Archives for December 2009

Bowl Week: Rose Bowl Preview – Ohio State vs. Oregon

OSU FootballLast time the Buckeyes were playing in the Rose Bowl, most of the current Buckeyes were in the first or second grade. Hopefully some of them saw one Joe Germaine lead the Buckeyes down the field against Arizona State in one for the ages. We sure would like to see something like that again!

But we’re not here to talk about the past. (What am I saying? We Buckeye fans live for past glory.) Really, though. Let’s talk a little about tomorrow’s game.

While we’re at it, let’s see what others are saying:

A few words on the Oregon defense. Buckeye Football Analysis has a look at both their schemes and how they match-up with OSU. Oregon does do some interesting things on defense, but they are susceptible to the deep ball if Ohio State is committed to establishing the run. Ohio State should have the personnel to take Oregon’s CB’s one-on-one.

Sam @ WWAHT says:

I think Oregon’s defense is far, far better than most Ohio State fans are giving it credit for, and that anyone that thinks Ohio State is going to bulldoze the undersized Oregon front did not watch either team very much, and certainly did not watch Ohio State’s game against Purdue, or Oregon’s game against USC. The Buckeyes are perfectly capable of moving the ball on the Ducks, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

I think I’m going to respectfully disagree with Sam here. With regards to Oregon’s defense, I will say that Ohio State should have its way with them. This is a defensive unit that feeds off the success and momentum of their offense. When their offense is able to put the opposing teams in a position to play catch-up, Oregon’s defense is able to do things they normally wouldn’t be able to if the game is close. If OSU’s Defense can stop Oregon from scoring, I think the Duck Defense could be in trouble.

As far as OSU’s offense going up against the Ducks D, BFA astutely notes:

Ohio State is fortunate in that their primary rush plays–Power (Dave,) Iso, Zone read–are precisely the plays that teams have had the most rushing success against Oregon with. Ohio State must establish the run game between the tailbacks and Pryor a la Stanford to open other things up. To do so, they need to mix and match between the pro and spread sets to keep Oregon off balance and not let them freely flip between their 7 and 8 man fronts. The Dave and Zone read plays, in particular, will provide big play opportunities versus Oregon that OSU must take advantage of.

I hear you rolling your eyes over there!

Ohio State’s offense gameplan is simple enough. Keep them off-balance and pound away. I’d like to see some more of that counter action with Brandon Saine. I think Brian spelled it out it best: TGDCD

Why the hell doesn’t Michigan have That God Damned Counter Draw in its arsenal? Michigan is now a shotgun team that uses a metric ton of rolling pockets and in my experience TGDCD is 80% touchdown, 20% fail. Ohio State didn’t even mean to call it and they scored on it.

We all know what Ohio State’s defense has been capable of. Shutting down Masoli and keeping him between the tackles will be the utmost importance. I’m still maintaining the belief that Blount looked like he wasn’t at game speed yet against Oregon State and could potentially be a non-factor. I also think Brian Rolle and Ross Homan are licking their chops thinking about swallowing LittleMichael James whole. These are two statements that could make me look woefully stupid, but I’m willing to make them.

See Corey at Eleven Warriors for a counterpoint to my statements.

It’s Masoli that makes my stomach hurt. Things he does with those stumpy little legs and shifty hips could break some OSU ankles and make people look silly. OSU’s back four will have to be ready to make some serious open field tackles. Sayeth James Laurinaitis (via PlayMaker Mobile [no link to actual content]):

Masoli concerns me. He is a true dual threat. He can run, heís got speed, good shakes and he can throw. Plus he can run you over. He really is perfect for that system. They have two good running backs in Blount and LeMichael James, but if you focus too much on stopping them you lose site of Masoli. Larry Grant went to San Francisco City College and has been telling me about Masoli, because they played together. If he wins that game against Stanford he deserved to get his name in the Heisman talk. Heís that good. Heís not a prototype so he flies under the radar a little, but next year, heíll have an opportunity to be one of the guys being talked about. The key to this game is making Oregon one dimensional, take away that zone read. You have to stop their running game and turn them into a passing team. If you donít stop the run against Oregon you have no chance of slowing that offense down. Joe Bauserman is crucial. Heís got to give the defense good looks. Heís got good speed and good shakes so he can emulate Masoli, but you still have to stop the real thing. It wonít be easy, but thatís the key to the game.

Here are four words I thought I’d never hear: “Joe Bauserman is crucial“. But Little Animal should know a thing or two about preparing for an offensive attack like Oregon’s. Masoli concerns me, too.

So here we are, twenty-four hours (and counting) from kick-off. Time for Ohio State to regain some of that National Respect© and start preparing for a run at a title in 2010.

And now we’re looking for some final score predictions. Vegas has Oregon favored by 4 points, a line that hasn’t moved a whole lot since the game was announced.

I say Ohio Sate 31 Oregon 27

What say you?

Oregon, by the Numbers

Your first course: Statistics

Statistically Speaking
Ohio State
Value (Rank)
Value (Rank)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 200.4 (19) 126.7 (39) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 165.3 (106) 202.8 (37) Passing Defense (ypg) Oregon+
Pass Efficiency 127.3 (65) 110.6 (21) Pass Efficiency Defense Oregon
Total Offense (ypg) 364.8 (70) 329.4 (31) Total Defense (ypg) Oregon
Scoring Offense (ppg) 29.3 (47) 23.6 (49) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 83.4 (5) 236.1 (6) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 179.1 (19) 188.6 (92) Passing Offense (ypg) Ohio State+
Pass Efficiency Defense 97.1 (7) 131.7 (53) Pass Efficiency Offense Ohio State
Total Defense (ypg) 262.5 (5) 424.7 (25) Total Offense (ypg) Push
Scoring Defense (ppg) 12.2 (5) 37.7 (7) Scoring Offense (ppg) Push
Turnover margin +1.33 (4) +0.25 (46) Turnover margin Ohio State
Penalty Yards/game 43.5 (22) 62.2 (97) Penalty Yards/game Ohio State+
Sacks (/game) 2.50 (24) 1.00 (11) Sacks Allowed (/game) Push
Sacks Allowed (/game) 1.58 (43) 2.67 (17) Sacks (/game) Oregon
3rd Down Conv. (%) 40.7 (56) 36.3 (37) 3rd Down Conv. Def (%) Push
3rd Down Conv. Def (%) 31.6 (13) 36.3 (85) 3rd Down Conv. (%) Ohio State+
Redzone Offense (%) 76.7 (91) 79.5 (46) Redzone Defense (%) Oregon
Redzone Defense (%) 73.9 (19) 94.3 (6) Redzone Offense (%) Push
  Difference <25 in National Rank = Push   Difference >25 in National Rank = Ohio State
  Difference >50 in National Rank = Ohio State+
  Difference >75 in National Rank = Ohio State++
  Differences >100 in National Rank = Ohio State+++

As always, stats are grabbed from

Good morning, sunshine!

FootballBlog/site newsHey, it’s Rose Bowl Eve! And we haven’t blogged anything in over a week. Is anyone surprised by that? This blogging thing is hard! We’ve been doing it for over three years, you think we would have figured that out. Has anything happened while we were gone? I’ve been distracted. New Super Mario Bros Wii is really addicting.

But now were back, ready for some real football to start.

And real quick, I’m not a huge fan of the transitive “Team A beat Team B, who beat Team C so Team A is better than Team C” way of thinking, but both Arizona and Oregon State played Oregon tough and both teams laid absolute turd burgers (Arizona more so than OreSt) in their bowl games. I’m just sayin’.

Trash-Talking Youtube Videos with Misspellings and Terrible Music Get Their Own Posts this Bowl Season

OSU FootballSeriously…how could I not let this gem speak for itself.

Terrible Music. I am still in disbelief that anyone from Oregon can have this bad of taste in music even in a trash-talking expose…

Spelling. There is an ‘e’ at the end of Purdue. At least, I am pretty sure that there is one…

Oregon fans…Creativity FAIL….

And I actually like Oregon…jeebus…please tell me this guy is from Eastern Oregon…at least that would make some sense.

Good luck on New Year’s Day!


Quick Hits

OSU FootballThings are slow around these parts. How about some bullet points?

  • You’ve probably seen this already, but it appears that Duron Carter and Robert Rose (oh, the irony) could possibly pull a Reggie Germany and make themselves ineligible for the Rose Bowl. No official word yet.
  • Finally, SOMEONE gets it right. That SOMEONE is The Sporting News, as they rightly selected Ohio State’s Hurt Coleman for their First Team All-American Team.
  • Jeff and his merry band of bloggers over to Sports Blog Nation, filling the vacancy left by We Will Always Have Tempe. We Will Always Have the We Will Always Have Tempe Blog.
  • This Big Ten Expansion talk is getting heavy and outside my realm of expertise. I personally don’t see a huge upside outside of Notre Dame (never gonna happen), Pitt (I’d be okay with that) or maybe Missouri.
  • There’s still a couple days to get in on the MotSaG Bowl Pick’em contest (complete with a snazzy prize!)

MotSaG’s West Coast Bunker: Speed and Swagger…A study in Oregon and OSU Fandom Stupidity

OSU FootballSo…times are slow…the Champions League has decided it is only for teams that can play defense (FU Liverpool and your inability to NOT give up a goal in the last 8 minutes of play)

This is the time of the year where an incredible void of no football games and the bowl selections have created what most people (including yours truly) cannot stand in the least bit…

“Message Board Heroes”

OSU has them…they talk about the school’s eleventy-billion national championships that happened before they were born or how they were there when “The Horseshoe” was dedicated…or maybe the lore of OSU Heisman Trophies from yesteryear. If someone from another team’s fan base says anything against these irrefutable facts, they “just dont respect OSU’s rich history and tradition as a national college football power.”

Here is a summary of my thoughts on those points in the above paragraph..

“You know what these things will do for the 2009 Edition of your OSU Football squad?” “Absolutely NOTHING!”

Dont you worry Oregon message board guy/gal/beer snob/phish listening pseudo-hippy/etc, I havent forgotten about you. Congratulations! You have won the Pac-1+9 for the first time in ‘like’ forever (or since 2001..shared with USC). That team looked spendid this year. Apparently, Oregon’s offense is putting up points equivalent to the Fielding Yost teams of Michigan back in the day. As a college football fan, I appreciate the fact Oregon has a dynamic offense that seems to be as lethal as there is and has the play-calling craziness that only Les “The Hat” Miles could rival. They were fun to watch this year…for realz. I mean that…srsly. I live out here in Pac-10 Land, which means I hear all about Oregon, U-Dub, and USC. Pac-10 has some entertaining football in general. Lots of offense…a little bit better defense (sans Oregon State and USC) than the WAC or Mountain West…and some of the schools use QB1 to determine play calls in any situation.

So what I have gathered from the small amount of perusing on the Oregon Message Boards and the local media is as follows:

  1. OSU hasnt played against a team as good as Oregon on it’s schedule this year
  2. Speed kills…wait until OSU sees the Oregon offense
  3. OSU doesnt have the offense to keep up in this game
  4. Terrelle Pryor is nowhere near the talent-level of Masoli

I figured that I would address some of these generalized lifted comments from the Oregon Scout Board…

1. OSU hasnt played against a team as good as Oregon on it’s schedule this year

This may be correct. It is probably a fair statement. Sagarin has the SOS for Oregon at #4 and OSU coming in at a cool 59th. I wont even argue that point. Regardless of SOS, OSU brings something to the table that none of the other teams on Oregon’s schedule possess, which will be addressed a little later.

2. Speed kills…wait until OSU sees the Oregon offense

I (along with most of Buckeye Nation) take some offense to this statement. While it is true that speed is the ultimate weapon for a football team, any speed that Oregon has on offense is equally countered on the Ohio State defensive side of the ball. This is where a lot of the confidence in this game is originating within the OSU fandom. This is by far the best defensive line that OSU has possessed since the 2002 National Championship squad. Think about that for a second. Miami was an offensive machine that year..just like Oregon. Oregon may have speed in the backfield with James and Masoli, but if the O-line gets blown up on regularity by the OSU D-Line…Oregon is in trouble. For the record, OSU has plenty of speed on the edges and at LB (Spitler’s participation will be minimal as most of us imagine that the OSU defense will be in the nickel for large chunks of the game).

3. OSU doesnt have the offense to keep up in this game

Sorry, OSU does have the offense to keep themselves in this game. Tressel plays to a gameplan and his game planning has never been to get into a shootout with another team. It is reckless and that isn’t the way that OSU plays football. If he has some trust in Pryor (work-in-progress), he will open up the play book a little. However, Oregon is a turnover machine. With this in mind, I would imagine that the gameplan will look a lot like Oregon State’s, until Oregon stops it. The only difference is that there is a runner taking snaps instead of a pocket passer…whether that is a good thing or not remains to be seen. If Masoli and James continue to put the ball on the ground in the Rose Bowl, OSU will win by about 20. What does that have to do with OSU’s offense? Everything…

4. Terrelle Pryor is nowhere near the talent-level of Masoli

Masoli has been a diamond in the rough this year for the Ducks. He is a fantastic system quarterback that has been a perfect fit for the Oregon offensive scheme. Without him, they lose about 4-5 games this year. Does that mean he is infallible? Absolutely not. Masoli carries the ball around like Tate Forcier, which equates to opportunities for a ball-hawking defense to sample in some tasty “fumbalaya.” With that in mind, it is amazing how a fantastic offensive display can mask the stink of all of the other shortcomings of a team. On the other hand, Pryor has been a work-in-progress this year (to say the least). There have been times where it may have been advisable to bench him for a series or two just for a reality check (See Purdue..ZOMG) and other times where he has played nearly flawless football (ie the last three games of the season). Now for the Oregon fans that read this little ditty have to realize a few things when they go back and watch some OSU highlights of those last three games of the season…

  1. Flawless football for an OSU quarterback is to not turn the ball over, regardless of the other stats.
  2. Most of the OSU fans (while annoyed with this approach) understand that when the OSU quarterback doesnt make mistakes there is a strong likelihood that OSU will win. It might be ugly…but a win is a win. Let me help you…would you take a 1-pt ugly win against Stanford (Jeebus..What happened there?..)? Thought so…

A couple of other notes for the Oregon faithful that dont understand the OSU fans.

  • There are a lot of us. I mean a shit-ton..especially on West Coast. Yeah…we get it…Who wants to live in Ohio? Well, some of us do and some us dont, but it is still home. Come on…we take over a bar every Saturday in Portland (Blitz-Ladd)…
  • One of the things about growing up in Ohio is that most of us have a pretty good understanding of football, because we have grown up with it in our faces every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the Fall and Winter months. This gives us a lot of perspective for the primary lifeblood sport of the state, and it is competitive in every region of the state. Most of us understand that match-ups and fundamentals mean more than schemes. Sure talent will win over a lot of games in high school, but this isnt high school. Again, this where a lot of the confidence that you dont understand is coming from. I could give a “rats ass” that Oregon’s defense held Oregon State’s Rodgers to like 60 yards of rushing and the offense went run happy against the #1 Rush Defense in the country (at the time). It just doenst matter in this game for a number of reasons like….
    • Rose Bowl isnt at Autzen..sorry Uncle Phil couldnt buy this one…no matter what hideous uniform combination you guys put out there.
    • Oregon State may have a comparable defense, but it doesnt have the depth of Ohio State on the D-line, which was worn out by the middle of the 3rd quarter in the Civil War.
    • Rodgers is one back (a great back nonetheless, but still one back)…Ohio State has two running backs that run hard and are very good and not easy to bring down. I wont go into their stats and whatever. Let’s just put it this way…these guys would be playing at any school in the Pac-10 on a regular basis…even Oregon.
    • Oregon’s O-Line…I believe that Masoli’s Knee Brace weighs more than half of the starters. We’ll see if they can handle the onslaught of pressure coming at them from the Big AND FAST OSU defensive line.
  • Allow me to digress for a moment…Speaking of Ohio High School football (in particular NW Ohio region), I notice that Patrick Henry is still doing it’s thing in the midget division of the state with Coach Bill Inselmann. When is Big Bill going to get off of the gravy train and coach in a real division for another school where making the playoffs isnt a mere formality? I understand the allegiance, but come on….I can remember PH used to be a basketball school, until they found a loophole in the system (ie small school with minimal competition in the area outside of Liberty Center = guaranteed playoff spot every year in region). Maybe you should take a queue from your neighbors down Route 108 and get out of that joke of a conference and go independent or join a tougher conference…maybe play some real schools that are more than 20 miles away from Hamler on a regular basis…I’m just sayin’. Winning the NWOAL is like being the world’s tallest midget.

Back on topic…I really do look forward to a great game with Ducks in January. Hopefully, Oregon fans will realize that the OSU team that shows up in Pasadena will not be the same team that showed up to play USC or Purdue earlier this year…or Florida in 2006, as much as you might want to believe it is. And yes, speed does kill…it kills offenses, as easily as it does defenses.


Contest Time! Bowl Pick’em

As bowl season rapidly approaches, we’d love for you to join those of us here at Men of the Scarlet and Gray for a Bowl Pick’em contest. We’ve done NCAA Tournament Pick’ems in the past, but this is our first Bowl Pick’em. We all think know we’re smarter than Jesse Palmer or Mark May, so we might as well prove it. We’ll have some good clean fun and maybe someone will walk away with a pretty cool little prize.

Bowl season starts early, with the games starting on the 19th, so we’re on a short fuse. See the whole Bowl schedule here.

We will be using Yahoo’s Fantasy Sports to facilitate the contest, so you’ll need a Yahoo account if you’re interested in participating. If you want to join in the madness, leave us a comment here, send an email to or contact us directly.

The winner will win a football signed by the 2003 Ohio State football team. Imagine that! Favorites like Hawk, Schlegel, Holmes and others can be found on this beauty.

(click to enlarge for detail)

This could be ALL yours. Just flex your prognosticatorus muscle and show us how it’s done.

2009 Blogpoll Ballot, Week #13 (draft)

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama 1
2 TCU 2
3 Texas 2
4 Cincinnati 1
5 Boise State 1
6 Florida 3
7 Ohio State
8 Oregon
9 Iowa
10 Georgia Tech 1
11 Penn State 1
12 Virginia Tech
13 Brigham Young 1
14 LSU 3
15 Miami (Florida) 3
16 Wisconsin 3
17 Oregon State 2
18 Oklahoma State 5
19 Pittsburgh 6
20 Nebraska 4
21 Stanford
22 West Virginia 3
23 Arizona
24 Central Michigan
25 Northwestern
Last week’s ballot

Dropped Out: Houston (#16), California (#20), Southern Cal (#22).

I don’t know who belongs at #2. I guess anyone could make a case for any of the rest of the undefeateds, I just think TCU’s case is the strongest. Top 10 offense and top 10 defense should count for something.

The rest is fairly static. Your comments are welcome and appreciated, as this is the final blogpoll until after the bowls. Let’s make this one perfect.

Bowl Selection Open Thread

FootballI know the Buckeyes have known their fate for a couple weeks now, but there are still a few unknowns left to find out. Unfortunately, ESPN has a monopoly on the suspense, so we have to sit throw their broadcast of terribleness to find out the fun stuff.

Discuss what you think of the match-ups, who you think should be playing Alabama in the championship and how wonderful it was to see the sweet, bitter tears of the Tebow-child.

Not a good week to be a Buckeye

basketball_icon… if you play basketball, that is.

Evan Turner went down in Ohio State’s spanking of Eastern Michigan. Turner will miss eight weeks after fracturing his second and third lumbar vertebrae. That sounds a lot worse than just a two month injury. That sounds career-threatening. Here’s to hoping Evan has a speedy and full recovery, just in time for the heart of the Buckeyes’ Big Ten schedule.

Greg Oden was carted off the court against the Houston Rockets after fracturing his knee cap and is likely to miss the season. Which is a shame, because this year was really looking good for both Oden and the Trailblazers.

It’s a good thing Michael Redd is already injured for today’s game against the Cavs. Who knows how that would have turned out.