If the season were to end now the Ohio State Buckeyes would be going to the National Championship Game for the fourth time this decade trying to win Jim Tressel his second Championship. Of late the Buckeyes mirrored the Oklahoma Sooners in bowl games, who also have been to two Championship games this decade. Combined both have been to 14 total BCS bowl games each and have been to a total of 5 NCG's this decade. But both have only combined for a total of 6-8 and only won two of the NCG losing the other three to SEC teams.
That is the past and not an impressive one at that. But last year the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Oregon Ducks 26-17 and added a BCS win to their mantle. But that might be the case this year. Last year the Ducks made Terrell Pryor look like Andrew Luck when they gave up 266 passing yards and 348 total yards and 2 touchdowns. But a very simple reason may be that Oregon's secondary looked like Spinal Tap's drummer situation while they lost shut down corner Walter Thurmond III on a kick return to Cal in the fourth game of the season last year, Willie Glasper who started after Thurmond went down injured himself right before the 6th game of the season and T.J. Ward pulled a Bob Sanders was was only healthy for half the season why redshirt freshman John Boyett replaced him and led the team with tackles. Also true freshman Cliff Harris was thrust into action starting 3 games including the Rose Bowl. The only main stays in the secondary were Javis Lewis and Talmedge Jackson III (Jackson III missed the UW game)
Some might have thought that Ohio State was going to run all over the Ducks with those giant Big 10 linemen they have but the Ducks went blow for blow with them as the defense took some of the pressure off the offense. Unfortunately half way threw the 3rd quarter though, there was a muffed exchange between LaGarrett Blount and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli inside the Ohio State 20 yard line. Both are no longer with the team. That one fumble lost the momentum for the Ducks and the Buckeyes would then go on to kick two field goals and run out the clock in Pasadena.
I will give credit to the Buckeyes D-coordinator for effectively using his 4-3 "Hero" scheme to shut down the potent Duck offense. The "Hero" scheme is much like the 4-2-5 made famous by TCU's Gary Patterson. You have 4-3 personnel with one slight adjustment. Instead of having three linebackers on the field and subbing them out for now the in-vouge spread attacks, you have your Will Backer be a safety/linebacker hybrid, or in their terminology the "Hero" position. The "Hero" is responsible for lining up on the tight end and covering him on passing plays, giving the defense a better match up. That was the first time the Ducks saw such a scheme. Another thing that worked out for the Buckeyes was the constant line stunts. While the defensive line would slant toward the strong side of the ball, or whichever way the offense was zone blocking, which made it look like the weak side end was crashing down to the running back and as if no one was on the back side of a zone option and the quarterback would keep the ball. Unfortunately, someone was there, i.e. the "Hero", a linebacker, or a corner. This disrupted much of Oregon's offense and never gave them much rhythm.
With that film, an intact secondary (for now) and a quarterback that can actually throw the ball, something tells me that Chip Kelly wants some revenge for last years fluke