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Buckeyes and the BCS: Ohio State’s Precarious Position

Terrelle Pryor - a threat on the ground and through the air Terrelle Pryor - a threat on the ground and through the air

The Ohio State Buckeyes picture themselves in the hunt for a BCS national championship, but the Big Ten squad will have to be perfect in 2010 to get a crack at the NCAA’s biggest prize. With one of college football’s most prolific passing games and a quarterback in Terrelle Pryor who brings a multitude of weapons to the field, OSU may just have what it takes. But hungry Boise State and Oregon teams out west are champing at the bit for a spot, where they will most likely battle the Alabama Crimson Tide at season’s end.

Terrelle Pryor is the big playmaker for the Buckeyes. Not only is he the starting quarterback and the man in charge of putting balls in the hands of OSU’s talented receivers, but he’s also the team’s leading rusher.

Pryor’s explosive speed has the power to take opposing defenses off guard. Receivers like Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey force opponents to respect the pass, which has often left Pryor with glorious opportunities to pick up key yards on his own two feet.

But when he’s not rushing, Pryor is hooking up with his receivers. Sanzenbacher has already hauled in 20 catches for 316 yards and five touchdowns in just four games. Nine of those catches and four of those scores came against Eastern Michigan in week four.

That said, Ohio State will need a productive running game to allow the passing offense to function at peak levels when the schedule gets tougher.

But with the Iowa Hawkeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, and Penn State Nittany Lions all appearing on the polls early in the season, there’s bound to be some competition for the Buckeyes in the Big Ten this year. Of those, Ohio State will meet all but the Spartans, the lowest ranked of the Big Ten’s ranked teams, during the season.

Head coach Jim Tressel knows what it takes to win. His Buckeyes have been Big Ten champions in each of the last five years, although the national championship as eluded his squad since 2002. Still, in ten years at the school, six conference championships and one BCS title amounts to an impressive record. Tressel will come close in 2010, too, but the margin for error is miniscule.

The Boise State Broncos and Oregon Ducks are each enjoying probably the strongest seasons in the history of either of those programs. That means one wrong move by OSU, and they can forget about a berth in the BCS championship. Ohio State is perennially strong, and Jim Tressel has a long history of success as a Buckeye. But he’s going to need the best from players like Dane Sanzenbacher and Terrelle Pryor if a national title is on the horizon for 2010, not to mention some strong performances from their minimalist running game.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 10:03

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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