Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Count Your Hawkeyes Before They Hatch Iowa: The Big Ten Still Belongs To Ohio State

By HD Handshoe
B/R Ohio State Featured Columnist

It's really a simple formula for Ohio State.

Win out and go to the Rose Bowl as Big Ten Champions.

That's right—The Buckeyes completely control their own destiny, much to the chagrin of the rest of the conference, and the nation.

A lot of fans and so-called experts believe that the Hawkeyes (8-0, 4-0) are going to win the rest of their games -- which includes a trip to Columbus to face the Buckeyes (6-2, 4-1) on November 14th -- and thus win the Big Ten.

Personal bias aside, I honestly believe the Buckeyes are every bit as good as Iowa, if not better. That will certainly be settled on the field soon enough, but here are the stats and facts that support my position for you to ponder in the interim.

Wins, Losses, and Close Calls

As I already noted, Iowa does not have any losses yet but they have had close calls against Northern Iowa, Arkansas State, and Michigan (all at home) and on the road against Michigan State.

Against FCS cupcake Northern Iowa (5-3), the Hawkeyes blocked not one, but two field goals in the final seconds to survive by a slim one-point margin, 17-16.

Arkansas State (2-4) of the Sun Belt Conference, which has only been an FBS program since 2001, pulled within three points of Iowa in the closing minutes only to run out of time in their 24-21 loss.

Michigan (5-3, 1-3) trailed Iowa by only two-points with just under a minute to go. They were driving toward a possible game-winning field goal or touchdown when true freshmen quarterback Denard Robinson made an ill-advised pass that was picked off, and Iowa just barely eked out a 30-28 win.

Last week, Iowa trailed Michigan State 6-3 entering the fourth quarter and hardly resembled a 7-0, top ten team. After kicking two field goals to take a 9-6 lead with 2:56 remaining in the game, the Hawkeyes short-lived lead disappeared with 1:37 left when Kirk Cousins connected with Blair White for a 30-yard touchdown.

Trailing 13-9, Iowa managed to quickly get down the field versus a very vanilla prevent defense by the Spartans, and with less than 20 seconds left, had the ball 1st and goal just a few yards inside the 10.

After passes on first, second, and third down were all incomplete, Iowa had time for one final play. As luck would have it, Ricky Stanzi connected with Marvin McNutt on a quick slant for a seven-yard touchdown as time expired and Houdini escaped once again.

The Buckeyes only close call came against Navy (6-2) in week one in their 31-27 win. I won't make excuses but I will mention that Navy is a good team and they are an FBS program, but Ohio State was never in danger of being behind and the game really was never in doubt despite the late comeback and closer-than-expected final score.

The Buckeyes 18-15 loss to USC could have, and probably would have been a win if Coach Tressel was not the most conservative play-caller to have ever lived.

As for the Purdue debacle, that was a clear case of the players and coaches not being prepared and completely taking a win over the Boilermakers for granted. Line them up nine more times and Ohio State wins all nine, guaranteed.

But wait, there's more!

Offensive Statistics

Everyone has been ripping on Ohio State, and specifically quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel, for how "bad" the Buckeye offense has been this season.

Iowa is averaging 23.6 points per game and 342 total yards.

Ohio State is averaging 29.3 points per game and 353 total yards.

That's not a misprint or typo. It's close, but Iowa's offensive numbers aren't quite as good as Ohio State's, but for some reason, nobody else has seemed to notice.

Defensive Statistics

Iowa did hold Penn State, who had been averaging 30 points per game, to 10 points, but let's be honest here. The Nittany Lions put up those points against Akron, Syracuse, and Temple -- not exactly a who's who list of powerhouses.

Iowa has given up an average of 297 total yards per game and 14.8 points.

Ohio State has given up an average of 285 total yards per game and 13.1 points.

Again, the numbers are close, but the slight edge goes to Ohio State, and I for one do not believe Iowa would have held USC to 18 points, nor would they have beaten them either. Sorry Hawkeye fans, I'd be surprised if USC didn't beat Iowa by at least 14 or more points.

Common Opponent: Wisconsin

Iowa outgained the Badgers in total yardage (283 to 230) and won by a final of 20-10 after entering the fourth quarter tied 10-10.

Ohio State was outgained by the Badgers in total yardage (368-184) as the defense certainly bent, but never broke. The Buckeyes pulled away in the third quarter, and went on to a fairly comfortable 31-13 win.

Like I said, all of this may mean something, or possibly nothing, when the teams meet up in Ohio Stadium in a little over two weeks.

Ricky Stanzi isn't a bad quarterback by any means but overall, Terrelle Pryor has better stats, is absolutely a better athlete, and has more talent around him than does Stanzi.

And now that the Hawkeyes leading rusher, Adam Robinson is out for the year, I feel even more confident that the Buckeyes can beat the Hawkeyes.

But I suppose I better not count my Buckeyes before they fall from the tree, since the last time I did that, we lost to Purdue...

So for now, let's take it one game at a time.

Go Bucks—Beat New Mexico State!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ohio State—New Mexico State: Week Nine Preview, Free History Lesson Included

By HD Handshoe

No. 17 Ohio State (6-2) finishes up their 2009 OOC schedule this week as they host the New Mexico State Aggies (3-5, 1-3) of the Western Athletic Conference. Kickoff is Saturday at 12:00PM in Ohio Stadium.

The Aggies are currently seventh in the WAC standings. They have beaten Prairie View A&M, New Mexico, and Utah State, and have lost to Idaho, UTEP, San Diego State, Louisiana Tech, and Fresno State.

New Mexico State—By The Numbers:

Quarterbacks Jeff Fleming (pictured at top right) and Trevor Walls have combined for 831 passing yards, 101 rushing yards, with four passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns, but also 11 interceptions.

Starting tailback Seth Smith has 162 carries for 703 yards and two scores.

The Aggies leading receivers are Todd Lee (18 receptions, 208 yards, one touchdown), Marcus Allen (18 receptions, 195 yards), and Marcus Anderson (18 receptions, 178 yards one touchdown).

Ohio State—By The Numbers:

Terrelle Pryor bounced back nicely last week against Minnesota and this week SHOULD be more of the same. He has completed 55 percent of his passes for 1408 yards and 12 touchdowns to nine interceptions, and his QB rating is up from 128 to 132.

OSU's top receiver is true sophomore DeVier Posey who had eight catches and two touchdowns last week to bring his season totals up to 38 catches, 516 yards, and six scores.

The Buckeyes top three rushers, Pryor, Brandon Saine, and Dan Herron have combined for 1138 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Dan Herron and Brandon Saine are both nursing injuries, so don't be surprised to see the trio of freshmen backs—Jordan Hall, Jermil Martin, and Jaamal Berry—in this game.

Ohio State's offense looked much better last week, but it was against a bad Minnesota defense. New Mexico State's "D" is likely even more pathetic so the half-century plateau is possible this week, even with the ultra-conservative Jim Tressel calling the plays.

10/31/2009—Game Nine—12:00PM Kickoff
TV: Big Ten Network


Ohio State—New Mexico State History and Tidbits:

• This will be the first ever meeting between Ohio State and New Mexico State in football.

• Ohio State is 46-2 in their last 48 home games vs. OOC opponents.

• Ohio State is 37-0 at home vs. non-BCS conference opponents, since 1990.

• Ohio State is 3-0 all-time vs. WAC opponents (SJSU once, Fresno State twice).

• The last Ohio State loss to a non-BCS opponent came in the 1990 Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Tennessee) against Air Force by a score of 23-11.

• New Mexico State's football program began in 1894.

• The Aggies have only played against two Big Ten teams all-time, losing both times to Wisconsin in Madison in 1962 by a score of 69-13, and to Iowa in Iowa City in 1995 by a score of 59-21.

• This is DeWayne Walker's first year as New Mexico State Head Coach after serving the past three seasons as UCLA's defensive coordinator.

• New Mexico State's last conference championship came in 1978 when the Aggies were members of the Missouri Valley Conference.

• New Mexico State has lost 12 straight to ranked opponents since a 35-7 win at No. 22 Arizona State back in 1999.

I usually post some keys to the game and/or recap the article at this point, but there's really not much else to say here except that anything less than a blowout will be a letdown for the Buckeyes.

Just to give everyone a baseline, New Mexico State lost its' last two WAC games, falling at home last week to 4-3 Fresno State by a score of 34-3, and on the road the week before to 3-4 La Tech by a score of 45-7.

Generally, the transitive property doesn't apply when it comes to college football, but if Fresno State can put up 34 in a 31-point win, and La Tech can put up 45 in a 38-point win, Ohio State better be able to put up 50+, despite how bad the Buckeye offense has looked at times this season.

Final score prediction:

Ohio State 55, New Mexico State 0

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pryor Plays Well: Buckeyes Thump Minnesota, 38-7

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Terrelle Pryor threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Ohio State (No. 19 BCS, No. 18 AP) to a 38-7 win over Minnesota on Saturday.

A week after a devastating 26-18 loss at two-touchdown underdog Purdue, the Buckeyes (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) made Minnesota (4-4, 2-3) pay for its bad plays. The Golden Gophers had two major misplays in the secondary and two turnovers inside their own 20.

Pryor said he was a new man after four turnovers in the Purdue defeat. He played better against Minnesota, but it was difficult to tell how much because the Gophers made so many costly mistakes.

Pryor hit on 13 of 25 passes for 239 yards with one interception and also ran for 104 yards on 15 carries.

Minnesota didn't offer much resistance, running its scoreless streak to 136:23 before MarQueis Gray's late 16-yard touchdown pass to Troy Stoudermire.

Trailing just 7-0 through two quarters, the Golden Gophers started making mistakes. They gave Ohio State the ball at the Minnesota 15 after Stoudermire fumbled away a short pooch kick to start the second half. Three plays later, Pryor bolted around right end off a nice play-fake to score on a 15-yard run.

Then Gophers quarterback Adam Weber lost a fumble at his own 22, leading to freshman Jordan Hall, on to replace injured tailback Brandon Saine who left with a concussion, scoring on an 11-yard run.

After a Minnesota punt, a foul-up in coverage led to Pryor's 57-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open DeVier Posey.

The two also had hooked up on a 62-yard score in the second quarter when another gaffe in the secondary left Posey unguarded 10 yards behind the defense.

Minnesota played most of the game without top receiver Eric Decker, who hobbled off the field in the first quarter and didn't return due to a recurring ankle injury. Still, the Gophers had four turnovers, eight penalties and numerous other miscues.

Weber was 10 for 23 for just 112 yards with two interceptions and his fellow quarterback, Gray, was 5 for 6 for 51 yards. They were sacked four times for 21 yards in losses and were harassed most of the day.

Hall finished with 38 yards and his first collegiate touchdown on 10 carries, with fifth-string tailback Jermil Martin rumbling 39 yards for his first career score. He totaled 75 yards on just seven carries.

Neither team played well, continually taking turns making mistakes, in a first half that saw Ohio State lead 7-0 -- thanks to a costly set of errors by Minnesota.

After stopping an Ohio State end-around for a loss on the first play of a series that started at the 25, Minnesota was assessed a late-hit penalty for a Buckeyes first down. On the next play, two Gophers defenders slid to the receiver cutting under coverage -- leaving Posey all alone. He had 10 yards clear of the field to grab Pryor's long spiral to complete the 62-yard touchdown.

Ohio State drove to a first down at the Minnesota 17 late in the half, but in the hurry-up offense Pryor threw a pass up for grabs in the end zone that was picked off by Kyle Theret.

The Buckeyes had a 2-to-1 edge in yards in the opening half, but Aaron Pettrey hooked a 30-yard field goal. They drove into Minnesota territory four times and collected no points.

Ohio State finished with 509 yards of offense, including 270 on the ground.

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Associated Press

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ohio State—Minnesota: Week Eight Preview, Free History Lesson Included

By HD Handshoe


No. 19 Ohio State (5-2) returns home after an unexpected and disappointing upset loss a week ago to Big Ten cellar dweller Purdue.

This week the Buckeyes will take on the 4-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday at 12:00PM in Ohio Stadium.

The Gophers have one of the best wide receivers in the Big Ten in Eric Decker. Through seven games, Decker has 47 catches for 731 yards and five touchdowns.

Quarterback Adam Weber has not lived up to expectations so far this year. He has only completed 55.8% of his pass attempts for 1325 yards and has only six touchdown passes compared to nine interceptions. His QB rating is 115.

Gopher running backs Duane Bennett, DeLeon Eskridge, and Keven Whaley have combined for 628 rush yards and nine touchdowns.

Terrelle Pryor has taken much criticism recently, but his numbers are slightly better than Weber's. He has completed 56% of his passes for 1169 yards for 10 touchdowns to only eight interceptions and has a QB rating of 128.

OSU's top receiver is true sophomore DeVier Posey who has 30 catches for 355 yards and four scores.

The Buckeyes top three rushers, Brandon Saine, Pryor, and Dan Herron have combined for 989 yards and nine touchdowns.

In the past Minnesota has been a team the Buckeyes could count on for a win and to right the ship. Call me crazy (since I thought the same thing about Purdue last week), but I expect that trend to continue this week.

I said it last week and I'll say it again since it fell upon deaf ears:

It's no secret that Ohio State's offense has sputtered and looked rather anemic the bulk of the season. Coach Tressel and the staff have to make calls more conducive to Pryor's capabilities and subsequently, Pryor must make better, and faster decisions, protect the ball, and play within himself.

10/24/2009—Game Eight—12:00PM Kickoff
TV/Online: ESPN /


Ohio State-Minnesota History and Tidbits:

• Ohio State leads the all-time head-to-head series (41-7-0).

• Ohio State is 19-1 vs. Minnesota in the last 20 meetings (dating back to 1985).

• Ohio State is 9-1 vs. Minnesota in the last 10 meetings at home (dating back to 1986).

• The last Ohio State loss to Minnesota at home was in 2000 by a score of 29-17 (That year, Minnesota was 6-6 and Ohio State was 8-4).

• Jim Tressel is 6-0 overall (3-0 at home, 3-0 on the road) vs. Minnesota, outscoring the Golden Gophers 218-90, or by an average game score of 36-15.

• The Buckeyes have only lost back to back games one time under Jim Tressel, back in 2004 (It was actually three in a row to Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Iowa).

• This is Tim Brewster's third year as Minnesota Head Coach—He is 0-2 versus Ohio State.

• Minnesota's last Big Ten title was in 1967.

All eyes are on Terrelle Pryor this week, and rightfully so. He must perform well to redeem himself if he wishes to quiet his critics that suggest he is not a capable quarterback.

If he is less tentative, runs a bit more, and plays smart and confidently, Ohio State should be able to win comfortably, and all will be right in Buckeye Nation, for now.

Next week, the Bucks host New Mexico State which shouldn't pose much of a challenge, but after that, three games loom large to wrap up the 2009 regular season—at Penn State, home vs. Iowa, and the season finale at Michigan.

Those final three games will truly show us what Terrelle Pryor, and this team are made of.

Final score prediction:

Ohio State 41, Minnesota 17

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

ESPN Video: What's Wrong With Terrelle Pryor?

Here's some food for thought to Buckeye fans from Olin Buchanan, College Football Senior Writer.

Q: From Nina in New Albany, Ohio: This may be the worst offense in the Jim Tressel era at Ohio State. Is it time for Tressel to look in the mirror and finally see that changes need to be made, whether with players, coaches or philosophy?

A: Yours is one of several emails received about quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the offensive issues at Ohio State.

So, to your first question: Yes, this could become the worst offense in Tressel's nine seasons. After seven games, the Buckeyes are averaging 331 yards and 28 points, but matchups remain against Penn State and Iowa, which have strong defenses.

Tressel's worst offensive team at Ohio State was in 2004, when the Buckeyes averaged 320.8 yards and 24.2 points. They went 8-4 that season.

Yes, it appears to be time for Tressel to reconsider his offensive philosophy, and changes should be made in an attempt to fully utilize Pryor's athletic ability.

Pryor, a sophomore, is getting heavy criticism from all directions. He was just 5-of-13 passing for 87 yards in a win over Wisconsin, then followed that up by throwing two interceptions in last week's 26-18 loss to Purdue. That's unacceptable in Columbus. Indeed, it's unacceptable most places.

But don't bury Pryor just yet. When he came out of Jeannette (Pa.) High, he was being compared to former Texas All-America Vince Young because of his size (6 feet 6/235 pounds) and physical gifts. Dramatic comparisons to Young still can be made.

Pryor is struggling. He's completing 56 percent of his passing attempts, for 1,169 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

But Young was a liability as a passer when he was a sophomore, too. Young passed for 1,849 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2004. That season, he was just 8-of-23 for 86 yards in a 12-0 loss to Oklahoma and 3-of-9 for 19 yards and two interceptions the next week in a 28-20 victory over Missouri.

Some called for Young to be moved to tight end or wide receiver. But coach Mack Brown re-evaluated his system, junked a pro-style offense and almost exclusively went to the zone read, which was better-suited for Young's talents.

Texas didn't lose another game during Young's playing days, and he emerged as one of the best college football players ever.

That's not to say that Pryor will do the same if Tressel makes a similar move; it should be noted that Young had more talent around him than Pryor does. But it's something to consider.

After all, Tressel saw first hand what a player with Young's physical gifts could do. In '05, Young passed for 270 yards and ran for 76 in a 25-22 victory over Ohio State.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sure, We're All Upset and Disappointed But This Idiot Takes the Cake and is the D-Bag "Fan" of the Week

Allow me to introduce you to Ohio State's resident hilljack moron fan and wannabe internet tough guy.

He says he wants to fight Terrelle Pryor, prison-style (I'm kind of afraid to ask, but does that include any anal penetration?) and that if the Buckeyes lose again, he's going to personally go to Ohio State and pack Pryor's and Tressel's bags and kick them out of Columbus...

The funny thing is, this guy isn't going to kick anyone's ass or pack anyone's bags. I mean look at him...

My 10 year old cousin could kick this losers' ass.

If you care, here's his YouTube Channel.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

First BCS Standings—Yesterday Was Kind of a Bad Day to Lose Buckeyes...

By HD Handshoe

In 2009's first BCS Rankings, Ohio State, formerly ranked No. 7 in the Coaches Poll, comes in barely still in the top 20, but that's what happens when you make a Big Ten, 1-5, inferior opponent look better than USC did against you.

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Ohio State Boiled Up—Shocked Fans Now Know Coaching Changes Required For Future Success

by Tim Bielik
BlockONation Analyst
OSU Featured Columnist

The Ohio State Buckeyes were upset by Purdue 26-18 yesterday, and Buckeye fans saw everything they were afraid could happen, come to fruition, all in about three hours.

The offense sputtered, the defense played prevent all day, and even the special teams were terrible.

But an offense that committed four turnovers is inexcusable against a 1-5 team at any time, especially from a supposed running QB in Terrelle Pryor. Most of the time he made bad decisions, but the offensive line did Pryor no favors.

Sound familiar? This is the same thing Buckeye fans have heard about their offense for the last nine seasons; only this time, there is no Beanie Wells to cover their mistakes.

The loss has been a microcosm of nine years of offensive futility and a passive defense.

It's all out in the open, and clearly changes have to be made.

Jim Tressel has been great for the program as a person and a philosophical figure, but as a coach he has become a joke offensively. Regardless of the personnel at any positions, the offense looks the exact same as it did in 2003, 2004, 2007, and so on.

The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. This time, something has to change.

I'm not calling for Tressel's head entirely, but I am saying that there needs to be huge staff shakeups in the off-season if Buckeye fans want to contend with the likes of Florida, Alabama, and Texas.

When the Longhorns struggled in 2007, Mack Brown shook up his staff and brought in new personnel on both sides of the ball. Texas saw dramatic improvement as they went on to finish the year eight seconds away from a National Championship appearance.

If the Buckeyes want to avoid a free-fall and get back to top-tier status, OSU must hire proven offensive assistants and possibly a defensive mind who can turn up the pressure.

With the type of defense Ohio State has almost every season, a barely solid offense would serve the Buckeyes well against anyone they play.

But the offense has quickly become a national punchline. It also has become apparent that Tressel's schemes are outdated and outside of Darrell Hazell, the offensive staff has not been very good whatsoever.

For the sake of Buckeye fans everywhere, it's time to change something.

If Tressel doesn't want to make serious changes after this debacle, a coach such as Cincinnati's Brian Kelly could and should be the next man at the helm in Columbus.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

LIVE In-Game Chat -- No. 7 Ohio State (5-1) @ Purdue (1-5) Today @12 Noon

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dead Men Walking: Buckeyes Still Alive in the BCS Championship Game Hunt?

By HD Handshoe

In a word, ABSOLUTELY.

At 5-1, Ohio State still has their fair share of detractors that believe they shouldn't be ranked in the top 10, let alone be in line to play in another BCS bowl game, or Heaven forbid, the BCS title game.

"Who wants to watch the Buckeyes embarrass themselves again in another big game on the national stage," they say.

It's true that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but recent history clearly suggests that the Buckeyes are on the cusp of breaking through on the national stage.

Take for example the respective three point losses in the final minutes against USC this season, and to Texas in the 2008-2009 Fiesta bowl. Ohio State played stride for stride with then-No.3 USC, and then-No. 3 Texas and held late leads, only to lose to each on the final drives.

It appears that those who are not fans of Ohio State prefer to ignore those games and the fact that OSU nearly won them both.

Instead they prefer to live a bit further in the past and dwell on the 2006 and 2007 BCS title games that Ohio State lost to Florida and LSU, or the 2008 regular season loss at USC.

That's no real surprise though since the Texas and USC games from 2009 are more of an indicator of where the Buckeyes truly rate among other elites nationally.

Contrary to the popular belief of so many of these ill-informed Ohio State haters, and much to their dismay, the Buckeyes can still make a run at the 2009 BCS Championship.

Here's how.

First, and most importantly to the BCS powers that be, and the BCS conference presidents, the BCS bowls are about one thing—money. To make as much money as possible, the bowl games need to sell tickets.

Ohio State is the largest public university in the country and they have more Alumni, and fans nationwide than any other school.

That means, unless they lose at least three games, or lose in the last week or two of the season, they are going to get a BCS invite.

Look at the Orange bowl last season. Cincinnati and Boston College played in front of a crowd that resembled that of an NAIA football game. Like it or not, this is the system we have for now, and the Buckeye put bodies in seats.

Secondly, with the season being half over, the Buckeyes could lose another game and still receive a BCS bid, but will need to win out to secure a possible chance at the BCS title game.

The first BCS standings will be released on October 18. As of right now, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Virginia Tech, USC, and Boise State are the teams ranked ahead of Ohio State.

Even if Boise State wins out and ends up 12-0, their strength of schedule will be their downfall, and Ohio State among others can, and will jump ahead of them. The Broncos should be a BCS at-large bowl team, but they have zero chance at the BCS NC game.

USC beat Ohio State 18-15 in week two. That makes jumping them slightly more difficult, but not impossible. USC lost in week three to Washington so they are essentially only ranked ahead of OSU by a measly three point win.

Another loss, or a couple of unimpressive and/or close wins for USC would allow the Buckeyes to sneak ahead of the Trojans by season's end. I believe USC will lose one, if not two more games, so there's the open door for the Buckeyes to step on through.

Virginia Tech has upcoming games with Georgia Tech, North Carolina, NC State and possibly the ACC Championship game. At least one loss is not out of the question. I personally feel it could come this week at Georgia Tech. That would move the Buckeyes up to No. 4.

The Longhorns have not looked like a top three team and they haven't even played a decent team yet. Call me crazy, but I believe Texas will lose to Oklahoma and either Missouri or Oklahoma State. One loss might be enough for Ohio State to move ahead of Texas. Two will be enough for sure.

That leaves Alabama and Florida. It looks like Florida will likely go 12-0 and play in the SEC title game. Alabama has to play South Carolina and LSU so a loss is possible but I wouldn't bet big on it happening.

So, it looks as if these two teams are on a collision course for the SEC title game which means one of them will lose in the final week of the season. Which means, you guessed it, Ohio State slides up to No. 2 in the final BCS standings, and if you're not a Buckeye fan, your nightmare will have come true.

In the 2007 Ohio State-LSU BCS Championship game I mentioned earlier, LSU was ranked No. 7 going in to that final week of the season. Several upsets later, the Tigers found themselves jumping from No. 7 all the way up to No. 2. Ohio State is currently No. 7 with six games to go.

No, I'm not making any guarantees or promises here. I'm simply letting all college football fans that read this know how and why Ohio State is not out of the 2009 BCS title chase just yet...

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Ohio State—Purdue: Week Seven Preview, Free History Lesson Included

By HD Handshoe

No. 7 Ohio State (5-1) travels to West Lafayette, Indiana to face the Purdue Boilermakers (1-5) Saturday at 12:00PM in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Offensively, Purdue hasn't been terrible. They actually have a decent QB in Joey Elliot and a very good RB in Ralph Bolden, yet they are still 1-5.

The blame has to fall squarely on their lackluster defensive efforts.

Purdue's defense has given up nearly 400 yards per game (164 rush, 233 pass) and has allowed close to 30 points per contest.

Conversely, Ohio State's defense has been absolutely spectacular since week two, but at times, their offense has sputtered and looked rather anemic.

Coach Tressel and the staff have to make calls more conducive to Pryor's capabilities and subsequently, Pryor must make better, and faster decisions, and protect the ball, and play within himself.

Sometimes it is though he is trying to force a pass and is locked in on his receivers rather than tucking the ball and running.

Last season, Pryor seemed to be more willing to run. This season, he seems to be more focused on becoming a pocket passer, which is OK, but he cannot, and should not abandon the skills and abilities that got him here.

This Purdue defense, much like Toledo and Illinois, should be the cure for what ails the Buckeyes on offense. In fact, over the next three weeks they should be able to tune up the offense quite well. After Purdue, the Buckeyes will face Minnesota and New Mexico State.

10/17/2009—Game Seven—12:00PM Kickoff
TV: Big Ten Network


Ohio State-Purdue History and Tidbits:

• Ohio State leads the all-time head-to-head series (37-12-2).

• Ohio State is 16-4 vs. Purdue in the last 20 meetings (dating back to 1983).

• Ohio State is 7-3 vs. Purdue in the last 10 meetings in West Lafayette (dating back to 1984).

• Ohio State has won 16 consecutive Big Ten road games.

• The last Ohio State loss at Purdue was in 2004 by a score of 24-17 (That year, Purdue was 7-5 and Ohio State was 8-4).

• Jim Tressel is 5-1 overall (2-1 on the road) vs. Purdue, outscoring the Boilermakers 117-62, or by an average game score of 20-10.

• This is Danny Hope's first year as Purdue Head Coach.

• Purdue's last Big Ten title was in 2000 (Co-Champions with Michigan and Northwestern).

The Buckeye defense should focus on stopping RB Bolden first, but must also defend the play-action pass. I really do not expect stopping and containing Purdue to be much of a challenge.

The Buckeye offense should find little resistance moving the ball and scoring often.

I actually thought Purdue would have Indiana's W/L record and vice-versa, but I do believe the Boilermakers are better than their record, and probably better than Indiana, after seeing Virginia crush the Hoosiers last Saturday.

Final score prediction:

Ohio State 41, Purdue 10

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Flash Forward: November, 2009—A Brief Look Into the Future

by HD Handshoe

If you haven't seen ABC's new show, Flash Forward, you are missing out. It is very good, so far.

To borrow the premise of the show, let's look ahead past the next three games/wins, and take a peek into the future, sans you having to blackout for two minutes and seventeen seconds.

Ohio State, barring Hell freezing and over, and pigs flying, should all but be guaranteed victories in their next three games, at Purdue in West Lafayette on October 17, then back home vs. Minnesota on October 24, and New Mexico State on October 31.

Some of you might not think it's a good idea to overlook these potential "trap" games, but I'm not a coach or player. I'm a fan with a blog, so those "do not look ahead rules" don't apply to me, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

A year ago, Terrelle Pryor made two key freshman mistakes and gift-wrapped PSU's first win in Columbus in 30 years.

Flash Forward to November 7, 2009:

Ohio State will be 8-1, and in Happy Valley to face Penn State, who should also be 8-1 by then, unless they slip up in Ann Arbor on October 24, in which case they will be 7-2.

Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes will expose Penn State. The Buckeye defense will once again dominate the Nittany Lions, just as they did in 2008.

Pryor will connect with DeVier Posey, Duron Carter, and Dane Sanzenbacher for a total of three passing touchdowns, and look for Pryor and Dan Herron to also add a rushing touchdown apiece. Aaron Pettrey will also add a 38-yard field goal.

The defense will hold PSU to less than 20 points, and the Buckeyes spit in the face of the "white out" with the victory.

Final score in my Flash Forward:

Ohio State 38
Penn State 17

Flash Forward to November 14, 2009:

Ohio State will be 9-1, and back home to face the Iowa Hawkeyes in Ohio Stadium. Iowa will be 10-0, or 9-1 by then.

The only game they may be at risk of losing will be in Madison to face the Wisconsin Badgers on October 17. The rest of the schedule looks to be smooth sailing up until the game in Columbus.

Both teams are solid defensively and this game will be low-scoring because of the stellar defensive play by each team.

Protecting the ball and playing the field position game will be the keys. Therefore, this is actually one time when fans will come to appreciate Tressel-ball, as the Buckeyes win the field position battle, and turnover margin, and ultimately the game.

Aaron Pettrey will end up being the MVP on this day as he boots five field goals. The defense will hold Iowa to less than 17 points, and the Buckeyes will prevail, but close.

Final score in my Flash Forward:

Ohio State 23
Iowa 16

Flash Forward to November 21, 2009:

Ohio State will be 10-1, and in Ann Arbor for THE GAME vs. TTUN, aka, TSUN, aka, Meatchicken, aka Meeechigan, aka scUM, etc...

Michigan will be 7-4 or 8-3. I'm going to go with 7-4 as I expect them to drop two more games before the season finale with Ohio State—October 24 vs. Penn State, and November 14 at Wisconsin will both be losses for UM.

The Wolverines started the year with four home games versus three cupcakes and an OK, but not great Notre Dame team. They went 4-0 over that stretch. Then reality set in.

Tate Forcier came back down to Earth, as UM fans realized he was not Superman. His play was shaky at times in UM's first two road games, and losses, to Michigan State and Iowa.

Losing by two points in Iowa City against a very good Hawkeyes team is nothing to be ashamed of, but the loss to the 1-3 Spartans, aka little brother as UM fans call them, was absolutely something to be embarrassed about.

So now we know Tate is good for a true freshman, but he's not great or perfect. We also know that UM's defense is not very good at all.

Ohio State's top-tier defense will force Michigan into many three and outs, and turnovers. I don't see UM scoring more than two or three times against the stout Buckeye "D".

Conversely, I do see the Buckeyes being able to move the ball, and score often.
Look for Pryor to have two or three passing touchdowns and one or two scores on the ground. Herron and Saine may get in on the act as well, and it will be Deja Vu all over again for the Wolverines.

Final score in my Flash Forward:

Ohio State 48
Michigan 17

In the TV show, the characters that had ominous visions of their futures believe that having this flash forward glimpse may help them change what they saw.

To the players and coaches at Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan, and to the fans of each team respectively, it's just a TV show for crying out loud.

You have no chance of avoiding or changing the fact that you will all lose to the Buckeyes in the coming weeks.

Face it, it is your destiny.

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TBDPITL BlockONation Week Six Top 25 Ballot

by HD Handshoe

No. 1 Alabama's RB Mark Ingram

I am a voter in TBDPITL weekly poll.

Here is my official week six ballot.

1. Alabama

2. Florida

3. Virginia Tech

4. Texas

5. Iowa

6. Ohio State

7. Southern California

8. Boise State

9. LSU

10. Miami (Fla.)

11. Penn State

12. Cincinnati

13. Oregon

14. TCU

15. Georgia Tech

16. South Florida

17. Kansas

18. BYU

19. Nebraska

20. Missouri

21. Houston

22. Oklahoma State

23. Notre Dame

24. Pittsburgh

25. South Carolina

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Team's OOC Schedule Can Beat Up Your Team's OOC Schedule

By HD Handshoe

So I'm guessing you figured out the title of this piece is a play-on-words taken from the old "My Dad can beat up your Dad," argument.

I know in the past, the Buckeyes have, and still continue to work hard at scheduling out of conference games verses other quality BCS teams.

And sure, they also have played some cupcakes along the way—But who hasn't?

The bottom line however here is that I dare any fan of any other program to provide me with evidence that would suggest that their team has scheduled, and played in as many big-time OOC games as my team, The Ohio State Buckeyes.

Here is every OOC game Ohio State has played since 2000, as well as the OOC games from 2009 and those that have been scheduled so far, all the way through 2019. That's a span of 20 years.

Bowl game opponents (**) are also noted, and included.

2000 - Fresno State, Arizona, Miami (OH), **South Carolina

2001 - Akron, UCLA, San Diego State, **South Carolina

2002 - Texas Tech, Washington State, Cincinnati, San Jose State, **Miami (FL)

2003 - Washington, San Diego State, NC State, BGSU, **Kansas State

2004 - Cincinnati, Marshall, NC State, **Oklahoma State

2005 - Miami (OH), Texas, San Diego State, **Notre Dame

2006 - Northern Illinois, Texas, Cincinnati, BGSU, **Florida

2007 - YSU, Akron, Washington, Kent State, **LSU

2008 - YSU, Ohio, USC, Troy, **Texas

2009 - Navy, USC, Toledo, New Mexico State, **Oregon

2010 - Marshall, Miami (FL), Ohio, Eastern Michigan

2011 - Akron, Toledo, Miami (FL), fourth OOC game still TBD

2012 - Miami (OH), Cincinnati, California, UAB

2013 - California, three OOC games still TBD

2014 - Navy, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Kent State

2015 - Virginia Tech, three OOC games still TBD

2016 - Oklahoma, three OOC games still TBD

2017 - Oklahoma, three OOC games still TBD

2018 - Tennessee, three OOC games still TBD

2019 - Tennessee, three OOC games still TBD

Now, I know Ohio State hasn't won every one of these OOC games, nor will they win all of those yet to be played.

That is not the point here. The point is they are scheduling big games verses top notch opponents like no other school in the country and have been for a very long time.

There have been rumors the Ohio State has been trying to schedule home and home two-game series with other SEC opponents such as Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and LSU but I have no confirmation as of yet.

I had actually heard that the home and home in 2018 and 2019 with Tennessee was supposed to be Georgia, but UGA didn't want to play in Columbus.

If you wish to dispute me on this, that's fine, but you better bring an arsenal of knowledge with you and plenty of big time OOC games for any team you claim is doing a better job at going out and playing other top-level teams.

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Photo Copyright - Sports Illustrated

Big Ten Conference Call: Week Six Analysis and Final Score Predictions

By HD Handshoe

These are my Big Ten predictions for week six. In the end, they may not all be right, but they are nonetheless fearless...

Miami (OH) @ Northwestern

Miami is 0-5, and the Wildcats will drop them to 0-6. NW's QB Mike Kafka is undervalued.

NW 38 - Miami (OH) 10

Eastern Illinois @ Penn State

It has to be embarrassing to be a PSU fan during OOC games. PSU should win by 35 plus.

Penn State 48 - E.Illinois 6

Purdue @ Minnesota

The Boilermakers have a decent QB in Joey Elliot and a very good RB in Ralph Bolden, but they continue to find ways to lose. This one could be close, but I'll take Minnesota, and QB Adam Weber and his favorite target Eric Decker at home.

Minnesota 27 - Purdue 20

Michigan State @ Illinois

To say the Spartans have been hot and cold is true, which must mean the under-achieving Illini have been freezer burnt. Juice Williams had not scored a single touchdown until last week, and coach Ron Zook's seat is heating up fast. Unless Sparty suffers from a letdown after last weeks overtime thriller and win over then No. 22 Michigan, I see more misery and an even hotter seat for the Zooker.

Michigan State 28 - Illinois 20

Indiana @ Virginia

IU nearly upset Michigan two weeks ago and they weren't completely horrible against Ohio State, but for no other reason than the fact that William and Mary beat Virginia at home, I have to pick Indiana in this game.

Indiana 24 - Virginia 20

Michigan @ Iowa

Michigan has won six of seven in Iowa City and the Hawkeyes have not looked great at home against the likes of Northern Illinois and Arkansas State. I hate to ever pick Michigan, but I think their loss last week to the Spartans was unfortunate for Iowa, because UM will come out fired up, and they actually have a decent offense. I just hope their "D" doesn't keep stinking it up, or my prediction will be shot down like a squirrel in Alabama.

Michigan 34 - Iowa 31

Wisconsin @ Ohio State

I already wrote an in-depth, and historical article on the Buckeyes game vs. the Badgers this week, including my score prediction, which can be read here.

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Again, thanks so very much to those sites for all their support and also, a huge thank you to the fans who have visited the site to date!

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