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Buckeyes eligible, favorites in Big 10

BIG 10 Media Day

Wed, Jul 24, 2013

CHICAGO, IL -- The Ohio State Buckeyes were a perfect 12-0 in 2012, yet had to be the least talked about undefeated team in college football history.

NCAA sanctions left the Buckeyes on the outside looking in come bowl season. But, that's over now.

Urban Meyer, in his second year in Columbus, has his team eligible for the postseason and back in the national title hunt. But, at Big 10 Media Day on Wednesday, the main topic of discussion was not the Buckeye's return to the BCS title hunt, but a bumpy past week.

In the past 10 days, three Ohio State players have been arrested — tight end Marcus Baugh (underage drinking, false ID), cornerback Bradley Roby (battery) and lineman Tim Gardner (obstruction of official business). Running back Carlos Hyde has also been named a person of interest in an alleged assault of a woman.

"It drives you insane that you have to deal with that nonsense," Meyer said. "So, I'm disappointed. I think 'furious' might be the word that would best describe when I first got the phone all because, like I said, for 12 months it's been really, really good."

Other than it off-the-field issues -- which include questions about the Buckeyes program turning in his former school, Florida, for potential violation -- all is rosy in Columbus.

The Buckeyes are a strong favorite to win the Big-10 this year, returning both the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year in Braxton Miller and Ryan Shazier.

But Meyer says no one is looking ahead.

"There's been zero conversation about anything other than competing for a championship in November, which we were able to do last year," Meyer said. "We were able to compete for the Leaders Division championship a year ago. That's the only conversation we have. We try to make training camp so focused and really difficult that the focus is on getting to the next day. If you do that, then that's really all you can worry about. We're certainly not worried about November, December anything past that."

NOTHING BUT ROSES

Usually new coaches have the task of rebuilding a program, or cleaning house. Not Gary Anderson. The former Utah State coach has the inenviable task of taking over a Wisconsin program that went to three straight Rose Bowls under Bert Bielema, who bolted to Arkansas this offseason.

Not your typical new job.

"I'm not interested in comparing what was different, whether that may have been what we deem as being great, good, or indifferent," Anderson said. "There's going to be differences when you take over a program. It's important to put your own stamp on it. So I've never asked the question of how things work. There's a lot of different ways to do it. And there was a lot of success."

"For us, it's sit back and look at and get our core values into place, let our kids understand again the trust factor," he continued. "Let them understand the true set of core values that we're going to hold them accountable to a high level."

HUSKERS GET DEFENSIVE, THEY HOPE

Nebraska's final two games of 2012 were nothing short of disastrous on defense. After giving up 70 points and 640 total yards in a loss to Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game, the Huskers turned around and surrendered 45 points and another 589 yards in a loss to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.

They've had an offseason to look at how to fix the defense in Lincoln.

"It's nothing magical.," said Huskers coach Bo Pelini. "It's about getting better. It's about tackling better, executing better. It's not a scheme thing. At the end of the day you have to execute. And when those things happen, they happen for a reason. We've studied it. We've addressed it. Going to continue to work and we need to be better, more consistent than we were last year."

MICHIGAN GOES PRO (STYLE)

While the spread is the latest rage in college football, Michigan is going back to a pro-style offense.

"I think the physicalness that the game of football needs to be played with, I'm of the feeling that playing physical football, some pro style, and then there will be multiple enough personnel groups that I think that will be big," said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. 

"I think also with Devin (Gardner) at quarterback," he continued, "you still have an opportunity to do some of the things out of the spread that may be there. But I think the physicalness that will help your defense, when you run some downhill schemes, the combination blocks. I'm an old defensive line coach, still am, and I think teaching that every day and going through that every day is something that's important."