Buckeye's Shadow Looms Large on the Big Easy

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Buckeye's Shadow Looms Large on the Big Easy

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So here we are, nearing the end of an incredible and entertaining season, and we still haven’t settled a damn thing.  In a year that has seen a couple of unthought-of upsets, the turn style that is the top 10, and a shift in national powers, would anyone want it any other way? I’m going to take a look at current BCS #3 Ohio State, the scenarios that must ensue for the Bucks to make it to the MNC, and their chances of taking home the National Championship…if they make it to Naw’leans.

Odds Makers

Scenario #1 – Oklahoma defeats Missouri in the Big XII Championship Game? 60%

Oklahoma beat Mizzou earlier in the year in Norman, Mizzou is coming off an enormous win against Kansas. Most think that Oklahoma will win the rematch, but the Tigers have a lot of momentum and confidence coming into this one.  It’s either redemption or hangover blues for Missouri.

Scenario #2 – Pittsburgh defeats West Virginia? .001%

While stranger things have happened, and given the insanity that has ensued throughout the season, anything is possible right? Forget about it.

MNC Match-ups

For the sake of argument, let’s say Ohio State makes it into the Championship Game via one or both of the scenarios above playing out. Let’s breakdown the potential pairings:

OSU vs. WVU:  

This is a very interesting, and most likely, match up.  WVU runs the zone/read option offense, and OSU has had trouble defending that offense the past couple of seasons: Illinois, Florida, but also remember Texas.  Ohio State did the best job of defending Vince Young and Co. that year in their match up. Florida shellacked the Bucks, not necessarily with speed or the scheme, but rather in conjunction with poor coaching, preparation, and execution.  Illinois played a PERFECT game: no turnovers, 1 penalty, and some bounces there way. So taking an objective view, was it really all about the scheme?  WVU would score, no doubt, but I don’t believe they would gash OSU’s D like many would predict.  WVU’s D is an improvement over last year but they are susceptible to the power running attack, along with the vertical passing game, both of which are strengths in the Buckeye arsenal.  I think this would be a very entertaining game, with the Buckeyes bringing the physical aspect that South Florida (and to an extent Louisville) brought to the table in defeating the Mountaineers. The Buckeyes would play the role of underdog, a role in which they are best suited.  Jim Tressel teams seem to feed off of the "us against the world mentality", and that doesn't bode well for the Mountineers.

Prediction: OSU 34-WVU 27
 

OSU vs. Mizzou:  

Not really probable, but is possible. Now here is the offense OSU can defend very well, the Spread Offense.  Chase Daniel is a playmaker, no doubt, but I feel a pocket passer plays right into the hands of the Buckeye D.  I have no disrespect for Mizzou, as I'm a resident of Missouri, but I think the Buckeyes have the blueprint on this type of offensive attack.

Prediction: OSU 31-Mizzou 17

If both Mizzou and West Virginia were to lose, it would open the door for a 2 loss team and here are potential match ups, and in my opinion, the order of how likely they are to occur:

1) OSU vs. LSU: LSU would have first dibs, needing to claim an SEC championship and jumping 2 loss Georgia.

2) OSU vs. Georgia: Sitting at #4 with no remaining games, needs LSU to lose as well as VT for insurance.

3a) OSU vs. VT: VT would need an LSU loss to Tennessee and win the ACC Title, and even then its a long shot

4b) OSU vs. Oklahoma: May be to far out at #9, but a decisive win over Mizzou, coupled with an LSU loss and a VT loss, may vault OU high enough.

Of course all of this is hypothetical, and just one man's opinion, but in this football season? Nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

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