Something of a change of pace...
Instead of doing the traditional Q&A like we did with Buckeye Commentary we thought this would be fun to do. We hooked up with the guys over at SBN's Big 10 blog The Rivalry Esq. to do a little reverse engineering about this weekends big game. This was their idea...totally out of the box and it really makes you think.
Instead of us analyzing how we think USC will beat Ohio State we had to look a little more closely at ourselves and see how Ohio State will beat us. The Rivalry Esq. has their take here.
A big thanks to regular CC commenter Laughing Stock for putting this all together. this was actually a lot of fun!
Why Ohio State Will Dominate USC
For all the talk surrounding the quasi-apocalyptic end of times showdown between USC – tOSU there has been little talk about OSU dominating USC. Outside of Buckeye message boards, people appear to be predicting anything from a close Ohio State win to a USC blowout. In fact the spread over in Vegas has ballooned to an absurd -10.5 favoring the Trojans, which may be unprecedented for a matchup between two teams ranked in the top 5 for all I know. Regardless, I think if anyone were to take a closer look it becomes pretty clear that the Buckeyes are completely capable of blowing out USC, and that it should not be taken for granted that USC will be able to keep this game close.
The most visible reason, thanks to the media, that the Bucks may dominate come September 13th is simply the fact that Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel has already won the psychological battle. His team is coming off a too close for comfort win over lowly Ohio University and their star Heisman candidate running back is apparently sidelined more or less until game time. If it were not for a small misstep by receiver Ray Small, OSU would have an uncontested mental edge coming into this game. In fact, Tressel may already have USC players believing they will be able to easily walk all over a team they believe is demoralized and without their best player.
Perhaps more importantly though is that Ohio State simply has more to prove in this game. Coming off of two straight National Championship Game losses, this team has something to prove. Ohio State actually won a championship in the not so far off year of 2002, and what could be more satisfying than silencing all of the fans and pundits who are calling one of the greatest programs of this decade “perennially overrated”? Indeed, what could be better than beating the program many believe to be the best of the last 10 years?
Even is one disregards this metaphysical advantage, Ohio State still has the physical advantage. The Buckeyes are completely loaded with talent and experience. The team returns 18 starters from a squad that had the #1 scoring and total defense in the country and nearly every starter is a junior or senior. The offense also features the most complete running back in College Football in Chris “Beanie” Wells, who had 1609 yards rushing last year. Strangely enough, OSU haters like to claim that Wells piled up yards against weak opponents like Youngstown St. and Kent St., when in fact his two lowest rushing totals came against those opponents.
USC has comparable talent (at least according to recruiting services and pundits), but too many questions hold them back. It definitely plays to Ohio State’s advantage that this will be the best collection of DBs (including true lockdown corner Malcolm Jenkins) a group of underachieving receivers and first year starter Mark Sanchez have ever played against, or perhaps will ever play against on the college level. Do not just assume USC can rely on their running game either; thanks to outstanding linebackers like Marcus Freeman and James Laurinaitis big plays in the running game will be few and far between. Finally, there is a saying that says that games are lost and won at the line of scrimmage. You tell me who wins this battle; the team that has to replace multiple first round picks on both lines or the one that brings back virtually everybody and has to replace only one loss to the NFL.
So beware USC fans. Don’t be lulled to sleep by a media so used to hyping up USC it has nearly become a habit. Don’t be fooled by a veteran coach who knows how to play mind games and work the psychological angle. And don’t be fooled by those #1 recruiting rankings because February has long since passed and there are equally talented and more experienced teams waiting in the wings. USC could very well be looking at the end of their National Title hopes come September 13th, and they could be looking at the Trojans demise from the wrong side of a 20 point deficit.
Thanks again to the guys at The Rivalry Esq. for getting this going!