Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ohio State still at #1

I know this is a little out of the normal format of this blog (everything except sports), but you just have to like a game that is a replay of a match up that happened last year. A game in which you see such celebrities as Matthew Mcconaughey jumping up and down on the side lines, Emmitt Smith doing a little 2-step, or Eddie George harassing the Texas fans (and don't forget Lebron James and Lance Armstrong were on hand as well). This for all intensive purposes was as big as the BCS championship. This is one of the first times the #1 and #2 have played each other in over a decade. In a game which 2 great teams fought hard, like the Highlander, there could be only one and today it was Ohio's turn. Let's go back to last season.

In what was a very disheartening loss to a great team Ohio still managed a bowl win against Notre Dame, but that must have left a bad taste in their mouths considering the rest of the season was flawless. Only with the heroics of a great quarterback like Vince Young was Texas able to overcome a team like OSU. A game which was determined by fourth quarter plays and was a nail biter to the end. Many have pondered if it would have been a different game if Tressel would have started Smith instead of Zwick, but that is something that will have to be debated at a different time. This time the rematch of these teams was something that everyone who is a fan of college football as waiting for. Especially the fans of the two teams involved. It would give Ohio a chance at revenge or for Texas to prove they deserve to be number one. That was last year.

This year 2 new teams were created. Vince has left Texas and the much heralded OSU defensive lead by AJ Hawk was rebuilt. To begin this season both teams did quite well. OSU beat Northern Illinois 35-12 and that was against a good rusher. This also showed some of OSU's weaknesses. First being there untested young new defensive squad. Sure they held Northern to 12 points and this is even with a good rusher like Wolf, but this is still Northern a team not even ranked in the top 25. They also seemed a little sloppy against screen passes were most of Northern's passing yards were scored. Second is kicking granted OSU cannot always have a kicker like Ted Nugent, but to miss 2 field goals isn't good either? Even though one was 56 yards this still showed they needed work. Thirdly is Justin Zwick, backup quarterback. First play he was put in he fumbled the ball. This is something that might happen to a freshman, but this is also the same quarterback that started against Texas the prior year. As long as Troy is healthy this will not be a problem, but if he becomes injured then so long championship.

Now not everything is dire for OSU. They still have a one of the best quarterbacks to come out of Ohio in a while, Troy Smith, currently ranked third in the Heisman standing. Only through his leadership and growth were they able to turn a troubled start of a season to something that led them to a bowl game. He scored 3 touchdowns alone in the first quarter against Northern and he pretty much rested through the 3rd and fourth quarters. Also you have Ted Ginn Jr who returns from last year and with his speed he can be quite dangerous. You also cannot fully knock their defense although untested and young; they did do quite well and with more games comes more experience would it be enough though. Then the changes to Texas.

For all intensive purposes are more drastic than OSU’s. Yes they were ranked third coming into their first game. Yes they moved into second by beating North Texas 56-7 and it looked like the second coming of Vince Young, but there is a difference he is not Vince Young. First off he is a freshman starting in his second game against OSU. He was untested against an unranked team who is probably ranked even lower than Northern. Vince was a veteran who played against many great teams and earned his way to the top. He was also dual threat by being able to both move and through sometimes at the same time. He also had that special something that makes great quarterbacks exceptional. He could make up for hi mistakes and the mistakes of his teammates. This is something yet to be seen by Colt.

When it came down to pre game predictions it was a tight race, but it looked to be that Texas had the edge. They had the home field advantage. They had the hot new quarterback. They had a great team that won the BCS championship. If anything it would make for an exciting game one that would probably be a nail biter to the end. One that could even rival the excitement of last years match up. Unfortunately that was last year and this year is quite different.

It still was not exactly a blowout, but by the 3rd quarter it was not looking to be a close game either. By the end of the night the predictions of a tight game and a Texas win proved to be nothing but hot air as OSU routed Texas 24-7. Was it the lack of experience by an untested Quarterback? Was it the experience and excellent execution by Troy Smith? Maybe it was the excellent new defensive unit. Either way, although exciting, it was not the same game. Maybe if we had the same teams of last year and Troy starting would it have been a close game, but this shows how good OSU is this year and how much work Texas needs. If this is OSU's toughest game they should easily walk to a conference title. The big teams left to play are IOWA that had to win in 2 OT to win its game, Penn State which was routed by Notre Dame, and Michigan. Texas has Iowa as well and a couple of other games, but it does not really matter now because they are playing catch up. They are in the same position OSU was last year. I guess what goes around comes around. They were the heroes of last year, but this year is a they old Champions of a couple of years ago look like they are back and hungry for another title.


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