally to Notre Dame. When Kiel found himself behind several other qb’s in South Bend including returning starter from 2012, Everett Golson, he decided to transfer to Cincinnati. Kiel sat out the 2013 season and has 3 years of eligibility remaining. Kiel impressed all during the Bearcats spring game and seems to have the lead for the starting job heading into fall camp.
The Bearcats are looking forward to what could be a special season if their quarterback situation pans out and their defense will be more consistent with a new coordinator. Kiel has a big arm, is very accurate, can throw a nice deep ball and has good mobility. The one area he must improve on is throwing the football on the run. The one challenger he will have this fall is from junior college transfer Jarred Evans. Former starter Munchie Legaux will return for his fifth year after suffering a severe knee injury last September.
Whoever the quarterback will be Cincinnati will return its top three rushers including Hosey Williams, Ralph David Abernathy and Tion Green. The wide receiver position is in good shape with Senior Shaq Washington and Chris Moore. Washington is an excellent possession receiver who had 78 catches last year. The offensive line returns three starters including tackle Eric Lefeld (6-6 309).
Cincinnati’s defense ranked ninth in the country in total defense and yet still fired their defensive coordinator Art Kaufman. Coach Tuberville hired Hank Hughes to run the defense, and they will continue to run the 4-3 defense that was implemented last year. Read More