We Buckeye fans are a conflicted lot. We see our glasses as half-full or half-empty, rarely exhibiting a nuanced, even sensible perspective on our football team’s chances of winning a game. Sometimes, we even see things both half-full and half-empty at the same time. That’s why I’ve decided to predict every game this season with this mindset so as to not get too high or too low heading into the weekend.
What's really interesting is how one's perspective can be tempered a bit after one week, even with a 56-10 thrashing of Miami on Saturday. Last Week, my glass half-full projections for Miami's passing yardage (~300) was spot-on, but I only thought they would muster -74 yards on the ground. My numbers for Braxton Miller were pretty close (200 yards passing on 17/23, 100 yards rushing), but I was ten off in sacks for the Buckeye defense. Cory Brown ad Carlos Hyde both led in their respective categories, but I was way off in yardage. (Oddly enough, I predicted Hyde would get the 17 carries he actually had on Saturday.) Thankfully, I was way off in the glass half-empty department.
This week’s opponent: University of
Southern Northern Key West Central Florida Knights
Half-Full Perspective: Buckeyes 52 Knights 6
The Buckeyes don't suffer a slow start this week and jump out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter. Braxton Miller notches five touchdowns (3 passing, 2 rushing) on 200 yards passing and another 100 on the ground by halftime. Leading Meyer to call on equipment manager Lewis VanHoose to hide Braxton's helmet for the entire second half so that he doesn't see the field again.
Still, the offense puts up fifty again as they build on last week's slaughtering of the RedHawks. Hyde gets his 100 yards with a 150-yard performance to go along with two short yardage touchdowns, both on fourth-and-goal. The receiving corps continues their ascension as they make the UCF secondary look silly all day long. Not to be outdone by Devin Smith's amazing one-handed grab, Cory Brown and Jake Stoneburner both haul in one-handed touchdowns of their own. Stoneburner's just seems unnecessary as he is completely wide-open and Miller's pass is perfect.
With UCF's starting running back out with a shoulder injury, the Silver Bullets pin their ears back and destroy the Knight offense, recording six sacks in the process, two more by freshmen Spence and Washington. John Simon records five TFL and Ryan "Damn" Shazier corals Knight runners ten times himself. Trevor Howard gathers two more interceptions while Roby gets his first. The rest of the defensive backfield shows that they have learned from last week's mistakes and mean to make amends.
Meyer concludes that it was a good win, but he needs the team to compete more on both sides of the ball.
Half-Empty Perspective: Buckeyes 12 Knights 21
After watching the game tape from last week's game, UCF QB Blake Bortles comes out chucking it all over the field. They don't even run a play on the ground until their third possession when Latavius Murray takes in a draw play for a long touchdown, giving the Knights a 14-9 lead they carry into halftime.
In the meantime, the hangover from last week's first quarter struggles seem to linger a bit longer as the offense never can get on-track. Continually, the Buckeyes have to settle for field goals. Hyde is completely ineffective, only managing 40 yards on 17 carries. Miller is convinced Devin Smith can make unbelievable one-handed catches on every play and throws several Bauser-bombs into C-deck. On the day, Miller goes 6/25, completing all six passes to Zach Boren. He does rush for over 100 yards, but it equates to 50 after lost yards on sacks is figured-in.
Somehow, the Buckeyes make it close in the fourth quarter as they pull within two, but all hope is lost when the Knights run out the remaining ten minutes of game time on a drive where they run it on every down, catching a tired defensive line on their heels. The final blow comes as Murray breaks a Sabino arm-tackle and trucks Christian Bryant for the final score of the game.
Game of the Week that’s not a Buckeyes game: Georgia vs. Missouri
The second week's slate is a little weak. So, I figured I'd predict the game happening just down the street from where I currently live while trying to put a Buckeye-centric slant on the outcomes. Missouri enters its first-ever SEC game with a strong cast of returners from last year's squad, including the second-best QB in the conference in James Franklin. He'll be throwing to all-world #1 recruit Dorial Green-Beckham who plays a slot position in maybe the deepest receiving corps in the SEC. The defense is anchored by defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson who could start on any team in the country.
Missouri has two players from Ohio to Georgia's none. One of those players is Maty Mauk of Kenton. Mauk set several national passing records while at Kenton. Last fall, Mauk recorded 5,413 yards yards and 68 touchdowns while running for 1,768 yards and 24 touchdowns. Those are real numbers, not video game statistics.
Half-Full Perspective: Georgia 24 Missouri 37
Missouri confuses Georgia with its creative spread passing attack and squadron of receivers. SEC speed is present, but it's the newcomer Tigers who run circles around Georgia. DGB has his breakout performance with a 10-catch, 200-yard, 3-TD performance, continually taking advantage of slower Bulldog linebackers matched up with him in the slot. Basically, Mark Richt loses control of an 18-year-old from Springfield, MO.
Half-Empty Perspective: Georgia 42 Missouri 13
Georgia dispatches of Missouri the way in which the rest of the SEC expects to dominate all Midwestern, land-grant universities. Maty Mauk takes a break from riding scooters with girls to play some meaningless minutes at the end of the game, registering two sacks, a fumble and an incomplete pass.