The 2013 season is six months away. Let's punch fate in the face and make wild assumptions about what could be the best 20 teams in the country next year.
Team: Ohio State
Important People: Logan Schuss (A); Turner Evans (M); Jesse King (M); Greg Dutton (G); Dominic Imbordino (D)
Formerly Important People: Keenan Ochwat (D); Joe Bonanni (D); Brock Sorensen (M); Matt Kawamoto (D)
Final 2012 Poll Positions: Media: 18; Coaches: NR
2012 Record: 8-7 (5-1, ECAC)
2012 Snapshot: Let me see them stems!
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There are two things that lead me to believe that Ohio State will potentially self destruct in a fiery blaze of anger: (1) This is a program that has, in recent history, made its bones by concentrating on its defense and giving none of the inches; and (2) If the Buckeyes revert, once again, into Logan Schuss running around all by himself, being both catalyst and lone gunman, Ohio State isn't going to have enough offense to summit the ECAC. As good as Dutton was in the cage last season, a lot of his performance was dictated by Ochwat, Bonanni, and Kawamoto (among others) beating opponents senseless on the defensive end of the field. All three were important figures in Ohio State's defensive postures, and without their senior leadership and presence, that Buckeyes unit could really suffer in 2013 while also saddled with the responsibility of trying to keep Ohio State in games. The offensive concerns are a little less muted than the defensive ones, mostly because of the amount of youth that surrounded Schuss last season. If those young pups fail to develop, though, the lack of contributions around Schuss -- arguably the ECAC's second-best offensive weapon behind Loyola's Mike Sawyer -- could create a situation where Ohio State meanders about, alternatively not stopping people and not hurting opposing goalies' feelings.
A Thousand White Doves
Despite rolling with only six -- six! -- seniors in 2012, the Buckeyes managed to hang around .500. With 29 rising sophomores and juniors, the Buckeyes are deep with young talent that has the opportunity to contribute in 2013 and push Ohio State toward (if not into) the NCAA Tournament. King, Reegan Comeault, Tyler Frederick, and Turner Evans are offensive players with high upside that are still learning the college game and have the luxury of playing alongside Schuss without onerous burden. With more and more runs getting under their feet, the team's offensive identity has strong potential to coalesce and find a groove. The youth movement out in Columbus could really change the tenor of the program, moving the Buckeyes back toward the highs it reached under Joe Breschi just before he moved on to North Carolina after the 2008 season.