On this opener morn, I peer into my cracked and somewhat grimy crystal ball. Here's what I see for the 2012 Buckeyes.
Sept. 1 Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State, noon
Skinny: Gamblers who took the Buckeyes giving 24 points should be resting comfortably by halftime. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert and receiver Nick Harwell form one of the top tandems in the nation. But that’s about the RedHawks’ only edge.
Sept. 8 Central Florida at Ohio State, noon
Skinny: UCF’s 56-14 rout at Akron last night begs the question: Are the Knights that good or is Akron, well, Akron? We’ll go with the latter. OSU wins the first of two “Ineligibowls” this season. (UCF and Penn State also face bowl bans.)
Sept. 15: California at Ohio State, noon
Skinny: This intersectional game looked more glamorous when it was scheduled years ago. As it stands now, TV executives judged it worthy of a 9 a.m. PST start. The Golden Bears are picked to finish fourth in the Pac-12 North.
Sept. 22 Alabama-Birmingham at Ohio State, TBA
Skinny: The Buckeyes are fortunate they don’t have to worry about strength of schedule points with this anchor on their schedule. UAB hasn't won more than five games since 2004.
Sept. 29 Ohio State at Michigan State, TBA
Pick: Michigan State
Skinny: In a battle of the Big Ten’s top two defenses, Ohio State fails its first road test and loses in East Lansing for the first time since 1999.
Oct. 6 Nebraska at Ohio State, 8 p.m.
Skinny: OSU stomped Nebraska in Lincoln last year before Braxton Miller went down and everything unraveled. Expect the Buckeyes to even the score in their first primetime game of the season.
Oct. 13 Ohio State at Indiana, 8 p.m.
Skinny: The only suspense: How long will it take deflated IU students to begin chanting "Let's play basketball?" Over/Under: Eight minutes into the first quarter.
Oct. 20 Purdue at Ohio State, TBA
Skinny: This Boilermakers team will be better than the ones that stunned Ohio State in 2009 and last season. But so will the result.
Oct. 27: Ohio State at Penn State
Skinny: Hard to predict whether Penn State will be inspired or beaten by the end of October in the wake of NCAA sanctions that promise to wipe the Nittany Lions off the national map for the better part of a decade. I lean toward Option B. Expect OSU to win its third straight in Happy Valley.
Nov. 3 Illinois at Ohio State, TBA
Skinny: Old friends Urban Meyer and former Toledo coach Tim Beckman both know how nice it is to succeed Ron Zook. The difference: Zook, though he recruited well at Illinois, didn't leave Beckman with a core capable of winning the national title. Not even close.
Nov. 17 Ohio State at Wisconsin
Skinny: OSU will be rested and ready coming off a bye week. Then again, so will Wisconsin (The Badgers play Indiana the week before). I give UW the narrow edge -- OSU has lost two of its last three games in Madison -- further stoking this growing rivalry.
Nov. 24: Michigan at Ohio State, noon
Skinny: Ask me again after tonight -- Prediction: Alabama 28, Michigan 17 -- but bowl-less OSU and Meyer would enjoy nothing more than dousing Michigan's rose-colored dreams.
Final record: 10-2