Point-Counterpoint: Ohio State Versus Penn State

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst INovember 11, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 23:  Dan Herron #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Jane: Since the last time we weighed the merits and concerns of the Buckeyes, they lost a tough game at Wisconsin, but have steadily improved since.  Boom Herron topped 100 yards for the first time in his career—a big confidence boost—and he has improved his vision dramatically.  That is going to be very helpful in November.


Dan: Let’s just agree that you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.  This Ohio State team is poor man’s version of…well, Ohio State.  I am convinced that if you put Tressel in a dark room and made him watch film from the 2002 season he would cry himself to sleep thinking about what this program has become.  This is a Big East-styled OSU squad; they are not physical in the trenches (or anywhere else), cannot punt worth a damn, miss field goals with regularity, and generally screw up on special teams at every turn.  I mean, really?  This is a top 10 team?!

J: Dan, with no due respect, you’re an idiot.  This Buckeyes team sports the best offense they have had in years with highs in yards/game (456) and points/game (42) in the Tressel era.  Those totals surely rival any year in OSU’s history!  Plus, they have the most dynamic quarterback in the program’s history, three to five talented running backs, and the offensive balance that Tressel covets (212 ypg Rushing, 244 ypg Passing).

D: Wow.  Do you really believe that a great offense starts Boom Herron at tailback or has one reliable WR?  Do you really…

J: Jesus, Dan! There is no pleasing you!  If you want to criticize something, you should point to the offensive line, full of players who continue to underachieve, completely failing to reach the lofty standards that recruiting experts and fans place on them…

D: Agreed, zone blocking has made them weak…

J: Still, they are the backbone of what is—at least on paper—a prolific offense.

D: We have been over this before!  You want to know why those offensive stats are so gaudy?  They have played the worst schedule ever!  The one time they did play a ranked opponent?  They barely topped 300 yards of offense while being largely uncompetitive.  Query: What is the Big Ten’s best non-conference victory this season?  Ohio State’s win over Miami (6-3), the victories over Notre Dame (4-5), Wisconsin over Arizona State (4-5), Iowa over Iowa State (5-5)?  I hate to be the one to tell you this, but this league sucks on ice.

J: So, what do you expect against a resurgent Penn State team this weekend?  A Buckeye beatdown?  Penn State’s offense is really rounding into shape for the home stretch.  Matt McGloin seems to have the keys now and his passing has provided a big spark for the Nittany Lions.

D: I can tell you what I don’t expect: any blitzing.  I know the Ohio State defense is riddled with injuries but that is no excuse for the Charmin-soft cushion the secondary gives to ALL opposing WRs.  They should send so many extra rushers on Saturday that McGloin wishes he never walked onto the team.  In fact, the secondary’s injuries are a reason to send more rushers!  But to answer your question, I expect OSU to win easily on Saturday.  Penn State has played two decent teams all season and scored a grand total of six points against them.  The Buckeyes should be comfortably ahead by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. If not, it is a major red flag.

J: Well, at least we can agree on the outcome.  And, I would be willing to bet that Boom keeps his nascent 100-yard streak alive.

D: [hysterically laughing]