How Far How Fast at Ohio State?
Urban Meyer walked into a pretty good situation at Ohio State. The roster was stacked with talent by his predecessor yet the team comes off of a losing season. Last season's injuries means that many more players return with experience. That said, it's not really even too important what is achieved in 2012, because the team is banned from postseason play. A seven-win season is probably enough in year one and most prognosticators expect the Buckeyes to win more than that. Looking a bit more down the road, how long will it take until Ohio State grabs hold of the division, if not the conference?
Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller will get a season to marinate and mature in a new offense that's sure to take advantage of his dual-threat ability. Meanwhile, continuity on defense was maintained with the retention of interim head coach/defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. Beginning in 2013, both Nebraska and Michigan State come off of the conference schedule in exchange for Northwestern and Iowa. Denard Robinson will graduate from rival Michigan as well, setting up Ohio State for some good runs at a division title.
The competition within the Leaders division is Wisconsin and Penn State. Both schools can be formidable, but neither seem to enjoy quite the advantages that OSU does. The Badgers don't recruit as well as the Buckeyes and PSU will begin facing both Michigan and Nebraska in 2013. The road is open to the Big Ten championship game for Ohio State. Then they just need to get by Nebraska, Michigan, or Michigan State to get to the Rose Bowl or beyond.
Following a coach like Jim Tressel might not normally seem like a good idea. But a closer look at the circumstances shows that Meyer may have just walked into a perfect scenario. As soon as next year, they may be talked about like Alabama or LSU.