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Dave Thurman (12:38 pm)

Mascot: RedHawks
Stadium: Yager Stadium (24,286)
2011 Record: 4-8
Head Coach: Don Treadwell (second year at Miami; 4-8)
Letterman Returning:  (49; lost 18)
Returning Starters: Offense - 8; Defense - 6; Specialists - 2)
Base Defense: 4-3
Base Offense: Ace (3 receivers)
Returning Stars: QB Zac Dysert & WR Nick Harwell

Notable Alumni: 

Paul Brown - Legendary coach of Buckeyes, Browns and Bengals
Benjamin Harrison - 23rd President of the United States
Ben Roethlisberger - NFL quarterback 
Paul Ryan - US Senator and current VP candidate
Ara Parseghian - Former head coach at Notre Dame
Walter Alston - Former manager of Los Angeles Dodgers

Cheerleader Scouting Report:


 
 
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Look familiar?
Corey Andry (8:51 am)

[Ed. Note - Corey Andry is another new addition to the team. Even though he grew up in B1G country, his allegiance has been with LSU ever since one of his cousins played for the Tigers. Try to be somewhat nice! Corey's joining the team to provide a national perspective on sports as well as enhance our coverage of X's and O's thanks to his long history with football. 

Saturday at 8 P.M. I’ll find myself (an LSU fan) deep in the same conundrum that Buckeye fans are facing with the first top 10 showdown of the college football season. That is to cheer for SEC supremacy or against our most hated rival and Nick Satan himself. 

Generally, I reach a solution in such conundrums by logically laying out the pros and cons for my LSU Tigers in the event that either team wins. 

This time it’s not so cut and dry. Each scenario has its own benefits for the Bayou 
Bengals. 

Generally I would be cheering for Alabama. SEC football is like a brotherhood. As with my four brothers, we can pick on each other all we want, but no outsiders are allowed to join in. 

I cheer for SEC supremacy almost religiously in non-conference games, and there’s no conference I love to beat like the B1G. I recognize the value of our conference foe’s winning big non-conference games. It was those big wins that (and some fortunate circumstances) that allowed a two loss LSU team a spot in the National Title game in 2007. And it was those big wins that allowed two SEC teams to play for the National Title last year, although that doesn’t seem like such a good thing from my perspective. However, it’s clear that the respect the SEC gains from winning these big games can benefit anyone in the conference.

Usually I would hardly consider the other side of the argument, but in light of what happened last year, it has a more logical appeal. Last year my Tigers lost in their chance at a third National Championship in nine years because Alabama’s only loss was to LSU. Had Alabama lost in any other game, my Tigers would have been crowned champs after demolishing the Oklahoma State track team. 


 
 
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My Clear-Cut Game of the Week
Zach Clark (2:58 pm)

Thursday: 

Minnesota vs. UNLV

2011 Records: Minnesota 3-9 and UNLV 2-10
Game Time: 11:00 PM Eastern

The Golden Gophers and the Rebels face off at Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada this Thursday at 11:00 PM Eastern time.  I made a gutsy prediction nearly two months ago that the Rebels would be victorious.  Although Vegas has Minnesota favored by 8.5 points, this upset is still very much possible.  Jerry Kill had an awful season a year ago, and anytime a team this bad opens up a season on the road against an opponent with somewhat of a household name, anything can happen.  Expect this one to be tight; we’ll see what both teams are made of.

Friday: 

Boise State vs. Michigan State

2011 Records: Boise State 12-1 and Michigan State 11-3
Game Time: 8:00 PM Eastern

With the two big-time programs involved in this game, most college football fans chalk this one up to be a competitive game from start to finish.  I, however, am in the minority.  Boise State loses QB Kellen Moore, RB Doug Martin and 8 of 11 defensive starters.  To me, this spells a big problem for the Broncos.  Coach Mark Dantonio expects QB Andrew Maxwell to come out strong and look like an experienced veteran.  RB Le’Veon Bell should have a field day against an inexperienced Boise defense, and big DE William Gholston will be looking to release some of his off-season boredom against new Boise first-year starter QB Joe Southwick.  With the line in Vegas going off favoring the Spartans by 7 points, I see MSU as the hot bet here.


 
 
Drew Thurman (12:00 pm)

[Ed. Note] We again join forces with the other blogs on the Buckeye Bloggers Network - The Buckeye Battle Cry, The Buckeye Blog, Buckeye Empire, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, and Our Honor Defend. We'll be bringing you a collective preview each week of the upcoming game, starting today with Miami (OH). 

Just a season ago, this could have quite possibly been the most boring preview of all time. I could have spent a hundred words or less talking about the Buckeyes' plans to throw 12 times for 120 yards, and allow their running game to overpower a weaker opponent. Instead, with the Urban Meyer era officially kicking off on Saturday, we get to talk about an actual passing attack. 

While there are a lot of intriguing things to watch for as Meyer unveils his new offense on Columbus, I'm not sure any is more appealing on paper to OSU fans than what will happen in the passing game. After a season where the Buckeyes ranked 115th in passing offense, only attempted 245 total passes and had a leading receiver with 14 receptions, it will definitely be interesting to see what Meyer has been able to do in the offseason. 

He definitely made a statement back in the spring, allowing Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton to throw the ball a combined 55 times, which was good for 449 yards through the air. That's a far cry from the team that threw for 17 total yards in a game last year. While Meyer would later explain that he was making a statement and that his offense would be much more balanced this fall, it definitely was the beginning of a new style of football for Ohio State. 

While it's hard to totally predict what Meyer will want to come out and do or how Don Treadwell and his secondary will respond, let's take a look at what we should expect...

 
 
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Will Michael Thomas be the next big thing?
Eric Cooper (5:54 pm)

By now just about everybody that has been following Ohio State probably has heard all the news about all of the freshman in this year’s edition of The Ohio State Buckeye football team. From the dominating defensive efforts of the uber-talented defensive end Noah Spence, to the versatile, dedicated, but little known wide receiver/punter Frank Epitropolous, the freshman class is loaded with interesting talents, personalities, and potential future Buckeye legends. But of all these young Bucks, who will be the best contributor this season? Who will impress? Who will underwhelm? These are all questions that many fans are wondering, and questions that will soon start to be answered this Saturday.

The easiest pick to be the biggest impact freshman for the Buckeyes this year is the quickly rising star on the defensive line from Pennsylvania, Noah Spence.  Spence, who was one of the first freshman to have his black stripe stripped from his helmet, comes in to the season as one of the gems of the recent recruiting class, and from the rumblings in camp, it’s not hard to understand why. Spence has the rare opportunity, as a freshman, to break into the starting rotation on a defensive line already stacked with much talent and experience. With the high praise he has received so far, only time will tell if he can live up to the hype surrounding the highly talented buckeye.

Another pick that the vast majority of fans would believe to be an easy one is wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas, as many may remember, showed just how dangerous the passing game could be, raking in 12 receptions for 131 yards. Now whether the spring game was an omen of things to come from the talented freshman from Los Angeles remains to be seen. Thomas has a chance to prove himself in a crop of sometimes underwhelming wide receivers, and it’ll be up to him to secure the amount of playing time necessary to make a great impact on this offense, which has suffered from a poor passing game.

A player that may surprise in becoming an impact player early is Armani Reeves. When speaking of the freshman defensive backs, Najee Murray and De’Van Bogard get frequently mentioned. But as it stands, those two players are more attuned to the safety position than the cornerback position, which Reeves is a natural fit. Reeves, while not making much news, has received praise from the coaching staff, and may yet see a good amount of playing time in the fall, and could help a unit depleted of true cornerbacks.

While we watch the Buckeyes this Saturday, we should always keep in mind that anything is possible. From injuries forcing younger players into action, to others simply just having a spectacular game, fate has ways of finding those destined for greatness and glory. It would be easy to assume that names like Spence, Washington, Thomas, and Dunn will ultimately find their way into Buckeye lore and onto NFL draft cards, but it is up to them to live up to the great expectations placed upon them. So keep a close eye out Buckeye Nation.  You never know who might just jump out and become the next big thing at THE Ohio State University.

 
 
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Will Denard be Smiling Come November 24?
Zach Clark (8:37 am)

Team: Michigan Wolverines
Head Coach: Brady Hoke (2nd year at Michigan State)
2011 Record: 11-2 (6-2 Conference) 
Overall Head Coaching Record: 58-52

Schedule Preview:

The Michigan Wolverines start out their season with the team probably farthest away from a “cupcake” as one could possibly get.  This Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium, the Alabama Crimson Tide, reigning national champs, take on Coach Hoke’s highly regarded Wolverines.  As much of the country expects, I see the Tide rolling over the Maize and Blue and surely covering the 14-point spread offered by the bookies in Vegas.  As optimistic as some Michigan and B1G fans may be, I simply don’t believe any team in the B1G is physical enough yet to compete with the big boys in the SEC.

After the daunting task of taking on the SEC’s finest, UM faces two actual cupcakes at home in Air Force and Massachusetts.  Their next game at Notre Dame is where I had to make a serious effort to control my Buckeye bias and Michigan hatred.  The Golden Domers’ success is based largely off the play of starting QB Everett Golson, but I don’t the first-year starter will have what it takes to knock off an angry Wolverines team at home.  If Golson plays well his first three weeks against Navy, Purdue and Michigan State, then I may alter this game’s prediction…


 
 
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O-H-I-O from The Gambia, Africa!
Dave Thurman (5:12 pm)

It is on week's like this that family and friends start to worry about me.  Normally, I can hide my obsession with Ohio State football, but not on the week of the opening game...and certainly not when it's the beginning of the Urban Meyer era.

Understand, that even during the offseason I tend to be a little out of control when it comes to the Buckeyes.  All you have to do is set foot in my house and you'll know that I suffer from chronic Buckeye fever.  The loft in our house is painted scarlet and gray and decorated with so much Ohio State football paraphanelia that first time guests gasp when they come up the steps.  We even have a small refrigerator in the room, so we can grab cold drinks during the game and not have to traipse downstairs to the kitchen. 

It gets worse.  When my wife wanted a cat she came home from the humane society, proudly announcing that she had named the furry little thing Scarlet.  Then, she wasn't happy until we got another cat so we could name him Gray.  When my son and his wife adopted a golden retriever recently I was ticked that they didn't name him Brutus.  Yes, I am a sick man!

Last year I took a team over to Zimbabwe, Africa, to work with a school and clinic out in the bush.  On our way home, we had to make an emergency landing in The Gambia (don't ever head there intentionally), and wound up stranded in that cesspool for the better part of a day.  My solution to fatigue and boredom?  A quick dip in the nearby Atlantic Ocean, in which I got four of the young ladies on the trip to do their best O-H-I-O pose. 

When my kids were small and we spent our vacation at the beach, we didn't make sand castles like other normal families, but instead created The Shoe.  It's true - I have the pictures to prove it.  We got pretty good at it after a few years!  Just about got into a fight with a guy who unknowingly stepped on it one time, though.

As you can see, it doesn't have to be the week of a game to get me juiced.  So imagine what I am like on the eve of Urban's initial contest in venerable Ohio Stadium.  Truth is I am having trouble sleeping, and find that I can't go more than an hour in the office without checking all the best Buckeye blogs and websites to see if there is any news.  Admit it - you are dealing with some of the same symptoms right now, aren't you?  And that's why after the jump I'll give you a few tidbits from Urban's B1G Teleconference today.


 
 
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Dave Thurman (3:47 pm)

It is game week (which sounds really good, doesn't it?) and TSB has some great coverage coming at you the next few days.  But to get things started, lets talk a little about Urban's press conference today and a few things we learned.

Concerning his first game as the head coach: Meyer let it be known that he is very excited about running out of the tunnel at Ohio Stadium, and even commented, "I'll be coming out of my shoes a little bit."  He expects to be emotional, but will take great pride in walking the sidelines in scarlet and gray.

Regarding the opponent: Urban said that having coached two years at Bowling Green in the MAC he is very familiar with the history and tradition of the Miami program.  He said that QB Zac Dysert and WR Nick Harwell are good enough to play for any school in the country.  However, it is obvious that Meyer is more worried about his team that the opposition and claimed he believes that he has the "angry team" that he deisres. Of course part of getting the team in that state of mind are tough practices and Meyer referred to Tuesday practices as "Bloody Tuesday" when he works the team to the brink of quitting. 

Buckeye traditions: For those who were concerned (and I never was) Meyer is all about the timeless OSU traditions, and plans to keep issuing Buckeye Leaves, and even intends to hand them out publically as a form of inspiration.  The team will also continue to walk from the Blackwell Center to St. John Arena for the Skull Session.


 
 
Drew Thurman (9:52 am)

Spirits are high in Columbus. After months of watching the Ohio State name being drug through the mud, there is light at the end of the tunnel. One of the best head coaches in the business (maybe THE best), is leading a young, hungry group of Buckeyes into a new era. This team will be debuting a new, electric offense with no more Jim Bollman at the helm. Recruiting is going very well. And if all of that wasn't already enough, the Buckeyes showed some swagger on national television during the ESPNU All Access series. Yes, life is good indeed. 

As you might expect, with all those positives comes high expectations. It doesn't matter that the two-deep is littered with freshman and sophomores, that this 6-7 team is learning an entirely new system under a new coaching staff, or that the Buckeyes won't be allowed to take part in any postseason glory, talk of a 12-0 season is still very well alive. If USC's sanctioned season last year proved anything, those expectations are not out of the question at all. Yet, questions do remain. In fact, as we look forward to this team hitting the field a week from Saturday, there are five BIG questions that are on my mind. 

1) Can Braxton Miller handle the pressure of the entire offense on his shoulders? 

While many may act as if this question is blasphemous, it is something that needs answering. While Braxton took on a lot of pressure last season and showed an increased maturity as the season progressed, accumulating 517 total yards and five touchdowns in the final two games, that pressure will be turned up several fold. 

 
 
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What to do with Storm?
Dave Thurman (7:49 pm)

Ten days and counting.  After what has seems like an eternity, there are only ten days left until Ohio State takes the field again.  Time to get out your game-day jersey and eye black, check to make sure your satellite bill has been paid, and pull out your lucky Buckeye necklace.

Naturally this week's News and Notes center on reports from practice more than anything else. Let's jump right in:

Good News: There is lots of really good news coming from the Ohio State staff and players concerning recent practices.  Maybe the most optimistic notes have been in concern to the offense, which has made great strides since the spring.  Braxton Miller is reportedly getting more accurate with each week, and is comfortable running Tom Herman's offense.  The wide outs, who had been "receiving" the brunt of Meyer's criticism, have improved a great deal.  Philly Brown seems to have risen to the top of the heap, but coaches also like Devin Smith, Michael Thomas and Jake Stoneburner a great deal.  Both Brown and Thomas have been nursing minor injuries but should be good to go against Miami, September 1st.  Carlos Hyde is receiving effusive praise from coaches and teammates, alike.  He is clearly number one at tailback, and coaches have made it clear that when Jordan Hall returns, he and Hyde will be on the field together a lot.  Herman had this to say about Hyde: "He's a guy that's really grown up.  I think the thing about Carlos is that he's really stepped up his mental game the last couple of months."  As for Hall, he still hopes to be ready for game three against California.  Maybe most exciting is the fact that the offense seems to be giving the OSU D all they can handle in practice.  Reports are that the defense has been pretty tired, trying to keep up with the up tempo offense of Tom Herman, and Johnathan Hankins even admitted that the offense is "pretty challenging."  We all expect the Silver Bullets to be lights out on defense this year, so if the young offense is giving them a challenge, that has to be very good news.