Colin: It's Senior Day at the Shoe. What are the chances Braxton Miller starts this game under center at least for one snap considering all he has meant to this football program?
Baver: It very well may happen, but I think this game is too important. I’m guessing OSU goes with their normal personnel to start the game. But, a tip of the hat to Braxton. He’s one of the best QB’s to ever play here and has handled himself with class.
Colin: That takes us to this week's celebrity question from Big $ of the @NorthCoastPosse: "Why doesn't OSU take a couple of deep shots throwing to Braxton every week? Even just as a threat. Nobody else seems able to get open downfield."
Baver: Against a good defense, I don’t think the OSU coaches have confidence in Braxton (or any other WR) as a deep threat; and I don’t think the coaches have confidence in the ability of the O-line to pass-protect. I think Urban would rather go with the safer stuff; i.e. pound EZE. But it is indeed maddening that the OSU coaches can’t utilize Braxton’s skills effectively.
Colin: Which players that are most likely to play their final home game are you going to miss most next year?
Baver: Joey will be sorely missed; he’s an absolute, unblockable freak. Next, EZE….even with all the great tailbacks that have played here, you can make the argument that EZE tops the list. Almost no chance either Joey or EZE returns in ’16, but they will be making the right move.
Colin: For all that Mark Dantonio has accomplished, he still seems a bit disrespected by the general public. Where do you think he ranks among current top head coaches and is there ever a chance he moves to a true power program like USC or Georgia?
Baver: Dino is as underrated as they come. Off the top of my head, I came up with 7 elite coaches (that have yet to peak, like Bill Snyder): 1) Urbs, 2) Saban, 3) Hairball, 4) Briles, 5) Patterson (TCU), 6) Dino and 7) Dabo. So Cal doesn’t appear to be Dantonio’s kind of place, but you never know; he may be ready for the next challenge. Georgia could be in play as well. But I’m wondering if some past health issues keep Dino from wanting to relocate.
Colin: 13 points seems like too many, are the wise guys worried about Cook's injured shoulder?
Baver: I’m guessing Cook’s shoulder concerns have driven the line up a point or so. But, I think the line was going to be too high regardless. I think Cook will be good-to-go; if he isn’t, that’s a huge boost for Ohio St.
Colin: How do you see this game playing out? What do the Bucks have to do or not do to win this game?
Baver: The Bucks have to keep WR Aaron Burbridge in check; he has the best #’s of any WR in the B1G. I think Burbridge does his damage, even against a talented OSU secondary. Sparty will have little success on the ground. On the other side, the Slobs have to find some way to handle DE Shilique Calhoun & NT Malik McDowell. I think the Buckeye O-line will have trouble doing so, and I see a lower scoring game than Vegas expects. I anticipate MSU’s defense rising up and giving Sparty a chance to pull the upset. Ohio St has gotten away with TO’s in big games in the past, but multiple TO’s Saturday may finally do them in. But, I like the Bucks 24-17.
Colin: Give us an update on your picks and other games and lines you will be keeping an eye on the weekend.
Baver: 19-10-1 against the spread and now 8-2 picking the OSU games ATS. Hope I am wrong, but with Dantonio being so tough on the road, I think you have to take Sparty +13 1/2. I love State Penn catching 3 1/2 at home against Michigan; bad spot for scUM, who isn’t playing well anyway. Finally, I like Purdue getting 23 at Iowa. Purdue has played well against its toughest opponents all year.