OSU will win championshipWritten by Dave Woolford | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It seemed like puffy hyperbole to rank Ohio State, with only two starters returning on defense, as the best damn band of football players in the land. But now we can’t underestimate the obvious. The Buckeyes will win their second national championship in five years.
Take it to the bank. Even Sloopy won’t have to hang on. It’s a slam dunk. Just ask LeBron James, who was standing on the Buckeyes’ sideline when No. 1 OSU reduced No. 2 Texas to half the size of Delaware.
Who will OSU coach Jim Tressel pick No. 1 in the Coaches Poll this week? Cincinnati, the Bucks’ opponent Sept. 16 in the “Shoe?”
The nation’s No. 1 football team defeated the nation’s No. 1 party school. How could you be surprised? Party on, Shorthorns. And forget “Hook ‘em Horns.” It’s now, “Hook ‘em Horned Frogs.” That’s Texas Christian, now with the nation’s longest winning streak at 12 games after OSU ended Texas’ win streak at 21.
Let’s not forget the winner of the Texas-Ohio State game last year went on to garner the national title behind a quarterback who was all but a perfect “10.” That’s the number Vince Young wore last year at Texas. It’s the same number OSU quarterback Troy Smith wears.
Last week, Tressel had to attempt to convince his team, especially the defense, it was not nearly as good as it can be. Now he has to convince his guys they’re not as good as everyone thinks they are.
Sorry, coach. This won’t help, but your Buckeyes will play the winner of the Notre Dame-USC game on Nov. 25 for the national championship in Arizona, your home away from home. It’s where OSU throttled the Fighting Irish last year in the Fiesta Bowl and it’s where the Bucks beat Miami for the national championship in 2002.
But that’s 11 games from now. Where’s the drama? The end has been written before we even got through the preface.
Who stands to impede the Buckeyes’ dessert in the desert? The three remaining ranked teams on their schedule? Hardly.
You saw what happened to Penn State at Notre Dame last Saturday with Joe Paterno looking all of 79 at the conclusion of the 41-17 thumping. JoePa cut off all media contact with his players last week, many of them communication majors. Call it “Silence of the lambs.” Next, the Nittany Lions entertain Youngstown State, Tressel’s former team, before playing Tressel’s current team. Talk about a Tress test.
What about Iowa? You may have seen how the Hawkeyes struggled in their 20-13 overtime victory against Syracuse without injured quarterback Drew Tate. Take away Tate and the Buckeyes’ only tough remaining road test becomes a cupcake. We shouldn’t overlook OSU’s midseason game at Michigan State, but it comes a week after the Spartans’ in-state war with the Wolverines. So, let’s overlook it.
Then there’s Michigan. Once a perennial nemesis, the Wolverines are beginning to realize what their once-favorite football coach, John Cooper, lived through in this storied rivalry. Cooper was fired at OSU because of his 2-10-1 record in the Big Game. UM coach Lloyd Carr is 1-4 versus Tressel. Carr won’t match Cooper’s wretched record against UM if for no other reason than there are no longer ties.
We’ll get a good read on the Wolverines this week when they play at Notre Dame, whose QB Brady Quinn will battle Smith for the Heisman Trophy.
If we could look way ahead one more time, let’s remember — Smith owns Michigan.