Last week the handsome Jeff Beck sat down and wrote some very thoughtful words about his reasoning for Ohio State going undefeated in football this year. His thoughts were mostly related to a positive look on some of the recent developments within the program, things like "an offensive coordinator who does not require fish in return for looking sheepish on demand" and "a defensive lineman sent back in time from a dystopian future where man wages interstellar war with space orcs" and "a schedule with several teams made up of old people from that Young@Heart movie."
Well first of all Jeff: pop culture references as a means to create humor in your writing? That's almost unacceptably lazy. Plus, who in the hell combines a Warhammer 40k joke with one about a movie that maybe 3 people on earth under the age of 60 saw? What interest group intersects the tabletop RPG gamer and people who love movies about elderly choirs demographics? Dumb.
That was your first mistake. Your second, Jeff, was to show any kind of optimism whatsoever about the upcoming football season. My Midwestern Calvinistic/Pessimistic/Puritanical upbringing simply will not allow for that kind of thinking; too many birthdays where my gift was an extra shift at the steel mill, too many Christmases where my surprise was another extra shift at the steel mill. Life is entirely about pain and disappointment, Jeff, and the sooner Ohio State fans learn this the better.
So maybe you did make some good points. Yeah, Urban Meyer is an incredible coach and sure, maybe Braxton Miller is a perfect fit for his system. And okay I guess the defensive line should pretty easily be one of the best in the Big Ten (if not the entire country), and perhaps the UAB Blazers won't offer the stiffest competition on the field. But you know what, Jeff? You're still wrong. Not only is Ohio State not going to run the table, they're not even going to jog the tv tray.
The 2012 Ohio State football team is going to have a no good very bad season this year. How bad? Let's find out.
MIAMI (OH)- 9/1/12
Bro code. BRO CODE! The first rule of bro code is do not break your bro code. Even for other bros. And in this scenario, Bro A is the Miami Redhawks (Miami University being what is essentially Patient Zero for bros in the great state of Ohio), Bro B is the Ohio State coaching staff, and the Other Bros are us, the Ohio State fan bros. Yes, the coaching bros at OSU have a contractual and some would say a moral obligation to support the fan bros at OSU, but there is a higher bro power that unites all bros under one banner (bronner?), and that of course is the ultimate bro, Ben Roethlisberger.
Big Ben, the douchiest of all bros and therefore the most powerful, was a star at Miami and remains there in spirit, imbuing all who attend with an almost supernatural bro-ness. Will Good Guy Bros Luke Fickell and Mike Vrabel be able to turn against their bro pater familias? I doubt it.
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA- 9/8/12
Phil Steele likes these guys, and plus, this is football. If you ain't cheating you ain't trying, and by that criteria, UCF coach George O'Leary has had this game wrapped up for months. Keep in mind that this is a guy who lied on his resume for years (in a profession where the results of your colonoscopy are basically public record), played ineligible players, and once yelled at a kid so hard that he collapsed and died. That actually happened. George O'Leary is a horrible person.
The California Golden Bears are no stranger to adversity and will not be intimidated by Ohio Stadium in the least. Sure, the 'Shoe is one of the more intimidating places to play in college football, but keep in mind that Cal plays in California Memorial Stadium, currently undergoing renovations because it literally straddles a major fault line and could be sent plunging into the center of the earth at any moment. Is Big Hank a scary dude? Yeah, I guess. Is he as scary as being swallowed up by the very ground you're standing on and being condemned to death by searing hot magma? No, probably not. Cal walks in with tales of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and walks out with a victory over a cowed OSU squad.
Conjunctivitis. Somebody gets it, it spreads, all of a sudden we're down to Zach Boren at QB and Bryce Haynes at center. Damn. I thought we had a good shot at this game. But no. Conjunctivitis.
MICHIGAN STATE- 9/29/12
Even without the team recovering from a collective freak eye infection, Sparty will be an incredibly tough test. The game is in East Lansing, for one, and as we all well know East Lansing Michigan has the highest per capita rabies and and anthrax deaths per year in the entire North American continent. And though that isn't true at all, I just feel like at some point in the season someone is going to get rabies somehow. You heard it here first.
That aside, though MSU loses several key players on offense, specifically QB Kirk Cousins and WR B.J. Cunningham, their defense remains mostly intact. The loss of All-American DT Jerel Worthy hurts, but 8 starters return including William Gholston (who was an absolute nightmare against OSU last season). Add 290 pound DE/LB(????) Lawrence Thomas into the mix, and you've got a team that can shut down anybody, especially at home.
You know how in action comedies that star a couple, there's always this scene where they're having an argument over something stupid while they kill like 50 people? "You don't communicate! *BLAM BLAM BLAM*" "I'm sorry, we can go to therapy if it means that much to you! *garrotes a dude with barbed wire and texts a photo of the corpse the the dude's family*" And then they make out while firing their guns and murdering everybody around them.
Well, that's basically Nebraska. I have been waiting for years for Bo Pelini and Taylor Martinez to have this gigantic blowup on the sidelines, screaming and throwing Gatorade at each other, and then Martinez goes out and channels all of that anger and hate (which is really just masking the PURELY PLATONIC love he feels for his coach) into a game where he throws for 500 yards and runs for another 250. Add that to a very good RB in Rex Burkehead, and that might just be enough to overcome the losses of DL Jared Crick and LB Lavonte David.
And then Urban Meyer turns to the ever stoic Braxton Miller and says "why can't we have that kind of passion?" and Braxton Miller sighs and rolls his eyes as his coach runs sobbing into the lockerroom.
So there you go. 0-6 to start the season. Will Ohio State be able to rebound in the second half of the year and actually win a game? Will Braxton Miller finally open his heart to love? Will I be able to make a joke about Penn State without feeling really weird about it? Find out next week, as I continue my preview and we examine OSU's foray into the heart of darkness that is the middle of the Big Ten schedule.