“At some point in an individual battle, the other guy says, ‘I don’t want to go anymore, I’ve had enough.’ The same thing with a team. At some point that team says, ‘No, wait a minute. That’s too much for us to handle.’ That’s called tapping out. We will never see this here. That’s a culture. That’s a mindset.” — Urban Meyer, 2012
Heading into his seventh season as Ohio State’s head coach, Urban Meyer has successfully implemented the desired culture and mindset in every aspect of the Ohio State football program.
Competition throughout every position group reigns supreme, and the bluest of blue-chip recruits are always on the way in the form of reinforcements.
Throughout the spring and summer, I want to review the upcoming 2018 Ohio State football opponents, using the theme of competition as the baseline. While Ohio State has had more challenging schedules in the past, there are several games on the schedule that could potentially trip the Buckeyes up and end their goal of repeating as B1G champions.
These articles will examine the 2018 opponents, from least concerning to most concerning, based on various factors that I will list in the respective articles.
As always, I encourage interaction, either through the comments section below, or directly @ChipMinnich. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I look forward to writing them.
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-8 in 2017)
In an effort to get back to the glory years of the Tom Osborne era, Nebraska abandoned the three-year Mike Riley experiment, hiring former Cornhusker quarterback Scott Frost from a successful two-year stint at Central Florida (19-7).
Frost took over a Central Florida program that had gone 0-12 in 2015 and was able to completely reverse the Knights’ losing ways, leading UCF to a 12-0 record in 2017 that included a Peach Bowl win over Auburn.
Frost split time between finishing up at Central Florida and beginning his Nebraska duties, and was still able to land a well-respected recruiting class. Nebraska’s class ranked fourth within The B1G, and 22nd overall in the national rankings.
Among Frost’s prized recruits was quarterback Adrian Martinez, who enrolled early and participated in Nebraska’s spring practices. If Martinez is not the starter at quarterback when the season begins, it will be surprising. Regardless, odds are that Martinez will emerge as Nebraska’s starting quarterback by the time the Huskers come to Ohio State in November.
Ohio State has been dominant against Nebraska in recent seasons – a 62-3 rout at night in Ohio Stadium in 2016, a 56-14 thrashing in Lincoln in 2017. It is because of these types of beatings that Scott Frost was brought back as Nebraska’s head coach, and it is the fervent belief of the Cornhusker faithful that the glory years of Nebraska will be recaptured under his leadership.
Why did I rank Nebraska as a game of medium concern?
Yes, Ohio State has been walloping Nebraska on the field over the last two years. Yes, Urban Meyer has not lost to Nebraska in his tenure as Ohio State’s head coach. Yes, the game is in Ohio Stadium. Yes, Nebraska was a mess on the defensive side of the ball, and will probably be a major work in progress for Scott Frost and his defensive staff all throughout the 2018 season.
But something about this game makes me uneasy. Both teams will be coming in off a bye week. Could Ohio State be focusing too much on the upcoming trip to East Lansing against Michigan State and be caught unprepared? Will Scott Frost have enough tricks in his coaching arsenal to keep this game close?
Ohio State will be heavily favored and likely to win. Having seen how quickly Scott Frost turned UCF around, perhaps Frost will have Nebraska believing that the Cornhuskers can play with — and upset — Ohio State by the time this game comes to pass in November.
Something about this game makes me believe it will be closer to the 2012 Buckeye win (63-38), versus what OSU has done to Nebraska the last two seasons.