Every week of the college football season, Pencilstorm Buckeye guru answers our questions and yours. Follow and shoot him questions @baverbuckeyebag
Colin: Last year, a young OSU team went on the road and blew the doors off the Sooners in what turned out to be the Bucks best downfield passing performance of the year. Since then, tape shows serious flaws in JT and the company's ability to vertically stretch the field. Have we solved this issue or could the Okies stack the box and cause us big trouble?
Baver: I’ve been sticking up for JT for a long time, but after re-watching the 1st half of the Indiana game, it’s pretty clear that JT’s accuracy issues are still glaring. Hell, you even had Indiana’s head coach (Tom Allen) referring to Barrett as “….a QB that’s not that accurate”. Ouch. I thought JT looked better in the 2nd half, but even most of the short completions in the 1st half weren’t really on the mark. To be fair, Barrett’s WR’s aren’t helping the vertical threat much at all. If I’m Mike Stoops and Oklahoma, I’m definitely stacking the box, and challenging Barrett and OSU’s so-called Zone 6 to beat me.
Colin: Along those lines, could the Bucks be over-confident after the easy W last year and be primed for a Va Tech style surprise / slaughter?
Baver: Overconfidence is something I haven’t heard brought up this week, but it’s a valid concern, especially with 20-year old kids that are only a year removed from that easy W.
Colin: Dobbins impressed at RB, but is it a good sign that a freshman could start on a potential National Championship contender? Is his ceiling higher than Weber’s?
Baver: I was taking a wait and see approach with Dobbins, so I waited….and I saw. I think the question now is, “How can you not start him?” Yeah, JKD’s upside is ridiculous.
Colin: What did you like and dislike about the team's performance at Bloomington?
Baver: We talked about Barrett’s accuracy problems. Obviously the OSU cornerbacks could have played much better, but I think they will be fine in the long run. I think all aspects of Ohio St’s kicking game looked suspect. As far as likes, I still think you give credit where credit is due, with the things JTB does do well. The guy remained extremely poised despite OSU being down for much of the game. He was a very effective runner, like he always is. And he played better when the game was on the line, another thing JT almost always does. Other likes? The O-line looked improved and of course JK Dobbins is going to be special.
Colin: Do you think Mayfield and Co. will find similar success to the Hoosiers picking on our young cornerbacks?
Baver: Mayfield is going to have success in different ways. He won’t have a 6’5”, 220-pound Simmie Cobb to abuse OSU corners, but Mayfield is way more mobile than Richard Lagow, and he likely won’t make the stupid mistakes Lagow eventually always makes. I think you’ll see Mayfield be much more successful Saturday night than he was a year ago, and TE Mark Andrews will be his main target.
Colin: How do you see the Buckeyes winning this game and what scenario should make us the nervous?
Baver: Gotta admit, I am backtracking from comments I made on CD102.5 the morning after the Indiana game. I tend to think Ohio State gets the W Saturday night, but I’m not so sure. If the OSU offense produces zero vertical threat whatsoever, then they are probably in trouble. Oklahoma has no doubt spent countless hours working on the things they didn’t do well a year ago against Ohio St. Mark Andrews is the best pass catching TE in the nation, and he worries me more than anything else, I’d say. Ultimately, I think OSU will again get things going late this week, will make enough big plays on defense, and will mix things up enough on O to get it done. I like Ohio State 35-31.
Colin: What other games and lines will you be keeping an eye on this week?
Baver: One week doesn’t make a season, but Oklahoma State’s offense is sick. They should have been on my sleeper list that you asked me about last week. I think they roll on the road at South Alabama Friday night. So OK Lite is the play there IMO, laying the 28 ½. And I like Stanford catching 6 on the road at USC – should be a tight game, and Stanford may simply be the better football team. My picks against the spread on the OSU games continue to be red hot, but I am struggling to play .500 on other games as of late.