Colin: It appears Urban it close to settling on a full-blown, completely unconventional QB platoon system. Is Urban crazy or crazy like a fox?
Baver: I think Urban has been a little stubborn with his “Cardale is my guy until he gets beaten out” philosophy, but JTB replacing Cardale in the red zone certainly looks like a step in the right direction. And I think Urban is opening the door for JTB to take the full reins if Cardale falters.
Colin: Obviously at some point all winning streaks must end. I'll assume we agree Michigan would be the worst team to break it. In my opinion Penn State would be the 2nd worst team. Their program is mediocre but their meathead fans have this idea they are still elite. Who would you hate to see break the OSU streak?
Baver: Michigan and a 1,000 foot drop off after that. Twenty years later, the ’95 and ’96 losses by undefeated Ohio State teams to Michigan still hurt. I guess I don’t have a 2nd most hated team, but losing to the SEC is hard to swallow, knowing how much you are going to hear about it nationally.
Colin: If the game were today, how would you feel about a rematch with Alabama?
Baver: Not good. Bama would have added motivation after last year’s game and they are a better team than Ohio State, at least at this point. The Bucks need to prove they can get last year’s hunger back.
Colin: What's up with these running QB's slicing up the defense?
Baver: Another frustrating situation where the Buckeye opponent throws a monkey wrench at them, and the Bucks respond poorly. The monkey wrench this time was surprise starter Perry Hills at QB for Maryland. It was Hills’ improvised runs that did the most damage. The Buckeye LB’s simply didn’t react well on most of his runs. Urban also talked about some of these problems being caused by the OSU DT getting out of alignment.
Colin: Raekwon McMillen is starting to get mentioned as joining the elite crowd as one of the Buckeye's best linebackers. He has the stats to back it up, but I never seem to notice him dominating a game the way Hawk, Shazier or even Darren Lee does. Is he an elite linebacker?
Baver: I think Raekwon is on the verge of being elite. Playing MLB on this team vs. playing on the outside like the other 3 LB’s you mentioned probably doesn’t allow for as many big plays. But I do remember watching a YouTube video of the 2014 OSU defensive highlights, and was surprised at how many times Raekwon showed up in the video, despite being a part-timer. So maybe he is making “quiet” big plays. : )
Colin: What are your thoughts on UM v MSU and A&M v BAMA and what other games/lines will you be keeping an eye on?
Baver: I think Sparty keeps the game close and finally covers a spread; 7 1/2 pts is a bit high. But I think Michigan probably wins the game; they are definitely for real, but I see a tight, rivalry game here. I think A&M is legit, but Bama is still the best in the SEC. The play here is probably Bama giving the 4 1/2. I see Ohio State waking up now with a marquee matchup at night in the ‘Shoe. I think Braxton shows up big and the Bucks win 38-17, covering for the first time since the opener. The spread is fairly sharp, but I think OSU laying the 18.5 is the play here. No other lines really jump out at me this week.
Colin: Is Tom Herman the next coach of Southern California? (or is it Chip Kelly?)
Baver: I think Chip Kelly and Kevin Sumlin might be near the top of USC’s list, although if Tom Herman goes 12-0 at Houston, he may get calls from big boys like So Cal. Herman is definitely a rising star and that Houston team was supposed to be rebuilding this year. Someone forgot to tell Herman that.