Colin: OSU has had 3 games against glorified high school teams since Oklahoma gave them a dose of reality. What have we learned over the last 3 weeks?
Baver: You are starting to see the depth this Buckeye team has. The backups, as a whole, didn’t look good against UNLV, but they looked scary good this past Saturday. It didn’t matter that it was against a bad Rutgers team; you could still see the talent all over the field. What else? JT looks more confident, but that confidence may fade in a bigger game. The D-line is probably even better than we thought they would be, if that is even possible. Kendall Sheffield may have Superman’s body, but he isn’t OSU caliber at cornerback, at least at this point. The WRs I think are starting to get there. Urban & Kevin Wilson are really working on the passing game, as they threw the ball all night at Rutgers. They certainly know that the passing game has to get better against real competition. Oh….and Parris Campbell still has all kinds of issues catching the ball. It’s a good thing he runs like a gazelle.
Colin: What chance does this Buckeye team have of challenging top dogs like Alabama and Clemson?
Baver: Not good….unless JT takes some MAJOR strides. Right now, I am worried about Penn State. If they can get the offense in gear against the Nits and post a big win, then I think we revisit this question.
Colin: The six man rotation at wide receiver…am I crazy or is starting to actually make some sense?
Baver: It’s definitely looking better, and Ohio State’s depth as mentioned, will continue to wear teams out. That rotation is starting to grow on me. And so many of these receivers create different problems for defenses. You have the pure speed of Campbell, Binjamin Victor’s long frame, and Terry McLaurin’s devastating blocking ability. Still….these guys still have to prove they can get it done against top-tier D’s. They were overmatched against Oklahoma, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a bit brighter.
Colin: The Terps road win over Texas was a fluke, right? How does the OSU-Maryland game play out?
Baver: Maryland is a yo-yo. You mentioned the upset at Texas. Two weeks ago they hosted Central Florida and lost 38-10. Down to their 3rd QB because of injuries, you write Maryland off, right? The Terps then go on the road as a double-digit dog and beat Minnesota. Maryland may have the best running attack that Ohio State will have faced to date, led by Ty Johnson, a guy that probably has a future in the NFL. You will see the Bucks have a lot of success through the air for the 4th straight week, as the Terps pass defense is pretty bad. Maryland could hang around this week, but in the end I’ve got Ohio State winning 45-17.
Colin: Give us an update on your picks, and what will CD1025’s Brian Phillips’ Wazzu team do for an encore,as they travel to Eugene to face the Ducks?
Baver: 11-5 against the spread so far. I think Maryland plus the 31 is the play against the Bucks if you have to make one, but I’d stay away from that game as the spread looks about right to me. How does Washington St get up for another huge game for the 2nd week in a row? Autzen is always a tough venue to play in but I think the Cougs stays undefeated, and I’d lay the 3 pts against the Ducks. The Oregon defense may be slightly improved after hefty coordinator Brady Hoke was shown the door after one season, but that Duck defense is still not very good. And I like Miami laying the 3 pts in Tallahassee against a reeling Florida State team. Nole freshman QB James Blackman, the so-called Slim Reaper, is not ready for big-time football at this stage.