Let me say this right up front.
I'm a Buckeye fan but this is my absolute objective view on the game, all bias aside.
I've researched both teams and have previously written a couple of articles about them and this game so I feel pretty confident in what I'm about to post.
OSU backfield vs. USC backfield
Pryor is in year two and has vastly improved his passing skills. Corp will make his second start in front of 105,000 and against one of the nation's best season-to-season defenses.
You can bet that OSU loads the box to stop the USC trio of backs and challenges Corp to beat them. I'm not sure he's ready to step up to that just yet.
Advantage: Ohio State
OSU WR's vs. USC WR's
Both teams have fast WR's. Individually, Williams is the biggest name on both teams. But as far as depth, OSU has more.
OSU O-line vs. USC O-line
The Bucks O-line will be much better than last year's group (especially now that dead-weight, overrated Alex Boone is gone), but USC's guys have all played together for a full season so...
Advantage: USC (slightly)
OSU D-line and LB's vs. USC's D-line and LB's
OSU is stronger on the front line and USC has a slightly better LB corps.
OSU Special Teams vs. USC Special Teams
The Buckeyes have a solid kicker in Aaron Pettrey and they get a lot of practice kicking FG's. He has a powerful leg too and can kick from distance.
In the return game, I think both teams will have speed guys and are pretty even. So, only because of the kicker...
Advantage: OSU (slightly)
Tressell vs. Carroll
These are the top two winningest coaches in College Football since 2001, but Pete has more big wins and an AP title to go along with his BCS title. Tressel has more to prove, hopefully starting with this game.
X-Factor: The Shoe at Night
Just like last year in L.A., the Buckeyes defend their home turf just as well.
In the last 47 home games against OOC opponents, the Buckeyes are 46-1
Overall, it looks pretty even to me. OSU has the talent to compete versus USC and they have the home field this time.
USC is extremely talented and they always reload and always shows up in big-time national stage games.
Something has to give, but it's really too close to call, in my opinion.
I hope for and expect a battle—for this one to live up to the "Game of the Century" hype!
I received an email from what I gauge to be a USC fan, although he does say he is from Ohio.
What he had to say about this years game is, I'm sure, similar to what most of the nation probably believes as well.
The perception is that USC, even with their in-conference failures the last several seasons vs. teams that most fans and analysts believed have no business beating them like Oregon, Oregon State and Standford twice, is still going to come to Columbus and crush the Buckeyes.
Here's the email:
Read your post on USC-Ohio St. matchup. Nice analysis. I grew up in Ohio, so I may be biased as well, but here goes.
Having attended the last year’s game in L.A. I have to tell you: USC is going to wipe the floor with Ohio St. this next September. The kids at USC live to wreck other people’s days in their house. I’ve seen this in Nebraska, Fayetteville Arkansas, Auburn Alabama, Provo Utah, Champaign, Illinois, South Bend Indiana…the list goes on an on. Check it out 36-6 on the road their last 42. Indeed, USC hasn’t lost a non-conference road game since 2002.
The scouting reports from people I trust advise me that USC’s defense is even faster than last year’s version. Believe it. The Trojan D-line is actually upgraded and its linebackers are all blue chippers who saw extensive playing time last year. Time to reload.
My prediction: USC wins by two touchdowns – minimum.
USC has much more depth at wide receiver than for which you give them credit. The Trojans lost one senior – Patrick Turner – who, from a talent perspective, should have been 4th on the depth chart last year. The truth is he was always a great “practice” player, but underperformed in the game. His dropped balls ended many a Trojan drive the last few years. The word was that he got much of his playing time by virtue of his senior status and hard work in practice. The WR who was 4th on the chart – Vidal Hazelton – transferred out because the kids below him were even better than he was. In short, USC will field 6 receivers that could all start at 119 other programs.
USC’s problem isn’t a lack of depth – it’s managing all the talent and spreading the ball around.
USC quarterback Aaron Corp will likely have all day to do so: all 18 USC offensive linemen return from last year. Moreover, Corp is in his 3rd year of the system (same as Matt Leinert when he won the Heisman) and is fresh off of having beat out the #1 ranked QBs from the high school classes of 2005 and 2008 (Mustain and Barkley). Did you know that there are 5 USC quarterbacks collecting paychecks in the NFL right now? They may not be All-Pros, but it shows you the type of kids that go to USC. The Buckeyes would be making a big mistake if they’re counting on Aaron Corp to be intimidated by a road game.
I was at last year’s game. 35-3 with 3:00 minutes left – in the 3rd quarter. I’ve been watching Ohio St. football for a fair number of years. I recall only one beating that was worse – by Penn St. a good while back. In all honesty, USC took its offensive foot off of Ohio St. ’s throat at the end of the 3rd quarter or else the Trojans would have scored 50 had they been so inclined.
The only difference this year is a new quarterback. Whether it’s Corp. or Mustain or Barkley; Ohio St. didn’t show me anything to suggest that one of them won’t be able to get the job done – not with every running back, every linemen and 6-8 returning WR’s back.
Personally, I’d like to see the Buckeyes make a game of it, but I don’t see it happening friend.
First of all, I am being objective and unbiased in this article so I'm not sure why he starts with "I may be biased as well but here goes."
Anyway, moving on....Is he right?
Is USC going to wax the field with us?
I'm fairly confident he is way off but I get why he believes what he is saying.
The absurd national perception of Ohio State is they are a punching bag from the weak Big 10 that NEVER wins big games.
Ohio State has lost some big games vs. some great teams but over the past few seasons, they've also won a few too.
Michigan State in 2008, Penn State in 2007 and both Texas and Michigan in 2006 were all National stage games where OSU was predicted to lose by some of the so-called experts—Mark May, Trev Alberts, Pat Forde among others, and Ohio State won them all!
Of course, afterwards, those same "experts" then declared MSU, PSU, Texas & UM were all overrated. How else could they explain away the fact that they were wrong?
It couldn't be because Ohio State was good, but rather the other teams weren't.
Everyone likes to blast us for beating lesser OOC opponents and the "supposed weak" teams of the Big Ten b/c we have then went on to lose to some of the nation's top teams.
The Bucks last 8 losses (since 2005) have all come against top 20 teams.
Seven of those 8 were in the top 10 and 6 of those 7 were in the top 4.
Also of those 8 teams, 3 went on to win the BCS title the year the beat tOSU....
So the perception of OSU is skewed as you can see.
That's fine though.
I'm sure USC thought they could travel to Corvalis last year and thump the Beavers.
I'm sure they expect to travel to Columbus and thump the Buckeyes this year.
If Sanchez couldn't beat Oregon State in front of a whopping 45K last year, how in the world do these people seriously believe that it's a given, that Aaron Corp, in his 2nd career start, can come to OUR HOUSE, Ohio Stadium, aka the Shoe, in front of 105,000+ and beat the Buckeyes?
USC is a great team and of course they could and maay win the game but it's not a lock, it's not a given and it WILL NOT be a blowout if USC does win.
Just because last year in LA, without Beanie and sadly for us, with Boeckman instead of Pryor, it was a beatdown doesn't mean this year will be as well.
Again, USC may win, but they'll have to earn it and it won't be easy like so many seem to think.
Fight on in your dream world, I guess..........