Countdown To THE GAME 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

[YouTube] Ohio State Football: OSU vs Indiana Trailer

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ohio State Is At "The Doorstep" To B1G Championship Game

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal..." ~ Henry Ford

The 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes, proud owners of a 9-1 record, return home to Ohio Stadium to face a traditional B1G rival with the visiting Indiana Hoosiers.  Considering Indiana enters the game with a 3-7 record, is playing a true freshman quarterback, and has not defeated Ohio State since the 1988 season, Ohio State is heavily favored by the Las Vegas oddsmakers (34.5 point spread).  By all reasonable expectations, by both Ohio State fans and Indiana fans, Ohio State has a tremendous opportunity to win easily.  During the most recent Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcast, even stalwart Indiana fan Kyle Swick acknowledged the challenges that Indiana is facing against a talented Buckeye squad.

Lurking in the background, in the blogosphere, within Internet fan sites, on sports talk radio, are the audible hopes and dreams of a demanding fanbase for Ohio State to win out and emerge as one of the four participants in the inaugural College Football Playoff.  Presently, Ohio State is ranked sixth in the latest poll of the College Football Playoff committee.

The obvious question that is on the mind of Ohio State fans before the Buckeyes meet Indiana - how will Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer keep his team focused upon Indiana, and not be concerned about the playoffs?

Below is an example of how focused Coach Meyer is upon the task at hand with Indiana...

Q.  A little bit along those lines, you guys are kind of on two tracks here.  You obviously have to win.  That's all you can control.  But there is this playoff, you're trying to get into the playoff.  At 31‑24 win over Indiana probably won't help you.  How do you kind of balance the idea that you have to obviously take care of business, but there is this perception game? 
URBAN MEYER:  That's not even going to be addressed.  We wake up every November or we wake up every day to compete for championships in November.  It's at the doorstep now.".

"It's at the doorstep now..." .  Coach Meyer knows that all of the talk about the playoffs is just that - talk.  The task at hand is to defeat Indiana, and clinch a berth in The B1G Championship Game.

The three areas I will be focusing upon as Ohio State meets Indiana in Ohio Stadium at 12pm on BTN?

1.  How Will Ohio State's Defense Play Against Indiana's Tevin Coleman? - As Coleman goes, so goes the Indiana offense.  Coleman has rushed for 1678 yards, and is coming off an impressive performance against Rutgers (32 carries for 307 yards).  While Ohio State's defense has improved, last week Ohio State surrendered 145 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground to Minnesota's David Cobb.  Look for Ohio State to truly sell out against the run to bottle up Coleman as best as they can.

2.  How Will Ohio State's Jalin Marshall Respond After A Challenging Game At Minnesota? - The trials and tribulations of Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Jalin Marshall are well-chronicled, and we discussed them in great detail on the aforementioned MotSaG podcast.  I will be keeping an eye on Marshall during the game, most especially on punt return opportunities.

3.  Will Coach Meyer Substitute Backups After Ohio State Takes A Commanding Lead? - While I have complete confidence in Ohio State to win this game convincingly, I question whether Coach Meyer will substitute backups into the game.  Cardale Jones, Bri'onte Dunn, Warren Ball, etc, should all play at least the fourth quarter, after the game has been decided.

Prediction:  Ohio State rolls Indiana 63-17, impressing the College Football Playoff committee.  More importantly, Ohio State earns a trip to Indianapolis for The B1G Championship Game.




Friday, November 14, 2014

Defeating Ranked Minnesota Is A "Golden" Opportunity For Buckeyes

Before focusing upon the Ohio State @ Minnesota game scheduled for 12pm EST on ABC, I want to congratulate Coach Urban Meyer, the Ohio State coaching staff, and most especially, the 2014 Buckeyes on their victory over Michigan State.  Like many others, I predicted that Ohio State would lose.  Regardless of whether at home or at work, I always strive to admit my mistakes, and I am doing so now.  I did the same on the Men of the Scarlet and Gray podcast earlier this week, but I wanted to do it in writing as well.  Congratulations, Buckeyes.

**

With the victory over Michigan State, Ohio State has climbed back up the College Football Playoff rankings, presently ranked eighth.  Many fans are wondering if Ohio State will be able to impress enough in the remaining regular season games to climb up to at least fourth to earn a spot at a possible national championship.  My response is comparable to that of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ~ Relax.  There are plenty of games to be played, and the biggest mistake Ohio State can do is not concentrate on what is within their control.  Minnesota is 7-2, and ranked twenty-fifth.  Focus on defeating the Golden Gophers, and let everyone else play their games out.

The weather will be cold with possible snow, as the present weekend forecast for Minneapolis is for a high of 28 degrees.  As Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said, "I don't see it being a factor. ... That's the way it is in the Midwest so you deal with it".

Here are three areas I will be focused upon when the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers meet up for the first time since the 2010 season...

1.  Minnesota's Rushing Offense versus Ohio State's Defense - Minnesota boasts a very large offensive line that helps pave the way to averaging 224 yards on the ground per game.  Ohio State's defense has improved, and had their positive moments last week versus Michigan State, but how will they do against talented Minnesota running back David Cobb?  For those old-school purists out there who long for traditional B1G football, this is the place to see how it will all shake out.

2.  Ohio State's Rushing Offense versus Minnesota's Defense - Ezekiel Elliott has emerged as one of the best running backs in the B1G.  The Ohio State offensive line, which was maligned at the onset of the 2014 season, has truly come together over the last several weeks.  Will Ohio State be able to run the ball against a Minnesota defense that will probably stack the box?

3.  Will Jalin Marshall Have A Larger Role In The Offense? - The news that Dontre Wilson sustained a broken bone during the Michigan State victory has led to speculation that Jalin Marshall will take on even more responsibilities within the Ohio State offense.  Look for Marshall to be on kickoffs, punt returns, possible Wildcat quarterback formations, as well as the traditional H-Back plays that Coach Meyer has usually involved Marshall with this season.

Prediction:  While I have concerns that the Ohio State players may come out somewhat sluggish after such an emotional victory high against Michigan State, I believe the superior Ohio State speed will help spark the Buckeyes to a lead that will allow the Buckeyes to leave Minneapolis with the victory.  David Cobb will have a good game, as well Minnesota TE Maxx Williams, but the Ohio State defense will have enough to harass Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner throughout the game.  I see Ohio State getting a lead, and playing ball control into the second half.  I am calling it Ohio State 35, Minnesota 21.






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