Fake traditions like "Christmas" clouded my Buckeye mentality this week. I staggered around in subzero temperatures, broke and trying to remember enduring cold weather is what separates us from the feckless southern breed of Americans.
USC. Cotton Bowl. Whatever. I'll make a few posts about it because it's better than being homeless.
But then I sat down to write this article, and all the suppressed trauma surged to the front of my consciousness. I remember standing on a porch on 16th and Summit in 2008, smoking a Newport and drinking a Natty Light as a transient jaunted down the sidewalk and taunted us about getting blown out by USC.
I remembered 2009, when I stood dumbfounded in an agriculture campus parking lot as freshman Matt Barkley and Joe McKnight went 95 yards for the win with 1:05 left and reversed a seemingly inevitable Tresselization for the first and only time in history.
Ohio State hasn't topped USC in over 16,000 days. 16,000 days! I've only been imprisoned 11,341 days and I'm ready to book the first commercial rocket off this condemned intergalactic pebble.
The Buckeyes want to do this game for the seniors. But they need to do it for the fans that have lived every day of this 16,000-day drought.
Look at that header photo. In a mere 3,201 years, the Trojan #brand went from the stuff of legends to a computer engineering major in plastic armor flexing at midfield of an abandoned Coliseum.
|TIME (ET)||MATCHUP (BOWL)||FAVORITE||TELEVISION|
|1:00||WAKE FOREST vs. TEXAS A&M (BELK)||A&M (-3)||ESPN|
|3:00||#24 N.C. STATE vs. ARIZONA STATE (SUN)||NCST (-7)||CBS|
|4:30||KENTUCKY vs. #21 NORTHWESTERN (MUSIC CITY)||NU (-7½)||ESPN|
|5:30||NEW MEXICO STATE vs. UTAH STATE (ARIZONA)||UTAH (-4)||CBSSN|
I would like to speak to management. It's a disgrace Ohio State has to share a bowl slate with the likes of New Mexico State and Wake Forest.
Word of the Day: Rancor.
THE TROJAN DOSSIER. Here's everything you need to know about tonight's opponent, the Trojans of USC:
- Film Study: Ohio State's one big advantage in slowing USC's skill-driven offense.
- Scouting Report: USC has a quarterback but its rush defense remains questionable.
- 10 reasons to hate USC.
- Ronald Jones II: A unique threat at running back.
- USC hyppppppppeeeee traillleeeeer.
WHY OHIO STATE WINS. If this game goes according to the computer projections, the win is in the bag for Ohio State.
- Ohio State should be able to run on the Trojans defense, which ranks 53rd in rushing S&P+.
- The Buckeye offense should also create some big plays, since the Trojans rank 115th in plays of 20+ yards allowed, 84th in plays of 10+ yards allowed, and 76th in overall IsoPPP.
- Forcing field goals should be a top priority, as USC is just 74th in red zone touchdown percentage.
This game is on the offensive line. If they perform like they can, there's no way USC will equal the offensive output against the Buckeye defense. (This could be a wrong take, but I don't think it will be.)
MEYER WILL REACH OUT TO ELI APPLE. Eli Apple had a rough sophomore season with the New York Giants. He spent most of the last six weeks as a healthy scratch. His All-Pro backfield teammate called him a cancer. Multiple outlets reported family strife.
Urban Meyer will "get in the middle of it" as soon as the final whistle blows tonight in Arlington.
Urban Meyer on former Ohio State CB Eli Apple: "Eli was fantastic for us. ... As soon as this (Cotton Bowl) game's over, I'm going to try to get in the middle of that and find out because of our love we have for Eli. ... A team player and always put team before self." #Giants— Garrett Stepien (@GarrettStepien) December 28, 2017
What separates good coaches from great coaches is the great ones understand what it takes to build a program.
GUNDY SCORES ONLINE. Mike Gundy, like millions of dejected American men before him, turned to online dating to solve the unhappiness in his life.
Life millions of American men before him, it worked. Gundy hired a Division II coordinator and gave him a ~$350,000 raise.
Gundy's challenge boils down to this: Would any Power 5 coach conduct a coordinator search that begins on the internet, includes several phone calls to a football office where no one answers and ends in a Pennsylvania hotel lobby with a young Division II coach making $52,500 a year?
"No chance," Gundy told ESPN. "I don't care what people think. They can go fly a kite for all I care. Nah, most people aren't going to be strong enough in their own skin to say there's a guy at Division II wherever that's the best coach for a major Power 5 conference school that had been in the top five in offense year after year after year."
Gundy's pursuit and hiring of Mike Yurcich in 2013 to coordinate Oklahoma State's offense should at least make other coaches think before they target big-name assistants in the coming weeks. Oklahoma State leads the nation in passing and ranks third in scoring and second in total offense under Yurcich, a 2016 finalist for the Broyles Award, which goes to the top assistant in college football.
Props to Gundy for that. (His Cowboys beat Virginia Tech last night, 30-21.) It always pains me when teams hire failed retreads. There are always young and up and comers out there. Go find them.
#PERTINENTWIRE. OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW.
PROPHECY: 35-22. No clarification necessary.