Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
Shiny New Nickel
March 28: at Penn State; April 5: Johns Hopkins; April 11: at Michigan; April 18: Maryland; April 25: at Rutgers
Division I lacrosse's newest thing -- a really old thing when you consider it in the construct of time, though -- provides depth in opportunity and potential. Ohio State will definitely be a part of whatever the Big Ten's lacrosse concern will become, but there are questions as to what the Buckeyes will look like in this new reality filled with programs attempting to create something viable and permanent out of nothing. This is not just about conference death matches and where the Big Ten stands among the nation's most established lacrosse entities; rather, it's about bringing the game to a consciousness that hasn't -- in the overall -- embraced college lacrosse the way that other aspects of the college universe have.
Ohio State's somewhat paltry four NCAA Tournament appearances -- the fourth most in its new conference, trailing Hopkins, Maryland, and Rutgers -- isn't what's important about the Buckeyes in the context of Big Ten lacrosse in 2015. Rather, it's that the Buckeyes will anchor -- with its sprawling fan base and potential for driving the growth of lacrosse in Ohio -- a league that has the capacity to accomplish whatever it chooses, setting the pace for finding value in a game that didn't exist at a notable level in the Big Ten's universe a decade ago.
February 7: at Detroit; February 10: Robert Morris; February 15: Delaware; February 21: Dartmouth; February 27: at Bellarmine
Get busy, Bucks (but not in the no-pants-on kind of way).
That's five games for Ohio State over the course of just around three weeks in February. Knocking out a game every four days is a painful journey of condensed anger, and doing so at the sunrise of the 2015 season carries with it a level of "The hell?!" that few programs attempt to experience. None of these opponents have elite, high-end name recognition, but dates falling early on the calendar -- especially ones that take place during the middle of the week or in potentially ugly weather -- have a way of going sideways quickly if focus isn't laser-guided.
Enhance, Enhance, Enhance
March 7: Hofstra; March 14: Denver; March 17: at Towson; March 21: at Notre Dame
This three-week push -- coming just prior to the start of the Buckeyes' Big Ten schedule -- is all kinds of dangerous: The Pride are historically resourceful and have a core tradition of standing straight and throwing hands regardless of controlling circumstances; Denver is as strong and balanced as any team in the nation and its coaching staff will ensure that the Pios maintain momentum; Towson has no problem hammering the brick; and Notre Dame is located at or a tiny level below Denver's ceiling. If Ohio State came come out of this stretch in decent shape before starting its league slate, the Buckeyes could really make some combustion at the most important stage of its year.