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cfn big ten thumbnail.


2 time Reigning BuckeyePlanet Poker Champion
from iowa:

Key Game: Ohio State (October 16<SUP>th</SUP>). A case can be made for the league opener at Michigan, but the Buckeyes travel to Iowa City, and by mid-October we should know what the Iowa offense is capable of. Look for an intense, defensive struggle that could play a major role in who travels to Pasadena in January.<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /><O:P style="MARGIN: 0px"> </O:P>
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<O:P style="MARGIN: 0px">from meatchicken:</O:P>
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<O:P style="MARGIN: 0px">Tom’s forecast: For the first time in years, Michigan will head into the season with questions at quarterback and running back. The fact that they are Michigan and are loaded with talent pretty much tells you what the outcome of the questions will be, if not the particular names. They head into Columbus unblemished and riding high. Alas…. (10-1, 7-1)<O:P style="MARGIN: 0px"> </O:P></O:P>
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<O:P style="MARGIN: 0px"><O:P style="MARGIN: 0px">and what you've all been waiting for:</O:P></O:P>
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<O:P style="MARGIN: 0px"><O:P style="MARGIN: 0px">Ohio State Buckeyes<O:P> </O:P><O:P></O:P>

Outlook: For a lot of teams across the nation, the loss of nine starters would signal lowered expectations, especially when three of those players went in the first round of the NFL draft. But that will not be the case in Columbus. Despite those losses, the Buckeyes will head into the season as one of the conference favorites, along with Michigan. Those of you who are surprised by this may want to check for some remedial reading on Big Ten football over the past three decades or so. The loss of Maurice Clarett and his early-season sideshow of last year will likely be a long-tern benefit to the team. The toughest loss on offense will be underrated QB Craig Krenzel. Krenzel made few mistakes and always put his team in a position to win. The likely move to sophomore Justin Zwick will give Ohio State a bigger arm at QB, but they will miss Krenzel's steady decision-making. The defense will miss the strong play of Will Smith and Chris Gamble, but linebacker A.J. Hawk will continue to terrorize Big Ten offenses. The loss of Gamble and S Will Allen could leave the secondary slightly vulnerable, especially with only one DL starter back. Though DE Simon Fraser is the lone returning starter on the line, sophomore DT Dustin Pitcock showed tons of playmaking skills when given the opportunity last season. CB Dustin Fox provides a solid cover man at one of the corner spots.<O:P> </O:P><O:P></O:P>

Key offensive player: Lydell Ross, RB. Ross led the team in rushing last season and found the end zone ten times, but he needs to become a more reliable runner who can take the pressure off of the inexperienced quarterback.<O:P> </O:P>

Key defensive player: A.J. Hawk, LB. With the line and the secondary both losing plenty of bodies, the LB's will have to anchor the Buckeye defense. Hawk is one of the best outside 'backers in the nation, and he'll have to dominate to make up for the losses around him.<O:P> </O:P>

Key game: at Iowa (October 16<SUP>th</SUP>). There is a very good chance that, once again, the Big Ten title will be decided in The Horseshoe in late November against Michigan. However, if the Buckeyes can't get past a very good Iowa team in Iowa City with inexperienced Justin Zwick at the helm, the Buckeyes' only hope may be playing the spoiler role when the hated Wolverines roll into town.<O:P> </O:P>

Brad’s forecast: Jim Tressel has taken this program to heights not seen since the days that Woody Hayes strolled the sidelines. The Buckeyes epitomize the phrases ‘defense wins championships.’ Expect another stellar season in Columbus. (10-1, 7-1)<O:P> </O:P>

Tom’s forecast: Ross should provide enough of a threat on the ground to keep the pressure off of Zwick, and Hawk and Fox will lead a revamped but still strong defense into the conference title hunt. (10-1, 7-1)<O:P style="MARGIN: 0px"> </O:P>

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<O:P style="MARGIN: 0px"></O:P><O:P style="MARGIN: 0px">http://www.collegefootballnews.com/2004/Columnists/PP/BigTenPreview.htm</O:P>

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