Tressels, Fickells and Urbans,
I haven't ever considered myself to be an overly greedy person.
Usually, it's the simple things.
Tommy's Pizza (extra sauce / old oven) and a hoppy IPA on a Friday night. Sunday cookout dinner with the family on the back porch; the kids getting closer to the correct words for the pre-meal prayer as they become older. A good Richard Russo novel before bed and trying to figure out which flawed character is me. Brussel sprouts in the winter; chocolate almond milk in the summer. Playing guitar outside in the spring; taking a jog around Ohio Stadium in the fall.
Small, simple things...nice, even rhythm. Not too much to ask.
But, this is different. This is not a small, simple thing.
In less than two weeks, I have one of those monumental birthdays. It's dubbed "monumental," but something that is really just a number...and a number I don't associate with me. I can already legally have a beer, rent a car and run for Senate. My current age already allows me access to everything I usually want...
Normally, I don't leverage this whole birthday thing. But, this is not a small, tidy ask...and I really want it. I'm not asking for brussel spouts, CBC Bodhi, chocolate almond milk or Tommy's old oven.
I want a big, brash and fulfilling Ohio State football season. I want Ohio State to start crushing opponents for all four quarters. I want 100 points even with the back-ups playing the entire second half.
Watching Ohio State drop in the polls the last couple weeks killed me. I know we are supposed to say "it's a long season"..."it's a marathon, not a sprint"..."just win and everything takes care of itself"..."it's not how you start, it's how you finish"....
We are supposed to say all those socially acceptable things, but that's NOT how I feel about it at all! I want this team to go out and do amazing things beyond the norm...bigger than life! I'm cashing in my birthday wish for it...dazzle us!
I think this team can do it!
This weekend is an important step. Traveling to Cal is the kind of game that really brings a younger team together. That's a long trip.
It can toughen up young players. In 2002, Ohio State flew to Northwestern. It was the first time Maurice Clarett had ever been on a plane. He was completely distracted; Mo C got into it with Coach Tress on the sideline and fumbled three times. Two games later, at an extremely hostile Camp Randall, Clarett was ready and played with a lot of heart. He was hurt and still carried the ball for 133 yards to gut out a tough win.
It can also really make a team see what they can be. In 2006, Ohio State traveled early in the season to Austin and took it to Texas really dominating the game. Teddy Ginn danced into the end zone early and James Laurinaitis became a household name.
I would love to see Ohio State fight through this game...really take it to Cal and get healthy...and then get Hyde.
Get healthy, get Hyde and get ready for an early Big Ten Challenge with Wisconsin...and the Michigan game lurking in late November.
Songbird (i.e. Kenny G) was outstanding last week, but the best two players on Ohio State's offense are Braxton and Carlos Hyde. With both of those guys on the field behind this offensive line, we could be in for a treat well beyond brussel spouts and almond milk. Even well beyond a good IPA.
Last weekend, we had Songbird on the offensive side of the ball and "keep on rockin' me baby," Steve Miller and fellow linemen, on the defensive front. Even without Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt, the defensive line was active and deep. I've been watching the game while on the treadmill in the morning this week. I've rewound quite a few plays to watch Steve Miller, Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett, Noah Spence and Michael Hill again and again. They were active and punishing. Pay attention to these guys. This is a group of players who aren't old enough to have an IPA...and probably are too young to appreciate brussel sprouts, but something is going on here...
Defensive depth will be tested this weekend against Cal's Bear Raid offense. Early in the seaon, Cal is passing for almost 500 yards and running 100 offensive plays per game....both tops in the country.
To slow down Cal, Herman and Urban (I think we'll go with Hurban) are saying they will slow down the Ohio State offense. This team is primed for Hurbanball not Tresselball. I don't believe them...don't worry about slowing down the game; take it right to Cal and outscore them.
So, I'm leveraging this whole birthday thing....because this is not a small, tidy ask.
I really want it....and I think you do, too.
Touchdowns: Hall, Philly, Shazier, Roby, Devin Smith, Dontre, Heuerman
OSU 52 Cal 49
Go Bucks! Beat Cal! Jack Mewhort for Heisman!