Friday Skull Session

By poguemahone on November 12, 2010 at 5:00a

 BASKETBAW! That's right, I'm leading off with this: the hoopyball Buckeyes open their season tonight against North Carolina AT&T A +T. It isn't the greatest OOC opponent, but as the Chicago Tribune points out, the Buckeyes are soldiering on as the 5th-ranked team in preseason polls despite the loss of Naismith Award winner Evan Turner, and a show of support from Buckeye faithful, even against a patsy, would likely be a boon for their confidence, especially for the talented freshmen. There are some high-profile recruiting targets visiting too, so here's hoping the home crowd is energized and puts on a good show. After dispatching the Aggies, the Buckeyes will hit the road, taking their talents to Gainesville, Florida for a contest against the 11th-ranked Florida Gators. That game, as well as a return trip to the Sunshine State to play the 'Noles later this month, will define the OOC season for these young Buckeyes, and it's all happening over the course of the next three weeks.

 I wanna go back, I gotta go back (to the BCS). The football Buckeyes don't control their own destiny for the Rose Bowl, as we all know. But while we know we have to hope Wisconsin loses to Michigan and the Buckeyes top Iowa next Saturday, what do we have to hope for if we want to simply make the BCS? Adam Rittenberg breaks it down

For a BCS at-large spot, the Buckeyes should root for ...

  • A Wisconsin loss and an Iowa win. Ohio State needs to leapfrog Wisconsin in both the league standings and the BCS standings to have the best chance for an at-large berth. The Buckeyes also want Iowa to keep winning so a potential victory Nov. 20 looks as good as possible.
  • Miami to beat Georgia Tech. Ohio State's BCS computer profile really could use a boost from Miami, which looked like a pretty good win on Sept. 11 before rapidly losing its luster. The Buckeyes should be big Hurricanes fans the rest of the way.
  • Illinois to beat Minnesota. The Buckeyes beat Illinois on the road and need that win to look as good as possible for their BCS profile.
  • Arizona State to beat Stanford. This wouldn't help Ohio State as much as it would Wisconsin, but anything that hurts Stanford's BCS at-large profile helps the Buckeyes.
  • For reasons stated above, losses by Oregon, Auburn, TCU, Nebraska and Oklahoma State, and poor performances by both Boise State and LSU.

Okay, so that's a lot to root for. It seems many have resigned themselves to playing Bama/Auburn/LSU in the Capital One bowl already, but looking at this, none of these (save the ASU upset) are entirely out of the question. Auburn still has to play at Alabama (and Cameron Newton might not even be eligible anymore at that point), while Oregon still has a difficult home date against Arizona in the coming weeks. So, it's not out of the question, and I don't think there's any reason to give up hope.

My Rex Ryan crystal ball says that Wisconsin represents the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl while the Iowa/Ohio State winner heads to the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl. There are a lot of teams in the mix right now that don't quite hold up to Ohio State in terms of traveling fanbases (really only Nebraska holds a candle to the Buckeyes in this regard), and that actually plays a pretty big role in deciding who goes.

 Ain't goin' nowhere no how. Terrelle Pryor insists he will return for his senior season. Not a surprising move, and a smart one in my opinion. Not to hate on TP, but after Vince Young's checkered NFL career, I'm not sure any franchise is willing to take a gamble on so similar a player. Some say returning for a senior season that features multiple tough road games (Miami, Nebraska, Michigan) opposite a depleted defense will inevitablly hurt his draft stock, but in my opinion, the offense will likely stay pretty solid. Boren, Browning and Sanzo graduate, but every other starter returns. The lone real wild card is DeVier Posey, but after a year like the one he's had, I think he's coming back too. Your thoughts? Homerism aside, is it a good move or dumb move? And do you trust him, given how many players say they're coming back only to depart a couple months later?

 Speaking of next year's defense... Depth on the line should not be a problem (though experience likely will be). Allow Ken Gordon to elaborate

Here's a look at who is returning and who is incoming at that position for next season:

DT/DE John Simon
DE Nathan Williams

Key returning reserves (4)

DT Adam Bellamy
DL Garrett Goebel
DL Johnathan Hankins
DL Solomon Thomas

Others returning (4)

DL Darryl Baldwin
DL David Durham 
DE Melvin Fellows
DL J.T. Moore

Incoming freshmen (5)

DT Michael Bennett
DE Chase Farris
DT Joel Hale
DE Kenny Hayes
DE Steve Miller

And I didn't even count former Buckeye Keith Wells, who may return to the team.

Gordon uses this to explain why some players don't see the field much at Ohio State, which I assume he's doing for the more casual fans out there. But I took something else from the story: despite all the attrition Ohio State will see on the defensive side of the ball after this season, there will still be 15 guys who can step onto the field and contribute at arguably the most vital position group in a conference like the Big Ten. Now, as Gordon points out, only 8 or 9 of these guys will see the field much, but if injuries become a problem, it'll be a different situation from, say, the havoc that Angry Ohio State Defensive Back Hating God has wreaked this season. I'm really, really looking forward to seeing this collection of talent over the next couple years.


Comments Show All Comments

OHIOST1087's picture

I dont know if TP returning is good or bad considering he’s thrown at least one INT in each of the past 3 games (4 int total) and only 5 TDs, and two of the opponents were lowly Purdue and Minny… the other one was Wisky. I think again he was a little overhyped this preseason, yes he is somewhat better than last, but he is consistently making some really really dumb mistakes. Plus Dane “do all to make Pryor look good” Sanzenbacher is a senior this year. Do we have any decent receivers outside of ‘Dropsies’ Posey?(…I mean Devier!) At least Braxton Miller will have a chance to study instead of starting right away. Mallet, Luck, Locker(even more overhypped than TP), Stanzi (most underrated right now), Kellen Moore, Andy Dalton will probably be projected higher than TP come NFL draft time. Hopefully he will grow a lot like Troy did between his junior and senior season.

btalbert25's picture

I don't think the INT's against Minnesota and Purdue are really that big of a deal.  They were games that were out of hand, and it was obvious he was playint too loose.  Not to mention he played about 3 quarters of both of those games which one would think he would definitely be able to pad his stats a bit more.  Against Wisconsin his lone interception came at the very end of the game and he was trying to make something impossible happen.  At that point in the game, it was over.  So, in total I give him a pass on at least 3 of the INT's. 

Normal Buck's picture

I think TP does come back.  He has made marked improvements, and has been vastly better this season than last.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the strides he made when this season got going.  However, he does have a ways to go, and if he can continue to improve in the coming offseason, I think he will immensely improve as a QB -- and yes, perhaps even improve his draft stock.  Unless something wierd happens with TP or the team before the end of the season, I think he will return.

Joe Beale's picture

It would be foolish for TP to leave, since he will not be a 1st round choice.  As for Posey, I can't see him being a 1st rounder with the season he's had.  Being a 1st round pick is the absolute minimum prerequisite for leaving early, IMO.

As for our BCS chances, last night the guys on the ESPN broadcast of UConn-Pitt were projecting us to play LSU in the Sugar with Wisconsin going to the Rose, FWIW.

OHIOST1087's picture

I agree here with your first rd. comment, I hate that Thaddeus Gibson left early only to be drafted in the 4th rd, and eventually cut from Pittsburgh's practice squad. To me, it may have been one reason why Cam was so dominate late last yr, b/c teams also had to compensate for blocking a speedy Bad Boy Thaddeus.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

I don't know about you guys, but I'd love to play LSU. Our defense wouldn't allow their incompetent offense to gain a yard, and their great D would really test our O. I'd love the opportunity to play in a BCS game and beat an SEC team. 

btalbert25's picture

I just hate having to play LSU in what would basically be a home game for them.  I think the Buckeyes are unquestionably a better team.  At the same time, I wouldn't mind a cap one bowl with Bama either.  Although Iowa and Bama would be a good matchup too in the Cap One.  Bama isn't the monster everyone built them up to be.  They have been beaten by 2 teams that aren't that great.  I know LSU is ranked high, but last year they were top 10 most of the season too and clearly they weren't a top 10 team.

Buckeye Black's picture

The only thing that would keep LSU in the game would Peterson running wild on our special teams.

btalbert25's picture

TP will absolutely be back and it will be great for him and the team.  Even if some don't want to believe it, the guy has improved immensely as a passer and a leader.  One more offseason of work will make him a top college QB.  If there's one thing about TP we know, it's that he a very hard worker.  If he continues that kind of preparation and makes the kind of improvements he made from this year to last, he's going to be a real treat to watch next year.

As for losses hurting his draft stock, I have no idea where that comes from.  Didn't Matthew Stafford and Georgia have a pretty disappointing season his last year there?  Sam Bradford didn't really even play his senior season.  So, I don't know where people get the idea that a 3 or 4 loss Buckeye team would hurt his draft stock any. 

ATL Buckeye's picture

Excited about BBall team. REALLY excited about Aaron Craft at PG. How good is Craft? Good enough to make Bruce Pearl lay down the red carpet at his house and practically beg him to come to Tenn.

El-Dub, thanks for providing the the depth on the D-Line that is available and incoming. Should be interesting. Some combination of D-line, linebackers, and the crowded secondary will continue to make a us a formidable defense for a few years.

Thanks OHIOST1087 for providing the crop of QBs set to come out. That is a stellar class of QBs coming out this year. May need to add Cam Newton who needs to get out of dodge while hit pants are at his ankles.

RBuck's picture

Heard on The Fan the other day that Kiper projected TP as a tight end in the NFL. Does this asshole even know that Pryor is 5th in the nation in passing efficiency? The haters in the comments sections are out in force today as TP's staying has become a national story.

I'm beginning to like Terelle more and more everyday just because he bring out the jealousness and hate in all of the uninformed idiots.

Long live the southend.

scarletngrey22's picture

Not many people have talked about the aspect of Braxton Miller in concerns to Pryor returning. In the big picture this is great as he would have a year to build some muscle, hone his skills, and get familiar with the playbook, as well as give Tressel some time to start figuring out what kind of scheme he wants to run with him. Seems like an all around win to me

Bucksfan's picture

I think it's still unlcear if the NFL is going to have a lockout next year...which is another factor that may result in a hoard of seniors returning to college.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Sam, in jest, I can't help but point out that you've got Bellamy (listed at 290 lbs) as well as incoming freshmen Hale (295 lbs) and Bennett (275 lbs) designated as full-time DTs, but have He Ate Me (350 lbs?) as an amorphous "DL"man. Is that how he's listed on the depth chart? If Hankins ever lines up outside, I'd sure like to see who's lining up inside. Actually, if that ever happens, I'll take on the Man v. Food guy in a pancake eating contest.    

poguemahone's picture

That was Ken Gordon's screw-up. I never mess up, as you all know.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

My weekend is fing crazy.

I'll be at the Schott tonight, at the Shoe tomorrow and then in Cleveland on Sunday to watch the Browns and Jets with all those former Buckeyes playing in that game.

BacknBlack's picture

Watch as LSU makes the National Championship game without winning the SEC. Conference championship games are meaningless as longs as the BCS rules.

Why would any Jr. leave early this year? No collective agreement in the NFL means all drafted in April 2011 will be stitting next fall with no games checks.

Buckeye Black's picture

I think they implemented a rule that you have to win your conference to play for the championship after OU lost to K. State but still played for the championship.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

I was really high on Safari Planet coming into this year- he has been injured right? Everything I read about him in spring practice seemed so positive, so I wonder if he just needs to shake an injury bug or something. 

Denny's picture


Just had to get that out.


Run_Fido_Run's picture

That was an awesome moment. I was at one of those wedding receptions where all the guys have disappeared in the bar. When Gamble started weaving through traffic after the INT, the bar just went bezerk.

Of course, that was partly because we all probably felt that Gamble's TD was THE PLAY that would send Ohio State to the NCG. Little did we know that there would be about 12 other subsequent plays during the remaining 4 games that year (Holy Buckeye, plus several in the ILL OT and Michigan nail biter), which would be necessary just to get into the NCG - never mind, the 8-9 plays in the Fiesta Bowl that were also do-or-die. 

tomcollins's picture

Rittenberg has no clue what he's talking about for an "at-large" spot.  Unless the Buckeyes can move up to #4 or drop below #14, BCS ranking means nothing.  We DO want to move up in the BCS for the chance of getting the Rose Bowl berth, but if we don't get that, our BCS ranking has precisely no relevance (besides if we move below 14).

Beating Illinois, but we also beat Minnesota on the road.  It's a wash.  Again, who cares about Stanford, since they will not get an at-large berth over the Buckeyes, unless it's Oregon vs TCU/Boise, and in that case, Ohio State isn't getting picked to play Wisconsin in the Rose anyway.

Ohio State needs to beat Iowa (and PSU and Michigan).  The rest is irrelevant (for at-large).  We qualify for the BCS by being in the top 14, having 9 wins, and not having 2 Big Ten teams taken in front of us.  MSU won't be taken in front of us.  Iowa probably will if they beat us.

The BCS is not about merit, but money, and Ohio State wins that battle over just about anyone.