As we go through this season of college football one striking question jumps out at me. Is the Ohio State Buckeyes - Mythical or Magical?
After three weeks of the 2008 schedule the Buckeyes are 3-1 and ranked No.13 in the country. But are they really that good or are they even better? With a week behind them after getting blasted by USC 35-3 Ohio State battled a pesky Troy team this past Saturday in Columbus. I had the pleasure of attending this game and came away with some difficult conclusions.
You see OSU is my favorite team, always has been since I was a little kid. I've loved watching them on fall Saturdays all the way from the Archie Griffin days to the current set of players featuring Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor. I have always stuck up for them here in die-hard West Virginia Mountaineer country. Only as I'm watching the game I notice that they are playing Troy much the same way they did Youngstown State and Ohio University. Like they are playing to their competition instead of like a dominant team. We all know they are capable of blowing either of these three teams away but they are just getting by in these games and getting blown out against the top talent on the schedule.
I do know that in the last few games against the best in the country they have been beaten all over the field. I guess I can cut a little break since Wells has not played the last two weeks but really in the USC game it would not have made any difference in the outcome. To have any chance with the rest of the season Coach Jim Tressel has got to get Beanie back into the lineup and hope that no one other than Illinois breaks out the spread offense against them. Well Michigan doesn't really count since they are terrible at running it.
Pryor did look good against Troy going 10 for 16, 139 yards and 4 touchdowns in his starting debut. He also added 66 yards on the ground. The only blemish on his stat card was a meaningless end zone interception at the end of the first half. I think the score would have been worse if Tressel would have opened it up in the 3rd quarter as the Buckeyes ran the ball 9 out of 10 plays. Look for big things to come from this kid as he gets some freedom with the offense. Can you say Troy Smith, only better!
If all these things click, Beanie comes back, Pryor gets comfortable with the offense and the defense puts it usual All-American performance out there, OSU should contend for the Big 10 title this year. I see them having really tough games against Penn State and Wisconsin as their chance of getting beat in conference. Close games should be with Illinois and Michigan State but I see them getting by them in the end.
If Coach Tressel can keep the moral up and get them to play at their level instead of their opponents they should be looking for 9-10 wins this year and a shot at another BCS bowl. I'm thinking probably Rose or Fiesta.