So the word on the streets is that the key unanswered question hanging over the head of tomorrow's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl match is whether Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells can get any traction on the ground against Texas' rush defense, a unit that ranks second in the country (allowing a scarce 73.58 yards per game)?
Burnt Orange Nation, predicts that Beanie will stumble, limping to just 115 yards on 21 carries -- a mark bolstered by a 30 yard "pop" that "boosts" the final total.
You mean, like this:
The thing is, I haven't seen a single defensive configuration that has absolutely disrupted Beanie's ability to break into the backfield.
lf anyone were capable, it would have been Louisiana State last year who brought a virtual Stalingrad; a super line, anchored by Defensive Tackle Glen Dorsey and Defensive End Tyson Jackson. Though second-half adjustments neutralized Well's overall effectiveness, the Tigers got cut.
Which begs the question? Can Texas do any better?
The key here is to throw out the medals, and focus on what the Longhorns -- who competed in the rush-adverse Big 12 -- did against quality ground attacks.
They faced two: Oklahoma State, who rank eighth nationally in rushing yards, and Oklahoma, who rate seventeenth.
The Cowboys laid down 217 yards against the Horns. The Sooners managed just 48.
So it's clear, if these OSU Buckeyes can rush like those OSU Coyboys, Ohio State's offense will have the freedom to pick on the Longhorns through the air. It's something they'd love to do, as Around the Oval reports, Texas' pass defense ranks an embarassing 108th nationally. They're also 60th in pass efficiency D.
But, if the Bucks can't open lanes, they're dead in the water -- as a predictible Jim Bollman attack stalls on the line.
When on vacation, the Rivalry Drinks...
Silver Palm Cabernet Savingnon (2005 North Coast). Self-described as "sumptuous," and "seamless," this Cab lacks the structure of its Napa brethern -- but trades bite for poise; with a rich cinema-palace velvet seat texture, and ripe plum overtones.
Enjoy a glass around a fire pit, and watch the Coyote dance.