Michigan Week: Baver Answers Colin's Questions b/w Dead Schembechlers "Harbaugh to Hell"

Colin: Ok, the MSU game was a major disappointment and a bit of a mystery for many reasons. Before asking a question about that, I must say that once again Buckeye Nation has disappointed me with their reaction to a 3 point loss to an excellent team. All the whining and finger pointing just make us look like the losers we might be. I realize it wasn't very wise for Zeke to throw the play calling under the bus in his post game rant, BUT, if you listen to it all you realize two things 1) He was hurting because he wasn't given the chance to help his team win. A completely natural reaction considering his track record in the 2nd half of our biggest games and 2) When he spoke to the team about leaving to go pro in the locker room, he was trying to rally the troops that their time together was limited. We need to play hard now. He wasn't trying to downplay the Michigan game, quite the opposite. It was a call to arms for all the guys who may be leaving. Zeke is a heck of a nice kid and an even better football player. He is ALL heart. If Buckeye fans can't handle a little dust up and get his back after all he has done for this football program, they don't deserve players the quality of E. E.  Your take?

Baver: I can’t ever remember a Buckeye player calling out his coaching staff after a loss. And I can’t remember a player announcing prior to the Michigan game that he won’t be back for his senior year. I think Zeke made his own bed and had to lie in it. But it’s time to move on; and you’re right, Zeke’s a good kid. He apologized and he’s certainly handled himself better than I did at his age. 

Colin: Let's start with the question the media were too big of pussies to ask Urban in the post game presser: How does your bellcow running back only get 2 touches in the 2nd half? Urban did answer some questions though including that Zeke was healthy and it was tough conditions to throw.... It doesn't add up. What the hell? 

Baver: If he was healthy, running Zeke only twice in the 2nd half was despicable. And “why?” is the million-dollar question. Even without taking many risks, Beck and company could have mixed it up much better than they did. God, was that painful to watch.

Colin: Joshua Perry said that if this team can't respond to one loss after all the winning they have enjoyed then we are a "phony team". This team has been coasting all year. Can they take it up a notch and win this war in Ann Arbor? Do you think playing on the road may actually help us?

Baver: Playing on the road helping Ohio St actually makes some sense. The booing of the play calling in the ‘Shoe couldn’t be more demoralizing. Josh Perry gets it, but do the other OSU players? Another million-dollar question, and I don’t know the answer. I do think you have some players that are still devastated from the MSU loss. This Ohio St team needs a fast start for once to pick these guys up.

Colin: Last year at this time, we were lighting up scoreboards and our defense was only asked to hold teams under 30 points. It suddenly seems quite the opposite. Can these Silver Bullets win this game all by themselves?

Baver: Could happen. The play of the Buckeye defense will dictate how much the OSU offense will open up the playbook. It may drive Buckeye fans crazy, but I don’t think I would take too many chances with the offense if the Buckeye D is holding Michigan’s offense in check.

Colin: We will ever see another winning run like this by the Ohio State Buckeyes in our lifetime? It's one of the great runs in the history of college football. Do you feel like Ohio State fans appreciate what they have had the pleasure of watching? 

Baver: As long as Urban’s here, the Bucks are going to be winning 10+ gms almost every year. And with four 20+ game winning streaks under his belt, there is little reason to doubt Urban can do it again. But, no….I don’t think most Buckeye fans appreciate the last decade and a half like they should. I have a friend who often says, ”We could have been born Purdue fans.” That line always puts things into perspective for me.

Colin: Can Penn State finally suck it up and knock off Sparty?

Baver: Most Buckeye fans think not, but it’s certainly possible. While Sparty has played their best ball against ranked teams, they’ve struggled against the unranked ones. And Connor Cook is another game time decision. Yeah, they did beat Ohio St without Cook, but the Buckeye defense was out of gas when the Sparty offense finally got in gear. This one might be more interesting than most think.

Colin: Give us an update on your picks to date and other games and lines you will be keeping an eye on this weekend?

Baver: 21-11-1 against the spread, including 9-2 ATS picking Buckeye games. Very tough call on the OSU-UM game and one to stay away from I think, if you are a bettor. I leaned Michigan at one point in the week, but Urban always makes me look silly when I predict a Buckeye loss. I think OSU wins a tight one...gonna go with 24-21 Ohio St. I think you have to like the Nits getting 11 in East Lansing. Big letdown spot for Sparty & they are 2-7 ATS as a favorite this year. And I think the Bedlam spread has climbed too high with the Sooners laying 7. I like Okie State and the points.