Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 26, 2015

It's Urban Meyer's world. And everyone else is just living in it. The defending national champions are riding a national-best 13-game winning streak as 2015 dawns.

[ MORE: Get all of Tom Dienhart's 2015 schedule analysis posts ]

Meyer has posted a 38-3 overall record and is 24-0 in the Big Ten since taking over in 2012. Ohio State is loaded once again, a likely preseason No. 1 team.

Will the Buckeyes stumble in defense of their title? The schedule offers some challenges for a program that everyone else in the Big Ten is chasing.

Toughest non-conference game: at Virginia Tech, Sept. 7. Ohio State will jump right into the deep end with season-opening visit to Virginia Tech in a Monday prime-time affair. The Buckeyes will be seeking revenge after losing at home last season to the Hokies, 35-21. Ohio State hasn?t lost since, as it rides a 13-game winning streak into 2015.

Toughest conference game: vs. Michigan State, Nov. 21. The visit from the Spartans in the penultimate game of the season figures to be a clash between the Big Ten?s two best teams. The Big Ten East heavyweights have split their last four games. The Spartans won the last time they visited Columbus in 2011, taking a 10-7 decision.

Who they don?t play: The Buckeyes miss Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue.

[ MORE: Photos: Ubran Meyer photobombs at recent wedding ]

Easiest game: vs. Hawaii, Sept. 12. The Rainbow Warriors visit the Horseshoe and figure to stand little chance coming off a 4-9 season. This will be the first meeting between the schools. Aloha means ?good-bye.?

Toughest stretch: When you are Ohio State and one of the best teams in the nation, there aren?t many daunting stretches. But the season ends with a tough 1-2 punch, as Michigan State visits on Nov. 21, followed by a trip to Michigan on Nov. 28. Since 2001, the Buckeyes have won 12 of 14 meetings vs. the Wolverines. The losses came in 2003 and 2011. You know the Wolverines will be sky high with this game in the Big House and it being Jim Harbaugh?s first crack at the Buckeyes.

Factoid: The last time Ohio State lost a conference game at home was on Nov. 19, 2011, when it fell 20-14 to Penn State. Current defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was the interim coach that season. The Nittany Lions also were led by an interim coach in Tom Bradley. Penn State won a day after learning former coach Joe Paterno had lung cancer and 10 days after the school canned Paterno after 45-plus seasons, as the Sandusky scandal began to envelope the program. Since that loss, the Buckeyes have won 12 Big Ten games in succession in Columbus.

Best chance to be upset: at Virgina Tech, Sept. 7. It could happen in the opener at Virginia Tech, which dumped OSU last year. If teams are going to get shocked, it typically happens in the opener when they are trying to develop chemistry and work through rough spots. It also wouldn?t be stunning to see the Wolverines shock the Buckeyes in the finale in Ann Arbor. Yes, OSU has more talent than Michigan ? but you know what they say about rivalries-anything can happen.

Best chance to pull an upset: Ohio State won?t be an underdog often in 2015-if at all. So, honestly, no win this season would be considered an upset for a Buckeyes squad that probably is the best in America.

Must win: vs. Michigan State, Nov. 21. If the Buckeyes are going to win the Big Ten East again-and defend their Big Ten and national titles–they need to find a way to dispatch visiting Michigan State. These are not only the two best teams in the conference-but also two of the best in the nation. The loser might have to forget about making the playoffs.

Bye week: Ohio State is off on Halloween, coming after eight games. There?s a good chance the Buckeyes will be 8-0. Ohio State plays at Rutgers entering the bye and welcomes an ever-improving Minnesota squad coming out of it. The extra prep time may help vs. a Golden Gophers squad that may be the best in the Big Ten West. But know this: Since 1969, Ohio State has lost just twice to Minnesota (1981 and 2000).

2015 Ohio State Schedule
Sept. 7 at Virginia Tech
Sept. 12 Hawaii
Sept. 19 Northern Illinois
Sept. 26 Western Michigan
Oct. 3 at Indiana
Oct. 10 Maryland
Oct. 17 Penn State
Oct. 24 at Rutgers
Oct. 31 OFF
Nov. 7 Minnesota
Nov. 14 at Illinois
Nov. 21 Michigan State
Nov. 28 at Michigan


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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