Seeing as this is Trojans-Buckeyes week, I feel obliged to offer my take on this clash of the titans. Truth is there's little that I can write here that won't be written or said multiple times over in the next couple days. Yet, what self-respecting college football blogger could ignore an opportunity to add to the infinite opinionation surrounding this mammoth matchup.
If you're looking for a reason to think this one won't live up to the hype, Homerism can think of plenty. Exhibit A: Vegas' collective wisdom has installed USC as an 11 point favorite. If you buy that the bookies are the best at this kind of forecasting, that changes the complexion of this game from "must see" to "foregone conclusion."
Then, there's the two programs' recent history in so called big games. After earning a well-deserved reputation as a masterful strategist early in his tenure in Columbus, head Buckeye Jim Tressel has been knocked down a few pegs after blowout losses to SEC foes in the last two BCS championships games.
Then there's Beanie Wells' uncertain status. And Ohio St.'s struggles last week against Ohio. And the Trojans' dominance under Carroll on their home turf. And the Song Girls. Yada yada.
Ohio St. is an ultra-experienced squad with talent all over the field. Having played in two straight championship games, the Buckeyes have loads of experience on the big stage. All the hoopla surrounding what ESPN has dubbed the "Clash at the Coliseum" shouldn't leave this squad star struck.Games like this often come down to matchups, and one seems to stand out in the Buckeyes' favor. OSU boasts a talented front seven on defense, including decorated middle linebacker James Laurinaitis.Across the way, USC will be relying on an untested offensive line, with just one starter returning from last year. Quarterback Mark Sanchez bragged he had enough time to "grill steaks" in the pocket in the Trojans' first game against of the season against Virginia. Even if no one laid a finger on Sanchez the entire game, that doesn't say much; the pass rush for the 'hoos isn't in the same galaxy as OSU.If the defensive line can pressure Sanchez and the Trojans into turnovers, OSU might be able to capitalize on short fields and cheap touchdowns to put points on the board. Whether or not Beanie Wells is at full strength, the Buckeyes have a strong stable of running backs and a solid triggerman in senior quarterback Todd Boeckman with the capability to mount sustained drives that can ball-control USC to death in true sweater-vest style.