Some pressing questions and my attempts at answers for the upcoming Ohio State football season…
Will the young bucks (yes, pun intended) come through?
The offensive line, the defensive line, the linebackers, and the backfield: they’re all full of young guns. Can a team that traditionally relies on their seniors succeed with so many underclassmen?
I think they can.
From a pure talent perspective, I would venture to say that this is the best OSU team since 2006. It’s time for the highly decorated and touted recruiting classes to come to fruition. If the talent does what it should—translate into results on the field—the youth won't be an issue.
So Aaron Corp is back practicing at USC. Is this a big deal?
This could go either way, but think this. As a Buckeye fan, who would you rather see as the starting quarterback: A freshman in front of the largest crowd in his life with an unprecedented amount of pressure on him, or a junior coming off a cracked fibula who’s seen how this whole big game thing works?
It depends on how well Corp’s fibula is but, personally, I would go with the freshman for two reasons.
1. I think Pete Carroll is almost forced to be more conservative with the play calling.
2. There’s a better chance a freshman makes a dumb, game-changing mistake.
What’s USC biggest advantage against Ohio State?
By default, it has to be the cheerleaders. There’s a reason USC is generally considered one of the best universities for hot girls in the country. But the only reason I say this is because both teams are so talented and therefore, very even. If I had to pick a reason from a football perspective, it would be USC’s stable of running backs, but if you combine OSU’s running backs with the fact that TP is always in the backfield with them, the difference isn’t as big as you might think.
I think it’s time to a step back and examine Jim Tressel’s sweater vest. Does it work?
Fans of other teams have been ripping on it for quite awhile now, but OSU fans seemed to have embraced it. Personally, I think the vest represents Ohio State perfectly. The team plays that “old-fashioned” brand of football (hence the sweater), but they’re trying to mix in a little of the current too (hence the no sleeves). So maybe it looks a little dorky, but in some weird way, it works. And even if it doesn’t, Jim Tressel is the only reason Ohio sweater vest manufacturers are still in business. It’s just his way of giving back.
Will Ohio State find redemption?
Here’s the foolproof four-step system to earn national respect back and my completely non-systematic chances on each one happening. (Patent pending)
1. Beat USC (50 perccent—I’m tempted to try a reverse jinx here, but honestly, I’ve thought about this game so much that I can convince myself either way.)
2. Beat the teams you’re supposed to beat the way you’re supposed to beat them. If one team leaps out to an early lead, pound them into submission and make them regret even daring to score on you in the first place. (72 percent—Say what you want about Ohio State, but they normally beat the teams they should beat.)
3. Lose no more than one game. But if there is a loss, it has to be to a good team other than USC in a close game. (65 percent—This is the percentage IF OSU beats USC)
4. Win a BCS Bowl Game against a big-time, reputable foe. Basically, it has to be Florida, LSU, Alabama, Texas, or USC. I leave Oklahoma out because that would spur so many “Well somebody has to win” jokes that it might do more harm than good even if OSU won. (I don’t have a percentage for this happening. So many things could go so many ways, I’m not even going to try and guess.)
If all this happens, then I think OSU gets a good chunk of respect back. Not all the way, but it would be a great start.