A couple of years ago I hastily eschewed my customary outlook-plus-jokes
Predictably, hindsight was kind to that 2008 column as well as its Bucknuts the Magazine predictions - which I used to correctly predict the season record for the second consecutive year - so I SWOTed the 2009 season again last year in lieu of going back to the reliable outlook-plus-jokes preview model. Studying that SWOT again one year later, the Weaknesses and Threats were horribly exploited in both how Southern Cal and Purdue games went down, and it looks prescient all over again. There were no secrets revealed: This is an exercise in winning the game or knowing the reason why before the game is even played. These MBA people are onto something: SWOT swings the big bat of predictive clarity quite well; better than an outlook-plus-jokes
So for the third year in a row, I’ll be eschewing a customary season preview column. Besides, adding yet another contribution to the stack of countless
You can refer to that stack of countless
He was the 2009 Preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and he promptly took the field and atrophied last season in several key quarterbacking statistics from efficiency to passing yardage. After the Purdue game, the square quarterback/round playbook futility was partially abandoned and more emphasis was placed on exploiting what was known of Pryor’s skills rather than what was still untapped, namely his size and his speed. Passing attempts evaporated, and when he was allowed to pass, it was a decidedly conservative - and effective - passing sequence. The 2009 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year is never just a steady game manager, not in any year. Yet Pryor - who did not come close to winning the postseason award or setting any relatively meager
It’s almost as though the idea of a fully-functioning and prodigious Pryor makes the
Strength: Fear Factor
During the Southern California and Purdue offensive implosions that saw the Pryor-led Buckeyes muster 15 and 18 points respectively against defenses that were absolutely shredded by lesser teams, the state of Jim Tressel’s Ohio State empire was called into question: What kind of football coaching incompetence could produce such abject failure with what is widely seen as some of the best talent around, not only in the conference but in the country? Mid-October 2009 was a significant crossroads for the Ohio State program: The team had lost three consecutive BCS games, two of the title variety, both of its home-and-home matchups with Southern Cal, they had choked away the Big Ten road winning streak record at 1-5 Purdue and the most sought-after quarterback prospect in years was faltering in an offense that did little to inspire the prospect of attracting similar high school superstars to Columbus.
The creeping death of the 2004 season which featured three consecutive, bad losses began to erode the Midwestern dynasty that the Buckeyes had enjoyed since that distasteful October five years earlier. A couple of layups and some significant wagon-circling later, Ohio State graciously provided for the more palatable and enjoyable half of the lose-lose proposition, the “oh what could have been” running of the table that the 2005 team delivered after mustering 10 points in Happy Valley with an offensive roster that still features numerous NFL players to this day.
Normally weakness is diagnosed by a missing or lacking asset. You may be worried about the lack of a returning, rocket-legged punter, game-changing kick returner or the third shift in the defensive back seven. Um, don’t be. It would take a nearly impossible, catastrophic decimation to ply the
This 2010 team would have little problem with the 2009, 2008 or 2007 Big Ten. Granted, each of those respective
Weakness: Tactical Enlightenment (again)
A sixth-straight conference title, the final Big ‘Eleven’ championship ever, a seventh-straight win over Michigan, a chance to re-infect the 7.5-year old unhealed scab on the Miami Hurricanes psyche, a fourth BCS title game appearance and the Heisman Trophy are all within very reasonable grasp. Every year is brings elevated expectations, but we haven’t seen an accumulation like this in our lifetimes. Both 1998 and 2006 came close but lacked the unprecedented streak against the Wolverines.
The schedule features four victorious bowl teams that return with expectations of being significantly better this season. The two bowl teams that lost their games actually lost tightly contested games to two of the other teams on the schedule. Only
Twelve teams separate
You can follow Ramzy on Twitter