Ah, College Football. It’s here, and it’s starting to heat up. The weekend is full of games, but two particular games stand out. Ohio State travels to Southern California to take on #1 ranked USC. The Trojans, who trounced Virginia 52-7 back on August 30th. After a week off, and a week to prepare, the Trojans are eager to play against the Buckeyes. USC coach, Pete Carroll, commented on the match-up on USCtrojans.com.
“So we’ve had our time, had a bye week here obviously to get ready for this game. We’ve done it in the same fashion we’ve always taken on our bye opportunities, by training the young guys, by developing our package on offense and defense and continuing to install the things we want to get done coming off of camp, and also to experiment a little bit in the game plan for this week.“
On the Ohio State front, they have two concerns coming into this game. One, is the lackluster performance they game against the Ohio Bobcats last Saturday in Columbus. From the looks of the game last week, either Ohio State is very overrated, or the had their eys and heads already on USC and totally overlooked Ohio. For now, at least, we will give Ohio State the benefit of the doubt that they overlooked Ohio. If USC routs them, it is time to officially say that Ohio State is overrated and to stop ranking them, or any Big 10 team, in the top 5 early in the preseason.
The other issue that Ohio State has been dealing with is the health of star running back, Chris Wells. Wells went down two weeks ago against Youngstown State with a foot injury and sat out last week against Ohio. Right now, it looks as if he will indeed play. How much? No one seems to know right now, but it seems just having him in uniform will offer motivation to the Buckeyes. Ohio State receiver, Brian Robiskie, spoke to the media about it this week.
“I’m not completely sure if he is going to play this weekend, but I know if he gets the green light, he’s going to go. He’s a leader on the team, and if he’s in uniform, he will definitely be a motivator for us.”
Without Wells, the Buckeyesmight be relying on star freshman quarterback, Terrell Pryor, to be the play-maker on offense for the Buckeyes. Pryor came to Columbus with a lot of hype, and has been impressive so far this season, but the Buckeyesare going to need more play-makers if Wells isn’t going to play, or play in a limited role.
Well, I have never bought in to the Ohio State hype. I have never seen a program pull some crazy play or series out of their behinds to pull games out against far less talented teams. When they won it all in 02′, that seemed to happen every week. Heck, even last year when they lost to Illinois, they still somehow ended up in the title game. It’s really too bad that this game will be taking place so early in the season. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for fans of college football, but it’s bad because college football uses the BCS format. Ohio State will get rolled on Saturday night, but they will then run through the Big 10 and somehow, at the very least, end up in the Rose bowl.
Prediction: USC 38 Ohio State 17
The Second big game of the weekend is actually Friday night in Tampa. South Florida welcomes the 2007-08′ Orange Bowl champion, Kansas Jayhawks. South Florida is coming off a very hard fought game in the series finally, for now, against UCF 31-24. Now, USF is forced to prepare for a very potent Jayhawk offense witha short week to prepare. Head Coach Jim Leavitt thinks pressure on Kansas QB Todd Reesingis important, but that Reesing is used to it by now. Leavitt spoke to reports this week aboutReesing.
“Well, I don’t know if it’s so much with him or anybody, you always want to try to get some pressure somewhere at certain times, he’s seen a lot of defenses, this is not the first time someone has talked about getting pressure to him. I mean he’s played a lot of people, there’s a lot of good coaches out there. Just cause someone says you’re trying to do that doesn’t mean you can, there’s a lot of things it’s not just about that, there’s a lot of things involved here, not just about forcing pressure.”
Reesing isn’t the only offensive weapon for the Jayhawks, but he is the key. Reesing ability to scramble and make plays has made him one of the best signal callers in the nation. Reesing has weapons all over the field, especially at receiver with Dezmon Briscoe and former starting QB, Kerry Meier. Meier has turned into one of the most reliable receivers in the Big XII. His ability to make the tough catch, combined with his size and grit, has impressed this season.
On Friday, the Jayhawkshope to keep the air assauly going against the Bulls, but they most slow down 2008 All American candidate and the 2007 Big East Defensive Player of the Year, George Selvie. The 6’4″ 245 pound Selvie hunted down QB’s last season with 14.5 sacks for the year. Slowing down Selvie, especially with young and new tackles, will be a key match-up for the Jayhawks. Head Coach Mark Mangino spoke about this week.
“There are a number of things in your entire offensive structure that you can do. There are some things that you can do with the players who are competing against him. He is awfully talented and a really good football player. But we feel pretty good in our matchup. We aren’t going to spend the whole night focusing on George Selvie. When you focus on one aspect of a team’s defense, if they have enough good players, they will hurt you somewhere else. You have to keep it in perspective. You want to do some things to keep Selvie from having a major impact on your offense, however there are so many other quality football players out there that you can’t just focus on one guy.”
There are quality guys all over the field for both team, which is why this is going to be a terrific game. This game should be a hard fought defensive battle for at least a quarter and a half before both QB’s settle in and start making plays. The Kansas offense is better, especially if some sort of running game show up, but Matt Grothe is a winner and has led the Bulls to some great wins in the past few season.
Prediction: Kansas 27 South Florida 24