Colin: Before getting into the Buckeyes, why does Les Miles have so much trouble putting an offense together at LSU? He has the best running back in the nation, loads of talent, but no offensive philosophy year after year. Can't he just hire some guy to figure it out?
Baver: Amazing. This should be LSU’s best team in years and I was thinking it would be one of Wisconsin’s worst teams in years. Miles has an offensive coordinator in Cam Cameron that was an OC in the NFL for 10 years, but Cameron appears to be part of the problem. And we know Brandon Harris is a BIG problem at QB. You mention the talent… the 2017 NFL draft for LSU prospects may play out similarly to the way the 2016 draft played out for Ohio State prospects.
Colin: As long as we are talking about coaches on the hot seat, could Bob Stoops be in trouble after taking a beating from the upstart Houston Cougers?
Baver: I would seriously doubt it. Stoops seems to be CFB fans’ whipping boy. The perception is so different in CFB than it is in CBB. Stoops’ accomplishments in football, to me, look like Tom Izzo’s accomplishments in basketball. And Izzo is considered a coaching genius, right? I usually find myself defending Stoops who seems to take a bunch of abuse when he loses, yet gets little to no credit when he wins.
Colin: Is there any chance Alabama doesn't make the football playoff this year?
Baver: They are sick. OSU may do some catching up to Bama talent wise with the 2017 recruiting class, but as for the 2016 season, Bama’s talent is in a league of it’s own. And their road trips to Baton Rouge and Knoxville, no longer look so daunting, do they? A lock for the playoff? Alabama looks like the closest thing to it, but they’ll have to guard against complacency.
Colin: Onto the Buckeyes, Wow. I've seen many ass a whoopins' in the shoe but that was the most yards EVER. Could this offense be that special or was it just a good day?
Baver: I don’t care if it was Bowling Green; this Buckeye offense is much farther along than I think even the coaches could have imagined five months ago. But being so young, I think you will still see some ups and downs out of this offense, and we’ll of course learn a lot more the Bucks when they head west to Norman.
Colin: Losing Sprinkle depletes a thin D-line further. After watching the Badgers run it down LSU throats, could that be the Achilles heel of the 2016 Buckeyes?
Baver: Maybe. They’ll soon find out. By the end of October, they will have faced the Perine/Mixon combo, Corey Clements, Saquon Barley, and Justin Jackson. According to Phil Steele, that’s the best tailback in the Big 12 (Perine) and the 3 best backs in the Big Ten.
Colin: After watching film, which Buckeyes jumped out at you and what was your take away both good and bad? And what area do we need to improve before heading down to Norman?
Baver: Samuel’s huge day overshadowed Mike Weber’s very nice start to his career at Ohio State. It wasn’t just his running; the kid more than held is own as a blocker. And it was amazing to see JT and the receiving corps clicking that well together in game 1. They did get help too from the O-line that kept JT upright (I believe) the entire time he was in there.
As for the D, the tackling was very good, and I was surprised at how well Joe Burger played while subbing for an injured Dante Booker. And Malik Hooker? You can take away his 2 picks and he was still amazing to watch; the kid covers so much ground and does so at light speed.
Where does Ohio State need to improve prior to the OU game? The Bucks did not do a great job pressuring Bowling Green QB James Knapke. I would think the pass rush and DT depth is the biggest concern for the OSU coaches right now.
Colin: Tulsa has no chance right?
Baver: Little chance, but remember the Northern Illinois game last year? The Bucks were a 34 ½ pt favorite and won 20-13. And this seems like a spot for a letdown sandwiched between the opener and Oklahoma. Tulsa has a good one at QB in Dane Evans, but likes to run their tailbacks out of the spread. They averaged 37 ppg last year, putting up 38 on Oklahoma and 52 on Va Tech. Problem is, their defense can’t stop anybody.
Colin: OK, rough week picking last week after going 24-14 last season. Let's chalk it up to an unpredictable first week and scratch them from your record. What games and lines will you be watching this week?
Baver: Ugly slate of games this week… Gotta take Arkansas getting 7 1/2 at TCU, one of the few half-decent games of the week. The TCU defense stunk up the joint last week and they are built to stop Big 12 passing attacks; not a good matchup against a power-run Arkansas team. I like Kentucky catching 16 ½ at Florida. Can Florida’s offense even top 16 ½ points? If I’m a bettor, I stay away from the Ohio State game again this week, but hold a gun to my head, and I’ll take the Bucks laying the 29, with a score somewhere in the ballpark of 56-24. (Editor's note: with severe storms now expected around kick-off, Baver is switching this pick but the weather has made the game too tough to call)