Colin: With Penn State next week I figure we keep it short and sweet. What are your takeaways good and bad from the victory over TCU?
Baver: The good: Haskins was unfazed by the bright lights, and played extremely well. Similarly, this Buckeye team didn’t blink being down 8 pts in the middle of the 3rdqtr, and made plays when they needed to. KJ Hill has developed into a really good slot receiver. The OSU pass coverage was actually pretty solid most of the night. Robinson often put the ball where it needed it to be, and his WRs made plays despite decent coverage. There were some signs of life out of Malik Harrison in the second half. And Ohio St beat a pretty good TCU team in their back yard by double digits, while opting to kneel on the ball with first & goal with 2 minutes to go in the game.
The bad: There is still a long way to go with this linebacking crew. Penn St should also be able to take advantage of them. Ohio St appears to have lost the best player in college football in Nick Bosa, for an extended period of time. Hope that’s not the difference between a win and a loss in Happy Valley. I’m not sure Isaiah Pryor is the answer at the safety spot opposite Jordan Fuller. And I’m not sure this Buckeye defense would keep Bama under 50 pts right now. They have to get a lot better if they want to challenge for the Nat’l Title. The good thing is this D has the talent where they could make big strides like the 2014 team did.
Colin: Urban takes control again this week. With the recent press conference and ESPN interview do you feel we have finally put the Zach Smith debacle in the rear view mirror?
Baver: I don’t know…apparently not, with the Wall Street Journal feeling the need to chime in Wednesday. I’ve skimmed some of the pieces this week just to keep up on the latest, but I am trying my hardest not read anything else about it. Urban’s been punished pretty hard here….time for the media to move on.
Colin: I don't really have anything to ask about Tulane so let's talk about the disaster of a weekend the Big Ten just had. Which loss was most embarrassing for the conference?
Baver: So many to choose from…. I guess I will take the most high-profile loss, and that is Wisconsin, who closed as a 23½ pt favorite at home, losing to a BYU team that went 4-9 last season. The Badgers beat BYU 40-6 a year ago, having about 300 more total yards than the Cougars in that one; crazy. Plenty of other embarrassments to consider, though. Maryland, a 14½ pt fav over Temple lost be 3 TDs at home. Oh, and that’s the same Temple that opened the ‘18 season with a loss to Villanova. And then there’s Northwestern…a 21-pt fav over Akron. They led 21-3 at the half and lost. And if anyone gave a damn about Rutgers, their 55-14 loss to Kansas would be your most embarrassing Big Ten loss. Chris Ash isn’t going to recover from that one, but I would gladly take him back as OSU’s defensive coordinator. (Note that Nebraska lost as a double-digit favorite and didn’t even make the top-4 list of Big Ten embarrassments.)
Colin: What other games and lines will you be keeping an eye on this week.
Baver: I’ve got the Buckeyes winning 56-14, thinking Urban will want to cover the 37-pt spread in his first game back.
I am going to try to stay up to watch Brian Phillips’ Washington St team play USC in the Coliseum. I don’t really have a pick there, but Wash St is 3-0 and playing a reeling USC team that rushed for -5 yds against Texas. A USC loss would make Clay Helton 1-3 and officially put him on the ropes. I like Wazzu’s new QB Gardner Minshew who has Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense clicking pretty well.
I like Stanford laying 2 in Eugene against the Ducks. David Shaw’s team is battle-tested and Oregon, with new head coach Mario Cristobol, is not.
I might be a sucker walking into to this one, but I like Iowa getting 3 at home against the Badgers. I often like talented teams in bounce-back spots (i.e. Wisconsin), but no way you can pass on a good-looking Iowa team getting 3 at night in Kinnick Stadium.
Not sure what to expect in TCU at Texas, so I’ll pass on picking that one. I’ll be pulling for the Frogs though.
And I was all set to pick A&M getting a whopping 26 points in Tuscaloosa, but I don’t want to look foolish, so passing here as well. But at some point there has to be a Bama letdown, doesn’t there?