Following games against Cincinnati and Maryland in which the Buckeyes combined for more than 1,200 yards, they are facing what could be their biggest opponent yet: another bye week.
After seeming to hit their stride both offensively and defensively, the Buckeyes will be left watching from the couch Saturday for the second time in a month.
But even though OSU will not take the field this week, I compiled a list of things you should look for around the college football landscape.
1. Could this week be the most exciting week in 2014 for college football?
During the Buckeye bye week, there are five matchups scheduled that will pit ranked opponents against each other, with two of those games involving top-five teams.
Those matchups feature No. 5 Baylor against No. 9 Texas Christian and No. 2 Auburn against No. 3 Mississippi State. Both games are battles of unbeaten teams and will no doubt make or break each team’s season, as well as their dreams of making it into the first ever College Football Playoff.
So if the Buckeyes get bored just sitting around, all they will have to do is flip on the TV and enjoy.
2. Can OSU’s rival Michigan get out of its current rut?
Ever since the fallout from the Shane Morris incident in which the sophomore quarterback was put back into a game after seemingly suffering a concussion, Michigan has not looked in more of a state of disarray since the Rich Rodriguez era. Rodriguez was ousted from Michigan after just three seasons in which the Wolverines made just one bowl appearance.
After the team’s loss to Rutgers in its last game, Ann Arbor, Mich., is ready to implode.
All is not lost for the Maize and Blue, however. The Wolverines are scheduled to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday at home under the lights. If there is anything that can give a program hope for the future, it’s a win during a night game at home (see: OSU vs. Wisconsin in 2011).
The Nittany Lions are coming off a bye week, one that came a week after they were embarrassed at home by Northwestern, 29-6.
If there was ever a time for Michigan to turn around its season, this weekend’s game is the opportunity it has been waiting for.
3. Will a team emerge as the country’s clear No. 1?
Going into its seventh week, the college football season has yet to provide us with a clear, dominant team, despite what the polls may have us believe.
The defending national champion Florida State Seminoles are still undefeated and remain atop most polls, however they have not impressed like they did a year ago.
Just last week, it took the Seminoles nearly a full half of football to start scoring against the lowly Wake Forest Demon Deacons before pulling away late to win, 43-3.
In addition, the Seminoles have played just one ranked team on the season, and are currently set to play just one more ranked foe for the remainder of the season against Notre Dame.
With that said, this leaves the door open for teams like Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Baylor and many others to make their mark on the college football world.
4. The Big Ten as a whole is a must-miss this week.
Aside from the Michigan-Penn State matchup, you might want to stay away from watching Big Ten football this weekend.
With OSU on an off week, the only ranked Big Ten team in action, No. 8 Michigan State, is set to take on conference bottom-dweller Purdue.
Not exactly the most riveting game.
However, if matchups such as Northwestern against Minnesota or Indiana against Iowa pique your interest, I encourage you to tune in (at your own risk).
5. Will two early bye weeks end up hurting the Buckeyes in the long run?
How could they not?
Any time two bye weeks are scheduled within a month, it could very well lead to players, and even coaches, becoming lackadaisical.
While OSU coach Urban Meyer said he will not allow this to happen, one has to wonder what the Buckeyes’ mindset will be like going into their Oct. 18 matchup with Rutgers.
And even if they come out firing on all cylinders and bring down the Scarlet Knights, a straight stretch of games from Oct. 18 through Nov. 29 could mean players missing time because of injury. Injuries are part of the game, there is no denying that, but not having time to heal from these injuries could prove crucial for the Buckeyes.
We will find out as the season presses on.
OSU’s matchup with Rutgers is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium.