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Friday, September 2, 2016

Ohio State Football: 2016 Season Preview

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Happy Friday to all and I hope everyone reading today's post has a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

It is that time of year again! College football has started once again!! Time for everyone to once again believe that on any given Saturday their team can make a run at greatness.

With that in mind, I am setting out today to preview the Ohio State Buckeyes 2016 season. My preview is cutting it a little close to the Buckeyes opener against Bowling Green; I will not be going into a game-by-game preview of the season. I would like to apologize for that oversight.

To say the Buckeyes are a young team might be a bit of an understatement. The offensive line returns only two starters(a thanks goes out to my friend Brad Koebel--who pointed out that both Billy Price and Pat Elflein started in 2015), and true freshman Michael B. Jordan will start at left guard--the last true freshman to start on the offensive line for the Buckeyes in his first game was Orlando Pace in 1994. How the o-line plays will ultimately determine whether the Buckeyes make their second trip to the college football playoff in three years.

As far as the backs and receivers go, Buckeye fans can rest a little easier knowing that junior J.T. Barrett is the unquestioned starter at quarterback. The running back competition appears a little jumbled for now, but it should sort itself out before Big Ten play. There is plenty of hype surrounding freshman Mike Weber, and it will be interesting to see how he plays tomorrow. The wide receiver corps might be the biggest question mark for the Buckeyes offense, as sophomore Noah Brown will be counted on to lead a very inexperienced group. (As I write this I realize that the depth chart for both the OSU backs and receivers will be very thin, and staying healthy will be key to the team making and Big Ten title run.)

There will be a lot of new faces on the defense as well. Joey Bosa's little (if you can call a 6-4, 265lb true freshman little) brother Nick should see some playing time tomorrow. The line may have the most experience to replace following the departure of  Adolphus Washington and the elder Bosa. A player to watch in tomorrow's game will be Sam Hubbard, defensive end from Cincinnati Moeller. A few experts at ESPN believe Hubbard can break surpass Bosa's 2015 sack numbers. Interestingly enough, on this morning's talk show on 97.1 THE FAN in Columbus, hosted by Tim Hall and Beanie Wells, I called in and let them know I thought Hubbard could get at least 3 sacks in tomorrow's game. A little bold perhaps, but I think given the opponent (Bowling Green) it's possible. I will be at the game tomorrow, so you can be sure I will be focused on No. 6 for the Scarlett and Gray.

Other returning players on defense include junior Raekwon McMillan. Despite leading the team in tackles last season, there are many who believe this former 5-star recruit hasn't lived up to the hype. In order for the Buckeyes to shine this year, they will need outstanding play from Raekwon. The secondary also appears to be somewhat inexperienced, but if safety Malik Hooker plays like he did in the Spring Game that may not be an issue.

So, where do I think the Buckeyes will finish in 2016? I believe if they can beat Oklahoma, they could run the table. The problem is I think they are too young to go into Norman and come away with a victory. I see them going 11-1 in the regular season and then beating Iowa for the Big Ten Championship.

That's all for now, tune in tomorrow for my week 1 college football preview. (Which will normally run on Thursday).

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