Intro: Let me walk you through the past week of my life, sponsored by Kubler Ross.
SUNDAY MORNING - MONDAY MORNING
Denial: “This is bullsh*t! We stopped them on fourth and goal! Surely, they are still going to review that play, retroactively revoke the touchdown and provide Ohio State with a first-of-its-kind, ex-post facto win, thus ushering in a new era of college football where every team has an assistant video assistant and a lobbyist. Didn’t we block a punt and kick a 53-yard FG?! Arrrrggggghhhhhhhhh!!!”
MONDAY EVENING - TUESDAY AFTERNOON
Anger: As I scribbled “I hate everything” on a spreadsheet during an early morning budget meeting on Tuesday a member of the marketing team shot me an odd look and scooted her chair an extra 6 inches away from me. It was that moment I realized my natural bodily scent had shifted from musk to rage. I also heard murmurs around the office that I had changed my email signature to “They need an F@#*ing offensive coordinator”; I can neither confirn nor deny that statement. By Tuesday’s drive home, though, I was feeling better. Hence…
TUESDAY EVENING - WEDNESDAY MORNING
Bargaining: “Okay, as long as Ohio State wins their remaining games, gets back into the title hunt, and builds towards a huge 2010, I can live through this. That and Pryor learns to pass. Oh yeah, and Tressel realizes that he wants to spend more time with his family and hires an offensive coordinator. In fact, who wouldn’t make this deal? Yeah, 2010 is going to be sweet!” [Stage right (voice): Honey, are you okay? You have been arguing with an open refrigerator for a couple of minutes now. "Beer me!" Exit stage left (me)]
WEDNESDAY EVENING - THURSDAY EVENING
Depression/Acceptance: These really came on together. You know, “This sucks, I guess I am always going to feel this way.” “Is it only Wednesday? It feels like Cooper’s first season.” The depression mercifully waned sometime during my sleep Wednesday night. Thursday’s unopposed “Acceptance” arrived wrapped in purple euphoria (sans glitter) and involved my delivery of many unannounced fist pumps accompanied by the extremely descriptive “Rock!“ I felt 10-years old again (in a good way).
By the time I exited stage 5 on Thursday evening I was lucky to have a job, my right shoulder hurt from the aforementioned fist pumping, but I was totally calm about this game. Think about it. The atmosphere will be sterile as it is not on Toledo’s campus (inexplicably), and Buckeyes’ fans are not traveling in droves to attend what they most likely view as a crappy away game on one the few remaining nice Saturday afternoons. I bet, “I’m playing golf instead” is a common response to inquiries regarding game attendance this week. Ohio State may be mentally exhausted and thinking ahead to Illinois and revenge on the Juicer. Meanwhile, the ghost of the undead Tom Amstutz will be patrolling the Toledo sideline, and taking up most of it by the way, while the new TU head coach is looking to prove himself against his friend and former boss. Many are saying the Buckeyes are ripe to get picked off this weekend! That cannot happen.
What the world wide internoodle is saying:
- These teams have played once before when the greatest Buckeyes’ team I have seen won 49-0
- Orson and Holly are taking Toledo and the points
- Doug Lesmerises attempts to wear his voice-of-reason hat for once; he also ranks Ohio State 25th. Really?
- Other previews: Ozone, 11W, The Rocket Report
Weekly rant: I am so sick of fans managing expectations before every single game. When did every Ohio State fan turn into a Lou Holtz? Last week it was “I just hope we don’t get blown out.” Ick. This week I am hearing people, “Toledo is pretty good. Have you seen that quarterback? They run the spread!” Bull and shit.
I even saw one blog said that Toledo “brings it” on defense. Oh really? They bring it to the tune of allowing 500 yards per game against below average competition. They surrendered 315 rushing yards to Purdue (not a typo). Remember Purdue? Basketball on grass? Do you know the last time Purdue gained that many running yards? Too long ago for stats. They turned around and gave up 356 passing yards to Colorado. Nice.
Listen everyone, Toledo lost 52-31 to the Boilermakers and were down 45-14 in the third quarter. This is Ohio effing State. You need to expect to beat Purdue 52-21, let alone Toledo. I know the Vegas line is only Ohio State -20, but that does not mean the Buckeyes should not be up by 35 at some point in this game. I don’t care what the final score is, it’s the total destruction that counts. It is time for the Buckeyes to start breathing fire. It is time for them to start decapitating opposing teams. It is time for them to impose their will on the other team.
I am not sure where and how this attitude from fans developed but I swear it is beginning to permeate the team. Expect to win! Expect to dominate! Stop setting the bar so low. [/rant]
OSU Offense v. Toledo Defense: This should be like shooting putty in a barrel. Herron and Saine should look like LDT. Pryor should look like Vince Young. Even the tight ends should catch passes. I don’t care if Cordle is out the offensive line can never struggle, not for one play. 250 rushing yards is a must. Pryor’s completion percentage needs to hover near 70-percent.
If the Buckeyes do not gain 500 yards this weekend, the entire university should be embarrassed.
Toledo Offense v. OSU Defense: The defense looks like it may be top 5 by the end of the year. Heyward is gaining on unblockable. The front four was crazy good against a very talented USC offensive line. Even Chekwa, who I have dogged, looked good as he bottled up Damian Williams most of the night. Tootsie Rolle is on fire. Sure, these dink and dunk spread attacks have given Ohio State some minor heartburn in the past and the defense did poor its soul onto the field last Saturday night, which would suggest the opportunity for a letdown. I don’t see it.
There is no point in talking about matchups or schemes in the game. Ohio State should win every single battle tomorrow. No questions asked.
(Quick) Key Matchups: Pryor v. his shoulder pads. Unless he is unable to get into his uniform for some reason this should be his greatest statistical game by far. Nothing else even makes sense.
“Have to have it!” factor (a.k.a. Alarmist factor): 1 out of 10. I fully expect a thrashing in the CBS.
Final line: Ohio State will be mentally ready but Pryor needs to engineer some easy points and the defense cannot rest on their laurels. He will and they won’t.