Ohio State-USC: Worst Showing Ever for a Top Five Team?
Saturday night's 35-3 colossal rout of Ohio State by the USC Trojans may be viewed in the future as one of the worst showings ever by a team ranked so highly.
Like Tommy Bowden and the Clemson Tigers in Week One, The Ohio State Buckeyes entered Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last night with the air of a near-future conference champion.
Not even Chris "Beanie" Wells, once considered a front-runner for this year's Heisman Trophy, could have saved Ohio State from the beatdown that took place. Wells was being called "The Favorite" to win the award, ironically, before a single snap was played this year.
Instead of a season-long coronation of what Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes feel is the greatest running back to ever live on the face of the planet, Wells was sidelined after being injured while playing the criminally bruising and often dangerously mean Youngstown State Penguins.
In the meantime, Wells sat out the Ohio game, during which time many speculated as to the nature of his injury, as it must have been so minor that it defied explanation by the OSU medical or coaching staffs.
Indeed, Wells participated in more than 75 percent of the practices leading up to the USC showdown, but late Friday evening Jim Tressel told the assembled media that he was not going to play Wells, and that it was his decision alone to make. Indeed, the team medical staff cleared Beanie to play as early as Thursday.
Some media sources had been hyping Ohio State since early in the spring as "Clearly the Best Team in the Country."
It could have simply not been any clearer to Jim Tressel, the Ohio State players, and their parent organization how important this game was.
Jim Tressel alternated between quarterbacks Todd Boeckman and Terrelle Pryor, sometimes rotating them each play—which, even if it worked initially, had an eventually debilitating effect on the offense.
Boeckman, the fifth-year senior who was supposed to have the experience and knowledge to keep the game under control, completed 14 of 21 passes with two interceptions, one of which was returned 48 yards for a touchdown.
Pryor, the versatile change-of-pace quarterback who has been a relative unknown quantity outside of Columbus, Ohio, completed seven of nine for 52 yards and rushed 11 times for 40 yards. He didn't have any turnovers.
The Buckeyes had 177 yards and 13 first downs at halftime. They had 30 yards and two first downs in the second half. On six second-half possessions, the Buckeyes punted five times and were intercepted once.
The loss of Wells prior to the game does not explain getting thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball, resulting in the worst defeat endured by Ohio State since 1989.
Twenty starters returned from last year's 10-2 team that got taken apart by the LSU Bayou Tigers in January. Several players that could have defected to the NFL draft in the spring returned for this year's run, and all probably saw their NFL stock plummet.
The loss was such a monumental collapse by a top five team that it begs the question: Is this the worst showing ever for a top five team?
One thing that is true: Ohio State did not even play well enough to test the conventional "wisdom" that USC is the best team in the country.
UCLA, which got hammered 59-0 yesterday by BYU, will likely put up a much stiffer fight when the two teams meet up in their annual rivalry game.
With only Notre Dame (who defeated Michigan 35-17 also Saturday) and the Pac-10 schedule remaining, USC is poised to make their now-traditional run through their conference, perhaps get tested by Jimmy Clausen and Notre Dame, and make travel plans for the BCS National Title Game in Miami, January 8, 2009.
Hopefully a more worthy team than the Jim "Not Woody Hayes" Tressel-led Ohio State Buckeyes will be there to give them a real game.
Coach on the possibility of a rematch between USC and OSU for the BCS National Title: "...the possibility that the Buckeyes will be seeing the Trojans again is not that far-fetched of an idea. Yes, the BCS is that F..... up!"
Coach then continued, "Of course, if the Buckeyes can get off the mat and teams begin to fall away in the coming weeks, and Ohio State rolls up some wins, the boobs in the Harris Poll will forget the 35-3 beatdown that we all witnessed in the Coliseum...
"Yes, the BCS Boys have created such a fraudulent system, such an embarrassment to the great game of college football, that the worst nightmare scenario of a rematch of USC and Ohio State is a real possibility!
"Yes, the team that got their ass handed to them the last three times they have played legitimate football teams could BE PLAYING FOR THE NATIONAL TITLE IN JANUARY! We would say this BCS was created by morons, but that would be a terrible insult to morons everywhere."
Coach on Ohio State, "Yes, Ohio State can beat Big Ten teams, but they cannot beat the best teams in the game of college football today."
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