Pre-Season Countdown: #4

A recap of the list of games so far, from #12 the easiest to #4 . . .

12.  Indiana State University
11.  Eastern Michigan University
10. Temple
9.  Indiana
8.  Purdue
7.  Illinois
6.  Northwestern
5.  Iowa

And the #4 spot goes to . . .

OHIO STATE.

If the Buckeyes still had Jim Tressel as coach, and Terrell Pryor at the helm, this game would definitely be in the Top 2. But both are gone, don’t let the stadium gate hit you on the ass on your way out.

Luke, I am yo daddy!

First year head coach Luke Fickell will have to prove himself.  He will be dealing with a new quarter back, the suspensions of Dan Herron, Mike Adams, and DeVier Posey for five games, as well as the general fall-out from last season’s scandal.  If he can manage to get this mess back to a Big Ten Title, he deserves to be named coach of the year.

Don’t get me wrong . . . O$U returns a load of talent,and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be contending for a title.  But it is my humble opinion that teams in a conference like the Big Ten can’t do that with a new, inexperienced  quarterback or a new head coach.  The Buckeyes have a double whammy.

With the loss of Pryor, the team returns only 11 starters.matching Wisconsin and Iowa for the fewest returning starters in the conference.

Penn State has won only one game in Columbus since joining the Big Ten.  But unlike Iowa, whom we can’t seem to beat to save our life, we have matched up with the Buckeyes cleat to cleat with major victories in 2005 and 2008.  Two big games in a decade, though, is probably nothing to crow about, but at least we do have some wins.  We’re 12-14 all-time against Ohio State.

NO ONE KNOWS HOW WELL OHIO STATE would have done, had they not cheated.  If recruits picked Ohio State because of the perceived benefits, then the record of the Buckeyes this past decade is suspect.

Now it may seem that I am counting the Bucks out this year.  Au contraire.  (That’s French for not so fast.)  I don’t think we will win any game from this point on in the countdown.  But of the remaining games, we might have a chance at this one if the wheels come off in Columbus.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

Will the team rally around Fickell and use this adversity to become better? They might. Or the distractions and changes might disrupt the Big Ten juggernaut and throw it out of its groove.

Prediction: I don’t think we will win this game, as of typing this in August. If Penn State shows me something on the field, and Ohio State struggles with new coach/quarterback, then I might reconsider. I just hope that win or lose, we play a competitive game, and don’t throw the game away with an overly conservative game plan on the road that plays right into their strength. Both wins over the Buckeyes came when we played conservative and they made the mistakes (the Troy Smith fumble in 2005 and the Pryor fumble in 2008.) Both were relatively low scoring, conservative games. Maybe that’s the way to go, but if we get behind, I hope we try to make something happen instead of falling apart.

From the creators of “Friends with Benefits”

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Filed under analysis, Big Ten, football, Ohio State, Penn State, Pre-season, prediction

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