Every season, there is a handful of marquee games that fans will circle as the big games of the season. For Ohio State, it’s a fairly consistent list. There is ALWAYS “The Game” against TTUN that gets circled, regardless of pre-season expectations. Additionally, there is typically two or three big time conference matchups and a tasty, early season, non-conference game. This year is no different. The Buckeyes host Virginia Tech in week 2, early in conference play there is a night game at Happy Valley, and of course the revenge trip to East Lansing late in the year. What’s typically not so obvious are the inevitable let down games. We all hate those games. Ohio State is playing a severely overmatched opponent (typically in conference) and for whatever reason, the Buckeyes do not have their “A” game that day and either lose or come perilously close to losing. Here’s a look at the potential trap games for 2014.
First off is week 1 of the regular season. The Buckeyes travel to Baltimore to play a “road” game against Navy. Typically the first week of the season is not your classic trap game. The players have been prepping all off-season and they finally get to hit somebody they aren’t teammates with. However, with Virginia Tech coming to town next weekend and the perception of Navy as a lesser opponent, it’s possible the Buckeyes won’t be totally focused on Navy. This would be a huge mistake. Navy is one of a handful of teams that runs the triple option these days. It’s a difficult offense to prepare for as it requires disciplined, assignment based defense. Simply having better athletes on the field won’t be enough to slow down the Navy rushing attack, it’s going to require plenty of focus. I don’t think this is the most dangerous game on the schedule, but Navy is definitely the most challenging opening day opponent the Bucks have had since…the last time they played Navy in 2009 and Brian Rolle intercepted a two-point conversion attempt to save the game. Threat Level – 5
I’m tempted to put Kent State in week 3 down as a let down after the Virginia Tech game, but honestly, there’s no way the Bucks lose to them (see what I’ve done – this is the ultimate trap game). Going through the next couple of games: Cincinnati – The battle for Ohio, coming off a bye week, no issue here. At Maryland is a little intriguing, but given that it’s the first B1G game of the year and it’s against a new opponent, I have a feeling Urban will have the boys ready to welcome the Terps with open arms. Hosting Rutgers on homecoming after a bye week shouldn’t be a big deal, unless they pull an 2013 Iowa performance of course.
But nope, the next trap game on the schedule is hosting Illinois on November 1st. It’s scheduled for a primetime game in the ‘Shoe, so we know the crowd will be wild and crazy, but is it possible the coaches and players might have one eye on the following Saturday, when Ohio State plays at Michigan State? It certainly seems that way to me. The Buckeyes haven’t had much trouble with Illinois in recent years, and Nathan Scheelhaase has finally retired after quarterbacking the Illini for the past century or so. It just seems like there is no way Illinois can come into Columbus and win a night game, which is why this could be the scariest game on the schedule for 2014. Threat Level 8
Nevertheless, the trappiest of all trap games will almost always be a road contest after an emotional game. On Saturday, November 15, 2014, the Buckeyes will face their most unexpectedly terrifying game of the season. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, FEAR THE GOLDEN GOPHERS! The Buckeyes haven’t faced the Gophers since 2010, haven’t lost to them since 2000, and in the past 40 years, are 31-2 against them. Naturally, the time is ripe for the Gophers to shock the Buckeyes. This will be Ohio State’s first trip to TCF Stadium and will be coming off either a tough loss or huge win against Michigan State. Either result tends to diminish a team’s play against a lesser opponent the following week. Threat level – OFF THE CHARTS
So there you have it folks. The Buckeyes have their most entertaining schedule since Urban took over this year and at some point he is in fact going to lose to a B1G team that he shouldn’t. I sure don’t want to see it happen this year, but if it does. You heard it here well before any of these games actually became dangerous.
Tags: Ohio State Football