Baver’s Buckeye Bag 11/26/14

Baver’s Buckeye Bag 11/26/14

The Indiana debacle, Michigan week, other misc thoughts…

--I guess we have to start with the rush defense.  It’s an embarrassment, and the thought of facing Melvin Gordon in a week and a half is frightening.  (More on that in a second.)  Bad angles, bad reads…just plain bad execution.  Not sure what the answer is, but the entire linebacking crew, along with Tyvis Powell, are just not getting it done.  Thankfully, they are finally facing a team this week that doesn’t have an elite tailback.

-- As a Buckeye fan, do you still want to see Wisconsin in the B1G title game?  I would think you do, but from a matchup perspective?  Certainly I’d rather take my chances with David Cobb and Minnesota again than have to face Gordon and Wisconsin.  A win over the Badgers would look more impressive to the Committee but a potential matchup with the Badgers is looking much more troublesome than it did two weeks ago.

--The Indiana game surprised me more than any game all season.  It shouldn’t have mattered that the Bucks had trouble getting up for this one.  They should have hammered the Hooisers, and the game should have never been in doubt.  Trailing an Indiana team in the 3rd quarter that is 0-6 in Big Ten play?  Really?  As unpredictable that college football is, I never saw that coming.  That game by itself shouldn’t affect Ohio State’s final position in the Committee ranking, but it’s still hard to swallow.

-- It’s Michigan week, and that’s still special….but does it seem like Michigan week?  This is a bad Michigan football team.  Can they get up and win one for a coach that is likely on his way out?  Certainly possible.  The “Springs slip” in 1996, when the Bucks lost as 17-point favorites, blowing their undefeated season, is still fresh in my mind…..18 years later.  Man, that was painful.  And if the Bucks play like they did against Indiana, this game will be closer than it should be.  More on the matchup below.

--Glad to see The Game again being a noon kick.  The day that they move it to an 8 pm kick, I will want to cry.  The Game was made to be played on a Saturday afternoon – period.  Absolutely have to keep this game as the last game on the schedule with an afternoon kickoff time.

--Nice to see Jalin Marshall respond like he did after the tough one in Minneapolis and the Twitter onslaught afterwards.  Marshall is electric and will be needed against Michigan.  Urban Meyer talked about Marshall having some “wear and tear” and him possibly being limited some against Michigan.  This is concerning with no other healthy H-back available.

--Noah Spence permanently ineligible now?  Not often you hear the word “permanently” in sports.  Best of luck to Noah Spence, and if he still has drug problems, let’s hope he overcomes them.

The Game – The Matchup

The Michigan offense is atrocious….no easier way to say it.  111th nationally in scoring offense, 114th in total offense, #113 is passing offense, and #61 in rushing offense.  Brady Hoke’s recruiting hasn’t been great, but it’s been good enough that their offense shouldn’t be this bad.  And this after adding former Alabama OC Doug Nussmeier in the offseason to help cure their offensive woes.

The Wolverines are not clicking on the ground or through the air.  Devin Gardner is wrapping up a disappointing career; he’s now thrown 14 picks, with only 8 TD’s this season.  They lost their #1 TB Derrick Green to a broken clavicle in early October and have lately been going with the sophomore combo of Drake Johnson and De’Veon Smith.  Green has been ruled out against Ohio State. 

Michigan has been much better on the other side of the ball, ranking 9th in the country in total defense and 21st in scoring defense.  If they can get some confidence early, they may be able to get the Buckeye offense in a rut, much like Penn State did.  As mentioned above, if Jalin Marshall isn’t close to full go, this could be a major issue for Ohio State against this Michigan defense, with Dontre Wilson out until the bowl game(s). 

Last chance for Brady Hoke to beat Urban Meyer?  One would think so, at least while Hoke is UM’s head coach.  Last year’s Michigan team was sky high for Ohio State, but I don’t expect their emotion to be the same Saturday.  I think this Michigan team is more than demoralized.  They do have more talent than their 5-6 record might tell you, so letting UM hang around might be ill advised.  But if the Buckeyes can get Michigan down 2+ scores early, the rout should be on.   The Call: Ohio State 38 Michigan 13

--Brent Baver