When Ohio State plays host to Hawaii for the first time on Saturday afternoon, it could be subtitled the Time Warp Bowl.

When Ohio State plays host to Hawaii for the first time on Saturday afternoon, it could be subtitled the Time Warp Bowl.

In any other year, the Buckeyes (1-0) would be seen as having a huge advantage going in, and not just because they are the top-ranked team in the country, but also because the game has a midafternoon kickoff at Ohio Stadium. That's while Hawaii (1-0) must cross six time zones to get here; the Rainbow Warriors were to make the leap to Los Angeles on Wednesday night and were scheduled to fly into Columbus early tonight.

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But anyone paying attention knows this also is a unique week, time-crunch wise, for the Buckeyes. They won 42-24 late Monday in the season opener at Virginia Tech, then did not get back to Columbus until almost 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Their first practice of the week was on Wednesday afternoon. Their last practice of the week will be this afternoon. They also must get in all the other preparation in terms of studying Hawaii's spread offense and the vagaries of its odd-man front defense, a departure from the basic four-man front the Buckeyes faced at Virginia Tech.

"It's awful," OSU coach Urban Meyer said of the time crunch.

He spoke on Wednesday after what had a been a shortened practice; he and his assistants opted to be cautious with the workload imposed on the players because that opening opponent was no patsy.

"Guys are still sore, banged up. That was a tough game, a physical game, too," Meyer said. "Sometimes you play east-west games" in openers in which an often-outmanned opponent doesn't want to challenge in a straight-up fashion. "This wasn't that. This was a downhill, sledgehammer game, and our guys are beat up. So we've got to be real smart here how we go about our business."

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Once the season starts, football programs are required to give their players a full day off each week. Because it is a short week, Meyer said, OSU appealed to the NCAA for a waiver so the Buckeyes at least could have conducted meetings on Tuesday. "They said no," Meyer said.

Such issues should be investigated before scheduling Monday night games, he said, "because we're way behind."

Curtis Samuel, a sophomore hybrid back who scored the first touchdown of the season for Ohio State on Monday night, said he felt fine physically on Wednesday afternoon.

"But mentally, I'm probably real tired because I didn't get that much sleep," said Samuel who, like many of the other players, had an 8 a.m. class on Tuesday.

Linebacker Raekwon McMillan was another of those 8 o'clockers. He said the key in coping this week is following the lead of Meyer and strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, whose duties include having the team at optimum level for the often-varying kickoff times from week to week.

"The whole coaching staff and the whole training staff have a great plan ahead of us," McMillan said. "They know what they're doing when they get us ready for the game. So we'll stick to their plan."

The challenge is "with the quick turnaround, it's hard trying to get a little time in watching film," Samuel said. "But we definitely need to watch film on Hawaii. Just because they're not a Top 25 opponent doesn't mean we can sleep on them. We're going to go out there and treat them like anybody else."

Meyer thought about giving his team a sneak peek at the Rainbow Warriors even as the Buckeyes spent the last couple of weeks of preseason camp preparing for Virginia Tech, but he decided not to do that. Much as all the focus before last season's College Football Playoff semifinal was on Alabama, with no looking ahead to playing Oregon or Florida State in a title game, Meyer said he wanted his team - now the defending national champion and ranked No.1 in both major polls - concentrating on the Hokies. Looking back, he wouldn't change a thing, despite the challenge now of the short week, he said.

"A Super Bowl-type atmosphere, we wanted all focus, all hands on deck for Virginia Tech," Meyer said. "And I'm glad we did."

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports