Tressels, Fickells and Urbans,
I’m very bullish on this team. If they don’t play well against Texas Christian this weekend, I will be a little surprised and disappointed. In the past few seasons, we have crushed weak opponents only to hold our breath once Ohio State got to a big game not knowing if the Buckeyes could win convincingly...or possibly even lose the game. It always felt as if we were waiting for the other shoe to drop and some of that anxiety was that the Buckeyes just didn’t pass the eye test as a dominant team. Now, they are passing the eye test in the most convincing fashion I have seen since the three-game run from the B1G championship to the national championship in 2014...and 2006 (prior to the national championship game against Florida) with Troy Smith at the helm. Those teams just looked like the best team in college football. I remember even in the first half against Alabama when Ohio State was momentarily down, I still thought OSU were going to win that game and go on to win the national championship. It was just a matter of time before the tide turned in favor of Ohio State.
I know the first two games were against cream puffs, but there are fundamentally different things that I’m seeing with this team compared to how they looked against weak opponents in previous seasons. This team is now officially stacked with talent. There are five star recruits who are not in the starting lineup and buried on the depth chart...that’s how explosive this team is based on natural talent alone. Also, they are all hungry and playing as a team. No one on this team, other than Nick Bosa and Dremont Jones, have secured their NFL draft status and these players do not have national championship rings at home. This is a very motivated bunch.
On offense, watching Dwayne Haskins is like watching Cardale during the championship run or Troy during the 2006 season. During those runs, I watch other college football games after getting acclimated to the Ohio State quarterback ability and ask myself why can’t that quarterback make that throw. If the Ohio State offensive line can give Dwayne two seconds this weekend, Dwayne will find an open receiver and get the ball out on target very quickly. Also, right now the preseason Heisman watch list running back candidate is actually the second best back on the team...and both Mike Weber and JK Dobbins have two freshman running backs behind them that look the part. Any of those four would start for a majority of college football teams in the country. Suddenly, OSU has a WR corps rounding out the attack. I don’t know when the Ohio State receivers learned how to catch and actually get open and run better routes but I do know their position coach has changed and it appears that is for the better with a small sample size. The play calling is also correct. This is the play book for Dwayne and should have been the playbook for Cardale to start the 2015 season. With the talent at all the skill positions, you don’t have to beat up your quarterback and have him run 15+ times a game. The quarterback needs to be able to quickly and accurately distribute the ball, not unlike JT early in his Ohio State career.
On defense, Nick Bosa is better than his brother Joey. It's hard to believe that is possible. This is the first season Nick has been a starter so we are finally seeing just how good he is....and that's indicative of how much talent Ohio State continually has on the defensive line. I like the move of Shaun Wade to nickle back...and I like OSU in nickel because it means one less linebacker on the field. The linebacking corp is still the weak link, but the defensive line and solid defensive backfield play will cover up that deficiency. And, this is the space where I have to give my weekly shout out to BB Landers...and still proclaim to give BB his touchdown!
I'm very excited to see this team take on TCU in Jerry World this weekend...it's a venue they know after just playing there against USC last bowl season. This team is passing the eye test and I'm not holding my breath from week-to-week this year.
Touchdowns: Dobbins, Weber, Campbell, Austin Mack
OSU 31 TCU 21
Go Bucks! Beat TCU! BB Landers for Heisman!