My Thoughts on Expansion

June 11, 2010

I am a rabid college football fan. Though I have never visited my favorite team’s stadium or gone to a game, I watch every game that I can on TV and the ones I can’t I follow on the radio or internet, I wear my team colors with pride on every Saturday in the fall, I have a matching bed set adorned with my team’s logo and I went as far as to have an Ohio State lightswitch cover. So with the expansion business fully underway, I find it necessary to throw my $.02 into the ring about the whole issue.

First the pros: It seems likely now that Nebraska has joined the Big Ten. I want to congratulate the Huskers on a VERY good decision to join. They will find that they are a perfectly natural fit for most of the conference as OSU, Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin and (if they ever get their act together) Michigan all play tough, grind it out, hard nosed defensive football. Nebraska is exactly the same. They also fit in geographically. Nebraska is, for the most part, pretty close to a lot of the teams in the Big Ten. We could very easily see a Nebraska-Iowa or Nebraska-Minnesota started up by this new move. Academically they are part of the AAU which makes it attractive as well. From a purely selfish standpoint, I see this as adding a tough team with lots of history to come in and make the Big Ten even stronger heading into next year or the year after that. With Iowa, OSU, Penn State, Wisconsin and Nebraska all being legit national contenders for the next 5-10 years right off the bat and, with the consistent success those teams have had in the past, we could see all the above (and Michigan, if they ever get their act together) be national contenders for years after that.

As a side note, the conference championship game would be a push between a pro and a con, as I would likely get to see OSU play another game for the next many years, but it would obliterate the traditional last game of the year with That Team from Up North. It seems like for most fans of the Big Ten the addition of a conference championship game supersedes the loss of The Game’s symbolic placement at the end. But for me, it would be the worst thing to come out of expansion.

Now for the cons. First off, this might make for fewer non-con games. This might make games like OSU-USC (which arguably hasn’t been too good for us over the past two years, but if we played them at the end there is no question who would have won!), OSU-Miami, OSU-Nebraska (wait!) a thing of the past. Then again the conference would be tougher and a one loss Big Ten team might get the same respect as a 1 loss SEC team. Two, the addition of Nebraska might push the Pac-10 to add Texas, thereby giving credence to their toughness as a conference. Even so, a Big Ten with Nebraska, Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State is still better than a Pac-10 with Texas, USC, Oregon, UCLA and Stanford.

In any event, college football as we know it is changing, rapidly. The Big Ten was supposed to be on a timeline where a team was added in December, here it is in June and we already seemingly have our 12th member. Momentous changes could be occurring within days.


ROSE BOWL EDITION

December 30, 2009

 

   Today is the day before New Year’s Eve. That means one thing for most Ohioans. THE ROSE BOWL IS ONLY 2 DAYS AWAY!!!

   For the first time in Coach Tressel’s coaching career, he’s heading to the Grandaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl. Across the field we will be facing off against the University of Oregon and their obnoxious duck. The Buckeyes will come into the game as the underdog in many analysts eyes with the exception of a very few who actually think that our defense will shut down the speedy Jeremiah Masoli and the bruising LeGarrete Blount.

   Obviously I predict an Ohio State win and I predict it to be a pretty good one at that. But since most fans will say they predict their team to win, I am going to back it up with some facts and reasons for which the Buckeyes will prevail.

   1. Cameron Heyward. A one man wrecking ball on offensive lines this year, Heyward can disrupt the passing AND running games and gets pressure on the quarterback like very few other linemen. It should be noted that in the PSU-OSU game, most analysts picked PSU to win and because of their offensive line being able to shut down everyone that they had to face. It should also be noted that on the fist play of the game for PSU, Heyward busted through the line and sacked Daryll Clark. That set the tone for the whole day and Ohio State dominated PSU (widely regarded to be either the best or the second best team in the B10). OSU only allowed 1 touchdown by PSU and that one was questionable at best.

   2. Defensive line. Defense doesn’t come much better than B10 defense and Ohio State’s at the top of the league. Our defensive line is, despite having no particular standout player, one of the best in the business and has caused nightmares for quarterbacks from Illinois, Penn State, USC, and nearly every other team we have faced. This line outweighs Oregon yet still maintains a admirable speed. Oregon will not have faced a defense like Ohio State’s.

   3. Terrelle Pryor. While the sophomore quarterback hasn’t been brilliant this year, he has shown improved and growing maturity as he has taken care of the ball and limited mistakes against very good defenses. It was revealed that for the past couple games he has been playing with an injured PCL in the knee and also a sprained ankle. His injuries will have healed more by the time the Rose Bowl rolls around day after tomorrow and he will be able to run better against a smaller and overmatched Oregon defensive line. He has been working on the passing game over the break and will most likely be allowed to make more and monger pass attempts to take pressure off of the running game. That brings us to…

   4. The running game. Ohio State may not have a standout player like Beanie Wells in the running game this year, but in the past couple games the Buckeyes have established themselves as a power running team. Boom Herron and Brandon Saine have been splitting time and forcing defenses to stop the Buckeye rushing game. It hasn’t happened lately as the Bucks have run up 150+ yards in each of their last three games. The OSU running game will be helped by the O-line being able to stave off Oregon’s outmanned and underweight D-line.

   All in all, this should be a good game for Buckeye fans. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Oregon strike first, but when OSU gets the steam going, they are a hard team to beat. Coach Tressel’s style of play limits other offenses from having the ball much and limits mistakes. That is exactly what OSU needs to do to win.

Prediction: Ohio State rolls in this game: 28-17.