Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brand NEW Week 10 Top 25 College Football Rankings

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder



What an exciting week of college football we had.

There were a few surprises and some close calls for a couple of top rated teams. There could have been major shakeups at the top, but Alabama and Notre Dame each survived upsets scares.

Here are my week 10 rankings, along with the each teams ranking from the previous week.

For the full poll, visit TheBestDamnPoll.com.


1. KANSAS STATE (1)

2. OREGON (2)

3. ALABAMA (4)

4. OHIO STATE (5)

5. NOTRE DAME (3)

6. GEORGIA (7)

7. LOUISVILLE (9)

8. FLORIDA (8)

9. CLEMSON (10)

10. FLORIDA STATE (11)

11. LSU (6)

12. STANFORD (15)

13. SOUTH CAROLINA (12)

14. OKLAHOMA (16)

15. TEXAS A&M (18)

16. OREGON STATE (20)

17. NEBRASKA (19)

18. USC (13)

19. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (23)

20. LOUISIANA TECH (24)

21. UCLA (NR)

22. TEXAS (NR)

23. KENT STATE (25)

24. TOLEDO (NR)

25. UCF (NR)

Dropped out: Mississippi State, Boise State, Texas Tech, West Virginia




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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Week 10: No. 6 Ohio State vs. Illinois—History Lesson, Trends and Prediction

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

This week, No. 6 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) hosts the Illinois Fighting Illini (2-6, 0-4) in a Leaders Division matchup. ESPN will broadcast the game nationally at 3:30PM EST.



Here is the tale of the tape in recent years, and all-time.

Ohio State—Illinois History Lesson And Recent Trends

• Ohio State is 64-30-4 all-time vs. Illinois.

• Ohio State is 8-2 against Iliinois since 2000.

• Ohio State is 37-18-4 all-time in Columbus vs. Illinois.

• Ohio State is 3rd in the Big Ten with 20 quarterback sacks.

• Urban Meyer coached teams are 70-14 when ranked in the Top 25.

• Ohio State is one of only 6 unbeaten FBS teams and the only team at 9-0.

• Ohio State's defense has only allowed 11 100-yard rushers in their last 58 games.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 37 times since 2006.

• Ohio State has held 71 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Illinois is 46-83 overall since 2002.

• Illinois last defeated Ohio State in 2007.

• Illinois is 23-61 in Big Ten games since 2002.

A Couple Thoughts and Score Prediction

To put it mildly, Illinois is having a terrible season under first year coach, and former Urban Meyer, and Ohio State assistant, Tim Beckman.

The Fighting Illini have lost five in a row by an average of 26.4 points and despite the fact that the Buckeyes have been playing down to their competition in recent weeks, I look for that trend to be broken this week over the Illini.

The Buckeyes are 10th in the nation at just over 248 rushing yards per game, and quarterback Braxton Miller, who leads the Big Ten in both rushing and total yards per game, should bolster his Heisman Trophy consideration against an Illinois defense that's allowing nearly 153 rushing yards per game and that has yet to face an opponent with the running prowess and capability that Ohio State owns.

Ohio State 55
Illinois 10


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Monday, October 29, 2012

BlockONation's Week Nine Top 25 Rankings For TheBestDamnPoll.com

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder



This is my first set of rankings this year. There might be some validity to the argument against preseason and early-season polls.

I think in a way, not doing any rankings before now has helped give me time to assemble a very accurate poll for my first submission of the season, having been able to see 8-9 games to properly weigh each teams resume to date.

With that, here are my week 9 rankings -- my first rankings submitted to the poll at TheBestDamnPoll.com this year.

1. KANSAS STATE

2. OREGON

3. NOTRE DAME

4. ALABAMA

5. OHIO STATE

6. LSU

7. GEORGIA

8. FLORIDA

9. LOUISVILLE

10. CLEMSON

11. FLORIDA STATE

12. SOUTH CAROLINA

13. USC

14. MISS. STATE

15. STANFORD

16. OKLAHOMA

17. BOISE STATE

18. TEXAS A&M

19. NEBRASKA

20. OREGON STATE

21. TEXAS TECH

22. WEST VIRGINIA

23. NORTHERN ILLINOIS

24. LOUISIANA TECH

25. KENT STATE




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Friday, October 12, 2012

No. 8 Ohio State—Indiana: History Lesson, Trends and Prediction

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

This week, No. 8 Ohio State (6-0, 2-0) heads to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2) in a Leaders Division matchup.

Ohio State at Indiana
BTN - 8PM
      


Ohio State—Indiana History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State is 68-12-5 all-time vs. Indiana.

• Ohio State has won 17 straight games against Indiana.

• Ohio State is 24-2-1 all-time in Bloomington vs. Indiana.

• Ohio State is 2nd in the Big Ten with 16 quarterback sacks.

• Urban Meyer coached teams are 67-14 when ranked in the Top 25.

• The last time Ohio State or Indiana won by less than 10 points was 1993.

• Ohio State is one of only 16 unbeaten FBS teams and one of only four at 6-0.

• Ohio State's defense has only allowed 11 100-yard rushers in their last 55 games.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 37 times since 2006.

• Ohio State has held 71 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Indiana is 39-85 overall since 2002.

• Indiana last defeated Ohio State in 1988.

• Indiana has lost 22 of its last 23 Big Ten conference games.

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

The Hoosiers surprisingly played very well last week at home vs. Michigan State, but the Spartans rallied from a 10-point, 3rd quarter deficit for a 31-27 win.

The fact that Ohio State and Michigan State battled to a 17-16 Buckeye win gives me reason to ever-so-briefly suspect that Indiana could play the Buckeyes similarly.

The series history, however, carries far more weight with me than the transitive property—and let's face it, Indiana is the worst team in the Big Ten by far. One could even make a case for Indiana and a MAC team like the Ohio Bobcats to swap conference allegiances.

The last time the teams played in Bloomington, Memorial Stadium looked like The Horseshoe, West, overrun with Buckeye fans. The "home" crowd will once again come away pleased with a Buckeye victory.

Ohio State 45
Indiana 13


"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson




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No. 8 Ohio State vs. Indiana—5 Things To Watch For

By Luke Pashke—BlockONation.com Featured Contributor

After a slate of Top 25 matchups, the Buckeyes are in store for a change of pace this week against a 2-3 Indiana team.

That being said, the Hoosiers did play Michigan State tough this past week so they may not be quite the slouch we thought they were, though they certainly aren't Nebraska or Michigan, either.

I understand that it's difficult to get excited about a seemingly gimme, in-conference game, but there are a few things that you should keep your eye on, which may give you a reason to enthusiastically watch this game.

Progression of the Passing Game

Following the Nebraska game, it's clear that this team can run the ball effectively at anytime.

Braxton Miller and company erupted for 371 yards rushing at 7.7 yards per rush, while only managing to throw for a mere 127 yards and 7 completions.

Now, granted, there's no reason to throw the ball when you're consistently driving down the field on the ground, but sooner or later this team will have to prove they can move the ball through the air.

When watching the Indiana game, pay close attention to how Miller and his receivers fare in the passing game. Hopefully for OSU, playing against a weaker opponent can build confidence in their passing game, allowing the Buckeyes to develop a more two-dimensional offense.

Who's Playing Linebacker?

Seemingly, the Buckeyes' linebacker crew could have their own reserved section in a hospital wing.

Ryan Shazier has been struggling through a knee issue all season and now senior linebacker, Etienne Sabino, is out for the next month or so with a leg injury he received this past weekend.

With Sabino out, freshman LB Josh Perry filled in against Nebraska. Along with Perry, fellow freshman linebacker Camren Williams saw some playing time against the Cornhuskers, although it was fairly short lived.

It will be interesting to see which young LB this coaching staff trusts to fill in for Sabino. Whoever it is, they better take advantage, because this team is chock-full of hungry, talented, young linebackers.

Utilization of the Tight Ends

This past Saturday against Nebraska, the Buckeyes finally used their tight ends effectively in the passing game. To my surprise, Stoneburner was not one of these tight ends, but nonetheless it was great to see.

Heuerman hauled in a pair of big catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. Even Nick Vannett had a 32 yard reception.

A tight end can be a quarterback's best friend, and heading into the season I expected this offense to utilize the tight ends on the regular. Through five games this wasn't the case, but this past Saturday Miller seemed to be looking the TE's way much more often.

Pay close attention to see if this utilization of the tight ends was a blip or a trend. Hopefully it's a trend. This offense is much better when the tight ends get involved.

Tackling on Defense and Special Teams

The Silver Bullets have progressively improved their tackling throughout the season, but they still aren't quite there yet. This past weekend they missed about five tackles on a touchdown run by Taylor Martinez.

The poor tackling can't continue to be a trend.

Their problem has been not wrapping up the opponent. Anytime the Buckeyes have gone for highlight tackles or strips they've looked foolish and hurt the team.

Against the Hoosiers, look for the defense to tackle fundamentally and cut down on the number of broken tackles, because against better teams those type of mistakes just can't happen.

Braxton Miller's Heisman Hype and Health

There is no doubt that Braxton Miller is the main attraction of any Ohio State football game.

The sophomore QB accounts for more than 70 percent of the Buckeyes' offense and has emerged as a serious contender for the prized Heisman Trophy.

Against Indiana, Miller just needs to pad his stats as much as possible and remain healthy.

Am I the only one who constantly holds their breath on every single one of Miller's runs?

I doubt it, because without No. 5, who knows where the Buckeyes would be at this point.

While a "Geno Smith vs. Baylor" performance would be nice, as long as Miller stays out of harm's way while adding a few scores and highlight plays, his Heisman hype will only increase.




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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week Five: Ohio State at Michigan State—LIVE Blog, History Lesson and Prediction

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

      




Ohio State—Michigan State History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State leads the all-time series vs. MSU, 27-13.

• Ohio State is 13-5 all-time vs. MSU in East Lansing.

• Ohio State is 70-24-4 all-time in B1G confer. openers.

• Ohio State has won 7 of the last 8 meetings with MSU.

• Urban Meyer coached teams are 38-4 overall in September.

• Meyer is 10-0 in conference openers in his coaching career.

• Meyer can become just the 3rd OSU coach to start 5-0 in his 1st year.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 37 times since 2006.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed only 10 100-yard rushers in their last 53 games.

• Ohio State has held 70 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State is 19-10 in games that ESPN's College Gameday originates from—Michigan State is just 2-3.

• Michigan State last beat ohio State in back-to-back seasons in 1998/1999.

• Michigan State is just 7-14 under coach Mark Dantonio against Top 25 opponents.

• Under coach Dantonio (2007-2011), Michigan State is 27-14 vs. Big Ten conference opponents.

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

Everyone is expecting a defensive battle and a low-scoring game, much like the meeting in Columbus last year.

I won't be surprised a bit if that is exactly what happens, but I also won't be shocked if the opposite occurs, as both teams are capable of wearing down a defense and punching it into the endzone.

The key for Ohio State on defense is obviously to play man-to-man on the outside and load up the box in hopes of containing MSU star-tailback, Le'Veon Bell.

On offense, they must have balance between the passing and running game, and QB Braxton Miller is going to have to make plays with his legs to help open up the passing game. Jordan Hall, Corey Brown, Jake Stoneburner and Devin Smith all need to step up for Miller today.

Ohio State has owned Michigan State overall and in East Lansing, and the Spartans never seem to perform well in national spotlight games, so for those reasons, I'm going with the Buckeyes in a closely-contested, relatively low-scoring battle.

Ohio State 27
Michigan State 20


"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson




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Sunday, September 23, 2012

College Gameday Heading To East Lansing For No. 14 Ohio State At No. 21 Michigan State

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

I'm not sure if this game is actually being considered worthy of having the Gameday crew on-site or if it's just the best of the weak, week five matchups...


Whatever led to the decision, this obviously puts the national spotlight on both teams and the Big Ten, not that I care about the conference's image, because I don't—most likely because I don't live down south and piggyback the success of every team in the conference like SEC fans, but I digress.

The Spartans and the Buckeyes kick off at 3:30Pm on ABC to open conference play. Michigan State is 2-3 in games that Gameday has come to town for. Ohio State has won seven of the last eight meetings with MSU and has not lost in East Lansing since 1999.

The trends don't guarantee anything, but they do bode well for the Bucks, should they hold up.

— HD




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Plenty Of Movement In The New Week 4 AP College Football Poll

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

Week four had a little taste of everything for college football fans.

Some teams like my Buckeyes struggled but still won, while others like Oklahoma were blindsided and upset.

Others still—to borrow a line from former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green, "Were who we thought they were,"—and they dropped out of the poll completely after another early season loss—*cough, Michigan, cough*.

The new rankings reflect all of the goings-on from this past week in college football.



1 Alabama(59) 4-0

2 Oregon 4-0

3 LSU (1) 4-0

4 Florida State 4-0

5 Georgia 4-0

6 South Carolina 4-0

7 Kansas State 4-0

8 Stanford 3-0

9 West Virginia 3-0

10 Notre Dame 4-0

11 Florida 4-0

12 Texas 3-0

13 USC 3-1

14 Ohio State 4-0

15 TCU 3-0

16 Oklahoma 2-1

17 Clemson 3-1

18 Oregon State 2-0

19 Louisville 4-0

20 Michigan State 3-1

21 Mississippi State 4-0

22 Nebraska 3-1

23 Rutgers 4-0

24 Boise State 2-1

25 Baylor 3-0

I was a bit surprised (4-0) Northwestern is still missing from the rankings. For whatever it's worth, I would have the Wildcats in at 24 or 25 and Boise State unranked on my ballot.

— HD




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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week Four: Ohio State vs. UAB—Quick-Hit Preview, History Lesson And Prediction

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

Ohio State/UAB—A Few Opening Thoughts...

No. 16 Ohio State may on the verge of starting 4-0 this season—thanks mostly to the exceptional play of sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender, Braxton Miller—but last weeks shaky defensive performance against California has coach Urban Meyer shaking his head.

The Buckeyes gave up several big plays of 15 or more yards—including an 82-yard-touchdown-run, the longest by an opponent in Ohio Stadium history—to Cal in their come-from-behind, 35-28 win.

"That is the most alarming thing," Meyer said on Monday. "I've watched Ohio State's defense for a long time, and I can't remember a defense I've been around that's given up this many (big plays). We've got to stop or we'll lose a game."

The cure that ails you for the Buckeyes, at least for this week, comes in the form of the 0-2 UAB Blazers.

UAB fell on the road to the old ball coach and No. 7 South Carolina last week, 49-6. With the odds makers having Ohio State listed as 36-point favorites, surely coach Meyer will expect a similar, and perhaps even more dominating, result for his Buckeyes against the Blazers this weekend.

Here are where Ohio State and UAB currently rank and compare statistically on offense to date:



The Buckeyes are 66th in total defense and 36th in scoring defense, allowing 18 points per game.

UAB is 104th in total defense and 120th in scoring defense, allowing 44 points per game.

You can get an expanded game preview via ESPN by clicking here.


Ohio State—UAB History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State is 60-7 in Ohio Stadium since the 2002 season.

• This is the first-ever meeting between Ohio State and UAB.

• Urban Meyer coached teams are 37-4 in the month of September.

• Ohio State is 20-1 in first-ever meetings with an opponent in Ohio Stadium.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 37 times since 2006.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed only 10 100-yard rushers in their last 52 games.

• Ohio State has held 69 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State is 44-7 overall vs. non-conference opponents since the start of the 2002 season.

• Ohio State has won 60 consecutive regular season non-conference home games vs. unranked opponents.

• Ohio State is seeking win No. 400 in Ohio Stadium. Their overall W/L/T record in The Shoe is 399-109-20 (1922-2012).

• UAB is 3-33 all-time vs. teams from a BCS conference.

• UAB is 3-19 overall vs. ranked opponents and 0-19 vs. ranked opponents from a BCS conference.

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

The biggest offensive threat for the Blazers is QB Jonathan Perry who is averaging nearly 270 passing yards per game, but has also been picked off once and sacked five times in UAB's two games.

The Buckeye defense must play better against the pass and overall honestly, and I believe they will. If I'm wrong and they don't, a few players, and eventually a coach or two, could be out of a job.

UAB's defense is ripe for the picking here. They can't stop the run, and that is Ohio State's biggest strength, and they are dead last in scoring defense in the FBS.

This feels like the perfect time for the Buckeyes to hang half-a-hundred and then some offensively, and to get their defense back on track before league play begins in East Lansing next week.

Ohio State 66
UAB 9


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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Can Urban Meyer And Ohio State Debunk The Big Ten Stereotype?

By Tim BielikBlockONation.com Featured Contributor

No conference has undergone as much scrutiny and criticism in the past few years as the Big Ten has.

And most of it has been deserved.

The Big Ten has a reputation for being a slow, plodding conference full of conservative coaches who don't pull in big-time athletes.

Ohio State, one of the few Big Ten schools that can pull in those kinds of athletes, is largely to blame for the stereotype of the Big Ten after back-to-back national championship game losses. Ironically enough, the coach who dealt OSU its first title game loss is now standing on the Buckeyes' sideline: Urban Meyer.

The typical Urban Meyer team that we saw at Florida was almost the antithesis of Big Ten squad, full of speedsters and a very aggressive, opportunistic mentality on both sides of the ball.

The Buckeyes do have the ability to be that kind of team, even within a year or two, simply because of Meyer's national reputation and the reputation of the program itself. And he has the right quarterback to help him as well, in one Braxton Miller.

The sophomore is the prototypical dual-threat quarterback. He has already put together a strong start to his sophomore season—one that has generated early Heisman talks. With his ability to run and his potential as a passer, Miller has already shown that he's a perfect fit for Meyer's spread offense.

It's early, but thus far coach and quarterback seem to be an ideal match. They will have possibly two years together and will set their sights on winning conference titles and possibly a national championship.

But the biggest thing that might change in the Big Ten is that other teams in the conference will need to play catchup with the Buckeyes. Ohio State could be embarking on a run of conference dominance similar to that enjoyed at the end of the Jim Tressel era, when the Buckeyes won five straight Big Ten titles (the 2010 title was vacated, of course).

If they can win a national championship or two, that will force the other top teams in the conference like Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin to really step up their recruiting efforts and make sure they can compete with Ohio State.

First things first though, OSU has to be able to win a Big Ten championship, which they still have to wait a year for due to NCAA sanctions.

But in a way, it's better for Meyer and Miller to have that year because the first three games showed that—while they're good—they're not great...yet.

The mental lapses the defense had all last year have already created a few red flags, and the offense, though they are putting up nice numbers, struggles from a lack of consistency and too few playmakers.

Luckily, those are things that can be corrected and fixed in a year or two, probably sooner if you bring in the right players.

Meyer can do that.

And for the offense to continue to improve, Miller will need to continue to be the guy until he gets a stable of playmakers outside of the three he has right now: Corey Brown, Jake Stoneburner and Devin Smith.

There are no burners in the backfield, yet. But they are coming.

Meyer is already sending a message that his SEC way of doing things—in terms of what types of players he wants and what style he is going to coach—is coming to the Big Ten; other teams will either rise up to the challenge or sink to the back of the pack.

It's the foundation for a new era, and the Big Ten may never be the same again.

Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller won't let it.




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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Top 25 Recap: Ohio State, Others (Excluding USC, Virginia Tech) Survive Upset Bids

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

Braxton Miller had the best game of his Buckeye career as the No. 12 Buckeyes (3-0) were fortunate enough to avoid the upset bug Saturday.

After leading 20-7 at the half, the OSU defense gave up a ton of yards and 21 second-half points, in what is one of their worst performances in years.

With the score tied at 28, Miller found a wide-open Devin Smith for a 72-yard-touchdown to put the Buckeyes up 35-28.

On their ensuing drive, Cal QB Zach Maynard overthrew his intended receiver and cornerback Christian Bryant intercepted the pass with under a minute and a half left to seal the win.

Miller finished the day 16 of 30 for 249 yards and four touchdown passes with one interception and had 12 carries for 75 yards and one rushing touchdown. The defense MUST improve, but as long as Miller is healthy, he is a Heisman front-runner and the Buckeyes will have a great chance to win every game.

The Top 10

No. 1 Alabama has no trouble steamrolling Arkansas 52-0. No. 2 USC did not fare so well—dropping their fourth straight to the Stanford Cardinal.

No. 3 LSU and No. 4 Oregon both cruised to 63-14 wins over Idaho and Tennessee Tech, respectively. No. 5 Florida State shutout Wake Forest, 52-0.

No. 7 Georgia blasted Florida Atlantic by a final of 56-20.

No. 8 South Carolina routed UAB (Ohio State's week four opponent), 49-6.

No. 9 West Virginia coasted to a 42-12 win over James Madison.

No. 20 Notre Dame suffocated No. 10 Michigan State in East Lansing, 20-3.

11-25 Notable Games

No. 14 Virginia Tech did what they pretty much always do every year and laid an egg vs. an inferior opponent, losing 35-17 to previously winless Pittsburgh.

No. 23 Tennessee led No. 18 Florida at the half, but the Gator defense was too much for the Vols in the second half and Florida remained undefeated with a 37-20 victory.

No. 19 Louisville held a 39-14 lead over UNC early in the fourth quarter, but had to withstand a late charge by the Tarheels and held on for a 39-34 win.

What these Top 25 results mean for Ohio State

USC will likely drop down to the 13-15 range and Michigan State might stay in the top 25, or drop out altogether. The teams that beat each of them, Stanford and Notre Dame, could both jump up near the top 10.

It looks like the best case for Ohio State is they move up to No. 10 ahead of USC and MSU. The worst case is they move up to No. 11. I don't think ND jumps OSU, but the voters could definitely and deservedly reward Stanford with a top 10 slot.

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. And while many of the experts and our own fans will be down on the Buckeyes after this, I, for one, believe winning a close game like this can be very beneficial as the season plays out.

— HD




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Friday, September 14, 2012

Week Three: Ohio State vs. California—History Lesson And Prediction

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

Ohio State/Cal—A Few Opening Thoughts...

In their third straight home game to start the season, the (2-0) Buckeyes will play host to the (1-1) California Golden Bears in a non-conference tilt Saturday at Noon on ABC.

Ohio State easily disposed on Miami-OH, 56-10, to open the season, then defeated a talented and feisty UCF team in week two, 31-16.

In the win, starting tailback Carlos Hyde suffered a sprained MCL and could miss at least a game or two, meaning freshman Bri'onte Dunn and senior Jordan Hall, who is expected to return this week following off-season foot surgery, will share some of the load out of the backfield, along with QB Braxton Miller.

Cal somewhat-unexpectedly opened the season with a 31-24 home loss to Nevada, but then rebounded a week later by defeating Southern Utah at home, 50-31.

The prospect of starting 1-3 is very real for the Bears as they play in the L.A. Coliseum against No. 2 USC next week after facing the No. 12 Buckeyes in Columbus tomorrow—possibly the toughest back-to-back road game slate that any team will face all season.

Through two weeks, here are where Ohio State and Cal rank and compare statistically on offense:



The Buckeyes are 45th in total defense and 25th in scoring defense, allowing 13 points per game. Cal is 76th in total defense and 92nd in scoring defense, allowing 31 points per game.

You can get a full game preview via ESPN by clicking here.


Ohio State—California History Lesson And Trends

• Urban Meyer coached teams are 36-4 in the month of September.

• Ohio State is 59-7 in Ohio Stadium since the start of the 2002 season.

• Ohio State is 7-3 in its last 10 games vs. Pac-12 teams, dating back to 1997.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to 10 points or less 37 times since 2006.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just nine 100-yard rushers in their last 51 games.

• Ohio State has held 69 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• This is the seventh meeting between Ohio State and Cal. Ohio State leads the series 5-1.

• Ohio State has won 59 consecutive regular season non-conference home games vs. unranked opponents.

• Cal is 13-19 (.406) vs. top 25 opponents since 2001.

• This is just Cal's 3rd trip east of the Mississippi since 2003.

• Cal is 14-5 vs. BCS opponents under coach Jeff Tedford (2001-2011).

• Cal is 5-2 in non-conference away games vs. BCS opponents since 2002.

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

With Cal losing at home to Nevada, it's clear Ohio State is the better team. That being said, Cal isn't going to lay down and die on their own. But they may with some help from the Buckeye offense and especially the Buckeye defense.

So far, Ohio State has not been dominant up front or gotten to the QB as much as expected and coach Meyer was visually displeased on the sideline with the defensive effort against UCF last weekend, so one has to believe there was a ton of emphasis put into pressuring the opposing QB this week at practice.

I might be a little concerned if this game was being played at Berkeley, but since it's not, I'm not very concerned at all. That doesn't mean I expect a blowout, but a double-digit win to atone for a somewhat lackluster win last week should be in the cards for the Bucks.

Ohio State 45
Cal 21


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Week Two: Ohio State vs. Central Florida—History Lesson And Prediction

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

Ohio State/UCF—A Few Opening Thoughts...

Last week after an unexpected slow start which saw Ohio State trail Miami-Ohio 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, Devin Smith ignited the home crowd and the offense with the catch of the year, and the Buckeyes never looked back en route to a 56-10 blowout.

This week, Ohio State faces a much stiffer test as they host the UCF Knights. UCF also scored 56 points and opened the season with a win in the state of Ohio with their week one victory over the Akron Zips.



Given that my schedule did not permit me to post a full preview this week, you can get a full game preview via ESPN by clicking here.

Ohio State—UCF History Lesson And Trends

• This is the first-ever football meeting between Ohio State and UCF.

• Ohio State is 58-7 in Ohio Stadium since the start of the 2002 season.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just nine 100-yard rushers in their last 50 games.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponents to fewer than 10 points 31 times since 2006.

• Ohio State has held 68 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State has won 58 consecutive regular season non-conference home games vs. unranked opponents.

• UCF is 0-6 all-time vs. Big Ten opponents.

• UCF has never beaten a ranked, non-conference opponent.

• UCF is 6-7 in games played in Ohio and 13-14 overall vs. teams from Ohio.

Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

Ohio State is the better team on paper and that should be obvious on the field late in the first half or early in the second. That being said, UCF is a good team capable of hanging with the Buckeyes in this game if they start like they did last week.

They say teams make the biggest leap from game one to game two. Assuming that holds true, we should see Ohio State come out firing on all cylinders early and often on Saturday.

I respect where the UCF program is after only 34 years of existence and I won't be shocked at all if they finish the season with 10 wins. To be honest, I fully expect 10 wins from them this season. Unfortunately, one of those 10 wins I foresee won't come Saturday in Columbus.

Ohio State 38
UCF 13


"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson




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