(Picture coming at some point)
The Ohio conference is the most curious conference the league has this year in my eyes. Coming into the season, a lot was expected of the top two teams, Kent and Ohio State, but not much was expected from the other two schools, Bowling Green and Miami. Though this seems like a top heavy region, BG and Miami do have talent, but not enough to compete with Kent and OSU. Sticking with my theme of of comparing our regions to current NCAA football conferences, I’m stuck between the Big Ten and the Pac-12; for geographical purposes I’ll choose the Big Ten. Here’s my shakedown on how I think the second half of the season will go for these four teams.
1. Kent State: Coincidentally, the Golden Flashes could easily be considered the NCDAs version of Ohio State’s football team over the last few years. They win a lot of games, but don’t get a lot of credit for them. Much like Urban Meyer’s club, Kent believes they deserve more respect than they receive, and are willing to go out and prove it if they have a chance. This hasn’t worked out entirely how they’ve wanted so far, especially this past April when they lost to Michigan State in the semifinals at Nationals. I’m not sure what to expect from Kent this semester, having seen them at their best (Summit Street Slugfest), and hearing the struggles of their youth movement. The toughest call to make about them is how I think they’ll do at Nationals 2014, because I have no idea what lineup they will bring. If they have the roster they had for their home tournament last September, give or take a few people, I think they could easily make a deep run. If they bring a lot of younger guys, I honestly have no idea what they’ll do. Finally, if Kent wants to make a deep run they’ll need guys like Josh Sayre, Ryan Hinman, and Albert DePerro to step up and help take the load of captains Dan Shackelford and Cam Fullmer. Official prediction: #1 Ohio Seed, #4 National power seed.
#2 Ohio State: Ryan Carlton, everyone else for Ohio State, please forgive me for who I’m about to compare you to. From my view, Ohio State is a version of Michigan State’s football team from this year. Everyone called them a dark horse to start the year, and maybe they still are, but they seem to be playing stronger than a team that would make up a typical dark horse. They’ve already completed their version of this year’s Big Ten championship game in knocking off Kent State in the fall. I think the Buckeye’s will have a strong spring leading up to nationals, but how far they go in the tournament will really be based on their seeding. From what I’ve been told, OSU could easily be a final four worthy team, but if their seed sets them up to play a team like Grand Valley in the second round, I don’t think they will make it that far. Hopefully I get the chance to see them play before April, but if not, I’m excited to get the chance to watch them on their home court. Official prediction: #2 Ohio seed, #8 national power seed.
#3 Bowling Green State: Alright, time to show my lack of knowledge of Ohio teams, I really don’t know anything about BGSU. TO compare them to a Big Ten football team, I’d go with maybe a Minnesota or Indiana type team from what I’ve heard. So far they have only beaten Miami, Davenport, and DePaul this year. I won’t take anything away from their match with DePaul though, and call that a solid victory. Making a determination on what sort of spring/Nationals they will have is unfair in my mind, seeing as I don’t know anything about them. I will say I don’t think they’ll do anything overwhelming, but I don’t think they’ll lose to any teams that they’re “supposed” to beat. Official prediction: #3 Ohio Seed. #15 national power seed.
#4 Miami: Much like BGSU, I really don’t know much about Miami. The only thing I really know about them is they seem to have Towson’s number every time we play them. I do not know his name but I do know whoever wears #7 for them is a very solid player. The one thing I have heard is that they struggle for number commitments, so hopefully they will have enough players to attend Ohio State in April. For my football comparison, I’d probably call them an Illinois or Purdue. Official prediction: #4 Ohio Seed, #21 national power ranking.