Maybe Ohio State fans could go on and on about how ruined our season this year and in 2005 (more so in 2005), or how every day a Penn State player was arrested and no one batted an eye like they would have if it was OSU, or how your schedule makes Wisconsin’s look tough.
I won’t. I won’t do it. Why? Because the Big Ten needs you. Even Stewart Mandel agrees.
Looking at the Big Ten bowl schedule, a sane man can do nothing but shutter. After the Wisconsin beatdown, the big dogs at ESPN are all but ready to pull the “Big Ten SUX!” lever installed in Bristol soon after the 2006 National Championship.
In fairness, who could blame them? Northwestern lost, albeit in overtime and due to a missed extra point against a Big 12 super offense. USC hasn’t been a kind West Coast host to the Big Ten teams fortunate enough to play them at home or in their backyard.
2006 Rose Bowl – Michigan @ USC – It was a really good game, until America realized Lloyd Carr didn’t believe in “halftime adjustments” and USC laid on the second half points.
2007 Rose Bowl – Illinois @ USC – A one-dimensional team couldn’t keep up with the balanced USC attack. If Juice wasn’t Juice, it could have been different.
2008 – Ohio State @ USC – A Beanie-less, Todd Boeckman-led Ohio State team once again caved under pressure. Ohio State tried to run the clock out…after the first field goal
Penn State, it’s up to you. Bring the Spread HD, bring your 110-year-old coach, bring Derrick Williams and his three years of under-performing. Bring it all. Words of caution: USC is bigger and faster than you. When USC tries, they win. While you are stuck in Happy Valley, they are busy taking recruits on limo rides to clubs in L.A.
Keys to the Game
Darryl Clark’s Head – If he was out-manned playing Iowa and Ohio State, get ready to get Juiced. Illinois’ front man thought he’d have an easy day, and he did for all of three minutes. Todd Boeckman? He was a very LSU-esque two INTs and a requisite fumble. Chad Henne would rather play Florida every day of the week than USC again.
Ability to Not Play Big Ten Football – If you don’t want an “old fashioned Pac-10 butt whoopin”, leave the easy stuff to Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Run, Run, Pass isn’t going to beat USC, no matter how hard the Big Ten tries.
I’ve been impressed with PSU’s playcalling, even against OSU when it could only muster a touchdown. They’ve got playmakers that actually make plays.
Playing at Home – Nothing like home games for all the teams facing the Big Ten teams. Los Angeles is a big city, and it’s not fun trying to get to one side from the other, but that’s all USC has to deal with. Penn State? Cross country trek to play a USC at home. Home crowd, home announcers, and more than likely, USC favoring officials.
7.8 ppg – The overpowering defense has made up for what has been a mediocre offensive attack. ESPN commentators already have 7.8 ppg tattooed on their butts (here’s looking at you, Jesse Palmer), proclaiming USC to be the best defense EVER!@#$%?. A Beanie-less Ohio State mustered one whole field goal.
Then again, a Beanie-full OSU only delivered two field goals against Penn State. While it may be overblown, the USC defense features freaks of nature on the line, in the linebacking corps, and in Sean Taylor*.
*I meant Taylor Mays. Is there a difference?