It has seemed as though every December I find myself sitting at home defending my beloved Buckeyes against rabid SEC fans. I have lost count of home many times I have heard that the Buckeyes just cannot hang with the SEC. Sometimes I start to believe it myself. I mean Ohio State is yet to beat the SEC in a bowl game with an amazing record of 0-9.
I have been watching the Buckeyes play since the early 90s and I'm sure that may not seem very long. I know that there are many more die hard fans out there who have watched the pains that come along with watching some of these bowl games. What most people forget is that it is an accomplishment to be there in the first place.
Woody Hayes won five National Championships in 27 years. That made him one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football. Jim Tressel has been around for eight seasons and has won five conference championships and a national title. Not to mention he has a 7-1 record vs. the Wolverines which I am still trying to figure out if Buckeye fans think that is more important than the overall record.
No matter what every season expectations are huge for these student-athletes. It is the players and coaches choice as to what they are going to do with those expectations. Football in Columbus is the same as basketball in Lexington or even baseball in the Bronx.
With the 2009 season coming up the Buckeyes again will have to put up with fans saying they are overrated and SEC and Big 12 fans saying the Big Ten is not very good. I have made it clear that I believe the Buckeyes will have what it takes to beat USC in Columbus this year.
So when looking at that game, lets first focus on the USC game. You have two coaches that have gone above and beyond for their programs. Pete Carroll will go down as one of the best coaches in history. How he brings in top talent year after year makes his program one of the best.
The tailbacks for the Trojans will be a force this season. Stafon Johnson, Joe McKnight and C.J. Gable certainly show us why USC gets the nickname "Tailback U".
You can't just run the ball against a quality team though. You have to pass and run. I don't know what USC fans see in their quarterbacks. Mitch Mustain and Aaron Corp both did not take more than 20 snaps last season and Corp, who is No. 1 on the depth chart, only took four. So assuming Corp comes in to "The Shoe" as the quarterback for the Trojans it is going to be like nothing he has ever played in before.
Fans have been talking about this rematch since last years beating was over. USC is a much different team now and this is Ohio State. Every fan waits for moments like these. Journalists eat the stories up and players and coaches play for the bragging rights. College football does not get more enjoyable then these early season matchups.
The fact of the matter is that this game is Ohio State's chance to show the country that this is a different team and that they are ready for a chance to compete with one of the other faces of college football. USC proved what they had last year while putting the beating on Ohio State. This year Ohio State gets their chance to return the favor.