Archives for January 2009

Insight from the talking heads

ESPN featured a shockingly fair and balanced commentary of the Fiesta Bowl after the game last night.

That’s quite probably the first positive few minutes ESPN has spent on the Buckeyes in years. Even with the loss, the Buckeyes clearly won back quite a bit of respect.

5 Reasons Ohio State will Beat Texas

OSU FootballWith that said, let’s get positive. I’m a firm believer in the power of good karma and positive energy and the effect it can have on the performance of a team. Think happy, positive thoughts, Buckeye Fans!

While we’re sending that positive energy down to the southwest,let’s look at five reasons why Ohio State will be victorious Monday night:

Nothing to lose – This may be a misnomer. The national perception of the Big Ten in general and Ohio State in specific has a lot to lose. Both are currently at all-time lows. Perception-wise, Ohio State can’t suffer another loss on the national stage. But as a team, Ohio State should be loose and free. I say “should be” but this team has seemed tight before. If they come out with nothing to lose, they may just surprise some people.

Texas is the team with something to prove. This could end up being in Ohio States favor.

Ohio State’s Defense – We looked at Texas’ offensive firepower earlier, with impressive numbers. Top ten in most of the important categories. They will bring the heat with the passing game and Colt McCoy is a dual-threat QB. But Ohio State’s Defense is no slouch.

OSU is only allowing opponents 279.3 yards/game and holding teams to 164.3 yards/game through the air. Oh, and only giving up 13.1 points/game. Contrast that to Texas’ numbers and it’s obvious that’s something has to give.

This, along with the offensive worries mentioned earlier, comes down to play calling. If Ohio State sits back in a comfy zone and rushes four, McCoy will pick them apart. Pressure from the corners and up the middle is going to be paramount. I don’t think Texas will probe the run early, so Ohio State needs to be ready to stop the pass immediately. Jenkins is a given, but Chekwa, Washington, and Hines need to play lights out.

Taking advantage of opportunities is also paramount. There may only be one or two opportunities to take the ball away from the Longhorns. The defense needs to jump at any chance they’re given.

Help us, Ohio State Defense. You’re our only hope.

Malcolm Jenkins While they would never say it, I wonder if the returning seniors are disappointed in the way this season turned out. I doubt Malcolm Jenkins would ever mention such things, but this game is now his (and Little Animal’s) Swan Song. The match-up of Jenkins vs. Cosby will be watched very closely. If you take one of McCoy’s weapons away, he may press and make a mistake. I look for Jenkins to play a very impressive game, shutting down his corner and having a huge impact all around.

The Stiff Arm of Justice™ – The best running back in the Big 12 is Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter (5′ 8″, 190) . He’s the only running back in the Big 12 to average over 100 yards/game. Texas hasn’t really seen a power back like Beanie. Let’s hope we see these early and often.

Chris "Beanie" Wells Stiff Arm MSU

Beanie’s health will be a big factor in this game, but if he’s even 90%, look for him to run as mean as ever, gashing Texas good.

History – Finally, there’s the past. History is on our side. Ohio State is undefeated against Big 12 teams in bowl games (beating down Texas A&M and Kansas State in BCS games). Ohio State has already beat Colt McCoy.

There are more reasons to be optimistic, these are just a few. What has you thinking good, happy thoughts?

5 Reasons Ohio State will Lose to Texas

OSU FootballThe prodigal bloggers return, with a healthy dose of pessimism and doubt. All season long, something has been off. Last season, the second trip to the MNC game against LSU was supposed to be a year early. This year was supposed to be the year. But after an injury to Beanie’s Toe and a disastrous showing in Southern Cal, this season has taken on a feeling of almost desperation. Fans are grabbing onto positives and try to ignore the cold hard truth — this team has its problems. A team with much potential, but not a lot to show for it. They are untested. How will they do against one of the best teams in the country? The facts say: not so hot.

Allow us, for a few minutes, to be negative and speculate on some reasons why Ohio State will lose to the Texas Longhorns (don’t worry, we will only allow the pessimism to last for so long)

Offensive firepower – Let’s get this one out of the way. Texas has offense weapons like whoa. While they’re runnning game doesn’t scare me much (but should it? They did average 176.9 yards/game), the combination of Colt McCoy, Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley is dangerous. We should have a healthy fear of this. They averaged 476.4 yards/game, 301.3 yards through the air/game and 43.9 points per game. All in the top ten in the nation. Ohio State does have one of the better defensive backfields, but Texas can (and will) score at will.

Passing is the name of their game, but Colt will tuck and run. They run an efficient offense with a huge O-line. This has been giving me day- and nightmares.

Texas’ MNC snub – This could go either way but I think will harden their resolve. There’s no debating that Texas felt they deserved a spot in Thursday’s Championship game. Chip on their shoulder, something to prove, all that.

After Utah’s huge upset of LOLbama, the Monkey and I are thinking that Mack Brown will point his team to that outcome and Texas won’t be coming out asleep. They are hungry and want to show the nation that they deserve to be in the conversation again. Look for aggressive passing and play-calling early on. They’ll be going for the jugular.

Colt McCoy Heisman snub – Speaking of snubs, an argument could be made that Colt McCoy will also have something to prove. He is the focal point of the offense and he can and will do damage.

He’ll also be looking to exact revenge after he got smacked around in 2006. Remember when he looked like a scared 12 year-old with Laurinaitis breathing down his neck? Now he looks like a 14 year-old with chin stubble.

Ohio State Vanilla Offense – As mentioned earlier, Texas has a potent offense. Ohio State really doesn’t. If this becomes a shoot-out and Tressel is not sampling flavors at the ice cream counter, this will be ugly. There is no way we can hang with Texas in a barnburner.

I haven’t mentioned Texas’ defense at any point yet, but they do have a very good defense. The line anchored by beastman Orakpo (candidate for coolest name ever) and linebacker extraordinaire Kindle will cause havoc on Ohio State’s lackluster offensive line. If Tressel and Bolman aren’t calling plays to counter their aggresiveness, no amount of Stiff Arms of Justice™ will make a difference.

I’ll be on the bridge, ready to jump, if we line up in a power formation with Maurice Wells in the I. Seriously, I will take my own life. Or at least scream at the TV and embarrass myself in front of my friends and family.

BCS Burnout – This one be more about the fans than the football team. As Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg famously said “I know this music.” Buckeye fans are getting tired of seeing our team smacked around in front of millions on national TV. Surely the seniors on the team are equally tired. But will the motivation be there? This team has lacked leaders all season long. Will tomorrow night be any different?

Let’s hope so.

So those are a few things that are making me nervous. What worries you?

New Year’s Day Open Thread

FootballA football of the finest order. Also, what are your New Year’s resolutions? Ours — MORE BLOGGING!

Outback Bowl: Iowa 21 South Carolina 0
Great start for the Hawkeyes, a nice TD followed by an even nicer interception.

Okay, now a fumble for South Carolina and this could be getting UGLEE. Spielman is giving them the business.

The Big Ten needed a performance like this so far. Iowa needs to hold on and keep the Big Ten’s head above water.

Whoops. I left for lunch at the end of the Outback Bowl and forgot I was doing this. I should have quit while I was ahead. Michigan State looked okay for a while against Georgia, but Stafford was too much QB for that D to handle. Then Penn State also looked like they were going to challenge USC but ended up overwhelmed.

Things once again look pretty bad for the Big Ten, bowl-wise and national perception-wise (someone tell me how the Pac 10 (THE PAC-10!!) goes 5-0!!?) this bowl season. A Penn State win would have been nice, and there’s still hope for a good showing by the Buckeyes this Monday, but that remains to be seen.

Hope everyone enjoyed the New Year’s games. Welcome to 2009.

Just a real quickie: aLOLbama.