College Football: How High the Buckeye?

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IJanuary 28, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes hands the ball off against the Oregon Ducks during the 96th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Happiness and optimism abound in for all things Ohio State football, and recently Tim May and Ken Gordon indulged a little bit in that revelry.

Is all the talk about what is to come justified?  Should you expect to be high-fiving your buddies this time in 2011?

Vegas thinks Ohio State’s odds are pretty good (at the moment).  Let’s talk about it.

According to the gurus at Bodog , the Buckeyes’ are a better bet than everyone except Alabama.  Other oddsmakers have slightly different interpretations , but they are all relatively similar.  

Here is the Bodog Top 15:

2011 BCS Championship Odds

Ohio State13:2
Southern Cal12:1
Boise State15:1
Virginia Tech18:1
Penn State20:1



Other Notable 2011 BCS Odds

Notre Dame75:1
Michigan State100:1


The field’s odds

The Tide is an obvious top selection as they are bringing back a cadre of starters and stars (Ingram, Jones, McElroy), but I found it slightly surprising that Boise State was not considered to have as good or greater odds than Nebraska, Oklahoma, and/or USC, all teams that lost a significant amount of firepower, including a Heisman winner and future no. 1 draft choice .

As you probably know, I am not supporter of the non-AQ field, but I thought the Broncos may have generated more gambling buzz.

Another surprise for me was Virginia Tech’s relatively low odds considering the league they play in sucks on ice, while they are returning a reputable amount of talent.  

Finally, Ohio State plays three teams with odds of 20:1.  By my count, they are the only team to play such (theoretically) contending teams.


OSU odds

While, I share the optimism for 2010 and I agree with most fans that Pryor looked far better in the Rose Bowl than he did at any point during the year, we should be cautious about getting too carried away about him.

I thought that the main difference in his Rose Bowl play was that he had time to operate, which I attributed to four things:

(1) improved o-line play,

(2) balanced play calling that kept Oregon’s defense guessing,

(3) a small, average Oregon defensive front, and

(4) Oregon’s coaches’ inability to adjust to OSU’s pass-heavy gameplan.  

Pryor’s mistakes in the Purdue debacle almost all came when he panicked under the pressure that Purdue brought.  He only faced pressure in his face three or four times against the Ducks and, frankly, he still didn’t handle it well.

On one occasion, he badly missed a wide-open Sanzenbacher on an almost certain TD and the other was the Holy Ballard catch.

I realize I seem far more skeptical than most, but I just question whether the improvement in his decision-making and game-management has been as drastic as everyone has declared.  

I really want it to happen for him—and the entire offense—but he won’t succeed unless the entire offensive operation (blocking, scheming, play-calling) improves.

So, are the 13:2 odds justified?  If they play as well in every game as they did against Oregon.  The real question is, what are the odds that another Purdue disaster is on the schedule?


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