Friday, September 11, 2009
GAME PREVIEW: USC vs. Ohio State
This is the marquee match up this week. Last year USC trashed Ohio State 35-3. However, these are not the same teams that met in Los Angeles last year. USC has lost most of its suffocating defense to the NFL and graduation, as well as star QB Marc Sanchez. Since 2002, these losses have not mattered as USC plugs in new names and new faces only to get the same old results. This year is a little different. The new QB is true freshman Matt Barkley, and although his stats from last week were good, that was against San Jose State. This might be deja-vu. In 2006, Ohio State played number 2 ranked Texas who was led by freshman quarterback Colt McCoy. McCoy had looked good in his week one debut, but in the end Ohio State won handily. What is not deja-vu is that Ohio State almost lost its openers to Navy last week. Nevertheless, I am not so willing to chalk up a USC victory because of Ohio State’s struggles. First, I am not naïve enough to think that Ohio State focused a lot of attention on preparing for Navy. (Personally, I think that they did not prepare at all, and trusted on superior talent level to win the game.) Second, the option offense can be difficult for anyone to defend, which negated some of Ohio State’s talent advantage. Third, this is a new game. How a team plays from one week to the next can be as different as night and day. After this game, we should have a much better feel for each team and their chances for a conference championship and a national championship game appearance.