Welcome back. It's week four and the Buckeyes have the Florida A&M Rattlers on blast. How many yards will the Scarlet and Gray roll up this week? What's El Guapo's end of game stat line? Who needs to improve on both sides of the ball? And last, but certainly not least, what does the debacle against Akron say about this year's Team Up North? All that and more will be answered if your eyeballs continue down the page. The men doing the answering this week are Jason "Run This Town" Priestas, Kyle "I'm a better beat writer than you" Rowland and Chad "Gold Pants on 2 Chainz" Peltier. Join us, wont you?
The defense gave up 503 yards against Cal. Is that a symptom of an average defense? A pass-happy Golden Bears' offense, or a little bit of both?
Jason: I think it's a symptom of a young and banged-up defense, particularly along the DL and at LB, a team running dime for almost an entire game and a Cal offense that will move the ball on most teams it plays. I still believe this will be a very good – but not elite – defense by the time we get into mid-October.
Kyle: A little of both, but I would add that I believe Ohio State's defense is above average. When you play teams that pass like crazy and get people in space, tackles are going to be missed, yards will be gained and points will be scored. No one - players and coached included - seemed overly concerned about the defensive performance. They didn't necessarily make excuses, just knew all of the above was inevitable with a team like Cal. The biggest issue on the defense is the linebackers, and that could be a season-long problem.
Chad: Definitely a little of both. The defense will get better, as it always seems to as the season goes on. The coaches will now be able to scheme more effectively and the younger players have actual game experience dealing with the short pass/screen game. It's easy to forget that Josh Perry, Curtis Grant, and Tyvis Powell all have limited experience.
It's clear Meyer (and the rest of Buckeye Nation) was impressed with Guiton's performance. If Braxton starts, does Guiton see the field during meaningful game time? If so, in what way?
Jason: It sounds as if Guiton will actually get the start with Meyer saying Miller would play but in a limited time. Of course, he could just be saying that, but it's Florida A&M, so why rush Braxton back. I see Guiton starting the game and playing most of it with a possibility Miller comes in for a series or two, but if I'm Meyer, I shelf Braxton until Wisconsin.
Kyle: It's going to be a tricky situation all the way around. Guiton is playing with confidence, so it's hard to take him off the field. Regardless of what happens, there will be questions galore about the final decision. Lost in it all is Braxton Miller. Will his confidence get shot if, all of a sudden, he's sharing snaps with someone who used to be the backup quarterback. It's going to be hard to get Guiton in a big game.
Chad: I'm in the camp that doesn't expect to see them on the field at the same time. I think Guiton will have a series or three to run some excellent read option stuff and get some pass game work, but I don't really see the Buckeyes going to a two-QB set for more than one play. While both are excellent, I'm not sure I see the value added in having them on the field at the same time. Meyer isn't going to turn Braxton in to a dedicated runner, so it seems like they'd have to be on the field only for trick plays. I think Kenny running the option with Brax as the pitch man is unlikely, but so is just using Brax as a decoy or having both throw the ball.
Oregon has a bye week. If the Buckeyes really pour it on (and I mean REALLY pour it on) against A&M, is there a chance to regain the second position in the Coaches' Poll? Why or why not?
Jason: No. The narrative is trending towards an Alabama-Oregon clash. And I don't really care.
Kyle: Don't know, don't care. I think it's a valid question, but I have poll fatigue. It's way too early to be concerned about the polls. Obviously being first or second is better than anything else, but the season will take care of itself.
Chad: It's possible, but I think the Coaches probably want to see some Big Ten action first.
How many yards do the Buckeyes put up against the Rattlers this weekend? Which player on offense will rack up the most?
Jason: I have to think they get somewhere around 600 yards. They could really dump on Florida A&M, but I can't see them dropping 70 points or anything insane. I think Jordan Hall has another monster game for the Buckeyes, even with Hyde's return. What a luxury it must be to run behind that line.
Kyle: It could be a record day. For a while, it looked like last week would be that way. The all-time total offense record is 718. It's 715 in the modern era. A big first half could make it so the Buckeyes can accomplish it with backups after the break. I think they're going to come very close to the 700-yard mark. Kenny Guiton will probably lead the way, but I also think this is a big-time breakout day for Dontre Wilson.
Chad: 500+ is a pretty conservative estimate I think. Outside of Braxton, I think either Hall or Devin Smith end up with the most yards.
Which starting defensive player needs to improve the most before the start of the B1G slate? Why?
Jason: Curtis Grant. He's getting there and has looked better this year, but the B1G will bring more run-based offenses (Wisconsin comes to mind) and Shazier needs help at linebacker. Getting Washington (and Schutt) back will help immensely, too.
Kyle: Joshua Perry. At SAM linebacker, he's the guy who comes out when Ohio State plays a package with extra defensive backs, but there will be power teams in the conference that call for a more traditional defensive alignment. Perry has to be the guy that steps up and plays well in those games. The Buckeyes are very thin at linebacker, which everyone knows, and Perry is a guy who is loaded with talent but hasn't totally turned it on yet.
Chad: I still want to see more out of Curtis Grant and whoever is lining up at Star. Tyvis Powell and Corey Brown always seem to be in the area of a receiver being tackled, but aren't usually the ones to bring him down.
Which starting offensive player needs to improve the most before the start of the B1G slate? Why?
Jason: That's a tough question. I think the easy answer is Taylor Decker, even though he's rebounded nicely from a rough start against Buffalo.
Kyle: Taylor Decker. He's already improved immensely since a disastrous debut against Kalil Mack and Buffalo. In my opinion, there aren't many holes on the offensive side of the ball. Decker is kind of the default choice in this case.
Chad: They've been running through paper defenses, so it's hard to say exactly. The offensive line has played at an extremely high level, but I want to see Decker go up against a big-time defensive end. The only worthy defender they've faced was probably Khalil Mack.
It's Carlos Hyde's first game back. What's his end-of-game stat line?
Jason: Six carries for 29 yards
Kyle: Seven carries, 57 yards, touchdown.
Chad: Nine carries for 85 yards and one touchdown.
What's your final score prediction?
Jason: Ohio State 59, FAMU 10
BONUS TTUN QUESTION: UM looked terrible against Akron. What's their record at the end of the year?
Jason: Michigan will be 10-2 going into bowl season.
Kyle: Akron is really bad. There's no disputing that. Just take a glance at their personnel, record the past few years and statistics. Still, I don't think Michigan is that bad. Actually, I would classify them as good. The Big Ten is so bad, too, that I think they'll be fine. When Ohio State comes to Ann Arbor, the Wolverines will have, at most, only two losses.
Chad: 9-3 regular season, with losses to Northwestern, OSU, and either Penn State or MSU.
You're told one Buckeye player moonlights as the Northampton clown but not told EXACTLY which player. Who is your guess?
Jason: Guiton. The answer is always Guiton.
Kyle: Terrelle Pryor
Chad: Michael Bennett, because he's a funny dude.