The Ohio State Buckeyes will begin the post-Jim Tressel era with their 2011 college football season opener against Akron on Saturday at noon in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes will be playing their first game under Luke Fickell after an NCAA investigation into a tattoo parlor accused of giving Ohio State players impermissible benefits turned up enough NCAA violations to chase Tressel and Terrelle Pryor from Columbus and turn what could have been a national championship contender into a merely very good Big Ten team.
The Buckeyes will turn to Joe Bauserman under center, but don't expect big things: the senior quarterback attempted just 22 passes in 2011, and should split time with talented freshman Braxton Miller. Ohio State fans should instead hope that a strong Buckeyes defense that allowed 20 or more points just four times in 2010 can start the 2011 campaign by shutting down the hapless Zips (1-11 in 2010) and extending Ohio State's unbeaten streak against Ohio teams to 43 games.
Akron will counter with a quarterback, Patrick Nicely, who failed to complete 50% of his passes in 2010. The Zips last played Ohio State in 2007, coming away with a 20-2 loss.
Game date, time: Noon Eastern, Saturday, Sept. 3
Location: Ohio Stadium, Columbus
TV channel: ESPN
Spread: Ohio State by 33.5.