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Matt Hayes considers USC - tOSU, nods off

One gets the impression that Matt Hayes isn't entirely excited about the USC - tOSU game this coming Saturday. He closes out his review of the first weekend back with college football thusly:

7. Hyped up

Get ready, everyone. For the next five days, you'll be inundated with talk about USC vs. Ohio State as the non-conference game of the year. There are two problems with this:

--I doubt USC and Ohio State can put on a better show than Alabama-Virginia Tech. (A quick side note: Tech will have a big season; Alabama's defense is that good.)

--USC-Ohio State isn't even the best non-conference game this weekend. Michigan-Notre Dame has more drama—and will be a better game.

As ever, time will tell for both of those points. In the first case, that could well be true - I don't know what Saban told the Alabama players, but good lord they ran amok at the end of the game. (And, purely on a personal basis, I enjoy watching Beamerball come unstuck, because it's the opposite of what I enjoy college football.) Still, it's a bit soon to be so sure.

In the second case, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "drama" and "better." If by drama, Hayes means that one fanbase and possibly head coach is going to come unglued over a loss from a stupid mistake (or twelve), then perhaps the drama will be in Ann Arbor. But there are opportunities aplenty for the same in Columbus.

If by "better," Hayes means "better than last year," then sure - I think most fans of either Notre Dame or Michigan would have described last year's game as being one round in what the insensitive would call a season of cripple fights. This year, both teams can plausibly claim signs of progress, which is a harder argument to make for SC and tOSU. But the baseline matters, which doesn't aid ND and Michigan.

Could Hayes be right? Sure: the Michigan - ND game could be more closely matched and thus more interesting to the neutral (assuming that there is such a thing when ND is involved), but given a grudge over last year for tOSU, 100,000 howling Buckeyes, a tOSU secondary that got beat up by Navy, an SC team that is still working out the kinks, and the number of people who loathe one or both of these teams... let's not count SC - tOSU out just yet for general interest and on-field mayhem.