So I bet you're riding pretty high over Nebraska's 'big' win against Wisconsin. Way to come roaring back against a shitty team. I don't know what's more impressive--the fact that you were getting drilled like a hooker when the 6th Fleet rolls into port, or that Wisconsin remembered that they are the 2012 Badgers, and not the 2010 or 2011 version. You can't be happy with that win, can you? I mean, a win is a win, but that game was as ugly as the uniforms you guys wore. Seriously, give me one redeeming thing about your defense that makes you think you'll be able to stop Braxton Miller.
I'm just letting you know that this week, Taylor Martinez is going to get his tattoos knocked clean off of him when he comes to the most venerable stadium in the B1G, facing the toughest crowd, in primetime. I almost feel sorry for him, but then I remember that he's never beaten Northwestern or Indiana in conference play, and I laugh. Out loud and often. But I will say, your path to the conference championship, and the privilege to get gutted in the Rose Bowl by USC or Oregon, seems wide open right now.
But at least you'll be used to getting gutted after what happens to you on Saturday in the 'Shoe. Oh, and I hope Brutus rapes Lil Red in his soulless eye sockets, and bounces him off his helium filled head about 100 times. How can you take yourself seriously as a football team when your mascot is an inflatable sex doll?
Wow... Okay Ted, I guess it's going to be one of those threads. I'll see if I can muster enough hate for the Buckeyes, you know, outside of hating them for the obvious reasons like being evil and stuff. We can get back to that in a little while, though.
Let's go ahead and start with the mascot thing. You want to make fun of Lil' Red, go ahead. We don't want him either because we all know Herbie is our real mascot. Still, those in glass house shouldn't throw stones. I love that in the 60's, a bunch of students at Ohio State thought, "You know what would be really intimidating for years to come? A BUCKEYE. Yeah guys, let's name ourselves after the state tree and shove arms and legs on what looks like a mutant lovechild of some terribly racist cartoons from the 20's!" [ed note: and Fresco Jesus, because it totally looks like Fresco Jesus] Seriously, you tout this as some homage to the home state, but really it's a sad scene when your scary mascot comes barreling onto the field with a giant head that looks like he tried to use blackface but failed. So there you go Ohio State, way to be racist, un-intimidating, and stupid. You're the toxic nut of a tree. Talk about unnecessary. At least generic animal mascots are alive and stuff. You're just an inanimate, net-negative, nut with its only benefit to be planted in the ground in hopes of growing into a tree to grow one day. Really damn intimidating. And we're the ones you have trouble taking seriously. Anyhow...
But let's talk more about this year because this is where it gets a little more fun. Do you want to really talk about wins you don't feel good about? Way to put away that C-USA team Ohio State. Hell, if this were Louisiana-Monroe, maybe you get a pass, but I did some digging and realized just how mediocre UAB really is. In their four games, they are 0-4 with losses to Troy, South Carolina, and Tulsa as well as Ohio State. However, the numbers are where it gets really fun. Here they are in bullet point format
- UAB averaged 54 YPG rushing againist Troy, South Carolina, and Tulsa and managed to gash Ohio State for 144 yards. Even more telling is the YPC. In games not against Ohio State, UAB averaged 1.33 YPC and against Ohio State they averaged 4.2.
- In the three games not against Ohio State, UAB has allowed an average of 45.67 PPG, which would mean that Braxton and Company surely would have put up that many, right? If Troy, South Carolina and Tulsa could, surely this vaunted Urban offense could... Wrong, they scored 29 and if you look at the drive charts, they were also gifted multiple short fields they did nothing with.
- Also in the non-Ohio State games, UAB has allowed an average of 477.33 yards and has not outgained the opponent. In the Ohio State game, they only allowed 347 and were outgained fairly decently considering it was a home game against a crappy opponent
What do all of these stats say to me? That an elite offense is going to have a real good time. Sure, Braxton might actually get his against Nebraska, but Nebraska is ranked 13th nationally versus UAB's 91st ranking (with the outburst against Ohio State included). Plastering Taylor Martinez? Sure, but unless you doctor all of your defensive tape as well, I just don't buy this Ohio State defense. Oh, and the Shoe obviously is a scary place because UAB wilted under the pressure... wait. Also, you wanna know a secret? Nebraska's defense is actually rated higher than Ohio States right now. In fact, I looked it up and this 'vaunted OSU defense' is getting gashed and is barely ahead of Northwestern for 11th place overall giving up almost 377/game. Oh, and that defense has not played an offense ranked above 71st in total yards. So tell me, how the hell are you going to stop this offense? What actual evidence do you have that you can?
Wow, way to throw out the racism card right out of the gate. Nicest fans in college football my ass. More like the whitest and most racist, I imagine.
Hey, a Nebraska fan that wants to stay in the here and now? I'm surprised you didn't throw out the five national championships thing and start making out with a picture of Tom Osborne or Turner Gill. But okay, I can adjust to this unexpected turn of events. Let's stay in the here and now.
Yeah, you can throw out all the 'statistics' and 'facts' you like, but everyone knew that coming in to 2012, Ohio State was going to be a work in progress, and would hopefully get better from week to week. And they have, for the most part. It all came together last week against MSU, when the Buckeye defense played a tough, hard nosed game from opening whistle to final gun, on the road. They held Le'Veon Bell, one of the best backs in the country, to a measly 45 yards rushing, and his longest run from scrimmage was only 8 yards. That tells me they're getting better, and hey, they won the games they're supposed to. The defensive front seven has played a lot better in the last two games, and if they can stuff Bell, they can stop Nebraska. And if you want to cherry pick a game that will be three weeks in OSU's rear view mirror and discount a tough road win, please do. But hey, I can cherry pick, too.
At least OSU won the games they were supposed to, unlike you guys, who went out to the West Coast and got shit kicked from here to Newfoundland by a Jim Mora, Jr., coached team. Really? And your defense has gone from the Blackshirts to the Hooker In Black Dress, that's how easy it's been to score on them. It's like Bill Callahan and Kevin Cosgrove are still there. You gave up 135 rushing yards to Southern Miss, 148 to Arkansas State, and then got your groove back against an FCS team. That bears repeating--Nebraska scheduled an FCS team. Well played.
And in your Big Ten opener, you let what might be the worst offensive team in the conference jump out to a 27-10 lead, and a freshman QB made you look silly until he got hurt. It was only when you knocked him out and forced Douchebrah to play Danny O'Bauserman did Nebraska mount their big comeback.
And really, any offense that has Taylor Martinez running it cannot, will not, and shall never be considered elite. Putting up big numbers against The Convent Of Quadraplegic Blind Nuns is a lot different than trying to run on what is a defense that is quickly rounding into shape.
I'd like to know how you think you're going to stop a real quarterback in Braxton Miller? Against the only legitimate offenses (Wisconsin--a stretch, I know--and UCLA) your JV quality defense has faced this year, Nebraska has given up 544 yards passing and over 400 yards rushing (I took out the -33 yards rushing Joel Stave had accumulated from his QB sacks). That's almost 1,000 yards in just two games. The last time I saw that much ground covered in that short of a time span the US Coalition forces were rolling through Iraq...twice.
Seriously, your defense is no better than the Iraqi army. Defend that...terrorist.
I don't know about whitest fanbase... I saw at least one Asian guy at the stadium on Saturday. Honestly, I have no comebacks to this one. Let's move on before I have time to think of one that is most likely inappropriate in every sense of the definition.
Anyways... Ahem, only after we knocked the Quarterback out of the game that we made a comeback? Stave was in the game until after Nebraska had the lead. You know, that point after Taylor Martinez decided, "Eff it, I'm going to run through this defense," followed quickly by, "Skipping stones, huh? How about a perfect strike to my TE in the endzone?" Of course, let's all be honest, Nebraska did not play to their potential in that game and definitely gives me some worries. Still, let's keep going on the cherry picking. This is fun.
Yes, congratulations, you contained Le'Veon Bell, which is ridiculously commendable. I am serious about that one. You've done what very few people have done. However, let's take a look at this game in more depth. The Buckeyes got one of the best breaks of the day when Braxton Miller obviously fumbled the ball but for some reason the play got called dead. Sparty should have had a Touchdown there and gone up. Sadly, that one isn't even one of those, "If he only would have caught it..." type of moments because they literally did everything they were supposed to do.
Also, I am not knocking the rush defense, but rather questioning a rather suspect secondary. Maxwell is not a great QB at this point. He has very little awareness and he throws some really stupid balls. Add to that his WR tandem seems to hate catching and you have a mess. So what happens on Saturday? He throws for 269! Look, this conference may hate Taylor Martinez, but he's one tough SOB who can run and has proven he's not a worthless passer. Highest QB Rating? T.Mart. Highest YPA? T.Mart. Hell, he has 11 TD tosses to only 1 INT. That's not bad considering he also has ran for 3 TD's averaging almost 6 YPC. Look, I'm not saying Miller doesn't scare me, but if you think you all are just going to break Martinez, you got another thing coming.
But I digress. You asked a question and I am deflecting worst than the candidates will tomorrow night at the debate. How are we going to stop Braxton? I don't think we will. I think Braxton will. See, I think this kid can be electric, but he's also a Sophomore who likes to do things everyone knocks Martinez for. He fumbles, he throws inopportune interceptions, and even when he does catch some breaks, it seems like the penalties have been a killer. I looked it up today. Did you know Ohio State has the most penalties in the conference? I thought Urbz was running a tight ship over there. Then again, there does seem to be some symmetry in life if Ohio State is slowly becoming the Lane Kiffin era Raiders. Maybe that supplemental pick of Pryor was less a pick of convenience and more a pick of perfect fit.
So you tell me. What has Ohio State really done that makes us all believe in them? We'll do the next few E-mails in debate style. Question, response, rebuttal, rebuttal. In 250 words or less, how has Ohio State distinguished themselves from the pack?
Response: They've won all their games, which is more than anyone else in this conference can say, except Northwestern?!?! And the defense has gotten better as the season moved into conference play. I'm not too worried about the yards they gave up to Maxwell, because the plan was to stop Bell and make Maxwell beat the Buckeyes. And he couldn't. As for T-Magic, color me impressed so far. Seriously. He's a much better passer this year, but he's facing a ball hawking secondary on Saturday. Travis Howard has more picks than your entire team, and I'm still not sold on his poise in big games on the road. I think if OSU gets to him and can get him rattled, they can force him into making mistakes. And sorry, but if you're expecting Miller to stop himself, it's not going to happen. He's had a couple fumbles, but he's only had 3 picks all year. That's not exactly a turnover machine, and Nebraska really hasn't forced a lot of turnovers. Yes, he may turn the ball over once, but he isn't going to beat himself. That's a bad strategy, so of course, I hope you go with that.
Rebuttal: Look, Braxton might not have put the ball on the ground as much as I thought and he definitely is throwing less picks, but this team shot itself in the foot against MSU... and UAB... and Cal... and, well, you get the idea. IF (big if obviously) Nebraska keeps a clean slate, they're going to be fine. As for the defense getting better as the season moved on, I vote no because, well, you just played the 78th and 91st ranked offenses in the nation. That would be like me saying Nebraska's defense is getting better after playing Idaho State and Wisconsin... It's not. Still, overlook Mr. Martinez at your own peril. All he has done is averaged around 8 yards per play. No biggie. I will also say this. Nebraska is usually guaranteed one game where they absolutely shock the world on defense because nobody thinks they can. Why not the game where the former Iowa State offensive coordinator manages to enrage the entire Buckeye fanbase? Sooner or later that little issue will rear its ugly head.
Final Rebuttal: So, to summarize Jesse's points: You hope that they don't cough it up with the regularity that they have been on the road in a hostile environment, and you hope that the one game the defense isn't a forest fire is this one. That's essentially your gameplan. That's not a gameplan, that's a prayer.
INSERT ANNOYING TONE HERE THAT POLITICIANS ALWAYS TALK OVER BUT WE WILL RESPECT.
Question: One big comeback game does not erase the perception that T-Magic wilts when the pressure is the greatest (Two if you count OSU last season, but you could argue Joe Bauserman gets as much credit for that comeback win as Nebraska does). On the road against UCLA, Nebraska was tied going into the 4th quarter, 27-27. Martinez promptly got tackled for a safety, threw three straight incompletions after UCLA missed a FG, then threw a pick in his own territory that UCLA took down to the Nebraska 16 and converted into the game clinching TD. 250 words or less again, tell me why you think Taylor Martinez will get over his big game road jitters on Saturday when there is very little evidence to support him doing so?
Response: Taylor Martinez gets a bad wrap for everything that goes wrong. Look, the 2nd half against UCLA was bad, but I still blame OC Tim Beck more than Martinez. He went away from the run and did everything he could to set him up for failure. It was as if he knew the blame would shift to the kid. So why do I think he'll play better this week on the road? Because he can. 2010: Wins as a freshman @Washington and @Oklahoma State. 2011: Wins as a Sophomore @Penn State. This year, I think he has receivers who can catch and he has learned to only run when he has to run, and when he does, it's pretty much the best thing ever. I mean, if Ohio State and their fanbase want to pretend he can't beat them, that's fine with me. Go rewatch the 10 yard strike to Kyler Reed on Saturday and tell me that doesn't worry you at least a little bit (and if not, prepare for the nightmare at your own risk).
Rebuttal: Wait a second...earlier you said Martinez has become a much better passer (which he has, no argument here), yet when he reverts to the bad Martinez, it's the offensive coordinator's fault? Did you just make that argument? That was a rhetorical question, because you did. And at the point in the UCLA game where he fell apart, Martinez had gone 17/24 for 179 and no picks. I'm not saying the Buckeyes can ignore Martinez and the offense at their peril, but I am saying if they can make Nebraska one dimensional and force him to throw, there's ample history that says the Bucks will have an advantage.
Nope, what I am saying is that he absolutely got hamstrung in playcalling. We all know that he is not a pocket passer. He's a play action thrower who can burn you on crossing routes and will run around you if you blitz. In that fourth quarter (and trust me, I've watched this game about three times now to figure it all out), the OC had a brilliant idea to literally abandon the run and UCLA responded accordingly. Now, I'm not saying he is world's best passer, but setting up a guy to succeed is part of why you pay the guy. Tim Beck is in year two, and he panicked. Look at the drive Nebraska had in the 3rd quarter against UCLA where Nebraska was running the same power toss down the field. It was working and the no-huddle was gashing them for about 15 yards per play. What does he do? He puts Martinez in the pocket and doesn't even run playaction. Three burned downs and a FG attempt. So stupid. FWIW, this happens a lot, so maybe I don't want to talk about this. But seriously, I don't think Ohio State has seen a real offense like this yet. In fact, Ohio State has not seen a real offense like this. When Central Florida has the best numbers of all the teams you've faced, how can you really say they are prepared for Saturday? Because you stopped the tire fire that is MSU's anemic offense?
Well, it's pretty obvious you're going to hitch your wagon to what I think is a flawed quarterback, and I'm going to hitch mine to what you think is a flawed defense. So, how about we wrap this up with some predictions, and maybe we can each find something nice to say about the other's team. Sound good?
I'll start: The thing that worries me about Nebraska is exactly what you've been eluding to so far--the Huskers are a multi-dimensional offense, and Taylor Martinez can hurt you with his arm and legs. He's really stepped his game up this year, and if OSU isn't prepared to defend him running and throwing the ball, it will be a long night for the Silver Bullets. And if you shut him down running the ball, Rex Burkhead can cause you a lot of headaches as well. I was very encouraged by OSU's ability to bottle up Le'Veon Bell last week, but he is in a north-south offense, and Nebraska does a very good job getting to the perimeter. That said, the big problem with OSU's defense the first four games wasn't so much matchups or schemes, it was basic fundamentals, like tackling. They really shored that up against MSU, save for the one TD pass to Keith Mumphrey that shouldn't have gone for more than 10 yards, yet turned into a 25 yard version of What The Fuck Was That.
So for me, this game comes down to Martinez vs. Braxton Miller, and who can score more points on each other's defense. I'm not saying Martinez isn't going to make plays, but I think Miller makes more, and Nebraska will have a tougher time stopping Miller than OSU will have stopping Martinez. And I'm still not sold on T-Magic handling the pressure of a big game on the road. I'm going to go with Ohio State in this one, 31-23.
Obligatory nice thing: Through the first 5 weeks of the season, I've got Nebraska jumping past MSU and Michigan in the Legends division. If OSU wasn't on probation and ineligible for the conference title game, I'd like to be able to tell you that we'll settle this once and for all in Indianapolis. Sadly, OSU won't be there, but I think Nebraska will. And right now I'm calling you guys the lone B1G BCS rep this year. As down as the conference is this year, I'm not sure if that's really a compliment, though, although it's supposed to be. Enjoy Pasadena, and represent us well out there for a change.
Wait, winter in Pasadena? Count me in. Ironically, the biggest fear I have is that Ohio State's speed on defense negates Nebraska's speed on offense. I'm already resigning myself to the fact that Braxton is going to go all Tebow on Nebraska and score a bunch of TDs. My only hope is that Nebraska can get to the perimeter and hang on to the ball. I think the secret weapon for this game is actually going to be the ability of the coaching staff to change the pace early and often with Burkhead and Abdullah, and honestly maybe even Heard and Cross. What would be fantastic would be for Braylon Heard, he of Ohio roots, breaks out for a huge game. Honestly, he has the most upside of all four backs at Nebraska right now, and I'm not even being hyperbolic. He just looks silky smooth on the field.
As for a prediction? I'm thinking this game starts out fast with one team running out to a quick two score lead and the other firing back fast and furious. Something like a 24-21 first half in which I'll give to Ohio State. The third quarter will go scoreless as both teams trade punches on the field with Martinez leading a late TD drive in the fourth to ratchet up the Nebraska hype machine. Nebraska wins 28-24 after Braxton's hail mary hits the ground after bouncing off two Buckeye players and Husker Nation goes absolutely wild.
As for something super nice:Ohio State is going to be a National Title contender next year and that is a good thing. Look, I don't have any real love for the Buckeyes and I don't really have any hate (so much as I would try). We won't play again for how many years now? It's a lot, so outside of meeting in Indy, there really is no reason not to root for the Buckeyes, especially when Michigan losing is such a fun and important thing. Count me impressed by the recruiting changes and even the smug, "Hell yeah I doctored the game tape so much that you had to ask one of our other opponents for tape," attitude by Mr. Urban Meyer. It makes this fun and it's always good to have the bad guy around. With that said, I hope Nebraska stops that smug SOB this weekend, because it's looking more and more likely that the Buckeyes could run the table otherwise, and that would be annoying... Just like Auburn fans were back in the day, these Buckeye fans will probably become unbearable. Well, at least more unbearable than you all are now.