Buckeyes Go Duck Hunting, Bearcats Get Chomped: Who's Best in Ohio?
All season people have been speculating on who is the best college football team in the state of Ohio: Cincinnati or Ohio State?
In past years, Ohio State has been the better program, but the University of Cincinnati has been climbing up the ranks under coach Brian Kelly.
Kelly led the Bearcats to an undefeated season, followed by a Sugar Bowl invite to compete against the University of Florida. He then fed his team to the Gators by going to Notre Dame and abandoning his team completely.
With Kelly gone, any chance of the Bearcats winning also went out the door; they were demolished by Florida.
They made Tim Tebow look like the best quarterback ever to get behind center; he had only four incomplete passes, going 31-35 for 482 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bearcats gave away 659 total yards to the Gators, and it didn't look like a bowl game at all.
In its two BCS games, the Bearcats have suffered horrible defeats.
On the other side, Ohio State came into Pasadena after having lost their last three BCS games, including one to Florida in 2007.
The big difference is, in the loss to Florida, Ohio State’s worst defense was it's offense and their inability to get anything going after the loss of Ted Ginn Jr. on the very first play of the game.
If you look at the scoring drives of Florida, they were all within 50 yards, except one 71-yard drive. The Buckeyes were simply manhandled by Florida’s defense and they couldn't get anything started offensively.
If Ginn had been in this game, there would have been more scoring and it would have been a closer game, but the field position battle in this game was dominated by the Gators.
This is the only argument Cincinnati fans have against Ohio State, because this season the Buckeyes finally won a bowl game for the first time since beating Notre Dame in the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl four years ago.
The biggest surprise in this year's Rose Bowl win against Oregon was how mature Terrelle Pryor has become. He executed the game plan perfectly and finally looked like the player everyone built him up to be.
There’s no doubt that when Terrelle Pryor plays well, the Buckeyes are going to win.
He had more yards than the entire Oregon offense and that is a big statement when you think of what this offense has done, especially against USC.
The first big game the Buckeyes lost in this BCS streak was Troy Smith's last game in 2007, and since then they haven’t had a leader to bring them through adversity and beat the big name schools.
But now Terrelle Pryor can do that.
In a matchup between Cincinnati and Ohio State, I have Ohio State winning, even if Brian Kelly was still coaching. When you look at what Ohio State’s defense did against one of the most explosive offenses in the nation, they wouldn’t give up that much to Cincinnati.
Their defensive front is the strongest part of the defense, and I think that would have a trickle down effect on the Bearcats passing game.
On defense, the Bearcats would not be able to handle Terrelle Pryor. They made Tim Tebow look like the he was the best player ever and Pryor would have similar success.
Pryor has matured since the Michigan game and is starting to post regular quarterback numbers. His 23-37 passing for 266 yards was a career high in the biggest game of the season.
Oregon is not a pushover defensively and this is a big step forward for the Buckeyes. While they haven't won all their BCS games, no one has been to as many as the Buckeyes, who are now 5-3 in the BCS.
The Big Ten has redeemed itself and proved that they can play with the best of them.
Looking ahead, I don't think Cincinnati will be nearly as productive as they were this season, unless their new head coach can be as effective as Brian Kelly. They were closing in on Ohio State, but next season they have work to do to be on the same level as the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is still one of the top teams in the nation and Cincinnati will not be on their level until they can win one of these big bowl games against a premiere program.
These teams will not play until 2012 and until then, we will never know for sure who is better.
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