Three weeks ago, I asked the question “Are we 11-0 already?”. At the time, we were actually 5-0, but were facing a string of 6 consecutive weak opponents.
I took criticism and praise for suggesting this. Around The Oval agreed with me immediately, while personal friends claimed I was tempting fate and daring it to strike back in the form of Michigan State’s 1998 defeat of the then-#1 Bucks.
I’d like to look back at that prognostication and see how I fared so far….
- Bowling Green – The Falcons are 3-2, but two of their wins came against teams ESPN had in their “Bottom 10″. And here’s two facts that will allow you to breathe easy this weeks – BG’s defense allows 30 points per game, and they lost to Kent State by a score of 38-3. This one’s going to be a walk in the park.
We blew out BGSU 35-7 to nobody’s surprise. We actually didn’t beat the 35-point spread, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to call this game.
- Michigan State – OK, now I was a little bit worried about this game, until I saw them collapse against Notre Dame and then actually lose to Illinois. Now they seem like the bottom-half team they usually are. Wins against Idaho and Eastern Michigan now appear to be their backbone to 6 wins and getting into a bowl, and that doesn’t scare me. Drew Stanton is their biggest weapon, and I’m no longer afraid of QBs named Drew. It’ll be a tough game for about a half, if MSU can play on emotion. After that, if they’re still around, John L. Smith will find a way to lose.
Granted, MSU made it easy to predict against them after the ND and Illinois losses, but the prospect of a road game against a team with the capability to win was slightly scary. I expected to win, but I thought MSU would make a game of it. This one was over by halftime, though.
- Indiana – The only drama about this game is whether or not I’ll be able to find 2 tickets, so I can take my daughter to her first game the day before she turns 8. Whatever the point spread is, take the Buckeyes.
Long story short, I found tickets, took my daughter, and she now believes that Ohio State destroys everybody because that is all she has witnessed in her whole life. Oh, and the point spread was 31, so I hope you took it.
A quick statistical look at the previous three games:
-Ohio State has scored 39 points per game.
-Ohio State has allowed 5.7 points per game.
-Ohio State has allowed 249 yards rushing combined (21 less than we rushed for against IU alone)
-Troy Smith has 9 TDs and 0 INTs
-Ohio State has turned the ball over only twice.
Now, you may say that these games are against inferior competition. Well, when you are #1 and you play inferior opponents, THESE are the numbers you SHOULD have. We are doing the things we SHOULD be doing. Beating the good teams and slaughtering the weak ones. We do have strong teams on the schedule and nobody has yet been within 17 points at game’s end.
By the way, we have scored 30+ points in 12 of our last 15 games. Under Jim Tressel, Ohio State has NEVER lost when scoring 30 or more points.
As my loyal readers know, I usually can’t sleep before a Buckeyes game. This will prove to be a problem next week, when my daughter and I will have to wake up at 6am to head to Columbus to see the Indiana game….but that’s next week.
So I’m preparing to be up late tonight. I’ll probably spend some time trying to create a better quality version of “Buckeye Battle Cry”, one of my first YouTube videos. but in the meantime, here’s my thoughts on the Michigan State game tomorrow.
It’ll take a quarter to get rolling, but the Buckeyes will win big in this game. My prediction is that it’s going to be John L. Smith’s final game as the Spartans’ Head Coach. He’s become the John Cooper of the State Up North. And that’s saying A LOT when you consider that Lllloyd Carr has made a habit of losing to his biggest rival this century.
Michigan State’s biggest strength is their offense. And they are hurting there….badly. Nearly half of their rushing yardage will be sitting on the bench, in the form of an injured Javon Ringer. One-fourth of their receptions will be sitting on the bench, in the form of an injured Matt Trannon.
That leaves Drew Stanton as their biggest (and only) weapon. And that’s not going to cut it against the #1 scoring defense in the NCAA.
On the other side of the ball….well, Michigan State’s defense is awful. They give up 26 points per game. As a matter of fact, their BEST game of the year was when they allowed 17 points….to Idaho. Yes, Idaho. By the way, Idaho had the ball near midfield with a chance to tie and only 4 minutes left in the game. Again, that was Michigan State’s BEST game of the year.
So, when you add all this up, you can see that I am now willing to admit that I was overestimating the Spartans when I circled this game on my schedule as a dangerous day. It’s not, and the Buckeyes will romp tomorrow.
Ohio State 38
Mich State 10