Big Ten 2011 // Will OSU's Scandal-Plagued Offseason Open the Door for Michigan to Win The Game?

It's Tuesday, you're hungover and useless at work, and OTE Writers are screaming at each other. All is well with the world, folks.

POINT: OSU's scandal-plagued offseason, filled with suspensions and generally idiotic behavior by all involved, has given Michigan a much better chance to win The Game in 2011.

By Graham Filler

I'd like to impart a quick warning to all OTE readers. Ted's been drinking Mags Bennett's special apple pie drink (not the lethal stuff, I'm talking about the tasty high alcohol-content stuff) and isn't thinking clearly. Big Teddy Bear is looking at a 2011 Buckeye season that may include:

- A suspended or fired coach who was on his way to being the next Woody Hayes, a true Ohio State legend...and now has been exposed as just another cheating-ass Nick Saban-clone who would sell his own mother to Somali pirates if it led to more wins.

- Impending sanctions and/or punishments and/or loss of postseason opportunities.

- Star players, especially quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who will miss at least a key game against Michigan State, not to mention valuable time with the first-team offense. And let me take this a step further. When it rains, it pours, and it wouldn't surprise me if some of the Tattoo 5 never play a game in 2011. Sometimes it's hard to practice or go to class knowing you're missing half of the season. Sometimes that leads to a little bit more sampling of the Mary Jane or the temptation to slack off in the weight room or not read the playbook.

- An improved Michigan team (especially on the defensive side of the ball) who is now coached by a real UM homer. Does that help? I'm not sure, but it certainly can't hurt. Just remember in 2009 when the toothless Wolverines played inspired football in the Big House, picking off an early Pryor pass and making Tress go conservative to grind out a victory. UM CAN get up for this game, talent disparity aside.

Molk_medium

Yet Ted cannot EVEN FATHOM that any of these factors may give Michigan any kind of edge. Hell, he's bound to argue that a Joe Bauserman-led Buckeye squad without Jim Tressel will blow out any team Brady Hoke has to offer. Do I blame him? Not really; there exists a certain confidence when you win 3939 games in a row over a rival and your talent level is so damn high. But Ohio State, certainly a preseason Top Three pick before these many controversies encircled Columbus, has now opened itself to losing the cohesiveness and mental toughness that made the Bucks so consistently good.

COUNTERPOINT: The tremendous talent disparity, plus a ton of veteran starters, will moot any impact the offseason problems might have on The Game. OSU will win going away. Again.

By Ted Glover

No Graham, I've been drinking Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, and I'm as clear headed as ever.  But I do think I'd like Mags Bennetts.

HA!  No chance for UM. If these were teams that were closer in talent, maybe.  But name one guy on Michigan's 22 that you would substitute for any of OSU's starting 22.  This will all be blown over by November, in one way or another, OSU will probably be looking at a chance to go to the inaugural conference championship game, the Tattoo 5 will have been playing for almost two months, and the white noise of this scandal will be behind them.

Heck, and even if it isn't I really don't think it will matter.  This was still pretty fresh when OSU took to the field for the Sugar Bowl, and they took care of business against a team that was much better than Michigan is, on the road, with a lot on the line.  Much like the circumstances will be in November.

Molk_medium

To me, the only wildcard is whether or not Tressel is still the coach.  If he's around, OSU wins, and although it might not be the recent blowouts we've come to see, it would still be a convincing win.  No Tressel?  Yeah, might be closer, but I keep going back to the talent gap.  There's just too much with Ohio State, and not enough on Michigan, and unless OSU just completely pisses down their legs and goes -5 in the turnover margin, they win.

I'm not trying to downplay the significance of what could potentially happen in Columbus, nor do I think that Brady Hoke was a bad hire.  There could be a reckoning for the Buckeyes like we haven't seen coming down from the NCAA that could really hurt the program for several years.  Hoke is a guy that seems to really 'get it' in terms of Michigan tradition and what it means to beat your rivals, and although he has 19 of 22 starters coming back, they are players that aren't optimal for the offense and defense Hoke wants to run.  The defense will be better simply because Gerg isn't running it, but they'll still be overmatched against the elite teams, and the offense will struggle as they transition back to a more traditional Michigan system. 

And sanctions or not, Tressel or no Tressel, vacated wins and ineligible players aside, Ohio State still has elite talent, and will be an elite team in November when these two teams meet, and Michigan won't.  I think 2012 will be a different story in terms of talent gap, but in 2011, I just don't see them beating Ohio State.

And you know what?  Let's talk about this cheating bullshit.  At least OSU has the presence of mind to to do it to win some goddamn games.  RichRod was so incompetent that he couldn't even CHEAT the right way.  You overwork your players, OSU gives them free cars (allegedly).  You bitch about your buyout with West Virginia, OSU guys get free tattoos.  You cry at a banquet, Tressel gives the world a defiant 'Fuck you, I'm not sorry and I'm not leaving' presser.

Good God, at least when we cheat we see tangible results on the field.  You get taken to triple overtime by Illinois.  At home.

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This week...

MONDAY | University of Michigan Cocktail Party Preview

TUESDAY | Can Michigan Beat Scandal-Plagued OSU?

WEDNESDAY | 4th and 3

THURSDAY | OTE Potluck

FRIDAY | Keeping the Enemy Close - OSU Hate Piece

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