The Ohio State Buckeyes went 12-0 in Urban Meyer's first season at the helm but couldn't compete for the BCS Championship due to NCAA sanctions. Those sanctions are gone in 2013, and Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller is back to lead the Buckeyes for another run at an undefeated season. Will playing in the Big Ten be a boon for Ohio State's chances, or will the weak conference schedule doom them in the computers? Let's take a look at how their schedule breaks down.
2013 Ohio State schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
Ohio State probably has the easiest road to the national championship of any contender in the nation. Whether that helps them or hurts them is another story. Out of conference, they have a tricky game against Cal in Berkeley, but they should be able to come back to Columbus with a win. Once they enter conference play, they basically need to beat Wisconsin and then avoid any upsets along the way to clinch a spot in the Big Ten title game.
The three biggest games on Ohio State's Big Ten schedule are Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, they play both Wisconsin and Penn State at home, but will face a difficult game up in Ann Arbor. It's easy to imagine a scenario where the Buckeyes and Wolverines play on back-to-back weekends, with the second game coming in Indianapolis for the Big Ten title.
Everything is set up for the Buckeyes to make another undefeated run. Their difficult games are separated, they don't play back-to-back road games all year and they avoid potentially difficult games against Nebraska and Michigan State. Going undefeated in consecutive seasons is a Herculean task in college football, but Urban Meyer is set up well to start his Ohio State career 25-0.