Stoney set for big year in 2012
Dave Thurman (2:02 pm)

Even in the midst of another stellar season by the Thad 5 in basketball, it is never too early to start thinking about football.  With a new head coach and a lot of new players it is exciting to think of the possibilities.  Here are five bold predictions for the 2012 season to add some warmth to your mid-winter chill:

1. Braxton Miller will double his passing total from 2011.  I know - this one seems obvious, since he only threw for 1159 yards this past year.  However, keep in mind that he will have to post his numbers in twelve games, as OSU is banned from any postseason activity.  Also remember that the Buckeyes will still run the ball a good deal, featuring Braxton, himself, along with a bevy of fine backs.  But with all that in consideration I still think Miller will more than double 2011's passing stats.  As a bonus prediction, I'll throw in that fans in the fifth row will feel safe this next year, with Joe Bausmerman having used up his college eligibility. 

2. A true freshman will lead the team in sacks.  Ohio State brings back some fine veteran defensive linemen, so this sounds like a more risky prognostication.  However, my thought is that offenses will be tailored to stop John Simon, Nathan Williams, and Johnathan Hankins, opening up the opportunity for someone else to get to the opposing quarterback.  There are three nationally ranked ends making their way to Columbus, and any one of them could become a pass rush specialist.  The most acclaimed is Noah Spence, bur for some reason I have a feeling that Adolphus Washington makes the most noise next season.  It would not shock me if one of these guys tallies a bunch of sacks, which would be great news for Luke Fickell and the defensive coaches.

3. Jake Stoneburner will have more catches than he has amassed in his entire career.  Stoney has been a neglected weapon.  We all know that.  As a sophomore it seemed he was developing some nice chemistry with Pryor, and then Jake got hurt.  Last year he started out like a house on fire, but a young quarterback and an inept offensive coordinator kept him from posting big numbers.  Neglecting a weapon like that is similar to forcing Jared Sullinger to play 20 feet from the basket while only passing him the ball a couple of times a game.  All total, Stoneburner has 37 catches in his career, and I fully expect him to snatch that many balls in the first 10 games of 2012.  In fact I think he could become a household name under the tutelage of a new offensive staff. 

4. A true frosh will eventually start on the offensive line.  Before you dismiss me as crazy consider this: OSU has a real dearth of depth on the line, and one of the experienced guys, Marcus Hall, is rumored to be struggling academically and in jeopardy of being ineligible.  Most people expect the starters to be Norwell, Mewhort, Bobek, Linsley and Fragel.  Outside of Hall the only other guy with any experience is Underwood.  Factor in possible attrition and injuries, and I have a sneaking suspicion that at some point deep into the B1G conference schedule, a newcomer will be needed to start a game or two.  My best guess would be Taylor Decker, although Joey O'Connor is another possibility.

5. Ohio State will win the Leaders Division.  Obviously Wisconsin is a legitimate threat, and most experts will probably pick them in light of the sanctions.  But look for the revamped Buckeyes to win the division and then have no place to go, which will cause the B1G to scramble a little and wind up with some egg on their face.  Truth is, I think OSU could very well be the best team in the conference this year, and may wind up with the best overall record.  Michigan will benefit from the return of Denard Robinson and should win the Legends, but I don't see them winning in Columbus. In fact I think OSU will start another impressive winning streak against the ugly helmets in 2012. You might mark that down as bold prediction number six!

So there you have it - 5 bold predictions for 2012.  Feel free to share your thoughts and your forecast for the coming season. 


01/27/2012 11:31

Wow is the Leaders division weak with OSU on sanctions. Wisky will take a step back next year, PSU will be average...I guess watch out for Illinois or Purdue???

01/27/2012 11:35

Yes it is Chris. Michigan, MSU and Nebraska make the Legends competitive, but PSU's problems and OSU's santions have weakened the "Woody" division. Really surprised you didn't mention Indiana! :-)

01/27/2012 13:50

Dave, that's some limb you've climbed out with this. frankly, these are pretty solid predictions. The interesting one is the last one. I'd absolutely love to see OSU win whatever-they-call our Division. Obviously, it would mean our team managed to "get" what Urb's & Co are selling. And, being bowl ineligible, getting the Division title and disarraying the Conference would be very satisfying.

01/28/2012 10:56

i hope everyone realizes he is joking ...........with no offensive line or WR i still think 6-6 is very possible in 2-3 years we will be back yo 10-2 football

01/28/2012 11:07

Lenny, I guarantee you OSU will not go 6-6 in football 2012. 18 starters back...distractions gone....new focus...and we have an OL and the young receivers will be better....We will win 10-11 this year....Tress did not leave the cupboard bare...and last years team was one that never jelled do to suspensions and distractions...that won't be the case this fall

01/30/2012 17:15

Where do we find this offensive line you talk about????

01/28/2012 13:00

Lenny - this year's team would have won 9-10 with good coaching. No way we go 6-6 next year unless there are dozens of injuries. And that is no joke!

01/29/2012 12:18

if Braxton goes down whats our record? if you say 3-9 then how could this possibly a 10 win team because of 1 guy..

01/30/2012 17:29

Lenny: If if's and but's were candy and nuts every stinkin' day would be Christmas. Nobody knows who gets wacked with injuries. If Denard goes down Michigan isn't the same team either. You have to make predicitions based on the assumption that Braxton plays qb. If he goes down things change. But a Kenny Guiton led team still does not go 3-9 with our defense and schedule. Good coaching is the single biggest key in college sports.

01/29/2012 16:22

Too bad we are banned from a bowl. With eight homes games, a down Wisky and a new QB at MSU, OSU had a good schedule next year. But a new offense and 3 new OLineman probably spelled growing pains on O.


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