Hey everyone, we’re alive and doing well. Sorry about the lack of content recently but with the holiday weekend, the end of the regular season for Ohio State and my surgery, we’ve been otherwise occupied. But there is still a lot of football left to be played this weekend that directly effects our Ohio State Buckeyes, so what better topic for an open thread than: Possibilities.
OSU’s Bowl opponent is still up in the air, but the choices are relatively slim. So today’s question is: Who would you rather Ohio State played — West Viriginia in the National Championship game or USC in the Rose Bowl?
To seed the discussion, there’s a quote from former el Kaiser man-crush Kirk Herbstreit, wherein he says:
“In my opinion, Ohio State could do more about [improving] the image people have of its program by playing a talented USC team that right now is as hot as any in the country … I promise you, if Ohio State goes into the Rose Bowl, everyone is going to be saying, ‘USC is going to kill Ohio State.’
… Ohio State will gain more respect if it plays USC in the Rose Bowl and wins that game, than if it goes and beats West Virginia and wins the national title. From an image standpoint, Ohio State would score more points going to the Rose Bowl than by going to the national championship game. If you can believe that, that’s the truth. ”
Herbie has lots of ulterior motives for saying this (ESPN/ABC will broadcast the Rose Bowl, his comments last year about “setting the Big Ten back ten years”, etc) but it brings up a point: Who is OSU better off playing? You can view the question from many different angles. You could look at it from a national reputation perspective. You can argue the merits of each opponent. What about the scary possibility that Ohio State may actually lose the game. Does that change how you feel about it?
I look at it from the perspective of opponents. I’d rather play a confident, fast (yeah, I said fast) West Viriginia team than a healthy, scary good USC. My reasoning is that while they are an athletic and fast team, West Virginia is soft. (Except for that Schmitt guy! He’s broken like twenty face masks! His team scores an extra point for every face mask the man child breaks! [Man, I would love to see Gholston punk that puke in the backfield]) Sure, they’ve got more SEC-speed than most SEC teams, but they lack a true killer instinct. My Exhibit A is West Virginia’s last year loss to Louisville. Watching that game, it really seemed like Steve Slaton, playing through an injury, was completely out of it. I remember more than once the camera panning to Slaton on the sideline during the third quarter, looking dejected and lost. He had been punched in the gut and it really looked like he had given up. Then Exhibit B would be Beanie’s entire season — playing with a bum wheel and a hobbled wrist while he bulldozed a Wolverine defense and carried Ohio State to victory. Boys to men.
I think Ohio State’s defense could come flying out of the gate, pummel White and Slaton a few times and really take the wind out of their sails. I know the Moutaineers are a different team this year, but I have to believe the killer instinct still eludes them.
What say you? What match up do you like? Which outcome is more appealing? Inquiring minds want to know!