Two weeks ago, up in heaven, Woody Hayes shoved Gandhi aside (though not widely known, Gandhi was a huge college football fan and something of a problem gambler), grabbed the headset and started calling the plays. At first Luke Fickell was suspicious but it was working so he just relayed the calls. Four passes attempted and one victory later the Bucks contributed, thankfully, to the demise of the Ron Zook era. It was, if not a great victory, certainly a much-needed one. Illinois, as only Ron Zook can, contributed to our win with some bizarre decision making late in the game. Bottom line is that Illibuck the turtle is safely in Buckeye hands, so long as the NCAA doesn’t make us give it back.
When the MSU prayer was answered Bucky Badger’s magical season, looked a lot like many other Brent Bielema’s efforts. Badgers always look great against weaker opponents, especially when playing at home. When faced with quality opposition away from Camp Randall the Badgers record is similar to that of the French army.
USC, fresh off a meaningless win over Notre Dame, hosts Stanford. Matt Barkley and Andrew Luck, potentially the first two NFL draft choices, face off and the Cardinal will prevail.
ND, fresh off a meaningless loss to USC, hosts Navy. ND will win. A word to the Irish faithful: Relax. I know this season has not gone the way you hoped, but you do have the right coach….this time. Kelly will take you as high as you can go, though I really am not sure how high that is these days. Now would be a really good time to join the Big Ten. Natural rivalries abound, academic standards, while maybe not as high as your own, are higher than that of most any other conference this side of the PAC 12. The Big Ten is also winnable. The SEC is not. The Big East is irrelevant and the ACC is a basketball conference. Remaining an independent will continue the cash flow in the short term, but over time will lead you into long term irrelevance.
Florida vs. Georgia: What was once a classic has now sunk into the muck of a game meaning nothing to anyone not affiliated with the schools involved. But that is the game….The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party will remain a classic. Up North we sit and watch gray skies hemorrhage rain and threaten snow and can only dream of a week-long bacchanal with sunshine, beautiful women, rum drinks, tricked out tailgate vehicles (think RV’s with stripper poles). Oh yeah throw in a rivalry football game. I don’t know what your vision of heaven is, but if you were trying to talk me into strapping on a bomb vest and blowing up into a mosque, this might come as close to enticing as anything.
OU visits undefeated Kansas State. The Sooner’s season blew up like an infant eating Thai food when they could not cover any of the Texas Tech receivers in a rare home loss. The Wildcats are one of the surprises of the season so far, having scheduled themselves into a 7-0 record. 7-1 is not bad either.
Clemson visits Georgia Tech. The Tigers, led by QB Taj Boyd, are making Dabo Swinney into a household word. Georgia Tech can’t keep up in this one as Clemson rolls.
Purdue at Michigan: The Boilermakers beat Illinois and it impacted me emotionally. First, I was saddened by the luster it removed from the Buckeye victory over the Illini the previous week. Then it gave hope that the Boilers could hand the Weasels their second straight loss. Finally, it just reminded me that Ron Zook still coaches Illinois. In their loss to MSU the Weasels looked confused and on the verge of a two-quarterback system. This is the time of year when the RichRod Weasels would collapse. I know the bar is low for Brady Hoax, but I have faith that he can get under it.
Could the Big Ten institute a dress code for head coaches? Please. Bret Bielma and his Soprano-like warm up suits is the main reason I call for this much needed reform. I sense Bret has Spider Man pajamas under the track suit. Is he going to strip them off, stretch out, and run the hurdles? Grown men, especially paunchy grown men, look silly in warm up suits. Bo Pellini’s raggedy sweatshirt is next in line. I know former Brown failure and present NFL genius, Bill Belichick popularized the hoody as coaching apparel to die for, but Bo’s sweatshirt is not in that league. I am not looking to reinstitute neck ties for the coaches. Certainly Joe Pa still wears one, but with him up in the press box we cannot have him as role model. For all we know he is sitting up in the booth without pants. That vision troubles me more than I expected. Maybe we could have a special edition of “What Not to Wear” for our coaches.
The merger and acquisition activity among the conferences has strangely slowed. It has slowed with Missouri and West Virginia twisting in the wind. The WV move to the Big Twelve makes some sense, as the Neers need to find a home while the Big East disintegrates. Mizzu moving to the SEC, I find bizarre. Why would Missouri, and for the matter Texas A&M want to move to the SEC? They both will have higher academics than anyone, aside from Vanderbilt in the SEC. More importantly, Mizzu or the Aggies will never, I mean NEVER, make it to the conference championship game, let alone win a championship. Mizzu should be in the Big Ten and WV should go to the ACC.
Wisconsin at Ohio State: The Badgers loss to Michigan State last week has in some ways diminished this clash, at least in the eyes of the nation. In Big Ten country, the Badger loss has made this Laredo Divison clash all the more important. If the Bucks can pull off the big upset they will be squarely in the driver’s seat. To avenge last year’s loss in Madison the Buckeyes will need their defense to dominate. That is a tall order. With the addition of QB Russell Wilson, the Badger offense is now versatile. Sure they still have a great offensive line and a stable of good running backs and scary receivers. Add to that mix, a heady, dual threat QB and you have a pretty potent offense. The Badger defense is not quite up to their usual standards, but then again the Buckeye offense has hardly threatened anyone this season. So we need three turnovers and a defensive score. We need to dominate special teams and one special teams TD. Face it this is a huge game for Coach Fickell. Playing the best team on his schedule following a win and a week off, in the Shoe, at night, it sets up well for an upset. 21-17, Buckeyes and bring on the Hoosiers.