We're back with Glass Half-Full, Half-Empty. This week we look at the scare in the Shoe provided by Cal and ahead to UAB - a game neither one of us really care about. However, John takes it so seriously that he trusts his prediction to a bunch of fourth graders.
Me: There is nothing wrong with 3-0. Sometimes a team has to win a shootout and that's what Ohio State did. When they had to score, they did. When they needed a stop, it happened.
Braxton Miller continues to amaze. The kid is getting some serious Heisman buzz and deservedly so. Miller is the offense and will be for the next three years. What's particularly impressive about this past game is that he made more plays on fewer carries than usual and he threw four touchdowns in the process. The deep ball is already looking better than in the past couple of weeks. It may not have been his best performance completion percentage-wise, but it was the best in the B1G for the week.
Overall, I love to watch this offense march down the field. There are two big play threats in the receiving corps in Smith and Brown. Plus, the next two guys aren't too shabby either in Stoneburner and Spencer. They are deep at running back. It will be particularly nice to have the 1-2 punch of Hyde and Hall at the same time, but this week will give Hall another full game under his belt before conference play. This doesn't even mention how much better the offensive line is playing each week. It's an amazing thing to have a dependable offense without Troy Smith.
The defense for once is a weakness, but I'm not worried. Here's why: The problem in the first two weeks was a lack of pressure on the quarterback. So, the staff adjusted their scheme and motivation to the tune of six sacks this past weekend. Right now, it looks like the problem is that too many bullets are going for the strip instead of the tackle. Like the quarterback pressure issue, this problem will be addressed and corrected. Besides, Hankins and Shazier are playing out of their minds right now. The defense will be fine.
All of this and this season's Buckeyes may have had their Tebow moment. After the game, John Simon went off in the locker room. From all accounts, Simon's speech lit a fire under the team. I expect a more focused bunch this weekend and moving on into conference play. The only difference between Tebow's speech a few years back and Simon's is that Ohio State actually won where the Gators lost.
A division championship and undefeated season are still within reach. That's not just glass half-full but it's reality.
John: There is nothing wrong with 3-0. You know what's best about 3-0? The opportunity to go 4-0. I'm paraphrasing Coach Meyer, but it is true.
It may seem like this would be the ideal game for glass half empty guy to say, "See? I told you!" But I honestly feel markedly better than the first two wins. This game represented many of my fears coming true and it still ended with a victory. Several B1G teams fell to PAC12 teams but ours didn't.
But since my rationale as glass half empty guy is based not so much on the results of games but on the "hidden" clues within those results and how they project worry on future contests, let me dive into this game to cite what scares me about upcoming games.
Yes, Miller still amazes. He is so fun to watch. We have to enjoy these next couple years because he is something special that doesn't come along often. The juke he put on to break that 55 yard TD run leaving #6 to pick up his equipment was poetry in motion. That will never get old and I know DVRs were getting worn out Saturday replaying it.
But the offense stalled at times. The game plan obviously, and thankfully, called for less run plays out of Miller and looked what happened. There were seven straight scoreless drives in the 2nd and 3rd quarters that allowed Cal back in the game. Five drives were three and outs and three drives were for negative yardage.
Again, without Miller running it, the offense is not as great as it may feel. As I stated before, Miller won't be able to run it in future games against the B1G despite how bad the conference has played thus far. Many of the teams ahead are better than the teams we've played in the first three games.
I still saw indecisiveness from Braxton. He is so much better when he just makes a decision and goes.
The game winner was on a blown coverage by the Cal safety. Granted, he was biting on the Miller run which is one of those hidden luxuries (or positives) of our running QB, but still, it was a wide open play that felt like a gimme. Had the safety stuck with his assignment, that TD doesn't happen. At least on that play. I acknowledge this could be debated though. Classic half full v half empty.
We still have not found that smooth offensive flow that I expect to see with these athletes and this coach in this program. Hopefully we find it soon.
The defense truly scares me. The poor tackling was sickening. I assume that will be fixed, but it was so bad that I felt I was watching my beloved Browns. Once again, the opponent was able to break big plays on our guys. That is not acceptable and it will lead to more than one loss to even mediocre B1G Ten teams.
Let us not forget the missed field goals either. Those were makeable kicks that left nine points on the field for Cal. We only won by seven. Those nine points mean we lose. One could argue Cal should have won that game.
Could of, would of, should of, but simply put, we mathematically should have lost. To Cal!
But we didn't. Some fears of mine came true like giving up big plays and a stalled offense but it was still a victory. In the B1G season though, I anticipate that performance to be 2-3 losses.
Prediction: My class is making predictions every week and we average their scores for a class score. The class score has been eerily close. Off by 5 points or less for each team. So I am going to take a page from my 4th graders and go OSU 45 and UAB 24.
Me: Ugh. It seems as if you're rubbing off on those poor kids. They are way off, but I want to address one of your points before making my prediction for this week's game.
You mention the missed field goals (and forgot to mention the TD that was called back). Just because those points were left on the field does not mean that they automatically change what happened. Cal makes those kicks and it changes everything. Maybe OSU dials up a trick play or streak Smith/Brown down the sideline for a back-breaking touchdown. There's no way to predict how the Buckeyes would have responded. However, from what I've seen the last two weeks, this team is resilient and they know how to answer a score. I suspect seven-straight scoreless drives don't happen with additional urgency.
Now, on to this week's game. I think no matter how dismal your outlook might be, we are in agreement that UAB has no chance this week. However, I see this as a big step forward toward a run through the B1G conference. I see the Buckeyes learning from the first three games and finally putting together four solid quarters of play. Defensive mistakes and schemes will be adjusted and the offense will come together to put a load of points on the board. I suspect the continued healing of Hall and Williams will shore up both sides of the ball. This game will be the final prep before Michigan State and they'll send a message.
I predict - with a straight face - that the Buckeyes will drop at least 60 points on Saturday. I'm thinking 73-3.