Terrelle Pryor and company will miss the first five game’s of the 2011 Ohio St. Buckeyes football season — assuming they stick around, of course. Fans of Big Ten teams besides the Buckeyes may be disappointed to note four of Ohio State’s first five games are in Columbus, and three are all but guaranteed. This is why you schedule Akron, y’all.
Akron Zips, Sept. 3: Though they may have been the nation’s worst team this year, Akron enters 2011 on a one-game winning streak, having shocked 2-10 Buffalo 22-14. There would be more honor in scheduling a top FCS school than in playing poor Akron.
Toledo Rockets, Sept. 10: Toledo is a decent enough MAC team, and even beat a supposed Big Ten team (Purdue) this year, so Tressel may need to leave the second-stringers in past halftime. The Rockets allowed more points to Northern Illinois than any other team did, and scored fewer on Arizona than any other team.
At Miami Hurricanes, Sept. 17: Competition begins in the hump week of Pryor’s suspension. Though Ohio State beat the Canes 36-24 in Columbus, a new coach and possibly quarterback may supplement Miami’s home field advantage here. Playing home games in Miami is technically more of a non-disadvantage than an advantage, but all right.
Colorado Buffaloes, Sept. 24: The Buffs were one of the Big 12’s worst teams this year, but without that meltdown against Kansas they would’ve been bowl eligible. Still, Ohio State is paying Colorado $1.4 million to play this game for a reason.
Michigan St. Spartans, Oct. 1: MSU fans are likely the most excited about today’s news, short of Michigan fans. Michigan State will lose a lot of talent this year — 11 starters, including star LB Greg Jones and three starting offensive linemen — and they haven’t traditionally been able to reload as swiftly as Ohio State has.
A 4-1 start is certainly not out of the question, nor is 5-0.