The Game thoughts, the Barrett injury and Misc.
--Hats off to Michigan for remaining composed after the poor start Saturday, and for hanging tough with Ohio State. It is quite amazing though, how emotion affects college football so much. I mean, if you didn’t know any better, you’d have thought Ohio State played a pretty good Michigan team this past Saturday. But that simply isn’t the case. The Wolverines 5-7 final record tells it all; this was a bad football team.
--The finish to the 2014 season is mirroring the finish to the 2013 season for this Buckeye defense. Michigan had no Jeremy Langford, no David Cobb, and no Tevin Coleman….hell, they didn’t even have an offense to speak of. I gave some deserved credit to UM above, but once again, the Buckeye defense helped make a horrendous Michigan offense look pretty good. So, how is this Buckeye D going to stop Wisconsin’s running game? That is the million dollar question.
--Once you saw the replay of JT Barrett’s leg getting bent backwards, you knew it was bad. Such a shame. How ‘bout JT returning from the locker room, and coming back to the stands to watch the end of the game before heading to the hospital? I said it a few weeks ago…is there anything not to love about this kid?
--What can we expect from Cardale Jones? Jones has a cannon….and if he can settle into a rhythm, I think he will throw the ball better than most think. Cardale also runs very well for a 250-pound man. But Cardale, experience wise, is about where JT was going into the Va Tech game….and we all know how that turned out. The rest of this Buckeye team is going to have to raise their collective “game” if Ohio State is to have any shot at beating Wisconsin.
--My thoughts are with the Karageorge family and those close to him. Being distraught over Buckeye football injuries obviously doesn’t hold a candle to what this family is going through right now.
--Since late October, I’ve been saying winning out likely puts the Bucks in the playoff. My guess is that this is still the case. It’s not a given, but it never was. There is a better than 50% chance of at least one team losing this weekend between Oregon, TCU, FSU and Bama. If the Bucks win and none of the others lose, you could still see TCU drop two slots in the poll, although the chances of the Horn Frogs dropping two slots aren’t great.
The Big Ten Championship Game
From a matchup standpoint, this is about as bad as it gets for Ohio State. The Buckeyes have not been able to stop the run as of late and they now face what is probably the best rushing attack in the nation. The Buckeyes will have to sell out to stop the run, otherwise Melvin Gordon is going to add another 200+ yards to the 2,260 yards he already has accumulated this year. That means Buckeye corners Doran Grant and Eli Apple will have to handle the Badger WR’s one-on-one for much of the evening.
On the other side of the ball, the Bucks also face a tall challenge – the Wisconsin defense is ranked 8th in the country against the run, 2nd against the pass, and 2nd in total defense. And the Bucks will of course have to face the Badger defense without their top 3 Heisman candidate, who is being replaced by a QB that has not started a game at the college level. The Buckeye O-line is going to have to play their best game of the year and the Buckeye playmakers, Marshall, Ezekiel, D. Smith and company are going to have to dial it up.
The thought here is that Urban Meyer will have this Buckeye team ready to play and they will play with a stronger sense of urgency, realizing they have to after losing Barrett. Meyer is 3-0 at OSU in games where the Buckeyes are underdogs….he knows how to motivate his team in these type of games. Normally you don’t take chances with a new QB, but this staff obviously has to, with this being the Big Ten title game.
In the end, I expect the Bucks to put up a valiant effort, but to come up short. It is just too much of a downgrade from Barrett to a QB with no starting experience, and I don’t see this Buckeye defense doing enough to stop Melvin Gordon. Hope I am wrong. The Call: Wisconsin 33 Ohio State 27