Countdown Until THE GAME 2018

Friday, October 25, 2013

Winning, Not BCS Rankings, Is Ohio State's Only Concern Vs Penn State

Last week, I wrote how Ohio State would do themselves good if they could defeat Iowa handily, in the collective minds of the voters.  I also wrote that winning was the most important aspect of the equation. 

Fortunately for Ohio State, they focused more upon having more points than Iowa, defeating Iowa in Ohio Stadium, 34-24.  In a game that was not decided until late in the 4th quarter, Ohio State rallied to win its nineteenth straight victory.

In the first edition of the BCS rankings, Ohio State ranked fourth, behind Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon.  While Ohio State fans may be concerned about Ohio State possibly being shut out of a national title shot, I would argue that the most important thing Ohio State can do is win its games.  The rankings are completely outside of anything that Ohio State can control.  What Ohio State can control is its performance on the field, and all focus should be on the next opponent coming into Ohio Stadium, the Penn State Nittany Lions.

 Penn State, led by Bill O'Brien, will come into Ohio Stadium for an 8pm EST kickoff, with the benefit of a bye week.  Penn State has won the last few games in Ohio Stadium, as Penn State defeated Ohio State in both 2008 and 2011(Yes, I know Ohio State won in 2010, but that has been officially vacated.)

 Below are some areas I will be keeping an eye on during the game ~

- Will Penn State Exploit Ohio State's Linebackers In Passing Situations?  Iowa was able to find its tight ends repeatedly against Ohio State, allowing Iowa to be in very positive yardage scenarios on second or third down against Ohio State.  Penn State tight ends, such as Kyle Carter, Jesse James, Matt Lehman, and Adam Breneman, could all be in play against Ohio State.  Breneman was highly recruited by both Penn State and Ohio State. 

- Can Ohio State Slow Down Penn State's Zach Zwinak?  Zwinak is another Penn State player who was highly recruited by Ohio State.  Zwinak is a tough, physical runner who could allow for Penn State to control the clock, allowing Penn State to be in those positive yardage situations I described above.

- Will Ohio State Emphasize Its Running Game?  Carlos Hyde, like he did versus Northwestern, was dominant against Iowa in the second half.  Will Ohio State look to Hyde to carry the ball in an effort to keep Penn State off the field?

Ohio State can only control its play on the field.  What voters think of the Buckeyes, or do not think of the Buckeyes, is completely beyond their control.  Here is to hoping that Ohio State decides to take control Saturday evening in Ohio Stadium against Penn State.

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