Saturday, September 13, 2008

5 Things You Might Not See Coming for Ohio State/USC

You can go anywhere - maybe outside of the local beauty salon - to gather analysis, insights, a few too many predictions on the top 5 matchup pitting the Buckeyes against the Trojans.

Not that I’ve been hanging around any beauty salons or anything.

Nevertheless, the title of this particular post says it all. Let’s take a look at 5 “things” you might not have considered before; yet might be vital to the game’s outcome.


1) A 3-headed platoon isn’t better than having a SUPERSTAR RB
No more than 9 carries per back, 5+ yards a carry average for each, 200+ total yards, and plenty of contrasting styles for the three USC runners (Johnson, McKnight, & Gable) against the Wahoos two weekends ago. That’s all and good, but when the big carries come…I don’t want to depend on who’s the hottest or who seems the “best” that day against the opponent. A dynamic playmaking running back never has to platoon with two other guys. USC doesn’t have a SUPERSTAR back.

2) Backup QBs MATTER
Mark Sanchez looked Heisman-good two weeks ago against UVA. Enter dynamic CB Malcolm Jenkins and an impressive veteran Buckeye defense and things might not be as easy. Even more pressing is who the Trojan backup QB is (is it Corp or Mustain?). As for the Buckeyes, impact recruit Terrelle Pryor might need a Tebow-like impact as the #2 QB if the Buckeyes can pull off the upset.

3) The Return Game of Southern Cal
It should come as no surprise to learn the Buckeyes have an elite special teams unit, especially in the kicking game. As for the Trojans, McKnight has solid ability in the return game – but I see him as a tackle-breaker over a takle-avoider – and I still wonder if USC’s kicker (Buehler, Buehler, Buehler) has the stones to nail a game-winning kick.

4) The “other” Buckeye RB named Wells
Sorry ESPN, Maurice Wells won’t be the guy to replace the now ruled out Chris “Beanie” Wells. Instead, the Buckeyes require a trio platoon of their own to perform (including the aforementioned Wells & Herron/Saine). While even Beanie wouldn’t run wild against an amazingly speedy Trojan defense, the Heisman-hopeful RB (at least three weeks ago he was) will be sorely missed for his ability to run in between the guard/tackle AND around the outside corner. Second-level speed is a MUST have for an opponent of the Trojans. Already limited with that at wideout, do the Buckeyes have the team speed to get outside or through the seems and outrun Trojan defenders downfield? I’m a little worried they don’t. Similar thoughts concerned the Buckeyes against the Gators and Tigers in the past two BCS title games.

5) Legacies
Everyone believes USC is the dominant program in the new millennium; however, the Buckeyes are within 2 total losses, 1 national championship, and a couple Heisman winners behind. Jim Tressel and his team are far from intimidated by anything the Trojans have to offer. Even playing in the Rose Bowl. That won't be the reason this game is won or lost. It's a little silly to think otherwise honestly.

MY prediction
: USC wins 37-23
If Beanie had Played”: USC wins 37-23

We’ll check back in here or there with some Saturday reactions, especially to this showdown of juggernauts. Even sans-Wells, perhaps we can have ourselves an epic-September matchup.

Until kickoff…

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