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 Collision at the Coliseum

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PostSubject: Collision at the Coliseum   Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:04 am

The Ohio State University Buckeyes vs. University of Southern California Trojans

This is an epic clash in college football, and I decided to cover it.

So there's a big game this Saturday, and honestly, I think it's quite interesting. So what in the world made me decide to start compiling all of my thoughts into this one note? A friend of mine who shall not be mentioned sent me a message and said, "You know we're going to lose saturday right? USC is a beast, you have to look at it from a football stand point, and not a buckeye stand point." She was right, well just about how I look at this game, not about how OSU has ZERO chance like the experts, and even Ohio State fans seem to think.

I'll start with the utter disrespect that Vegas gives Ohio State 10 and 1/2 points on the line. For those who don't know what that means, USC has to beat OSU by 11 points for someone who picks them to win the game. To give you an idea of how bad this is, think back to last year. UGA played against Hawaii in the BCS Bowl game, most of us were completely sure they would destroy Hawaii but the line was at only 6 points. Meaning they think we're twice as bad as Hawaii! Crazy.

(Buckeye Offense vs. USC Defense)
I guess the main issue surrounding this game is the health of Chris Beanie Wells and for good reason. He wasn't fully healthy last season and still had a monster year and is certainly on the short list for Heisman hopefuls for this season, also for good reason. Beanie Wells single handedly defeated Michigan and seemed to be the only offensive player to show up for the National Championship Game. His size, speed, and most importantly presence will be huge because he will play, and at a high level. Someone told me that one man can't be the entire team, and that's very true. Beanie Wells can not beat USC by himself, but he's a great player this year, not just a good one. Good running back gain a lot of yards and score a lot of touchdowns. Great running backs like Beanie Wells do it with 9 in the box and give his wide outs man to man coverage and make the defensive line play rush defense.

So for those of you who don't know what this means, I'll explain a little better. Beanie Wells will force the defense to play more conservative to try to contain him. This means that Todd Boeckman has more time to throw (from the pocket) to Robiskie and Hartline who are now playing against man coverage. Basically, man coverage and not a lot of pressure on the qb means wide open receivers down field. I know a lot of you (myself included) have doubts about Todd, but if there's one thing he does do effectively, he throws the deep pass well. His first 9 games as a starter were actually pretty impressive and he hit both receivers many times going deep down the field.

I do expect Boeckman to play well, and if he does, the Buckeyes will be sitting pretty on offense. If Taylor Mays (USC safety) has to help over the top, that's one less man in the box for Beanie to run through. There are also some issues in that line backing core of USC this week. Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga are both nursing injuries. Cushing's wrist and Maualuga's hand are both injured as of today.

Terrell Pryor, I know we all would like to know exactly how much he played and why he didn't play much against Ohio. For the second question, Jim Tressel didn't want to give Pete Carroll much of Pryor to watch on game tape. When he did come in, he only ran the option and rarely pitched it. USC has been "simulating" Pryor in practice by using their star sophmore running back McKnight. The two are indeed equal in speed, but they obviously have no respect for Pryor's ability to throw. He may not be Peyton Manning, but he can throw at least a little, and they won't see it coming.

The X factor is not going to be Beanie Wells, it will be Boeckman in my opinion. Pryor will give the USC defense a different look and Beanie will keep them honest, but it will have to be Todd that gets the job done for the Buckeye offense to flourish.

(USC Offense vs. OSU Defense)
I've heard a lot about this "stable" of running backs that USC plays. They have a lot of depth at running back and rotate in five different runners to carry the load and stay fresh. The defensive line is going to have to get penetration early and often so that Marcus Freeman and James 33 (I assume you know who this is) can run all around the field making good tackles. Against the USC running game, you have to have great tackling and our line backers are two of the best. They won't be able to roam much if the defensive line can't lock up and get a good push, which I suspect they will.

Mark Sanchez had a great game against UVA. I repeat, UVA. This is a slow, garbage defense that has no talent at any position. We've discussed the front 7 (defensive line and line backers) but the secondary will have to come up huge in this game. Malcolm Jenkins will be in single coverage all over the field while Coleman and Russell roam over the top. It's the other corners and dime dbs that will have to play big when USC runs out 3 and 4 receivers. Malcolm Jenkins is the key and will have to play brilliant shut down defense, and nothing tells me that this All American won't against these no name USC wide outs.

While in pass coverage, Jim should send 33 and Freeman to get after Sanchez who has shown a bit of mobility. If they can get pressure and knock him down a few times, his inexperience may show. Everyone needs to remember this guy has started ONE game in his college career in which he had all day to throw and completely open receivers, not the case against a talented Buckeye defense. He has never faced pressure, and you can bet he will Saturday.

24-23 Ohio State

I believe the Buckeyes can pull this game out. It will be a hell of a game and quite the collision course this early in the season. At the end of the game, it will be up to Sanchez to make plays, and he just hasn't been there before. I look for the Buckeyes to ride Beanie and balance the attack with both qbs to a close and exciting victory over the Trojans.


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