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Ohio State to Rose Bowl

If the Buckeyes can win early-season home games over Texas and Iowa, this team should be in a great position when it travels to Ann Arbor for the season finale in late November. There are nine starters returning on both sides of the ball.An 8-4 mark in 2004 that includes wins over Michigan and a bowl win over Oklahoma State as well as winning four of it's final five Big Ten games during a rebuilding year signals the start of a program that reminds you of the Ohio State of old. Rebuilding is over for Ohio and it is time to produce.

The offense is a tough group to figure. They have the talent at hand and based on what happened last year, the Buckeyes' offense could be awesome, awful or somewhere between. Receiver and running back Ted Ginn Jr. along with receiver Santonio Holmes have freaky speed.

Quarterback Troy Smith was explosive in the 37-21 win over Michigan and could become a dominant player. Anotonio Pittman and Erik Haw appear to be solid runners. The offensive line is very dependable.If Pittman doesn't produce, Haw will take the job from him. Pittman is determined to return the Buckeyes' running game to its previous glory.

Haw is a very good runner also.Ohio State has two of the most exciting players in the Big Ten in Holmes and Ginn. Holmes caught 55 passes for 769 yards and seven touchdowns in 2004.

Ginn had four touchdowns on punt-returns and also caught 25 passes for two more touchdowns. If he can stay healthy, he appears unstoppable.Tight end Ryan Hamby can block and appears to be improving. The offensive line is tough. Center Nick Mangold and LT Rob Sims are both seniors and are the best blockers on the line.On defense, defensive end Mike Kudla is probably the best pass rusher.

He had 28 tackles and four sacks last year. He understands how to beat a block and plays hard.The first three weeks of the 2005 season will tell the story.

The epic match up with Texas is the kind of game hardcore college football fans dream about. The defense needs to hold Vince Young in check and then do the same to Iowa's Drew Tate two weeks later.

.Garth Belkins is the senior sports writer for 365SportsNews.com.

By: Garth Belkin


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