COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State had a lot to play for last fall: Making people forget a year of NCAA investigations and sanctions, rebounding from the worst season in more than a century and living up to the expectations of a new coaching staff.
By and large, they more than succeeded with a stunning 12-0 turnaround. Unlike those Buckeyes, however, the 2013 version can play for a Big Ten championship and even a national title.
The first step is Saturday's game against 36-point underdog Buffalo, a rebuilding team hoping to make a good showing while the second-ranked Buckeyes are aiming to serve notice that they're a worthy contender to break the Southeastern Conference's seven-year stranglehold on No. 1. So there's a lot riding on the opener for both teams.