Archive for the ‘Previews’ Category

Why We’ll Beat Sparty: The Numbers

Friday, December 6th, 2013

What hasn’t been said already about Sparty’s defense? It leads the nation in total defense and rush defense (238 and 65 YPG, respectively). They’ve blown up offensive lines and blocking schemes all year, also leading the nation in negative yard plays. While yards per game matter, they perhaps aren’t the most useful measure of a defense, because they don’t list them on the scoreboard. That said, Sparty is third in the nation in points allowed, metering opponents to a stingy 11.8 PPG.

But the raw statistics may be misleading. Sparty’s defense has looked good primarily because it’s faced some atrocious offenses. The strongest offense they faced all year was Indiana (no, really), who put up 28 points on them. It’s well known that the biggest strength of the Sparty D is against the run, but the average rank of the rushing offenses they’ve faced is 54th. And that doesn’t include week 3 opponent Youngstown State, who isn’t even an FBS school. When they have been up against strong offenses, as against Indiana and Nebraska, they’ve shown some vulnerability. The Hoosiers put up 351 yards and 4 touchdowns against the vaunted East Lansing D, while the Cornhuskers tallied 392 for 4 scores, including 182 yards on the ground.

And they’ve never played against a running attack like the twin spears of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller, not to mention Jordan Hall and Dontre Wilson, who round out the nation’s 2nd best rushing offense.

On the other side of the ball, playing against strong defenses is nothing new for the Buckeyes. Let’s not forget that Ohio State has already dispatched Iowa and Wisconsin, who have the 11th and 6th best defenses in the country. We put up 31 against Wisconsin and 34 against Iowa. We think the question is not “can OSU score against Sparty’s defense,” but “can Sparty run with OSU’s offense.” Sparty averages just 29.4 PPG to Ohio State’s 48.2. The one area that OSU hasn’t struggled on defense is against the run, where they’ve only allowed 100 YPG, 86 less than MSU’s offense produces.

Simply put, OSU has played successfully against strong defenses, while Sparty has only played one decent offense, two mediocre ones, and a whole lot of terrible ones.

While it’s true that we looked shaky last week, never underestimate the power of a wakeup call. The Buckeyes were heavily favorited against TTUN, and they went up there and had their eyes opened, courtesy of the enemy playing the game of their lives, at home. Any time Devin Gardner is completing leaping, back-foot passes across his body, you know somebody’s hit the code for God Mode. Fortunately, we still pulled out the win, and the difficulty with which the victory was achieved will serve to focus and galvanize Ohio State on both sides of the ball tomorrow.

By contrast, everybody (we included) thinks tomorrow will be a hotly contested affair. Actually, that’s putting it too nicely. We’re sure it’ll be a dogfight from end to end, and some of the most interesting battles will happen on the sidelines, as coaches and coordinators try to counter each others’ schemes and find weaknesses. If one side succeeds, the intensity of the fight may not show up on the scoreboard.

The fewest points the Buckeyes have scored all year is 31. The most points Sparty’s defense has allowed is 28. Something’s got to give. We forecast that Sparty’s offense will sputter when their running game fails to produce, and their defense will tire of getting run over by Carlos Hyde, and run past by Braxton Miller. If all of that happens, we’re looking for a Buckeye victory, 35-24.

What do you want to see tomorrow?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Just this.

Super-brief Preview: Ohio State – Illinois

Friday, November 15th, 2013

image

Never forget.

NCAA Preview: Week 10

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

We haven’t written one of these in a while, mainly because we’re bad people who write badly. In the spirit of Halloween – whatever that means – we’re getting back on the preview train.

Games we’re interested in and may even watch this weekend (all times Mountain)

TONIGHT
Arizona State at Washington State
, 8:30pm – It’s probably just leftover infatuation with Mike Leach’s offense when he was at Texah Tech, but we try not to miss a chance to tune in and see the old pirate swinging his sword, even though pirates are the sworn enemy of ninjas. It’s either team Leach or Team Craig James, and we’re too respectful of the hooking industry to take sides with James.

SATURDAY
Florida vs. Georgia, 1:30pm
– The World’s Largest Outdoor Weenie Roast or whatever they call it now. No matter which underachieving, overrated team wins this game, they’ll probably get vaulted into the AP top ten. Because #narrative.

TTUN at Sparty, 1:30pm – We’ll watch this one just because we want to see if Devin Gardner hits the over/under of 30 turnovers in the game. We firmly believe that TTUN is probably the worst one-loss team in the country, and we expect that to be proven on Saturday.

The U at Florida State, 6pm – We expect the Seminoles to win by 30-40 points, but would be kind of amused if the U pulled the upset. Don’e really expect it to happen though.. There’s an Al-Golden-works-at-Enterprise-Rent-A-Car joke in there but I’ll just leave it unsaid for now.

That’s really about it. The other games this weekend just don’t “do it” for us.

Preview: Ohio State – Iowa

Friday, October 18th, 2013

It seems that the Fightin’ Buckeyes of the Olentangy haven’t played the Fightin’ Hawkeyes of the Cornfield since George W. Bush was President. It hasn’t actually been that long. That isn’t to say that the times they haven’t a-changed since the last time these two titans of the gridiron faced off.

For example, when these teams played last, the Buckeyes were coached by a guy who wore a sweater vest and quarterbacked by a guy who’s starting in Oakland now. We recognized maybe three of the songs on this list. Also Mel Gibson introduced to some of you the phrase “I’ll burn the goddamn house down, but blow me first.”* Oh yeah, and it had only been about 35 days since the Buckeyes had lost a football game.

* – I say “some of you” because some of us had that line in our repertoire for years.

Alas, it’s a different world.

Everyone’s still worried about the Buckeyes’ ranking. We’re not. for reasons that have been outlined elsewhere – mainly that there have been maybe three years in the last 15 that more than two teams have finished undefeated, which to us are good odds. In other words, in the words of Al Davis and Mel Gibson, Just Win, Baby.

What we’ll be looking for Saturday afternoon

1 – How has Braxton recovered from the Northwestern episode? Maybe he should’ve taken a couple snaps in the scrimmage game against FAMU after all.
2 – Will the secondary consider actually covering a receiver from time to time? Perhaps stand less than thirty feet away from one at the line of scrimmage?
3 – Will Joey Bosa make Iowa’s quarterback curl up into a ball, sobbing and questioning his life choices?

Our guaranteed score prediction which we didn’t do two weeks ago and perhaps led to all the drama: Buckeyes 42, Hawkeyes 17

 

Preview: Ohio State – Northwestern

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

So we kind of wrote yesterday’s post thinking yesterday was Thursday. Kind of embarrassing considering we consider ourselves to be relatively intelligent. What really messed us up was coming back from Ohio on Monday.

Eh, whatever.

There were three road games on the Buckeyes schedule that made us nervous before the season started: Cal, Northwestern, and TTUN. This week is the second of those and, against all odds, the one we most need to be nervous about.

Really, do you want to live in a world where the alma mater of so many journalists and other smart people is good at football too? Where is the justice? We thought this was America. [Random additional nonsensical rant]

A lot of people seem concerned about the Buckeyes’ ranking. Not us. Maybe we are mellowing or age is finally showing, but we’ve been around long enough to know that these things take care of themselves eventually. Consider this possibility as well: next year’s team might be better than this year’s.

What we’ll be looking for Saturday night

1 – Can the Buckeyes continue their tradition of starting fast? Aside from last week there might not be a week where that’s more important.
2 – How will the secondary respond to the loss of Christian Bryant? Those are big shoes for a kid to fill.
3 – How many times will we incoherently yell “Nerds” at our television? Over/under is starting at twelve.

NCAA Preview: Week 6

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Sorry for not posting our usual content this week. The drive to and from Ohio for E2B turned out to take a lot out of us. Also meant there was a lot more stuff at home to do than usual. Please to forgive…

This week’s featured matchups, such as they are: (and by “featured” we mean “the matchups we think are interesting for no really good reason”)
All times Mountain because that’s the way it should be.

SATURDAY

Maryland at Florida State, 10am - Should be interesting – probably the best team Florida State and their phenomenal young quarterback has yet played. Remember, if the Terps win, B1G! B1G! If not, the ACC is teh suck.

Sparty at Iowa. 10am – Time to see how good the Hawkeyes are. They’ve been pretty inconsistent this year. If they can beat Sparty we’ll start throwing up in advance for their tilt with the Buckeyes in a few weeks.

Georgia State at GOBAMAROLLTIDE, INC, LLC, 10am – Remember when sportswriters thought giving players extra benefits was beyond the pale? Remember when sportswriters thought a powerhouse scheduling a cupcake they were destined to beat by 70 points was unacceptable?

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Minnesota at TTUN, 1:30pm – Go Gophers.

Washington at Stanford, 8:30pm – Time for another Pac-12 team that thought it was a contender to be shamed for their presumption. Tiger Woods and Condi think it’s adorable that you’re ranked 15th, Huskies.

Air Force at Navy, 9:30am – The game the government tried to take away from you in an effort to make the shutdown more painful. Nice try, Oba-

ATTENTION: The Buckeye Ninja has been placed in a camp for his own benefit. Go about your business – NSA

Preview: Ohio State – University of Wisconsin, Madison

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Now it starts getting real. A few weeks ago Wisconsin was throttling some cupcake and it occurred to us: what if they’re good? We were immediately assured that they were and a cold sweat began beading up on our forehead. We have been pretty lucky these last few years with Wisconsin since Barry Alvarez left. They still had good players but they also had Bert, and while he has three consecutive Rose Bowls on his resume he has three consecutive Rose Bowl losses on his resume, and they really should have big, massive asterisks next to them either way. Call it karma* but the idea of a Wisconsin team with a really good coach as opposed to a massive d-bag whose biggest claim to fame is his crazy resemblance to Bucky (although we think he resembles Goldy a lot more) is kind of a terrifying prospect.

* – See what we did there?

Still, that’s where we stand this morning*. To say that Gary Andersen is an improvement over Bert is like saying hooking up with Kate Upton is an improvement over having your face catch fire. It’s probably too early to say whether or not Wisconsin is really good or just a product of its schedule, but the same could be said for most everyone. The fact is that Wisconsin is 3-1 but that 3-1 should borrow one of the asterisks from Bert’s Rose Bowl record considering the loss came as a direct result of one of the most blatant all-time screw jobs an officiating crew has ever delivered upon a college football team. We’re not saying Wisconsin would be 4-0 if the Pac-12 employed competent referees, but they would have at least had a chance to go 4-0.

* – Please note that we’re actually writing this post on Tuesday because we won’t be able to write it on Friday morning as is our habit. See, on Friday morning we’ll be driving back to Ohio State. To Old Columbus Town.  Which means as you read this we’ll be tearing across country, music blaring and completely pumped.

Braxton Miller has proven to be kryptonite to Wisconsin and we’re relieved to hear that he’ll be back this weekend. Hopefully he doesn’t have a relapse of the knee injury that forced him to miss the last 2 3/4 games. Still, it’s nice to know the Fightin’ Buckeyes of the Olentangy have the ol’ right-hander in the bullpen in case the worst happens.

Let’s not forget that you can’t get to 14-0 without getting to 5-0 first.

What we’ll be looking for on Saturday:

  1. If Braxton Miller plays, we want to see him walk off the field without limping every time, drama free.
  2. Can a raw defense play Ohio State football and limit Wisconsin’s running game?
  3. Let’s try our best to avoid making a half dozen stupid penalties this week. Please?

Our guaranteed* score prediction: Buckeyes 34, Badgers 31

*-all predictions true or your money back.

NCAA Preview: Week 5

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

We’re writing this in advance because we’ll be out of town the day this typically posts on the way to attend Eat Too, Brutus. Those of you not going – in the immortal words of our third president – can suck it.

Conference play begins in earnest which means we won’t have a steaming heap of dog excrement on our televisions this weekend. So we have that going for us, which is nice.

This week’s featured matchups, such as they are: (and by “featured” we mean “the matchups we think are interesting for no really good reason”)
All times Mountain because that’s the way it should be.

SATURDAY

Miami (FL) at South Florida, 10am
South Florida took last weekend off because had they played the weekend’s suckitude would have collapsed in on itself and  created a singularity that would have destroyed the universe as we know it. They’re still in the running for “worst major conference football team ever” honors and we can’t not watch that. Well, we’re not actually going to “watch”, but you get the idea.

South Carolina at UCF, 10am
Apparently this will be UCF’s first appearance on national TV. It would be pretty funny if they were to upset the Gamecocks, who we suspect have been a tad overrated this year. We’ll see.

LSU at Georgia, 1:30pm
Loser drops out of our top 15. Especially if it’s Georgia. Considering they were sweating a little against North Texas for a while last week…yeah.

California at Oregon, 8:30pm
There might be 200 plays in this game. Should be interesting to watch.

Preview: Ohio State – Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Friday, September 20th, 2013

We won’t lie to you, our beloved reader. This week is not the best in terms of college football. In fact, it’s not even in the top ten of weeks for college football this season. When your best game is Arizona State – Stanford and your second best is Utah-BYU, well, it’s just not super-impressive.

The Fightin’ Buckeyes of the Olentangy face off against one of Tallahassee’s top five football teams this weekend in the form of the FAMU Rattlers. The last time the Buckeyes were favored by as many points as they are tomorrow, we were eighteen years old and attending our first-ever game in the ‘Shoe which the Buckeyes ended up winning 72-0. Suck on that, Fat Urkel. I would go into a little more depth but if you really care that much you’re probably reading the BBC or 11W anyway. You’re here for the following:

What we’ll be looking for on Saturday:

  1. If Braxton Miller plays, we want to see him walk off the field without limping every time, drama free.
  2. Consistency in the defense – getting off the field, making tackles, et cetera.
  3. Let’s try our best to avoid making a half dozen stupid penalties this week. Please?

Our guaranteed* score prediction: Buckeyes 60, Rattlers 9

*-all predictions true or your money back.