2011 Football Predictions: Ohio State

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What will the Buckeyes record be after five games?

What will the Buckeyes record be after five games?

Athlon Sports staff is knee-deep in 2011 college football production. For the 45th year in a row, Athlon Sports will release its in-depth preseason preview annual complete with coaching changes, behind the scenes features, scouting reports from within the locker room, pages of recruiting rankings, and most importantly, in-depth predictions and previews.

Each year, we order some pizza and lock ourselves in a room until all 120 teams have been hammered into place. And every year, there are some seriously heated discussions that result in not-so-cordial commentary.

The 2011 preseason top-25 countdown will begin with No. 25 on Monday May 2. But every day until then, we will offer the college football fan a peek behind the curtain at some of the most heated debates that we the editors at Athlon had to work through.

Check out all the debates linked below.

The Debate: What will Ohio State's record be after five games?

Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
I'll go 4–1. Toledo could actually cause some problems in Week 2, but the Bucks should survive. I will call the week 3 game at Miami (Fla.) as a loss. With a full lineup, I'd go with Ohio State. But the lineup will be missing some key parts, as we know. Then, I'll give Ohio State wins at home vs. Colorado and Michigan State.

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I think the Buckeyes will go 4-1 in the first five games. The only loss I'm giving Ohio State is at Miami, but wouldn't be shocked to see Michigan State beat the Buckeyes in Columbus. Even without four key starters and Jim Tressel, there is still plenty of talent for this program to survive. The Buckeyes also have months to prepare for not having Pryor, Herron, Adams and Posey in the lineup, which will give the backups time to get valuable reps with the No. 1 offense in spring and fall practice.

Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I'll say 4-1. The Buckeyes have three easy wins with Akron, Toledo and Colorado. The trip to Miami could be tough with an inexperienced quarterback, but the OSU defense should keep that contest close. I believe the best chance for a loss is in game five against Michigan State. Although the game is in Columbus, the Spartans have a veteran team with multiple weapons on offense. MSU should be able to score some points and make it tough on the Buckeyes. I also think OSU may lose in game six at Nebraska, as the suspended seniors could be very rusty in their return. But even if the Buckeyes lose either one of those league games, there is still a good chance they could run the Leaders (they actually stayed with this name?!) Division and make it to the inaugural Big Ten championship game.

Nathan Rush
Without Jim Tressel's sweater vest and TP2's free tattoos leading the way, the Buckeyes will go 4­-1 over the first five games of the season. I expect Ohio State will go unbeaten at home -- taking down Akron (Sept. 3), Toledo (Sept. 10), Colorado (Sept. 24) and Michigan State (Oct. 1). But the Bucks will stumble in their only game away from the venue that was once shaped like a Horseshoe, losing at The U to Al Golden's new-look Hurricanes on Sept. 17.

Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
The Buckeyes will steamroll Akron and Toledo, gaining much needed experience before they take their talents to South Beach, where one of the two things will happen: Miami will be hungry for a nationally televised statement win and they pick apart the rebuilt back seven of the Ohio State defense; or, a firs-year head coach will be pushed around by a much bigger and stronger front line, being dominated along both lines of scrimmage — just like the last time they played a Big Ten team. Colorado is a lay-up. If the Michigan State game was up north (-ish) I would say 4–1, but call me crazy — I think Ohio State somehow adds TP2, a sweater vest, some Boom in the backfield, an excellent middle reliever and a pocket full of Poseys with a 5–0 record.

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<p> Athlon's editors debate where the Buckeyes will be after five games in 2011.</p>