In the next three weeks, there will be two all-star high school football games between the Mid-Ohio Valley and Charleston for us to enjoy.
First off, there's the annual local gridiron matchup, the BACF (Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis) Ohio. vs. West Virginia Football Classic at 7 p.m. Friday, June 7 for the second straight year at Marietta College's Don Drumm Stadium with the Stadium Field stands at Parkersburg High School in the process of being rebuilt.
It will mark the 20th anniversary of the BACF game, which ironically was played for the first time in 1994 at Don Drumm as well, with Ohio winning 10-7. However, in the intervening years since, Ohio has won just six other times, and although one was last year in a 48-0 shutout, West Virginia has been dominant and leads the series by a 12-7 margin.
Then comes the West Virginia North-South Football Classic on Saturday evening, June 15 at Laidley Field in Charleston.
North head coach is St. Marys' Jodi More and his players from the Mid-Ohio Valley number nine: three of Mote's own Blue Devil gridders in Derek Barnhart (FB/LB), Andrew Cosper (Utility/Safety) and Allen Pratt (OG/DT); Parkersburg South QB/safety Tyler Bolen and RB/safety Logan Cox; James Ellison (OG/DE) of Wirt County; Williamstown's Avery Goff (OT/DT); Sammy Hall (OT/DT) from Ritchie County; and Doddridge County's Daniel Plaugher (RB/CB).
I say whoa, just stop. We're not only putting the cart before the horse, but the horse is just a pony, not even full-grown yet. That's the way, at this point in May, I feel about the 2013 Buckeyes - there's a long way to go before the season even starts yet, so don't go overboard already.
Anyway, the article noted - and rightfully so - that Ohio State could be facing some ''tough challenges'' on the road this year - at Cal, Northwestern, Purdue and Michigan.
Cal played OSU to the hilt in Columbus a year ago and could ''pose another threat'' to the Buckeyes in Berkeley. With veteran coach Sonny Dykes at the controls of the Golden Bears now, their offense should be more explosive.
Northwestern won 10 games last year, including a bowl game for the first time since 1949. Most the Wildcats' main offensive weapons return from a team that scored prolificly last season to even fortify more a squad with experience and exuding confidence now.
Purdue just has been a thorn in the Buckeyes' side in recent years, primarily at West Lafayette, but also last year at OSU as only a miraculous comeback engineered by backup QB Kenny Guiton pulled out an overtime win.
And I'm sure new Boilermaker head coach Darrell Hazell, a former Jim Tressel lieutenant at Ohio State, will have Purdue all fired up for this one.
But Michigan could be the most difficult road obstacle to overcome. The last meeting in Ann Arbor in 2011 was a shootout, but the Wolverine defense is seen as the best in years. Plus, the bigger the stakes in this game makes it even bigger than it already is anyway.
These four games certainly would be considered winnable for the Buckeyes, but no one said that they're not going to be battles.
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at firstname.lastname@example.org