You could almost see it coming, previously top-ranked Ohio State getting ambushed by Wisconsin 31-18 Saturday night on primetime ESPN TV.
Thing is, OSU's setback was not quarterback Terrelle Pryor's fault, nor head coach coach Jim Tressel's. Not even the Buckeye special teams play.
The Ohio State schedule-makers - whoever they are - deserve all of the blame for this loss, even though they didn't make a tackle or run a sweep.
Schedules, of course, are made up way in advance. Whoever did the 2010 slate didn't do the Buckeyes any favors, didn't help prepare them, and actually set them up with several cupcakes.
Not the kind you eat, either. But the kind a team devours on the gridiron.
The schedule-makers made it too easy for the Buckeyes, who by the way have dropped to No. 11 in the AP poll.
Wisconsin was the first truly good team the Buckeyes played this season. During the prior weeks, the scarlet and gray faced and defeated Marshall, Miami (Fla.), Ohio University, Eastern Michigan, Illinois and Indiana - all pretty much gimmes.
Seriously, were you ever worried that Ohio State would lose any of these games?
The Hurricanes of Miami had the potential to be a dangerous opponent but weren't - this year. Next year at their place could be a different story.
Illinois and Indiana are Big Ten members, like Ohio State, so the schedule-makers are off the hook there.
But the fact is, neither of these schools is exactly a national football power by any stretch of the imagination.
In fact, when you think of Indiana, basketball and Bobby Knight - even though he's been long gone from the institution - always seem to come to mind.
As for OSU's other three 2010 non-conference opponents' Marshall, OU and Eastern Michigan...c'mon, now, give me a break.
Just look at the final scores of each of those games.
Heck, Mount Union, a perennial NCAA Division III powerhouse, would've been just as and maybe more competitive.
But, heaven forbid that Ohio State play a D-II or D-III school - but, y'know, long ago it did.
In the category for what it's worth, Ohio State has played Marietta College eight times in its history, and incredibily lost two of those games to the Pioneers. Of course, all of this occurred over 100 years ago as the series ended in 1902.
It's admirable and probably foolish, too, that the OSU schedule-makers would include many in-state D-I schools on the slate, but it really doesn't help the Buckeyes any when they have to play a school as good or better than them.
The problem with playing weaker opponents at the beginning of the season is that it doesn't toughen a team up. If anything, it seems to give a team a false sense of being better than it really is.
Did Ohio State really think all it had to do was show up, and Wisconsin would fold on the spot?
Before Saturday night, all the Buckeyes had been doing was padding their stats. Sorry, but there are no schools in the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA that belong on the same gridiron as Ohio State. It's too much of a mismatch.
Yes, major upsets can occur. Appalachian State over Michigan comes to mind. That would've been like Marshall over Ohio State - and that's just not going to ever happen.
Next year, the Buckeyes will kick of the season 2-0 because they play Akron and Toledo. Talk about no suspense.
These MAC schools might be good for scrimmages but not actual games at the Horseshoe.
Sometime in the future, Ohio State really needs to compete on a regular basis against non-conference foes like Notre Dame, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Texas, or Southern Cal. Schools its own size.
Probably won't happen, though, and the schedule-makers will continue to make it easy on the Buckeyes.
As for the remainder of this season, rest easy, Ohio State fans.
Looking at their 2010 slate, the Buckeyes probably won't lose another regular-season game. They should even beat Iowa, a team that is expected to provide them with a challenge.
They will also of course be competing in a bowl game - somewhere in the land. You can almost count on it - and not every big school like OSU can say that.
When it's all said and done, the scarlet and gray will more than likely finish in the top 10 final rankings.
But regaining the top spot and playing in the national championship game, now, seems a long shot at best - thanks to Wisconsin and of course the schedule-makers.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org