Five for Friday: Guarantees for the 2013 Buckeye Season
By Tony Gerdeman
I make all kinds of predictions because it's easy to do and America's attention span isn't long enough for my predictions to be shoved back in my face. Today, however, I am making some guarantees, which are different than predictions in that I have zero questions of my own validity, which is extremely rare.
These following things are going to happen. There is no doubt. I have "pre-visioned" it.
Photo by Dan Harker
1. Dontre Wilson will return at least one kickoff for a TD.
I doubt anybody will argue with me on this, including Urban Meyer and Kerry Coombs. They expect big things in the return game, and they have said as much, though they haven't necessarily gone to the lengths to make the guarantee that I have just made to you. Of note, only one Buckeye in history has returned more than one kickoff for a touchdown in a season, and that was Lenny Willis in 1974. Two is the career record, held by Willis, Ted Ginn and Dean Sensanbaugher (1943-1947).
2. Four Buckeyes will have 100-yard rushing games.
We know that Braxton Miller will hit the century mark at least once. I would expect Jordan Hall to do the same at some point in these first three games. Carlos Hyde will get his 100-yard game later on this season as Big Ten play gets grittier. That just leaves one more player, and with the big play potential of guys like Warren Ball, Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson, they may not need as many garbage carries to hit 100 yards as you may think.
Photo by Jim Davidson
3. Braxton Miller will have at least one 300-yard passing game.
In school history, Ohio State has just 20 games of 300 yards passing by a quarterback, and Joe Germaine owns eight of them. The Buckeyes haven't had a quarterback throw for 300 yards in a game since Troy Smith in 2006. There have been just three such games in the last decade for Ohio State. Miller's career high is just 249 yards, which came against California last year. He only has five 200-yard passing games in his career. However, this is the year that Urban Meyer and Tom Herman push their quarterback to his limit, and that limit has a pretty high ceiling.
4. A Buckeye defensive end will be first-team All-Big Ten.
Take your pick. Adolphus Washington or Noah Spence. Either way, you've got a bettor's chance of being right. Opening myself to an either/or situation makes me very confident about this guarantee. When Meyer and Mike Vrabel talk about these two guys, they haven't once tempered anything. They simply talk about how confident they are that these two will be very productive. If that's their version of toned-down coach speak, then imagine just how good these two could actually be.
5. Ohio State will have the best offensive line in the B1G.
Argue with this one at your own peril. I'm wondering which other offensive line is even close. That being said, it would be nice to watch an Ohio State passing attack where the quarterback has plenty of time to throw the ball before the pocket inexplicably collapses. Even when the Buckeyes have had great offensive lines, the sack numbers are still too high. Last season Ohio State allowed the third-most sacks in the Big Ten, despite throwing it less than any other team in the conference. Yes, the quarterback has something to do with that, but this isn't a new predicament.
Bonus: At least 20 Buckeyes will score TDs this season.
Last season, 13 Buckeyes scored touchdowns. Eleven of those 13 return this season, and they should each score again in 2013. Two of them, Jake Stoneburner and Zach Boren, are gone, which means I need nine Buckeyes to score this year who didn't score last year. Here are those 11: Kenny Guiton, Warren Ball, Dontre Wilson, Ezekiel Elliott, Nick Vannett, Jalin Marshall, Michael Thomas, Evan Spencer, and random punt block recoverer. Over the last decade, the best Ohio State has done is 17 scoring Buckeyes in both 2006 and 2010.
Bonus: This team will score more points than any OSU team prior.
The school record for points in a season is 504, which was scored by the 2010 Buckeyes who no longer exist. This year's team will break that number, as well as the school record for touchdowns (64 in 1995). However, they will not set the school record for points per game, which was 42.5 in 1969.
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