September 08, 2008
Daily headlines, notes and errata in anticipation of the Game of the Decade of the Year.
You want a story? Buckeye Commentary's got your story right here:
Malcolm Jenkins may not think Ohio State is an underdog, but clearly, yes, the Buckeyes are officially massive underdogs. The L.A. Daily News' Scott Wolf said he'd seen a line drop to nine, but like his commenters, I haven't come across one that low yet; most have OSU +10.5, and there's at least one that puts the spread as high as 11.0 in the Trojans' favor. Today the Buckeyes are rebuilding their psyche, relying on a true freshman with accuracy problems to bal out a two-year, fifth-year senior at quarterback, and "desperate" to prove their manhood. And the last one is from the only national guy who seems to think the game will live up to the hype, Matt Hayes (note to self: Matt Hayes thinks the game will close? Maybe I should answer that e-vite for Saturday night, after all).
I would have guessed the line would be more like three or four, so this is so baffling to me, I didn't really even consider that the headline, "USC has little to worry about 'O-S-Who'" in the Orange County Register's Trojan blog might be be anything other than sarcastic, until I read it and, yeah, it's completely non-ironic:
If the Ohio without the “State” can come within a quarter of beating The Ohio State University, then we ought to turn down the hype several notches.
About the only danger for USC at this point is overconfidence.
Um, yeah. Might want to, ahem, guard against that.
Tale of the Tape of the Day. . . .
It is not that Jim Tressel has anything against pretending to have a player arrested, or staging a star player's suicide, or beat a movie star in a swimming race, or leading recruits in a shirtless man yell or being caught wishing Mike Bellotti 'good luck to you' on national television, or engaging reporters in a life-threatening thirst-off or taking time off to hone his best Jay Leno impersonation. It's just that it hasn't occurred to him. Advantage: Southern Cal.
Plausible Scenario of the Day. Beanie Wells suits up and jogs around with an epic roll of tape around his foot but can't quite go on his bad toe. Deflated, Ohio State is stuffed in its early attempts to run the ball, can't keep the Trojan offense off the field and falls into an early hole. Desperate, the Buckeyes turn to Terrelle Pryor for a spark, leading to a terrible freshman gaffe that throws open the floodgates. The Trojans explode a la the 2005 Orange Bowl over apparent equal Oklahoma, taking advantage of their offensive balance to mount a couple sustained drives, hit a couple big plays, and turn a short field or two into a substantial halftime lead. Leaning on Todd Boeckman to throw them out of trouble in the second half, things get worse for OSU in a rewind of January's mythical championship game, and the score gets into laugher territory, like 45-14 kind of bad.
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Photos of Jim Tressel and Pete Carroll via Getty Images.