Ranking OSU's 2013 Games in Order of Importance
By Tony Gerdeman
In a season where great things are expected of the Ohio State Buckeyes each game carries immense weight and pressure. After all, one loss anywhere on the schedule could mean the end of their national championship hopes.
Some games are heavier than others however. Granted, a loss to Florida A&M would be more disastrous than a loss to any other team, but come on, what kind of two-bit football program would lose to an FCS team?
But a loss to FAMU is unthinkable, and so the game itself won't be given much thought either. That's why it's #12 on this list. Fortunately for your season ticket packages, the rest of the games aren't all this unimportant.
12. Florida A&M (Sep 21)
Let's face it, for a top five team, a game against an FCS opponent means nothing. After all, it's not like a top five team is going to lose to an FCS team. I mean, just imagine the type of disastrous leadership required on a top five team to lose to an FCS team. It's a ridiculous notion to think something like that could ever happen to a team that has any talent on it whatsoever.
11. Buffalo (Aug 31)
Buffalo returns 16 starters from last season, but that's probably not going to matter too much. Over the last 10 seasons, Ohio State is 10-0 in season openers, outscoring opponents 38-9. The Buckeyes are 17-0 against the MAC, though to be fair, they've never tangled with the Buffalo Bulls. Buffalo's last win against a team currently in the Big Ten came in 1900 against Penn State.
10. Iowa (Oct 19)
Ohio State and Iowa have played just twice over the last six years, and the Buckeyes have come away with a three-point win each time. Iowa comes to Columbus this year, and the Buckeyes get a bye week to prepare for them. Getting a bye week to prepare for Iowa is like taking a study course for the coloring book that you just bought.
9. Illinois (Nov 16)
This game will likely become more important as we find out more about the Illini. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, not only will they have nine games of footage on Illinois, they'll also have a bye week to prepare. I don't expect them to need all of that, but strange things happen whenever Ohio State travels to the shady vortex of wind and doom known as Memorial Stadium.
8. San Diego State (Sep 7)
This week I had somebody in the NFL tell me that San Diego State is going to give Ohio State all they want this year. Running back Adam Muema rushed for over 1,400 yards last year, and the Aztecs also return nine starters on defense. This will be the second game of the season for both teams. San Diego State will prepare for the Buckeyes by playing Eastern Illinois in week one.
7. California (Sep 14)
The road opener is always a sketchy proposition. The last two road openers against non-conference BCS opponents turned into losses for the Buckeyes. Yes, California is rebuilding, but the unknown is still the unknown. Cal opens the season against Northwestern, so Ohio State will get a pretty good look at what is in store for them.
6. Indiana (Nov 23)
The Hoosiers should have the type of offense to score on anybody, and as we all saw last year, sometimes they can score bunches in a matter of minutes. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the Silver Bullets will be completely ready for such a barrage. I'm not saying they'll be able to handle it, but they'll certainly be aware that it can happen, and knowing is half the battle.
5. Purdue (Nov 2)
It's Purdue, and it's in West Lafayette. Actually, it doesn't even matter where the game is. Purdue is Ohio State's kryptonite of late. Including the Holy Buckeye game, Ohio State is 6-3 against the Boilers since 2002, and the average score of those nine games has been 22-14, and the only reason the difference is that close is because of OSU's 49-0 vacated win in 2010.
4. Penn State (Oct 26)
Penn State will be in the mix for a division title, along with the Buckeyes, so obviously this is a very important game. Being in Columbus, however, Ohio State shouldn't have a ton of issues with the Nittany Lions. This is the last of Ohio State's three night games in the Big Ten. The atmosphere will make things feel even more important than they are.
3. Northwestern (Oct 5)
Initially, I had this game as number two. The fact that it isn't a division game, I had to back off. Still, everyone is pointing at this game as a trap. After all, it's a night game, and it's happened before. Remember, if the Buckeyes can get by the Wildcats, they'll probably go the next five games without playing a bowl team. It's a straight shot to landing undefeated at UM.
2. Wisconsin (Sep 28)
In terms of recruiting, this will be the most important game for the Buckeyes all season long. This is the game that all of the top prospects have circled as their official visit. This is also the first night game of the year in Ohio Stadium. Like the Nittany Lions, the Badgers will be challenging the Buckeyes for the division crown. A win for either team likely eliminates the other.
1. Michigan (Nov 30)
As long as Rich Rodriguez isn't around, Michigan will forever be the final answer on this list. History, recruiting, bragging rights, the chance to spoil Michigan's undefeated season, this game will have it all. Brady Hoke has to win this game because if he doesn't, there's a pretty good chance that he'll be 0-3 against Urban Meyer before he gets him again in Ann Arbor in 2015.
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