I mean, other than the 12 hurdles lurking on the schedule.
10.TP's Ball Security
It's been a problem since day one. Pryor has been at the heart of 21 turnovers since taking the starting job. The offense has enough experience and firepower to make up for the occasional turnover, but if the Purdue game taught us anything, it's that turnovers kill. Pryor needs a return to his '08 td/int ratio, and needs to show better discipline with the football, in all areas.
OSU doesn't have the same luxuries as last season in terms of depth along the defensive line. Garrett Goebel and Adam Bellamy sit there on the depth chart with almost no experience, and zero highlights. If John Simon or Dexter Larimore go down it will mean Cam Heyward sliding down to hide the biggest weakness on what is an otherwise deep defensive depth chart. One injury on the front could change the whole dynamic.
8.Believing the Hype
We've seen this pre-season hype before, and it usually means 1 or 2 losses. It will be hard to focus when all the media outlets are incessantly barking about the strength of the 2010 team. You can't always see how this type of thing affects effort in practice, and the development of the team in the off-season, in-particular during summer when those outside influences far outweigh coaching and peer support. If you're not out there getting better everyday, someone else is.
7.A TP Injury
The offensive line and rb's can hide many flaws, but a Terrelle Pryor-less Ohio State offense is no more dynamic than Wisconsin or Iowa. Ohio State needs Terrelle to stay healthy, and for the duration, that is, if they are to win their second title in the last decade. Both back-ups seem capable, but have nowhere near the athleticism and experience of Pryor.
6.Jim Tressel's Conservative Play Calling
Only two games come to mind, Texas Fiesta Bowl, and Oregon Rose Bowl, in terms of Jim Tressel opening the play book and giving the fans what they wanted. That leaves 24 games over the past two seasons where Jim Tressel made Woody Hayes and John Cooper look flashy. His play calling, barring turnovers, ensures wins against inferior teams, but also leaves the team ill-prepared for some of the tougher teams on the slate. His goal is to speed up games, and control the time of possession, scoring and looking good while doing it, not even on the priority list. Sure, Ohio State 'hit the switch' so to speak against Oregon, but eventually OSU could hit the switch and the light won't turn on, not because the light isn't there, but because nobody has checked it in a while. The experience of the OL and RB's won't help with this matter. Don't think that point margin and National perception doesn't have anything to do with it either - not with so many teams that could be in the running late.
Fact is, 2 of the top 3 receivers on the depth chart have had trouble catching the football(Washington and Posey). They must take advantage of opportunities. As you read in the last section, Ohio State doesn't go for too many big plays, so when the receivers drop the deep balls, it hurts twice as bad.
Mike Nugent and Aaron Pettrey spoiled the Nation with two of the finest kickers in the country controlling the reigns for the better part of the last decade. Devin Barclay is no Mike Nugent, at least not yet, and the special teams units on the whole last season were down. Kick-off coverage down, kick-off return down, FG efficiency(especially outside the 40) down. Jim Tressel may need some open try-outs to see if the right people are in the right spots come opening day, otherwise, this could be just what it looks like, one of the biggest down years for Ohio State special teams in years.
Ohio State's schedule ranks around the middle(66th) for all FBS teams. This means a 1 loss SEC Champion is a possible leap frog, and BCS busters Boise St. and TCU will make this an unbeaten or bust run at a National Championship birth. The chances of making the big-game with one loss are between slim and none, and slim just left the building.
2.An SEC Champion
It's no secret that SEC teams are 9-0 versus Ohio State in Bowls. SEC teams have also won the last 4 National Championships. If Ohio State is going to win it all, they're going to have to buck some serious trends.
1. The Odds
The Odds-makers have Ohio State as the second or third favorite to win it all this pre-season at anywhere from 5-1 to 10-1. That means all of you hoping for this to be 'the year' are likely to be disappointed. There are probably about 8-10 teams believed to be 'in-the-mix', Fla, Bama, Auburn, Okla, Tex, TCU, Neb, Boise, Oregon, Miami, Iowa,... maybe ND(if you wanna stir the pot)... but it doesn't change the fact, that as of now, 118 teams NOT named Ohio State are in the mix.