I, being a Buckeye fan, am obviously going to pick USC. I don't wanna hear any of that "Ohio State can't beat good non-conference teams." But here's my breakdown...
Passing: Todd Boeckman may not be an amazing quarterback but he has one-year experience as a starter under his belt and that is what stands out the most. Terrelle Pryor could also get some playing time which adds another player for USC to watch out for, especially because Pryor is a dual-threat quarterback. Mark Sanchez only has a few games' experience with him which is why I give Ohio State the edge in the passing game.
Rushing: Chris Wells, as everyone knows, is one of the early Heisman contenders and for good reason after last year's 1600 yards on a sore ankle. Joe McKnight is obviously is a very flashy player and has the ability to easily become one of college player's most dangerous players. It's a tough call here but I give Ohio State the edge again when I add in the experience factor.
Receiving: Ohio State's Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline have experience also but so do USC's Vidal Hazelton and Patrick Turner. This is when I look deeper into the depth chart for other stand-out receivers. Ohio State's Ray Small has great potential and according to Ted Ginn Sr., Small is the best player he's ever coached (respectable statement coming from a guy who coached Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr.) USC's next receiver I look at is David Ausberry. At 6'5" and 225 pounds, he's a big guy; bigger than Ohio State's secondary which could cause matchup problems. I'm gonna have to give this to USC although it was close.
O-line and TE:
Ohio State has four linemen and a TE returning. The offensive line is quite possibly one of the best in the country. The TE, Rory Nicol, has shown some potential but has yet to have a breakout game. USC lost its great TE, Fred Davis, and only has one returning offensive linemen so once again, this goes to Ohio State.
Ohio State lost a big star in Vernon Gholston, but now Lawrence Wilson gets his chance to step in as a starter and show the great potential he has. The other three defensive linemen are returning from last year although it would help if they could put more pressure on opposing QBs. USC has two returning defensive linemen but overall, it should be a good defensive line. USC gets this edge.
Ohio State has James Laurinaitis. USC has Ray Maualuga and Brian Cushing. Both have solid linebacker corps. Both have two returning starters. The way I look at it is Ohio State has an amazing linebacker in Laurinaitis and an above-average linebacker in Marcus Freeman. USC has Ray Maualuga, who is also amazing, and Brian Cushing, who is above-average. So those even out. The third linebacker for each team is Curtis Terry for Ohio State and Luther Brown for USC. Curtis Terry has had good exposure at the college level so far. I give this to the Buckeyes.
OSU's Malcolm Jenkins comes in as one of the top corners in the nation. All four starters from last year return for the Buckeyes, although Donald Washington could face some punishment for off-field issues. USC has 3 returning starters but Kevin Ellison is a hard-hitter and an amazing player. Other than Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State doesn't have any stand-out players in the secondary but the same is true with USC's Kevin Ellison. Overall, Ohio State has a better secondary with more experience so they get the edge.
Ohio State's Ryan Pretorius has a strong leg; however, his accuracy can be a concern in pressure situations. USC's David Beuhler is good, but not great. Just about even here, but I'll give it to USC.
OSU's AJ Trapasso had a respectable season average; better than USC's Greg Woidneck so Ohio State gets it.
Ohio State has some athletic guys returning the kicks but the blocking didn't hold up for them well last year leading to just an average of 17 yards on kick returns. USC has some great return men so I give this to USC.
Ohio State has Robiskie but something tells me he won't take many risks on returns do to his major role on the offense. USC has phenom Joe McKnight back returning punts which could be disaster for any of USC's opponents. USC has the edge.
Ohio State gave up two punt return TDs and a kick return TD last year. USC gave up one kick return TD. Both teams have almost the same coverage units so I give USC the edge.
For offense, Ohio State has the edge 3-1.
For defense, Ohio State has the edge 2-1.
On special teams, USC has the edge 4-1.
So that's my breakdown and I know special teams always plays a big factor in football games, especially the close ones like this, but I don't think it should play a big enough factor to change the outcome of this game.
OHIO STATE 24
· 1 decade ago