Jared Sullinger is the latest of the freshman phenoms recruited by Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach Thad Matta. Matta has had incredible success in his tenure in Columbus both on the floor as well as on the recruiting circuit. The unbeaten Buckeyes stand poised atop the NCAA landscape at #1 in the country, largely due to Jared Sullinger.
Sullinger has not only been the best player for the #1 team in the country and positioned himself for National Player of the Year consideration, but he has done it the right way. Sullinger, by all accounts, appears to be humble, hardworking, sincere, and despite his young age appears to be a leader on the Buckeye team.
Sure, he is not THE leader on THE Ohio State Buckeyes due to the strong senior leadership that is exhibited by guys like David Lighty and Jon Diebler, but he already exhibits more leadership qualities than Terrelle Pryor likely ever will. Before you get upset with my disdain for Pryor, remember that I am a huge Buckeyes fan and I want the same things you do. I want all Buckeyes teams and players to succeed.
I’ve seen things from Pryor, however, that honestly hurt the team and I personally have no respect for him. Yes, he’s a very young man and he can grow and change. But to this point he hasn’t and he has shown little to signs of improvement in my opinion. I am not a fan of Pryor and you have every right to disagree with me.
I am, however, a huge fan of Jared Sullinger. He assuredly a top 5 pick in the upcoming NBA draft should he choose to declare, he’s the best player on the best team in the Country, and at Ohio State he is literally treated like a god among men. Yet he still remains humble, polite, hardworking, and a great teammate.
For instance, you may have heard the story about the Minnesota fan who taunted Sullinger with a sign during the Buckeyes recent victory over the Golden Gophers. The fan had a sign with a picture of Sullinger wearing lipstick and earrings mocking his rendition of a Miley Cyrus song (video below).
Now, ask yourself how Terrelle Pryor would likely have responded. All you must do is think back to many of his ill-advised tweets and comments responding to criticism last year. But Sullinger approached the young man (Andrew Wagner) and requested the sign from him. The Plain Dealer asked Sullinger why he requested the sign and he said that he wanted to give the sign to his mother, thinking she would “love it, to have it to hang up.”
Wagner later read the story on the Plain Dealer and contacted Sullinger on Twitter. Sullinger responded by mentioning this fan on his account, telling everyone that he liked the sign and asked them to follow the Minnesota fan. The fan was so impressed by Sullinger’s response on the court and on his twitter account that he mailed the sign to him.
Wagner is quoted as saying “He was very classy and professional in dealing with the hostile crowd, he had a good sense of humor about the sign and it was for his mom.”
This is just one example of the class, professionalism, leadership, and decency displayed by Sullinger throughout his short career with the Buckeyes. It’s a shame there aren’t more guys like this in sports and it’s a shame that he will likely only be around for this one season. Hopefully he and the Buckeyes can make it one to remember for many years to come.
Last week the Big Ten unveiled its new logo, awards names, and division names. With the addition of Nebraska, the Big 10 (really 11) went to the Big 10 (really 12) and now qualified to have a conference championship game, which of course means more money. The Big Ten jumped at it and rather than going with traditional division names like “East & West” or “North & South”, they decided to light up a few blunts and came up with “Leaders & Legends”.
Almost everyone who has commented on the new division names has absolutely bashed them. In a Cleveland.com poll (granted this is a small sample size) there were 1,121 votes against the new names and only 36 votes for the new names. Despite the small sample, this is pretty accurate as far as the overwhelming sentiment against the ridiculous names.
So much so, that it appears the Big Ten may be reconsidering the names they unveiled just a week ago. In an interview with a Chicago radio station yesterday, Big Ten Commissioner, Jim Delany acknowledged the negative reaction:
“We’ve had enough experience with names and expansion and development of division that we know that you rarely get a 90% approval rating. But to get a 90 % non-approval rating was really surprising. It showed that we didn’t connect with our fans in a way that we wanted to. It’s humbling to say the least, because we’re trying to build fan bases, not push them away.
“I’ve been around this business a long time and I would say it’s one of the more surprising things. There’s a sensibility there that we did not connect with, did not read well.”
I have two takeaways from his quotes.
The first being that they didn’t read it well and not connecting with the fans is a HUGE understatement. Although not surprising given his comments about the new logo last week where he indicated that it “was fun and has something for everyone.”
Now I don’t mean to just pile on, but I thought the logo was god awful as well! And it’s the farthest thing from “fun”! I still don’t know how a basic logo can “have something for everyone” either… ?
The second thing on his most recent quotes was that I thought it was interesting where he basically admitted what we already know, but that you rarely hear anyone admit. Notice that he called it a “business”. I mean, it 100% is a business and its actually refreshing to hear someone refer to it as what it is instead of trying to hide behind the sham of amateurism and academics.
Delany went on to say that they want to sit on the decision for a while and they don’t want to rush to judgement to change the names right away. Time will tell if he’s just saying this to quell the criticism they’ve received or if he/they are actually considering changing the division names. I for one, would much rather see a “Hayes & Shembechler” division setup than what they announced last week.
It’s not news that Huber Heights Wayne star QB, Braxton Miller will be Ohio State’s next big QB. He announced months ago that he would be joining the Buckeyes following his graduation from Wayne. He has been hyped, but not to the extent that current Buckeyes QB, Terrelle Pryor was coming out of high school.
Pryor was literally the most coveted and highly rated player coming out of high school and he is continually hyped as a Heisman front-runner. The problem with Pryor is that he has never really produced or met the lofty expectations. Braxton Miller, while he’s certainly not under the radar, isn’t getting nearly the attention or respect that Pryor did coming out of high school. Miller is currently ranked as the #2 QB prospect by ESPN and the #25 overall player.
Miller verbally committed to Ohio State, but he also seriously considered Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgi, and USC. For anyone who missed it, Miller and Huber Heights Wayne played in an epic matchup against Cleveland’s St. Edwards in the Division 1 State Championship game last night. This was my first real look at Miller other than random highlights. But I watched the entire game and was able to see him in the flow of the game, how he dealt with adversity, and how he handled himself on the field and with his team.
I was incredibly, and thoroughly impressed. The first thing I noticed is that St. Eds was a much bigger and more physically impressive team. The game was gridlocked through the first half and well into the second half, but I sat here wondering to myself if Huber Heights would be able to stay with them for 4 quarters. It just seemed that they would eventually wear down or that Braxton Miller would run out of great plays where he literally made a play out of nothing, against 4 defenders, with little to no help from his team.
St. Eds ended up winning the game, but not for lack of incredible play and effort by Miller. When I first heard of him, I’ll be honest in that I was a little skeptical. He’s listed at 6’2″ and 190 pounds. But he doesn’t look anywhere near either measurable. On the field, he looks to me no more than 5’11 or so and he looks to be no more than 175 pounds. Obviously, he’s still a young kid and Ohio State will certainly add some muscle to his frame. But his height was a definite concern.
After watching him play, though, he certainly appears to be as small as I feared, but it didn’t matter. Miller was easily the best player on the field and although he never abandoned his offense and the system by trying to single-handedly take of the game, he dominated the entire game. He was playing the eventual State Champions and a team, who in my opinion, were far more talented than Miller’s squad. Yet Miller lead his team to a go ahead score with about 2 minutes left. If not for a great offensive attack by St. Eds and a horrendous defense by Huber Heights, Miller would be a State Champion today.
I was as impressed with him as I have been with any high school player I’ve seen (excluding #6), and albeit this is a small sample size, but I think it is a quality and representative sample. Miller was playing the State Champions, who were far superior in size and talent, in my opinion, on a windy and very snowy day on the biggest stage. If he can perform at this level, on this stage, in these conditions, I have no reason to believe that this performance won’t translate at the next level.
Miller was touted as a very athletic QB, smaller than Pryor, but a better passer than Pryor was coming out of high school. Let me tell you…. Miller is already a better passer than Terrelle Pryor is RIGHT NOW! I saw throws that Miller made in the snow and wind that Pryror couldn’t make in the best conditions. Miller consistently demonstrated his ability to make accurate passes with both touch and velocity and he demonstrated a very good deep ball as well.
Braxton Miller made some passes that the majority of Division 1 college QB’s can’t make on a regular basis. On one scoring strike, Miller dropped in a 30+ yard touch pass right in stride and right over top of very good coverage for an indefensible touchdown. He continually threw balls with great velocity in between several defenders and right on target. I knew he was a great athlete, but his passing and ability to read defenses was what really impressed me. Not one time did I see him drop back and then take off after his first option was taken away. He read his progressions and make the correct football play nearly every time.
That’s not to say he can’t or didn’t make plays with his legs. There were times when he make plays that reminded me of Mike Vick. Please don’t think I’m comparing him to Vick. Vick is a once in a decade (maybe once in a lifetime) athlete. Miller is good, he’s fast, and he has a great arm. But he doesn’t have Mike Vick speed and agility and he doesn’t have the arm strength of Vick. But there were several plays where Miller was completely surrounded by 3, 4 or 5 defenders and he should have been absolutely dead to rights. Miller eluded each and every one and then either took off for a huge gain or made a play with his arm, but the impressive thing was that he ALWAYS kept his eyes downfield.
Miller was the fastest and most elusive player on the field. Period. He ended up rushing for 84 yards and two TDs and completed 15 of 24 passes for 200 yards and 2 TDs. He also added 2 INTs (one of which was on a 4th and 20 with Huber Height’s last chance to keep their hopes alive).
From what I saw in this game, Miller is plenty athletic to make plays with his feet in the Big 10. Ohio State is extremely good at developing players once they arrive on campus. I can guarantee that he will only get bigger, faster and stronger from now until the time he suits up for the Buckeyes. But Miller is already farther along as a passer, a QB, and a leader than Pryor is today. Miller handled adversity extremely well, leading his team down for the go-ahead score with 2 minutes left. He honestly did everything he possibly could to lead his team to victory. There was one INT that was ill advised and he threw one deep ball just a foot or so off target and that was the extent of his bad plays. Even on the deep ball, a more skilled WR could have made that play and stayed in bounds.
I’ll be interested to see if Miller will be red-shirted next season as Terrelle Pryor has announced that he’s coming back for his Senior season (as if he has a choice). Miller could use the time to develop physically and to learn the offense, but we’ll see. Pryor could have used the same time for maturity and development, but he played immediately.
Despite Pryor’s constant disappointment, the Buckeyes future is bright. Braxton Miller is the real deal and he will only get better once he arrives on campus. He’s not as fast as Denard Robinson, but he’s fast enough to light up defenses. And he’s a MUCH better passer. Just imagine how much damage Robinson could do if he was a top passer in the Big 10. That’s the kind of production I think we’ll see from Braxton Miller.
Ohio State Buckeyes QB, Terrelle Pryor has been showered with pre-season accolades and expectations since he arrived in Columbus. The problem, however, is that he has yet to live up to the expectations in his three years at Ohio State. The Big Ten post-season awards were announced yesterday and Terrelle Pryor, despite being voted as the pre-season player of the year, Pryor fell short in the post-season awards.
Michigan QB Denard Robinson was named Offensive Player of the Year and Northwestern QB Dan Persa was named as the 1st team QB. Wisconsin QB, Scott Tolzien was named the 2nd team QB, leaving Terrelle Pryor on the outside looking in.
The Buckeyes lead the Big 10 with ten all-Big Ten selections, but Terrelle Pryor only received honorable mention.
First, let me say that I completely agree with the awards. Pryor has done nothing to warrant to the attention and hype that’s been placed on him. Is that his fault? No. But this is….
In yet another of a rash of immature and whiny comments by the Buckeyes QB, Pryor lets us all know that he’s unhappy with being shut out of the Big Ten awards. Obviously, he’s just whining and won’t really quit, but this just shows you the depth of his immaturity at this point.
Like I said, he has done NOTHING to warrant any sort of accolades and I sincerely hope the Pryor for Heisman BS stops. All year Buckeye fans have been telling me that he deserves an invite to New York.
Look, Pryor is an incredible physical specimen. But he’s an immature, whiny, bratty, child. He has not come close to utilizing his immense talents and until he does, he deserves no such accolades. Each year he’s give pre-season awards as the player of the year (which are asinine by the way) and each year he fails to deliver.
As a fan, I hope he wakes up and grows up and puts his talent to work. But at this point, I don’t see it happening.
In honor of the upcoming rivalry game between Ohio State and Michigan, I put together a quick tribute to the game including pictures from years past. Obviously, it’s been a rough stretch for the Wolverines and barring a major upset, it isn’t likely to change on Saturday.
Enjoy and GO BUCKS!!! OH!!
The Ohio State Buckeyes are heading into the rivalry game with the hated Michigan Wolverines and for the second consecutive year, they will be unveiling “special” uniforms for the game.
The Buckeyes enter the game needing to win against Michigan to claim a share of their 6th straight Big 10 title and needing a Wisconsin loss in order to claim a trip to the Rose Bowl. They are locked up in a 3 way tie with Michigan State (who they didn’t play) and Wisconsin (who beat them). If necessary, the last tiebreaker goes to the team with the highest BCS ranking, which at the moment is Wisconsin at #7.
The Wolverines, on the other hand, are finishing up yet another disappointing season under Rich Rodriguez. They will have their highest win total under Rich Rod even with a loss at 7-5, but the Wolverines have been completely dominated by the top tier Big 10 teams. There was speculation heading into last week, that if Rich Rod wasn’t able to pull of a win against either Wisconsin or Ohio State that he might run out of time in Ann Arbor.
Michigan was dominated by Wisconsin and barring a surprising upset, the same will occur against the Buckeyes this coming week.
I actually really like the uniforms from last year (picture below), but these are horrendous! They look like a bad high school team’s uniforms!
The University of Michigan has one of the most historical and prestigious football programs in the NCAA. The folks in Ann Arbor have high expectations and apparently a short leash. After bringing in Rich Rodriguez 3 years ago to replace the tenured, but largely failing Lloyd Carr, Rich Rod was sold as the next big thing in coaching. He accrued some great talent during his time at West Virginia and orchestrated one of the most exciting and prolific offenses in the Country with Pat White and Steve Slaton.
Despite numerous chances to cash in on opportunities at West Virginia, Rich Rod always came up just short. The prevailing thought was that he just didn’t have the horses at WVU and once he landed at a big time program, he would transform into one of the top coaches in the nation similar to Pete Carroll (at the time), Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, etc.
Many people, myself being one of them, thought he would transform the Big 10. Rich Rod runs an aggressive spread offense which is obviously incredibly different than the historical Big 10 style of offense and given some of the Big 10 power’s struggles against spread offenses, I was of the belief that Rich Rod would make huge waves in the Big 10.
Well… I was right, but I was wrong. Rich Rod did make huge waves in the Big 10 and in the NCAA in general, but not because of his prolific offense and re-establishment of Michigan as a national power. At this point, Rich Rod is more well known for constant NCAA violations, Big 10 failure and repeated losing seasons than any positive notoriety.
In his first season with the University of Michigan, his team finished 3-9 which was the worst season in school history! In his second season, he improved to 5-7 (but only 1-7 in conference play), obviously not up to Wolverine standards. And for the second straight season in 2010, his team started fast playing incredibly weak competition before completely faltering. The Wolverines have recovered this season after three straight losses and is sitting at 7-3, but they enter the last two weeks of the season playing Wisconsin and Ohio St.
The 2010 season, despite the conclusion of the last two games, has easily been Rich Rod’s most successful season, but that is apparently not enough to save his job. This morning, the Detroit Free Press is demanding that if Rich Rod doesn’t beat either Wisconsin or Ohio State in the final two weeks, he be fired. Solely based on wins and losses, it would be hard to believe that if the Wolverines finish 7-5 and are bowl eligible that he would be fired after improving from 3-9 to 5-7 to 7-5. But wins and losses aren’t always the end of the story.
Despite being slapped for NCAA violations previously, Rich Rod continues to flirt with disaster in terms of NCAA violations. I don’t know anyone in the UM Athletic Department, but I’m sure they’re none too pleased with the constant negative attention they’re receiving.
Add to this, the program’s constant failure against Big 10 opponents, especially the upper echelon of the Big 10. In his tenure, Rich Rod has just ONE victory against the upper half of the Big 10. While the program has improved this season in terms of wins and losses, just look at the teams they played in the early part of the schedule. In the first month of the season, Michigan looked like a new and improved version of his West Virginia offense. Denard Robinson was handed the Heisman by many over-eager sports writers and fans and many thought Michigan would challenge for the Big 10.
Well, once they got through the JV portion of the schedule, they came back to earth and so did Denard Robinson. He’s obviously still a fantastic player, but it became immediately evident that the team has countless holes. I don’t necessarily think Rich Rod is a bad coach, but he is certainly running out of time. He definitely seems to be improving with each recruiting class, but that doesn’t sound like it’s enough.
There have been not only whispers, but loud demands for Rich Rod’s head for quite some time and with the Free Press joining the party, the University may be running out of time to make their move. With other outstanding coaching prospects out there (Jim Harbaugh would be tops on the list), I’m sure the Michigan faithful are growing increasingly anxious.
The reality is, the team has improved in terms of pure wins and losses, but they have failed to secure wins against any legitimate teams. Against the upper tier of the Big 10 like Ohio St., Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan St., and Penn St. they have one win in 3 years and they’re losing by about 16 points per game.The Free Press is demanding that if the program doesn’t get at least one more of these big wins against Ohio St. or Wisconsin in the final two weeks that he be shown the door.
I’m not sure if the Athletic Department will pull the plug on Rich Rod or not, but I would think it largely depends on who is out there. If they think they have a legitimate opportunity to land Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles or another big name “Michigan Man”, then Rich Rod is as good as gone. But if they don’t see that as a possiblity, then they might as well stick it out with Rich Rod and see if he can turn it around.
Penn St. Legend, Joe Paterno
Buckeyes fans are all too familiar with the team’s awful performance in Madison a few weeks ago. Unfortunately for Buckeye Nation, this type of loss has become all too familiar as it seems Ohio St. loses at least one Big 10 game each year to a seemingly lesser team. Now I’m not going to take anything away from the Badgers as they completely manhandled the Buckeyes and they were the team that was ready to play, they were far more physical, and they played a better game.
But apparently Joe Paterno wasn’t too impressed with Wisconsin’s win over the Buckeyes as he was recently quoted in saying “After the Wisconsin thing, it’s hard to believe, when you look at it, that Ohio State lost to them.” Like I said, I’m not about to take anything away from Wisconsin for the great victory over the Buckeyes, essentially ruining their title hopes. I have pointed out though, that Ohio State’s coaching staff and player leadership let them down significantly in this game leading to the loss (
Joe Paterno must be feeling pretty spry these days after his record setting 400th win against Northwestern as he hardly has any room to trash talk given his team’s performance. I’m not one of the people who are calling for Joe Pa to retire. I honestly believe that he has earned the right to what he wants when he wants. He built that program into what it is and deserves to go out when he wants (Bobby Bowden deserved the same treatment). But the reality is, the Nittany Lions haven’t been very good this year and it’s a little surprising to hear Joe Pa go after one of his Big 10 brethren.
Again, Joe Pa can say and do what he wants and maybe his new found attitude will lead to a few more wins this season for his team. Maybe it’s just an attempt a Jedi Mind Trick to lull Ohio State to sleep as he he prepares to face the largely favored Buckeyes this weekend. Either way, it’s at least entertaining to hear an 80+ year old man talk SH*T. And he brings it much harder than Kevin Garnett by the way!
#19 Miami vs. Pitt: Ohio St. fans should be watching closely as a strong showing by Miami this week and the weeks to follow will bolster the Buckeyes national perception. On the flip side, if Miami tanks like its ACC counterpart Virginia Tech against lesser opponents, this will surely discount the big win in the Shoe over the U. With the ACC taking much heat for its subpar performances this year, Miami needs to win handily against Pitt. This game will also serve as a measuring stick for Pitt as we currently have no idea what kind of team they have. They lost in OT to Utah and then beat New Hampshire. This game will give us a better idea of how good or bad the Panthers will be this year.
#21 Michigan vs. Bowling Green: With what seems like their 3rd JV opponent, and 4th terrible defense, the only at question for Michigan in this matchup is if Denard ‘Shoelace’ Robinson can rack up 700 yards in offense. The sophomore quarterback came out of nowhere this year after backing up Tate Forcier last year to jump into the Heisman conversation after only a few weeks. While no one can deny his athletic ability (this guy flies!), I’m curious to see if he continues to put up xbox type numbers once he faces better competition. D-Rob currently leads the nation in rushing yards with 559 yards which as a QB is insane! With another weak opponent, another week of D-Rob for Heisman talk will likely continue (see what I did there?).
Virginia Tech vs. Boston College: This battle of ACC “Powers” isn’t all that intriguing except for the indirect effect Virginia Tech has on Boise St. If you objectively look at Boise St. on film, they’re a great team. I don’t know that they could hold up in the SEC for an entire season, but on a one game basis, I honestly believe they can hang with just about anyone. They took a hit, however, by some national outlets when their marquee win against Virginia Tech was severely discounted when Virginia Tech lost to James Madison. If Virginia Tech rebounds and has a successful in conference season, it could bode well for Boise St. If Virginia Tech continues to struggle, it just adds fuel to the anti-Boise fire.
#1 Alabama vs. #10 Arkansas: This is a pretty intriguing matchup and is probably the #1 or #2 matchup this week for me. You have the machine that is Alabama who has looked incredible thus far. ‘Bama is just running over people with the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and the best backup running back in the country in Trent Richardson. Richardson looked great filling in for the injured Ingram in the first two games and Ingram came back with a vengeance last week, returning to his Heisman form. This is the most dynamic backfield in the country by far and I’m not sure if ANYONE can slow them down. In the past, Alabama relied solely on the running game and defense and won despite the QB. McElroy, however, is playing great this year, leading the nation in passing efficiency. With the ability to now beat you in the air, the Alabama offense is more dynamic than ever.
On the other sideline, you have another early Heisman contender in Ryan Mallet. The former QB for the University of Michigan transferred after Rich Rodriguez installed the spread option offense. Mallet is a 6’7″ pocket passer with an NFL arm. He obviously didn’t fit the Rich Rod offense and transferred to Arkansas. So far in 2010, Mallet has absolutely lit up opposing defenses, leading the nation in just over 360 yards per game and is in the top 5 for passing efficiency. However, Mallet has not faced a defense with the size, speed, athleticism, and coaching that he will face this week. A strong performance, win or lose, will give him a boost in both draft and Heisman discussions.
#2 Ohio State vs. Eastern Michigan: Similar to Michigan’s JV opponents thus far in the 2010 season, 3 of the first 4 opponents for the Buckeyes are against much lesser competition. The only item of note in this matchup is the performance of Heisman hopeful, Terrell Pryor. Pryor has received national acclaim and has been placed in the Heisman conversation, but Buckeye fans and football analysts who look closely at Pryor can see that there is still much room for improvement. Pryor is an athletic freak at 6’6″ and over 230 lbs, he is the fastest player on the team running a legit 4.3 40 yard dash. Pryor beat Ohio sprint champion Brandon Saine in the 40 yard dash this spring. While his speed is impressive, he often appears to be running much much slower than he actually is due to his huge strides. This often catches defenders off balance as they think they have the angle on him and he continually runs right by and gets the edge. At over 230 lbs, he is also deceptively strong as he is a LOAD to bring down whether in the pocket or in the open field, one man rarely brings him down.
So, on paper, he should be a 2 time Heisman Trophy winner and the #1 overall draft pick, right? Yea… about that… Pryor has been a physical specimen since he first stepped foot onto the field as a true freshman. He has struggled with maturity, preparation, accuracy and reading defenses. By all accounts, over the past year he has made great strides in his maturity level, becoming one of the leaders of the team and one of the hardest workers in the weight room and more importantly, the film room. Most Buckeye fans will give him great acclaim for his performance thus far in 2010. To me, he has performed well, but not on the level of a Heisman Trophy winner. His pure athleticism shined through against Miami (FL) and even though the Buckeyes dominated the game, special teams made it much closer and Ohio St. wouldn’t have won without Pryor. For those making the MVP argument for the Heisman, this is a plus for Pryor. However, Pryor struggled to read the defense at times, making poor reads and decisions. He got away with it against an overmatched Miami squad, but if the Buckeyes make it to the BCS title game, he will need to improve to beat the likes of Alabama and other top defenses.
Another area to watch is the buckeyes special teams. They have allowed 3 touchdowns on kick or punt returns in 3 games (and Ohio U had a return called back, so it’s really been 4). Ohio St. ranks among the worst in the country in kick returns and in tight games in conference and in bowl games, this will come to be very costly if not corrected. The Buckeyes have also struggled this year in converting red zone possessions into touchdowns. For me, this is nothing new. The Buckeyes traditionally struggle in this area due to the ultra-conservative play calling by “The Vest”. You can point out several key games where this ended up costing the Buckeyes, the most memorable in my mind was the game against Vince Young and the Longhorns at The Shoe. In my opinion, Tressel is one of the best coaches in the country, he’s a great leader, and a great recruiter. But he is NOT the right man to call plays. He is more often than not, too conservative, predictable, and lacks the willingness or ability to make adjustments. While most times their superior talent allows them to win DESPITE the play calling of the “The Vest”, it has long been my belief that in order for the Buckeyes to compete consistently with great teams from the SEC, BIG 12, and PAC 10, he needs to assign play calling duties to a true offensive coordinator.
#16 Stanford vs. Notre Dame: After two heartbreaking losses to Michigan and Michigan St., I’ll be curious to see how Notre Dame bounces back. While Brian Kelly has at least fielded a competitive team and is making progress, it is clear that Notre Dame is a long way away from competing for a BCS bid. One thing is for sure though, Notre Dame games have been a blast to watch this year, providing the most exciting games of the week more often than not. They have their hands full though with a good Stanford team lead by Coach Harbaugh (who I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t join his brother as a coach in the NFL soon) and NFL prospect QB Andrew Luck. The PAC 10 is full of QB prospects and is wide open with USC’s grip loosened on the conference due to NCAA infractions. It should be an exciting race in the PAC 10 this year and Stanford has as good of a chance as anyone.
#12 South Carolina vs. #17 Auburn: This is an interesting matchup for me. While Florida is currently getting historical benefit from pollsters, ranked #9, they are very overrated in my opinion after watching them so far this year. They are still very well coached, they still have great speed and talent, but they do NOT look like a top 10 team to me. Demps bailed them out of the first 2 games with great individual plays and they played much better last week against Tennessee. While the scoreboard wont show it, they actually struggled against these lesser opponents. Brantley doesn’t look like the improved, pure passer that a Gator WR proclaimed in the offseason and they seem to struggle running the ball. Granted, Brantley played better against Tennessee, and maybe he’ll get going. But the winner of this matchup can put themselves in great position to knock off Florida as SEC East champion for the first time in a long time.
Surprisingly, the ‘Ol Ball Coach, the offensive guru, has had very good defenses at South Carolina and this year is no different. Consistent with SEC teams, they have incredible speed and athleticism on defense and Stephen Garcia seems to be stepping up on offense. If they make it by a good Auburn team, they could make some noise in the SEC East.
#24 Oregon St. vs. #3 Boise St.: Every game is critical for each BCS contender, but perhaps none more so than for Boise St. Despite their success against BCS conference teams and perennial domination of the WAC, many national media members refuse to give them credit as a true contender. This thought was intensified as the Broncos’ early season marquee win over ACC power Virginia Tech was dampened with a Hokie loss to James Madison.
This game represents the Broncos’ only other test against a BCS conference team and a top 25 opponent. Needless to say, if Boise St. is knocked off by Oregon St., they can kiss their BCS title hopes goodbye. If they win against a good PAC 10 team, it will add further credibility to the Boise St. program and put them in a position to play in the BCS title game with a couple conditions. First, the Broncos will need to win out and run the table. 2. They will need Alabama or Ohio St. to lose at least 1 game. Time will tell, but this STILL may not be enough to get them into the title game. I view Boise St. as a very good team who can compete with almost any team in the county on a one game, neutral site basis. That being said, I think Alabama is just too talented, too deep, and too athletic for Boise should this matchup occur. I just can’t see the Boise St. defense slowing down Ingram and Richardson for 4 quarters.
#22 West Virginia vs. #15 LSU: This is an interesting matchup. I’ll be looking to see if West Virginia can compete with top competition in the post Rich Rod era. LSU struggled to beat a severely depleted North Carolina team so while they are still a very good team, but they are not an elite team at this point. It looks like West Virginia will be outmatched by an SEC power, but I’m curious to see how they hold up.
#5 Oregon vs. Arizona St.: Oregon has quickly become a media favorite with strong early season performances sans Masoli. I guess when your starting QB isn’t smoking weed all the time you can be pretty successful. However, they haven’t played very stiff competition. They did smack Tennessee around and it’s never a bad thing to dominate an SEC team, but Tennessee is not a great team this year. Arizona St. has also played pretty weak competition with the exception of last week’s close loss to Wisconsin. Oregon should roll and it’s important for them to get off to a good start in conference play.
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