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MONDAY QUICK HITS: BUCKEYES BLOWN OUT - AGAIN
September 15, 2008

SCS.comThe Big Ten did a stellar job proving themselves to the country this past weekend. They proved that the experts, who have been dogging the conference since Ohio State lost to Florida in 2006, were right. The Big Ten, at this moment, cannot compete with the elite teams in college football. They also cannot compete with middle-of-the-road competition. It is devastating to watch. What has happened to this once proud conference? Let me explain by discussing the individual failures and flops of week 3.

Let’s start with the Ohio State catastrophe at the Coliseum. Firstly, Southern California is a great team. They executed perfectly. They are deep and talented at every position. Without Beanie Wells, Ohio State had very little chance of winning this game. Nevertheless, that does not excuse the 35-3 beat down the Buckeyes received. OSU’s offensive and defensive front seven had no intensity, just like in their previous beatdowns. Both units played well in the first ten minutes of the game. However, the final 50 minutes exposed a soft offensive line and a timid defensive front seven. What happened to the nastiness that once made OSU’s defense so feared? James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman are good linebackers, but they do not attack like A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter did in 2005 when OSU was consistently winning BCS bowls. The defensive tackles got no push. To me, that equals no effort. The offensive line was atrocious. They were confused, again, by the blitzing scheme of a fast defense. Quarterback Todd Boeckman had no time, which caused him to make horrible decisions time after time. The only three players that showed intensity were Malcolm Jenkins, Terrelle Pryor (who did not play enough), and Beanie Wells (who did not play).

The Buckeyes' issues are internal. Like many other teams in their conference, they refuse to adapt. Ohio State refused to throw deep, run a reverse, or give freshman sensation Terrelle Pryor a full half to his own. They rarely blitzed with defensive backs or linebackers. The lack of intensity is a coaching issue. The coordinators are behind the times. I think all the fans realize this, but Tressel manages to ignore it. Finally, he is too loyal to his juniors and seniors. Boeckman played too long. Several defensive players deserve a spot on the bench. Ohio State’s offensive line depth was nowhere to be found. They have fabulous freshman and sophomores, but they were not used properly or at all. These are my final two thoughts on Ohio State: How do I know OSU has fallen so far? They not only lose to good teams in big games, they are over at halftime. Finally, They have a great team. If they had Beanie Wells and Tressel was coach, they still would have lost. If Beanie Wells was healthy and someone like Pete Carrol, Urban Meyer, or Les Miles was coaching, they might have won.

Moving on to the rest of the conference, Purdue looked like they were going to upset a top 20 BCS conference team. Beating Oregon 20-3, Purdue failed to score points for ten consecutive possessions. Purdue lacked the killer instinct they needed to finish off the wounded Ducks. They became too conservative. They established the running game, but kept throwing short passes underneath the coverage. The play action was poorly used. The final plays of regulation were horribly handled (moving to the right hash for the field goal). Purdue gave a pathetic performance after establishing a 20-3 lead.

Michigan is going to struggle this year. They are young on offense. Their defense is just not there yet. The scheme that Rich Rodriguez has implemented is a good one. They just do no have the players to run it successfully. They will improve as the season goes on, but a bowl game is likely out of the question.

Iowa struggled with Iowa State. Their quarterback play was horrible. Minnesota was out gained by Montana State. Illinois beat Louisiana-Lafayette by a measly three points. I attribute these results to lack of intensity, game planning, and preparation. The Big Ten is not what it used to be. SEC teams play with intensity. The Big 12 has great offensive schemes. What does the Big 10 have? What is the conference’s identity? Presently, its identity is being the worst BCS conference in college football.

On the flip side of all this Big 10 nonsense, Southern California looked amazing. They have a great coach and the most skilled and gifted players in college football. They can hurt their opponents in so many ways. They have four or five running backs that would start at most colleges in America. If you stuff the box, they will play action you to death. They execute perfectly. Nobody should touch the Trojans this season. They are the best team in the nation. Lets see if they can avoid a slip up in the mild PAC 10.

Hits

  • Anyone catch Buffalo’s hail mary as time expired to beat rival Temple? This win will prove to be very beneficial as Buffalo attempts to win the MAC: YouTube Video
  • Missouri looks very good (69-17 over Nevada). Oklahoma looks even better (55-14 over Washington). The Big 12 title game might decide who is going to end up undefeated and in the national championship game.
  • BYU just dismantled UCLA. UCLA did not show up. They might have still be on an emotional high after beating Tennessee. This was a great wake up call. On the other hand, BYU silenced the doubters after last week’s close win over Washington. Quarterback Max Hall threw a school record-tying seven touchdowns.
  • Penn State and Wisconsin will not only contend for the Big 10 title, they are the favorites in my opinion. Penn State has whooped up on all of their competition in its first three games(However, those three wins came against horrible teams). Wisconsin got a great win over Fresno State on the road late Saturday night. They gave up some big plays on the ground and on some screens, but their defense did just enough to win the game.
  • I called out North Carolina last week when they struggled to beat McNeese State. After beating Rutgers 44-12, I have to say I am thoroughly impressed by Butch Davis and his Tar Heels.
  • East Carolina continues to be the story of the year. They snuck by a good Tulane team on the road, 28-24. The road to an undefeated season will be bumpy.
  • Kansas versus South Florida was arguably the most exciting game of the week. Neither team deserved to lose. Both quarterbacks looked great. It was a showcase for two programs on the rise. I could not believe it when South Florida’s last second field goal hooked in.
  • Props to Vanderbilt for starting 3-0. Is this the year they reach a bowl game? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. However, I have to applaud the job Bobby Johnson has done since he arrived at Vanderbilt.

    Misses

  • Washington State is the worst BCS conference team. After losing to Oklahoma State by 26 and to Cal by 63!!!!!, the Cougars got handled easily by Baylor. Yes, Baylor handled a BCS conference opponent easily. Washington State’s only winnable game this season is next week at Portland State.
  • Arizona and Arizona State both got upset this weekend (Not good for the Pac 10). Arizona State lost in overtime to UNLV 23-20. ASU gave up a touchdown with eight seconds left. UNLV blocked ASU’s field goal attempt in overtime to seal the upset. This puts a damper on their long-awaited game with Georgia next week. Arizona lost to New Mexico 36-28. This might be the loss that sends Mike Stoops packing.
  • Virginia Tech won an important ACC game with Tyrod Taylor was quarterback. Was the redshirt worth it?
  • Georgia did not look impressive at all. South Carolina was able to shut down UGA’s offense. Stafford looked good at times. He also missed many wide open receivers.
  • Florida State is 2-0. However, it is frustrating because the season is three weeks old and they have yet to play a FBS team. Bad scheduling if you ask me.
  • No, it was not a baseball game. Auburn beat Mississippi State 3-2 on Saturday. They must have left their offenses in the dugout.

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