I know how to beat Ohio State. I've watched every game of the Jim Tressel era and I know the team's weaknesses. I know what makes the defense nervous and I know what makes the offense stagnant.
I can look at a team and tell from the games the've played and know how they would match up against Ohio State.
In two weeks IOWA is slated to come to the shoe and play their biggest game since the 1959 bowl game.
Unfortunately this game will go down like most IOWA-Ohio State games in the past... much hype but nothing will change, Ohio State will dismantle IOWA.
I know what I just said turned off many IOWA fans. Okay, in full disclosure I am an Ohio State fan. I've been a Buckeye fan ever since I came to Columbus in 95 and watched Eddie George run for 314 against Illinois.
With that said I also would love for IOWA to win the Big 11 and go to the Rose Bowl. Whoever wins the game on November 14 will win the Big 11. Whoever wins the Big 11 will go onto play Oregon. If Ohio State plays Oregon, they will get Housed.
Ohio State doesn't match up against Oregon this year at all. In a perfect world for Buckeye fans they would go to the Capital One Bowl and play the third SEC team in a down year for the SEC and exorcise many demons they have and look forward to a promising season in 2010.
But none of that will happen because Ohio State is going to win the Big 11. IOWA matches up perfectly for Ohio State. In the 9 years of Ohio State football under the vest, Tress loses to the same teams over and over again.
Tressel doesn't like to have his Defense spread out. The teams that give The OSU fits are teams that make OSU play in space and runs quick pass option read runs. This is why Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, and Florida run roughshod over the silver bullets.
IOWA doesn't play at all like a team that can handle OSU. IOWA plays like OSU. OSU loves teams that play like them. IOWA is a smash mouth team with no play makers. Last year they would have been a problem because they had a great back in Shonn Greene.
This year the biggest threat that IOWA has is their tight end. You don't beat Ohio State with your tight ends.
With every team that IOWA has played none of them possess a defense like Ohio State's. This will be the best Defense IOWA has played in years. (This is Ohio State's best defense since 2005)
Ohio State's best defense? You mean the same defense that got lit up by Navy and Purdue. Yes, this is that defense. The reason why they got point put up against them by those two teams are simple... they take Ohio State out of their comfort zone.
The Buckeyes are not built to play option read defense, they are less suited to play spread screen defense. But IOWA doesn't play that style of football. Their play is how The OSU wants it.
Man on man...let's see who has the better athletes, and Ohio State has better athletes. The only place where IOWA is better than Ohio State is their Offensive line, and The OSU's quarterback negates that.
Ohio State's quarterback is better suited for this game than the IOWA quarterback. Now don't get me wrong.. Stanzi is a better quarterback in general but he doesn't match up against Ohio State's weaknesses... he plays to their strengths.
Stanzi is a drop back passer who makes defenses pay for making mistakes which won't happen against this Buckeye defense. The Hawkeyes are down to their fourth string running back and against Ohio State, which isn't a good sign.
Ohio State has held better to horrid games (McKnight) this season and it doesn't look like IOWA is going to bring anything close to the stable that USC brought to The Shoe.
So if IOWA is going to beat OSU, they have to do it in the passing game which sets up perfectly for Ohio State.
They have gotten most of their points and big plays because they force teams to reach and do things they don't normally do because they are able to move the line with their Offensive line and force the other teams D to blitz.
Ohio State is probably the only team that can get pressure on IOWA just rushing their front four. So for IOWA to win, they are going to have Stanzi beat Ohio State while throwing into 7 man drop backs.
I know IOWA and I know IOWA'S fans...NOBODY wants to see Stanzi throwing into seven-man coverages.
When it all comes down to it IOWA is a team that's patterned their style of play like Ohio State's. They play great Defense, have sound special teams play and their offensively managing the game.
That's great against going against most teams in the Big 11...Believe me I know, Ohio State has built a Mid Western dynasty off of that philosophy. So IOWA is bringing a plan to a team that created to blueprint on how to win these games.
With all that said, I wish it weren't true. I've watched Ohio State over the past years watch their reputation get sullies because they don't match up against spread teams. And that is a recipe for disaster if anybody watched Oregon House USC last night.
I like most Buckeye fans want more from their football team. They realize that if Ohio State keeps winning the Big 11 and going to the bowl games they won't change their offense and challenge for the National Championships like they should.
As long as Ohio State is the torch bearer for the Big 11, the coaching staff will stay the same. This year of strife and turmoil has been the best thing to happen to Ohio State since they hired Tressel.
Every realistic Buckeye fan knows that aside from the three glorious years with undoubtedly the greatest quarterback in Ohio State history (Troy Smith), Ohio State's offense has been pedestrian at best.
If IOWA wins, then they will carry the torch of the Big 11 and that will force Ohio State to change to compete on a local scale, because CLEARLY they are not too focused on competing on a national one.
For those Buckeye fans who don't believe that losing helps Ohio State think about this. Because OSU lost to Michigan and bowl games they hired Jim Tressel and that took the program to a whole new level.
The best thing to happen to the Buckeyes since the National Championship was the losing streak in 04 that culminated in a loss to IOWA.
What that did was force Ohio State to put the ball in the hands of Troy Smith and setup the greatest offensive stretch Ohio State has ever seen. Do you think Troy would have gotten a sniff had Zwick not gotten hurt against IOWA?
There is a legendary story about Jim Tressel when he was the Offensive Coordinator. Jim calls a running play to the right, it gains five yards. He calls the same play, and again it gains five yards. He calls the play another time, still gaining yards.
After a few more calls of the same play the coach asks Jim if he had another play in the playbook and Jim says "Yeah, as soon as they stop this one, I'll call another."
And that is basically the problem. Anybody who's watched Ohio State this year juxtaposed against other teams knows they have problems on Offense.
Anybody who's watched Ohio State over the years (excluding the Troy Smith years) knows Ohio State under Tressel has offensive problems.
Point blank is if Ohio State plays Oregon they will get slaughtered. If Ohio State keeps playing with the same offensive philosophy, they will eventually get caught by the Michigans and the Penn States soon enough. The only way we get change is if they see a need.
On Nov. 14 I will be in my living room watching the game with my boys for the ump tenth time. Nobody will root harder for the Buckeyes to win. Nobody will be more distraught if they lose.
But nobody knows more than I do that while winning will smell like roses, those damn thorns aren't gonna be easy to take.