Always know where you've been
One year ago, Ohio State was preparing to play at Washington in dangerous game for week 3 of the 2007 season. The Buckeyes played extremely poorly in their first two games against Youngstown State and Akron, were replacing tons of talent that had gone to the NFL (including Heisman winning QB Troy Smith and WRs Ted Ginn Jr & Anthony Gonzalez), and had already lost a rising star in DE Lawrence Wilson for the season with a broken leg. A duo of co-workers and college football fans (one a Clemson die-hard, the other an Ohio State fan) asked another OSU fan in their office for his thoughts/prediction on the outcome of the Washington game. The Buckeye responded, "OSU played horribly their first two games. They showed no ability to run the ball, and the offensive line was porous. Their defense did not play up to their ability. If they play like that at Washington, with the Huskies mobile QB Jake Locker, they'll lose. I hate to say it, but my pick is: OSU 20, Washington 24."
Who knew then what would be sparked by that simple conversation? As we all know, that game was closely contested at half-time and OSU pulled away easily in the 2nd half. Those co-workers nicknamed that Buckeye fan "DT" (Doubting Thomas, a la the Biblical reference) for not trusting in his team. The next weekend, they asked for his thoughts on a few college football match-ups, and DT's Picks of the Week© was born. It's hard to believe we've been doing this for an entire year, spilling over into other sports once the college football ended. We thank you all immensely for your interest in this silly endeavor, and we hope to continue this well into the future. It has been a pleasure to write for you all, and serves as an outlet for DT's insatiable thirst to talk his favorite sport. So, thank you once again!!
Week 2 Upsets
East Carolina handed #8 West Virginia their first loss, Vanderbilt beat #24 South Carolina
- Chris "Beanie" Wells, Ohio State's bruising RB, will not play this week against #1 Southern Cal (foot).
- USC has a couple of their own minor injuries, to high profile LBs Rey Maualuga (hand) and Brian Cushing (wrist and hip). Both are expected to play tomorrow night.
- Minnesota has lost starting RB Duane Bennett for the remainder of the season with an injured knee.
- Maryland QB Jordan Steffy will miss at least three weeks with ligament damage to his thumb.
- NFL report: Tom Brady, the starting QB for New England Patriots and professional model/actress companion, tore the ACL * MCL in his knee during the opening game for the Pats against the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend. He will have surgery and miss the rest of the 2008 season. While this is certainly a blow to New England's chances in the improved AFC East, we doubt this will impact his aforementioned off-field identity...
- We all may have differing opinions on former coach Lou Holtz as an analyst. But one undeniable fact is that sweet ol' Lou was a fabulous motivator, recruiter, and coach. Where or how did he obtain such successful prowess?? Sure, he learned under legendary figures like Woody Hayes. But is there more to it than that? One possibility that may have been overlooked is genetic disposition. For proof, we may have to look no further than Lou's son, Skip Holtz. In four short years, Skip has taken an East Carolina team that was completely off the radar and turned the Pirates a team that has knocked off 17 Virginia Tech and 8 West Virginia in back-to-back weeks. We'll have to see where this achievement ranks as this season progresses. But at this point, we should take a moment to give the younger Holtz his due...
- Before we get to the OSU side of last week's game against Ohio University, let's address what should be a fairly prominent question: should there be a QB controversy in Athens? Starting OU QB Theo Scott went down with a shoulder injury in the first quarter, and backup Boo Jackson was stellar in his assault on Ohio State. So, even if Scott is able to return, will the Bobcats even want him back?
- Former OSU LB Chris Spielman as sideline reporter? We weren't sure about this when we first saw the ESPN broadcast team throw down to him on the field. But after watching the game, we are convinced he is one of the best ever. With former players or coaches, even some of the best at their job, they are able to leave the field behind and embrace their new careers in broadcasting. Watching "Spiels" roam the sidelines, however, definitely looked like a former player wearing a headset. Half the time he didn't even look at the camera. He was full of in intensity, as if he was waiting for a ball carrier to drift near his area of the field so he could lay the wood to them. Chris was direct and frank with his commentary as well; such as when he compared the OSU offensive line to a pillow fight. Or when he was asked if he had been near the Buckeye bench and knew if the coaches were pressuring the O-line to play better and Chris said, "No I haven't. But if anybody ever has to tell an Ohio State offensive line to go out there and block people that are smaller than them, they have a bigger problem than you or I ever thought they did." Spielman has been the same way with his radio show in Columbus during the week. He is unabashedly a Buckeye through and through, and still has the same fire inside that he had when he played. We hope to see more of him in this role, especially for Buckeye games. If fact, DT wishes ESPN would put him on Saturday night with the Brent Musberger/Kirk Herbstreit team... For those worried about where Erin Andrews would fit in, we would ask that she just stands there and looks gorgeous.
George (Columbus, OH) With USC looming, should we be concerned about OSU's completely dismal performance against Ohio U?
blakkdogg (Athens, GA) OSU STINKS!!! THEY'RE SOOO OVERRATED! THEY'RE A LOW LEVEL SEC TEAM, AT BEST! THEY'RE GOING TO GET CREAMED IN LA. YOU SHOULD JUST GIVE UP ON YOUR STINKING BLOG BEFORE YOU GET TO THE WEEKEND AND YOUR TEAM BREAKS YOUR HEART AGAIN!
trojanman2 (Sacramento, CA) If OSU can't even manage any offense against lowly Ohio U, they're going to get boat raced by the Trojans. They've been pasted in the past 2 NC games, and now USC will hopefully put the dirt on their grave and we won't have to hear about them any more. They're living off their reputation and their media darling status. Hopefully this game will finally put Ohio State out of the national spotlight like they deserve.
DT: This pretty much sums up the sentiment across the nation, doesn't it? After the past two seasons that ended with high-profile losses by Ohio State, their performance against OU has only multiplied the skepticism of the OSU program... Mel Kiper Jr. was on ESPNRadio at 9:30pm last Saturday, and said that the Ohio U contest was the epitome of a "trap" game. OSU began their season by blowing out an outmatched Youngstown State team, and had Southern Cal on the horizon the following week. As well, Kiper also stated that MAC schools always play very well BigTen opponents, to try and make a statement to the schools that passed up the players from their region (such as Ohio kids playing for Ohio U because they weren't recruited by OSU). Finally, Kiper said that OSU was just not playing with emotion or intensity, which would be different against USC. These assertions were mirrored by most of the ESPN analysts on Saturday night and all this week.
Does DT have a problem with what is coming out of ESPN, you ask? No, so long as our readers know that DT said all of it 6 hours earlier during the OU game... Let's be honest. Ohio State was not playing up to their potential. This much is certain. The question then becomes whether there is a larger mental problem with this team, or whether it was just the normal emotional low teams can go through during a season. However, the sad fact is that OSU is now under so much intense scrutiny that any performance will not be good enough. The program has crossed over the proverbial "love 'em or hate 'em" threshold, from which no team has ever returned. Regardless of their sport, these teams (Notre Dame, the Yankees, and the Lakers are just a few) have never gone back to just being a great or poor team. Every year, people hate when they win or cheer when they lose.
This is evidenced by the disdain spewed by our emailers from Georgia and California. They are unable to allow any leniency for performance, nor will any credit be given if the Buckeyes do anything well. This is then amplified by the media, which caters to national perceptions. The zany hole in this point-of-view is that so many people are adamant that OSU isn't any good, but if USC beats the Buckeyes tomorrow they will be given credit for a significant win against a major program. If Ohio State really is the caliber of a low-level SEC squad such as Kentucky or Ole Miss, why are they going to get treated like they just defeated Georgia or Florida?
Email your own question or comment to DT: questionDT@hotmail.com
Picks of the Week
Kansas @ South Florida (South Florida -3.5)
Helmed by QB Todd Reesing, Kansas has the nation's 10th best passing attack through two weeks of the season. Reesing has been accurate (76.67% completions) and a leader on the field. The ground game could use some work though, averaging 3.68 yds per carry and only two rushing TDs yet this season against Florida International and Louisiana Tech. Grinding time off the clock and controlling the ball will be needed to beat a USF squad that is coming hot off an OT win over at Central Florida. The Bulls' program has been building rapidly since its inception in 1997, making their way up to 2 in the polls last year before losing at Rutgers. USF QB Matt Grothe has comparable passing numbers to Reesing through two games, but the Bulls own the 24th ranked rushing offense in the country (four spots higher than Southern Cal). This is an intriguing match-up of Big12 and Big East contenders.
Kansas 28, South Florida 24
Georgia @ South Carolina (South Carolina +7)