With the start of the 2009 season only 35 days away, I thought it would be fitting to repost a couple of articles that were originally published during the offseason, back when the season seemed so far away.
I'm sure there are new visitors to the site that have not read these stories and now they won't have to go digging through the archives.
Let me say this right up front.
I'm a Buckeye fan but I have done my damnedest to provide 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. Boom and Zoom will be just fine taking over for the departed Beanie Wells. Aaron Corp will make his second career start in front of 105,000 fans 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 (slightly)
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 just as much, albeit young.
Advantage - USC (slightly)
OSU O-line vs. USC O-line
The Bucks O-line will be much better than last years group (especially now that dead-weight overrated Alex Boone is gone), but USC's guys have all played together for a full season so and are probably the best unit in the nation.
Advantage - USC
OSU D-line, LB's and DB's vs. USC's D-line, LB's and DB's
OSU is stronger on the front line, OSU & USC are pretty even at LB and USC gets the nod in the defensive backfield, primarily because of Taylor Mays.
Advantage - Push
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 and Tressel has more to prove, hopefully starting with this game...
Advantage - USC
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 vs. OOC opponents, the Buckeyes are 46-1.
Advantage - OSU
Overall, it looks pretty even to me. OSU has the talent to compete vs. USC and they have the home field this time.
USC is extremely talented and they always reload and always shows up in bigtime national stage games.
Something has to give, but it's really too close to call IMO...
I hope for and expect a battle and for this one to live up to the "Game of the Century" hype!