Ohio State vs. Navy, A Look Back

Gone are 4 of last years starting offensive lineman, Carlos Hyde, Philly Brown and Braxton Miller. Early in Saturday’s game vs. Navy the subtraction of last years offensive MVP was apparent. No, I’m not talking about Braxton Miller. I’m referring to Ohio State’s offensive line, which last year was one of the best in the country. The first half was marred by missed assignments, poor line communication, penalties and flat out bad blocking. These things helped lead to a 7-6 deficit going into half time.

Ohio State pulled away late, giving people that didn’t watch the game the impression that OSU handled Navy rather easily. That wasn’t the case at all. for a better part of 3 quarters The Buckeyes struggled with The Midshipmen.

The Good:

J.T. Barrett

The redshirt freshman got his first college start and performed well, throwing for 226 yards, completing 80% of his passes, throwing for 2 touchdowns and leading Ohio State in rushing with 50 yards. He did throw a bad interception as a result of poor offensive line play that lead to pressure bursting right up the middle, forcing Barrett to scramble and make a ill conceived pass that was picked off in the red zone. Meyer could be seen yelling at Barrett to throw the ball away. This one will go down in the books as Barrett’s failure, but it was clear the pass was forced by near immediate pressure.

Barrett had 3 incompletions. The first was on a pass to Dontre Wilson who was side open in the middle of the field and simply stopped running his route and ended up dropping the ball. That play could have been a TD. The second was off pressure once again on 3rd down, forcing a wobbly pass to Curtis Samuel out of the backfield. The 3rd was the interception. All other passes were completed.

Once the offensive line settled down in the second half and Herman allowed the kid to throw the ball downfield, the offense got it’s rhythm back. I think the key play of the game was a 22 yard completion to Michael Thomas. It had Barrett rolling right on a two receiver pattern. Barrett read it perfectly and hit Thomas on a frozen rope for 22. It showed his offensive coaching staff he could make an accurate throw downfield.

The kid is solid, won’t wow anyone like Miller did but he can certainly spin the ball. Should be fun to watch him develop this year.

Darron Lee

Lee made the play of the game, returning a fumble 61 yards for a go ahead touchdown to start the 3rd quarter. He also had 7 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss and one thunderous hit on Keenan Reynolds. He seems to have that “it” factor and has a nose for the ball and for making plays.

The Defensive Line

Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington and Joey Bosa did work Saturday. Constantly having to fend off cut blocks they combined for 11 tackles and 4 tackles for loss, including a sack. Bosa also had a hand in the fumble that lead to Lee’s TD, forcing a bad pitch by Reynolds. This unit will be the key to The Buckeye defense.

Dontre Wilson

So yeah, he’s pretty good. Averaged 7.2 yards per carry, 23 yards per catch and had 168 total yards on 14 touches good for 12 yards a touch. Meyer has his Harvin. NO! Meyer has his WILSON.

The Bad

The Offensive Line (First Half)

I already touched on it, but yeah…they were terrible. Ohio State managed 2 measly field goals and barely any offense what so ever.

Incomplete

Buckeye Secondary

The Chris Ash revamped secondary was never tested Saturday as Navy threw the ball 4 times for 20 yards. I guess the good news is, Ohio States pass defense is ranked 3rd in the country! Next week will be the real test for the defense.

The Kids Table

How did the Buckeye younglings do? Curtis Samuel showed tremendous burst, rushing for 45 yards and averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Jalin Marshall flashed some promise, with a couple catches going for 19 yards. He didn’t get much action, but showed good wiggle and gets up to speed quickly. Von Bell had 7 tackles and should be the starter along Tyvis Powell at the safety spots.


Lessons To Be Learned

Lesson 1

For the love on God, stop scheduling Navy or any other school that runs the triple option. It doesn’t teach you anything about the defense you have and it’s difficult to get better as a defense because the offense you are going against is so alien to anything else they will see all year. It also puts the entire team in a bad spot in my honest opinion. It’s VERY difficult to blow this team out, because they run the ball so well against everyone they play. It makes it difficult to get into a rhythm on offense.

Lesson 2

It’s hard to replace an all world QB, amazing offensive line and bulldozer of a running back. But this is Ohio State. They will reload each and every year. This game felt like an extension of fall/summer camp in a lot of ways. Lots of running backs getting touches and lots of offensive lineman getting reps. Still seems to be looking for the right combination on the line and in the backfield.

Most of the game was frustrating to watch, for many reasons. But they got the win and did so by 17. Onto Virginia Tech.

MotSaG B1G Power Poll Week 1

I have blackmailed and stolen the weekly MotSaG Power Poll from our good man Jeremiah. The only reason is to take some off of his plate until everyone protests my unorthodox views and the way I do my rankings. I take into account road vs home game, type of conference, and obviously win loss. Margin of win is a small sliver of my factor and I do not conform to the norm like the four letter networks, Big Ten Network, etc.

1. Michigan State – They get the top billing since they are the reigning B1G Champs and they didn’t do anything to hurt that look this week even finding some offensive firepower. Didn’t hurt them that Jacksonville State kept leaving MSU receivers wide open.

2. Ohio State – Contrary to what some like the four letter network were saying about OSU scrapping by to get a win, the game was a tale of two half’s. The first half was a young team finding itself making some mistakes while the second was a young team that made the proper adjustments and players stepped up for a solid win over a very good team. I wouldn’t be surprised if Navy doesn’t run the table the rest of the season and you see them ranked soon. They have more talent and athleticism than most are giving them credit for.

3. Rutgers – Here’s a shocker but the Scarlet Knights went out to the West Coast and beat a PAC-10 Washington State. I know WSU wasn’t a top PAC-10 team but still Rutgers looked strong and fast in this game and I felt they deserved the 3rd spot.

4. Penn State – Like I stated I consider road games vs home games and they came from behind in another country.

5. Nebraska – This game probably should have been even worse if the Cornhuskers didn’t commit so many penalties.

6. Maryland – Like I said margin of victory plays a small role and numbers 5, 6 ,7 are just based on that

7. Michigan – Congratulations you finally got revenge on beating Appalachian State but your still never going to live the 2007 debacle down.

8. Minnesota – They were close to a shut-out when I was watching and turned to Rutgers game so not sure if back ups gave up all the points in final 8 minutes.

9. Purdue – They beat a MAC team that’s a big deal right now for Purdue.

10. Indiana – Only beat Indiana St by 18 and don’t have them finishing that good in the East of the B1G to begin with

11. Illinois – Squeaked by the sweater vest run Youngstown State and also don’t have them finishing to high in the West of the B1G to begin with.

12. Iowa – Very disappointed they only won by 8 to Northern Iowa, supposedly a top 3 team in the West should have easily trounced the Panthers but Kirk Ferentz teams like to play down to their competition.

13. Wisconsin – The first strike was they lost but that’s not the reason they took the second to last spot for me it was the coaching staff. You don’t play to not lose to a SEC team when your up have you not learned anything from Tresssel? Where was Gordon late in the game? The coaching staff and the inconsistency of QB McEvoy cost the Badgers a win that they had in the bag.

14. Northwestern – What can I say about the Wildcats? It’s going to be a long year after losing your best running back and wide receiver.

Let me know what your thoughts and where you would rank the teams after this first week.

Ohio State 34 Navy 17 Quick Recap

The Buckeyes started off the 2014 season with a 17 point victory vs. The Navy Midshipmen that felt more like a last second 4th quarter comeback win. Ohio State took control in the 2nd half, scoring 28 points after falling behind the Midshipmen 7-6 at the end of the 1st half.

Ohio State got a huge boost from linebacker Darron Lee who scooped up a Navy fumble and raced 61 yards for a go ahead TD. Navy answered a couple minutes later with a 1 yard touchdown by Keenan Reynolds. After tha Ohio State took complete control of the game, scoring 3 touchdowns to Navy’s 1 field goal.

The first half was dominated by bad offensive line play that resulted in stalled drives, penalties and constant pressure on J.T. Barrett who threw a costly interception in the red zone after getting pressure up the middle, avoiding it and carelessly throwing a bad ball.

The offensive line settled down in the second half and that allowed OSU’s offense to get back on track Barrett, in his first OSU start played well, throwing for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns and leading the Buckeyes in rushing with 50 yards. Braxton Miller, he is not, but he can clearly throw the football well when given time.

The jury is still out on the defense, who gave up 370 yards rushing to a Navy team who runs the option better than anyone. While they gave up tons of yards on the ground, they only gave up 17 points to a powerful offense and all world quarterback in Keenan Reynolds. The defensive line was outstanding, getting a few key stops in the 2nd half. Next week will be a better gauge for how far the defense has come along when they play Virginia Tech, a team that runs a normal offense.

This team is very young and very talented. They will make you want to tear out your hair one minute and make you jump out of your seat with excitement.

Buckle up Buckeye fans. It’s gonna be a fun year.

More game detail to follow.

Navy Game: Open Thread

Here is your post for saying anything you want about how the game is going. Enjoy and Go Buckeyes!!!

Why Scheduling Navy is a Huge Mistake

osuHelmetI am not what you would call an honorable man. Sad to admit, but it is true. My apple tree in the backyard hangs over my neighbor’s fence (He’s a jerk so I’m not cutting it). If I leave my toothbrush downstairs I will use my wife’s instead. I don’t wash my hands after relieving myself, unless there is another person in the restroom. Yes, I am basically a little league version of a sociopath and I’m ok with that. Despite my genuine lack of decorum, I still respect people who do have integrity. Especially the kids who choose to serve for our country while receiving an education. The Ohio State Buckeyes will open up the 2014 season against an entire team full of these honorable men on August 30th, and I think this is a huge mistake.

Playing a triple option team such as Navy, Ohio State’s first opponent, brings many unnecessary headaches to a coach. Only 4 of the near 120 FBS teams run this old fashioned system in today’s flashy times. No defensive players on Ohio States 2014 roster have ever played a snap against a triple option squad in college. This means that during Ohio States few weeks of training camp, plenty of time will be spent preparing a young defense for a game plan that will be used once all season. The 2009 squad had a helluva time of playing the Midshipmen week 1. That year the Bucks squeaked away with a 4 point win after looking very confused on defense, only to go on and win the Rose Bowl in January. How much will this game help the young secondary’s progression in coverage? How much will this game help anybody on the roster? With a new look back seven, this game week one is nothing but a major annoyance at best. And let’s not even talk about the worst case scenario. This year just seems to be really bad timing to be playing a team such as Navy. After last year’s defensive issues and now with the loss of Miller this game is downright scary. With that said, I believe there never is a good time to play a triple option team such as Navy, Army or Air Force.

Navy is not your regular mid -tier school. They may have similar talent to the Akron, FIU or Michigan (had to) programs, but they have much more heart and discipline. They annually give big time programs scares and have some upsets on their resume recently. After the 09 nail biter against the Buckeyes, they beat Notre Dame two years in a row; in fact they doubled them up 35-17 in 2010. Navy nearly knocked off South Carolina in 2011, falling 3 points short. Add in a few wins the next few years against Indiana, Pittsburgh and almost another defeat of Notre Dame last year, it is clear to see Navy is one mid major who won’t lay down for the power 5 (or wherever Notre Dame decides they are at). The issue is Navy is thought of as a MAC-like football team. A close win or Woody help us, a loss to the Midshipmen would be devastating to a program such as Ohio State. I remember laughing my arse off after Notre Dame got waxed by them a few years ago. Karma could bite me this weekend.

If Ohio State comes out and takes care of business, nobody will understand how difficult the task was. In reality, Navy is an extremely tough team to prepare for and play against. No squad can just show up and beat them, especially with an inexperienced defense. Don’t tell that to the local radio guys or the ignorant fans who expect Ohio State to throttle Navy this Saturday. I sadly feel they could be in for a rude awakening. The situation is all risk and no pay off.

The last reason I hate the idea of playing one of the military academies is personal. I have a lot of hate and anger inside of me that only comes out during Ohio State football and basketball games. I’m not proud of it, my family isn’t proud of it, and there is a good chance my wife will be talking to a divorce lawyer come November. Sad to say, I have to sling insults at the other team’s players and coaches. There is no stopping it. When things are going south in a hurry for the Bucks, the only thing keeping me from making cyanide smoothies is to berate the looks and actions of Ohio State’s opponent. It really calms the nerves.

“Nice tackle but you’re still fat gut-boy.”
“Wow, great punt hairdo, does your girlfriend make you keep the helmet on in bed? You’re ugly as sin.”
“Keep talking trash you worthless thug, you look like you smell terrible.”

These examples are a few of the cleaner comments that will come out when my anger flashes. They’re not funny and usually lack sense or taste (I’m still apologizing to my family for one comment I made during the Fickell year; I shocked myself when it came out). Horrible I know, especially since I’m now 5 to 8 years older than these student athletes. I can’t help it, and I won’t be able to stop it from happening this Saturday, which makes me feel even worse. I will be saying horrible things about young men who are giving up their lives for our country and there is nobody else to blame but Gene Smith. If the Buckeyes were playing Mountain Men Tech or some other Bologna State school on Saturday I would have no problems putting those jabronis in their place from the comfort of my couch. But no, thanks to Gene’s scheduling I will be insulting some amazing men to their faces (well sort of).

Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Always, it’s what I do. Maybe Ohio State will come out and play like they should this weekend; I still don’t see why Ohio State should take the risk against such a tough matchup with Navy. Considering the Midshipmen usually play like Tarzan but get the rep. of Jane, it’s just not worth the hassle. Even with a dominant win, nobody on the playoff committee will blink an eye. A struggle could really put the final four out of reach right out of the gate. The few positives such as getting a game in an NFL stadium (Baltimore) and playing one of the NCAA’s most prestigious programs do not really move the teeter totter at all. I doubt any of our beloved Bucks will be telling their grandbabies about that time they played Navy.

Still, don’t get me wrong, I am very excited. No more time for boo-hooing. This weekend is going to be very interesting and boy oh boy am I ready. Fall is almost here which means my apples are starting to drop into my neighbor’s yard; and come Saturday at noon, I’ll be six pumpkin beers deep, ready to sling heinous insults at some honorable young men. I just wish it was against any other school than Navy.

Friday Open Thread: Navy

This has been the craziest couple of weeks leading up to a season since… well, I guess since Urban Meyer took the helm. Or, maybe that time there was a little scuffle at a night club. Ok, so maybe it’s par for the course that Ohio State deals with some kind of stuff before actual football is played. So this year decided it wasn’t going to be any different, and here we are — starting-quarterback-less, an away game and a season of unknowns. Some have already said participation in the first college football playoff has sailed off into the sunset (or more appropriately, up north, to the newly christened favorite Michigan State). Others have said this wasn’t going to be the year anyway, so let’s see what we have in these young guys. And then you’ve got a group of seniors that have seen some serious highs and some abysmal lows. They don’t want to go out like that.

So we start Week One against a pluck Navy team. We’ve had some good content this week leading up, so a quick recap:

  • Chip wondered what the offense will look like (Guiton-ish?) and which freshmen will see the field (a lot).
  • Ronnie gave us his usual Cliff’s Notes on who to be watching when these two teams collide, including Curtis Grant, who is on a mission of reaching potential and possible meeting expectations:

    Not only will Grant need to lead by example, but his vocal leadership will be valuable on the field Saturday. Grant must be the commanding voice for the Buckeyes defense and keep them disciplined and calm.

  • Finally, Nate gets you set with all the knowledge you need to be prepared for the start of the 2014 season.

So here’s an open thread to discuss your thoughts, hopes and dreams about the start of the college football season. (The REAL start is on Saturday. This Thursday stuff is for the scrubs).

How about some predictions? What do you think will be the final score? Which running back will carry the ball the most? How many times to they let J.T. throw the ball?

My predictions:
Ohio State 45
Navy 17

Most carries: Ezekiel Elliot

J.T. passes: 18

Q&A with an Opponents Blogger: Navy

Back by popular demand Buckeye Nation the award winning Q&A with the opponents blogger!!

This week I sit down with Michael James (@navybirddog) a blogger for Thebirddog a Navy blog site and a great one to check out.

MotSaG: Who on the Buckeyes are Navy fans looking forward to seeing the most?

NavyBirdDog: The punter.

MotSaG: The Buckeye plan on rotating 9-10 defensive linemen, do you feel that will be an issue for Navy having to deal with fresh guys up front all game?

NavyBirdDog: Not necessarily. I know that when people see long drives from option offenses, they talk about “wearing the defense down,” but that’s not exactly how it works. Navy’s offensive line relies more on technique than physicality, so the question is more about how fundamentally sound Ohio State feels they are 9-10 deep rather than how rested they are. Frankly, if OSU’s coaches want to sub Michael Bennett out of the game, I’m all for it.

MotSaG: How did Navy convince Ohio State to leave the Horseshoe to play in Maryland for this game?

NavyBirdDog: Playing in a 70,000-seat stadium probably makes for a nice guarantee, and DC-Baltimore isn’t the worst place to recruit. Besides, Maryland is Big Ten territory now, right?

MotSaG: Do you expect to see a sea of Scarlet in the stands or will the Midshipmen fans overrun the Buckeye fans?

NavyBirdDog: Considering that there are probably more people currently enrolled at Ohio State than there are living alumni of the Naval Academy, it’s probably safe to assume that there will be a healthy Ohio State contingent at the game. I don’t think it’ll be overwhelming, though. Navy plays Notre Dame in Baltimore all the time and has good fan support. At least it sounds like it; it’s hard to tell when everyone’s wearing blue and gold.

MotSaG: Which Navy players should Buckeye fans keep an eye on besides QB Keenan Reynolds?

NavyBirdDog: It’s always hard to tell who will have a big game in Navy’s offense because it’s so dependent on what the defense does. Navy doesn’t exactly force their will on teams; they take what the defense gives them. That said, the quarterback’s first option is the fullback, and Navy has a pretty good one in Noah Copeland. On defense, safety Parrish Gaines will be in on almost every play, and if Navy is going to have a chance to be in this game late, they’ll need a big day from defensive end Paul Quessenberry.

MotSaG: Is there a disadvantage for Navy not having any film on J.T. Barrett to prepare for?

NavyBirdDog: I don’t think so. Nobody knows how much of the playbook the coaches are comfortable using with Barrett at quarterback, but it’s obviously not going to be more than with Miller. Whatever disadvantage there might be is heavily outweighed by not having to face a Heisman contender.

MotSaG: Do you think the National perception is finally changing when people think of Navy football?

NavyBirdDog: Not really. Maybe a little after the run of success against Notre Dame, but there’s always going to be that element of, “these guys aren’t good but gee they play all four quarters and they’re going to serve our country,” etc. I’m sure the players hate it, but it sort of comes with the territory.

MotSaG: Which rivalry is better Michigan/Ohio State or Army/ Navy?

NavyBirdDog: Army-Navy

MotSaG: Will Navy win the Commander in Chief trophy this year?

NavyBirdDog: Yes

MotSaG: Does Navy make it lucky number 13 against Army this season?

NavyBirdDog: Yes. Jeff Monken was a good hire for Army, but they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them.

I want to thank Michael James for taking the time to join us here this week at MotSaG by joining our podcast and also helping me with this seasons first Q&A.

For my prediction of the game I have to remain nuetral for this is the only team that the Buckeyes play that I can’t root against. Being a former Navy Seabee I can’t root against the Navy although I do feel the Buckeyes will walk out of Maryland with the win.

Have any questions for next week hit us up at AskMotSaG@gmail.com

Ohio State at Navy: A Second Look

osuHelmetI had this written out, for the most part, right around Monday evening. Then came the Braxton injury, and my delete button got quite the workout. After exploring all the doomsday situations without Braxton, and watching the rest of Buckeye Nation go through the five stages of grief, I realized this team is still going to be very, very good, and it all starts with the Navy game.

As I said in my guest post, the Navy game is a possible “trip up” game for this team, and my point stands that it will be a huge test for the new Buckeye defense. Navy returns their quarterback, who was their leading rusher with over 1300 yards last season, to a team that was second in rushing yards per game in the country last year. Even with Butkus Award Winner (no, I’m not still bitter…) Ryan Shazier anchoring the linebackers last year, poor tackling was a major problem for this team. With Navy’s Triple Option attack, the defensive line and linbackers will be tested big time. The line will be solid, and it will be up to them to prevent the ball carrier, whoever it may be, from getting to the defensive secondary. Navy will run the ball, and they will run the ball well against Ohio State. There’s no way to sugar coat it; that’s just the way Navy is. They don’t throw often – their starting QB, Keenan Reynolds, only had 128 attempts for the entire season last year, with only 8 touchdown passes. Navy will only throw the ball in necessary positions, i.e. 3rd and 5 or more. Winning first down will be huge for the Buckeye defense. Keep Navy from getting 4 yards on first down, putting them in second and long, and the Navy offense will start to get in tough positions for their scheme to handle. We won’t see Chris Ash’s new secondary tested against Navy from a pass defense perspective. We will likely see them have to make open field tackles, something this team struggled with last year.

The Buckeye offense will be interesting, mainly because of who will be at quarterback. As of writing this, JT Barrett will be the starting quarterback over Cardale “I Ain’t Come Here to Play School” Jones. Given that fact, I will write this as if JT will be starting on Day 1. It’s been said that Barrett was a better pure passer coming out of high school than Braxton was, and now Barrett has had a year and a half to develop and learn the Tom Herman/Urban Meyer system. We saw what Braxton could do after one full year under the system, so I don’t expect Barrett to struggle with the offense. However, JT hasn’t seen real game action since halfway through his senior year of high school, prior to tearing his ACL that season, and redshirting last season. He has been getting reps all offseason, since Braxton sat out to avoid what happened Monday, but the first drive or two might be a tad overwhelming for the young signal caller. I don’t doubt his abilities, but don’t look for the offense to take a lot of big shots early on. Tom Herman will likely look to establish rhythm and to get Barrett to relax. Ezekial Elliot will most likely be Barrett’s partner in the backfield at the running back position, with Dontre Wilson playing the “Harvin” role. Expect these two to get the ball early and often against Navy. I expect we will see screens to Dontre to get him the ball quickly and allow him to make one move and get upfield. The biggest safety valve for a young quarterback is always the tight end position. Jeff Heuerman, one of Braxton’s favorite targets from 2013, is a senior in the position, and will likely see many passes thrown his way. Navy lost both of its leading tacklers in the inside linbacking core, but return their outside linebackers. This will potentially leave the middle of the field open for Heuerman and the TEs for short routes, and when (not if) Elliot, Wilson, Barrett, or other runners get to the second level, they will be able to make moves and get more yardage. Once Barrett is relaxed and into the flow of the game, expect the offense will open up more.

 

Navy Players To Know

QB Keenan Reynolds

FB Chris Swain

WR DeBrandon Sanders

OLB Chris Johnson

 

Prediction:

This might be a clencher early on for Buckeye fans to open the season. I fully expect Navy to score, but even with a new QB, I expect Ohio State to score more. I’ll take the Buckeyes.

Ohio State 31

Navy 17

COUNTDOWN: One Day

tatum_1

- Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes

MOTSAG TV Guide

Change is the theme for the 2014 college football season, so with that in mind, I’m changing up the TV Guide structure, packaging games in groups to help you enjoy the best of the national landscape, follow all our fellow Ohio schools and conference foes, and/or scout our remaining schedule.

BUCKEYES

Ohio State @ Navy. Noon, CBS Sports Network.

This is the moment of truth. It might have been less stressful to open the season in the Shoe against an Ohio MAC or FCS opponent with Braxton’s injury casting a shadow of doubt over the season, but a road test against a tricky opponent will tell us more about our young QBs heading into a pivotal battle against Virginia Tech next week.

Note that the game is on CBS Sports Network, not regular CBS. This should be DirecTV 221, Dish 158, Time Warner 1322, U-Verse 1643 & Verizon FiOS 594. Check to make sure you get this channel now! (If anyone knows of corrections or additions to this list, leave them in the comments!)

UPCOMING OPPONENTS

(8/28)

Eastern Illinois @ Minnesota. 7:00p, Big Ten Network.

Rutgers @ Washington State. 10:00p, Fox Sports 1.

(8/29)

Jacksonville State @ Michigan State. 7:30p, Big Ten Network.

(8/30)

Penn State vs. UCF in Ireland. 8:30a, ESPN2.

Appalachian State @ Michigan. Noon, ESPN2.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see a repeat of the 2007 game, but we can dream, can’t we? Despite being a far worse team now than back then, App State does have one thing going for them: motivation. You think these kids don’t want to do the same thing their predecessors did? You think they haven’t been hearing all about how they won’t be able to? And let’s not forget: Michigan isn’t the team they were back then either.

Indiana State @ Indiana. Noon, ESPN News.

Youngstown State @ Illinois. Noon, Big Ten Network.

James Madison @ Maryland. 3:30p, Big Ten Network.

William & Mary @ Virginia Tech. 4:00p, ESPN News.

Ohio @ Kent State. 6:00p, ESPN3 (online).

Cincinnati: no game.

OTHER BIG TEN TEAMS

(8/30)
Northern Iowa @ Iowa. Noon, Big Ten Network.

Western Michigan @ Purdue. Noon, ESPNU.

California @ Northwestern. 3:30p, ABC/ESPN2.

Florida Atlantic @ Nebraska. 3:30p, Big Ten Network.

LSU vs. Wisconsin in Houston. 9:00p, ESPN.

This is the first chance for the Big Ten to make a big statement in 2014. Both teams had solid seasons last year, with only one blowout loss (LSU’s 21-point loss to Alabama) between them. Rumor is that the Badgers will give the athletic Tanner McEvoy the nod at QB over the more experienced (and more predictable) Joel Stave. You may remember McEvoy as a safety, the position he played most of last year after switching from wide receiver due to a wrist injury. Did I mention he’s athletic?

OTHER OHIO TEAMS

(8/28)

Howard @ Akron. 7:00p, ESPN3 (online).

(8/29)

Bowling Green @ Western Kentucky. 7:30p, CBS Sports Network.

(8/30)

Marshall @ Miami (Ohio). 3:30p, ESPN3 (online).

New Hampshire @ Toledo. 7:00p, ESPN3 (online).

OTHER TOP NATIONAL GAMES

(8/28)

Texas A&M @ South Carolina. 6:00p, SEC Network.

(8/30)

Alabama vs. West Virginia in Atlanta. 3:30p, ABC/ESPN2.

Clemson @ Georgia. 5:30p, ESPN.

Despite the departures of Tahj Boyd and Aaron Murray, this should still be an entertaining and competitive game. Georgia is probably the better team this year, but that’s what most people thought last year too.

Florida State vs. Oklahoma State in Arlington. 8:00p, ABC.

(9/1)

Miami (Florida) @ Louisville. 8:00p, ESPN.