I want you to know that I took off work Tuesday. I didn't do this because I thought I'd be hungover the morning after the OSU-LSU game, although that's a legitimate possibility. Nope. I took off so I could swallow my last 30 MGs of adderall (a wonderful drug that helps me write) upon wake-up and (hopefully) put Ohio State's championship season, and especially their triumph over LSU, into perspective. This is a huge risk, I realize, but it's one that I'm willing to take. Think about it, though, if my beloved Bucks suffer defeat (again) on the biggest stage I won't exactly be in the best of moods. In fact, I'll want to murder the great majority of humans in my path for a solid 48-72 hours. But since I will have already committed myself to writing on this wonderful website--and since I will have a large chunk of available free time for the first time in a month--I'll be left with no other option but to type until my metacarpals are in pain. Anyway...
Enough of that negative shit already...Ohio State will beat LSU Monday night. That's right, I said it. Okay, so that might not be a shocking revelation or anything, but I do believe it to be true, all biases aside.
Whether it be a media member or some assface at UDF, I'm sick of hearing some variation of this: Ohio State is too slow for LSU--look what happened versus Florida last year. I always just want to scream, "Hey dickhead, are Teddy Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez and Vernon Gholston and Marcus Freeman and Malcolm Jenkins and Antonio Pittman slow-moving creatures?" Now, obviously, the answer is NO...nobody in their right mind would ever label those guys--and countless others from last year's team--slow. But for some reason, even high-paid talking heads (so-called experts) continue to bring this crap up. What's rarely brought up is the Eye of the Tiger, which Florida had and Ohio State clearly didn't. What's rarely brought up was that Florida was actually a really good team that peaked at the right time. What's rarely brought up is that Urban Meyer coached the pants off of Jim Tressel. What happened last year had nothing to do with speed. If it were simply a matter of speed then how do you explain Ohio State's 2002 national title against Miami? While you're waiting to come up with a bullshit answer take a peek at the who's-who list that makes up the roster of the 2002 'Canes. Was that team not fast? I rest my case.
As much as I want to strangle the Mark Mays of the world for bringing up the perceived speed advantage for LSU, I secretly love it. All athletes thrive on being told they're not good enough. Shit, even Michael Jordan played the disrespect card. Michael Jordan! One of the twenty best black basketball players of the 1990's! This, plus the fact that residue remains from the Florida debacle means Ohio State will be the more motivated bunch Monday night. And if not, Jim Tressel isn't as great as we think he is.
In five of the last seven years the BCS champ was an underdog coming into the game. I'm going to go ahead and say there's a reason for this. Maybe this statistic doesn't tell us anything, but I choose to believe it does. Eye of the Tiger, baby...
LSU IS OVERRRATED
Before you get your panties in a knot, hear me out: Overrated doesn't mean bad, just as underrated doesn't mean good. For instance, I think Anna Kournikova was an underrated tennis player, and I think Barry Sanders was an overrated runningback, but--clearly--Sanders was much better at his craft than Kourikova was at hers. You get the idea. But anyway, back to LSU being overrated...I believe they are a really good team with talent (and yes, speed) everywhere. But they are beatable. Rhetorical statement, I realize, being that they did lose two games this season, but I just mean I don't fear them. Their passing game is nothing special; Matt Flynn is just a guy. Ditto for the running game. It's not bad--in fact Jacob Hester is a nice player--but he's not someone who keeps you up at night. And that's all I mean...LSU is beatable.
THE LONG LAYOFF
Another thing I'm tired of hearing is how the long layoff will doom OSU, just as it did last year. This is funny, because it didn't seem to affect them when they won BCS games in '98, '02, '03 and '05. I hate stupid people.
CAMERON HEYWARD, ANDERSON RUSSELL AND RAY SMALL
These are my slightly off-the-radar guys I'm predicting to have monstrous games Monday night.
Cameron Heyward: Heyward, despite being a true freshman is probably already one of the ten best DEs in all of college football. I truly believe that. He was a beast from day one and only got better as the season went along. And all you hear about him is how hard he works and how great of a kid he is. Just imagine how much he improved with the extra practice leading up to Monday. Write it down, the nation will be stroking Cameron Heyward come Tuesday morning.
Anderson Russell: Russell is hands down my favorite player on the defense. I hate describing guys with the cliched "playmakers" moniker, but Jesus, that's the best way to describe No. 21. He's the kind of guy you can watch for five plays and say, "Now there's a smart football player." He will be ready for LSU. I promise.
(Note about Russell: I hate nicknames. Well kind of. Look, you will never EVER hear me call Chris Wells "Beanie" or Brian Robiskie "Robo." I just think it's gay. But what is undoubtedly gayer is that I call Anderson Russell "Andy Russell" even though no one else calls him that. I have issues.)
Ray Small: I've been singing this guy's praises for too long with little results. I really can't figure out why this is, other than Small may be a front-runner who excels under the spotlight. If this is true, which I sort of feel like it is, Monday could be a big night for Small if Tressel unleashes him against the unsuspecting Tigers. As I've stated before, Small is really the only guy on the roster who can shake a defender and take one 85 yards to the crib. Ohio State needs Ray Small to make a few HOLY SHIT plays Monday.
Listen, there's no need for me to go on and on about Tressel. I believe him to be--at worst--a top 3 coach. And I believe he will have his troops ready for battle. As for Les Miles, I was crushed when he didn't take the Michigan job. He's not necessarily an awful coach, but I do find him to be wildly overrated. I mean, how else do you explain last year's LSU team losing not once but twice? His offense featured the No. 1 pick of the draft (Jammy Russell), a running game that was better than this year's attack and two wide receivers that went in the first round (Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis.) That's all-world talent, people, and that was just the offense! The defense featured current stars Glen Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, plus top 10 pick Laron Landry and a few other guys I'm probably forgetting. The point is that I've rarely seen that much talent on a football field and yet they managed to lose twice. Let's just say that if Jim Tressel coached that team--in any conference--there's no effing way they lose a game, much less two. You'll see Monday night what I'm talking about.
A few more things about LSU before wrapping this puppy up with a prediction...
I am terrified of Glen Dorsey. He was football's best player before he went down--better than Tim Tebow. The guy warranted a double and sometimes triple team on every play. If Vernon Gholston is great, Glen Dorsey is un-fucking-believable. Here's to hoping he's not 100 percent for the big game...
LSU safety Craig Steltz is overrated; he preys on bad teams and struggles against good ones. The guy gets beat over the top all the time and thankfully, Jim Tressel knows this. Double thankfully, the semi-crappy Todd Boeckman is an above-average deep-thrower.
I haven't seen mock drafts, but if LSU DE Tyson Jackson isn't projected in the top half of round one I'm missing something. With Dorsey or without, Jackson is an animal coming off the edge. Kirk Barton will have his hands full with America's most underrated player.
Before giving my predicted score let me say that I feel strongly about one thing: Boeckman will connect with Robiskie for a bomb early in the game--a bomb that will give the Bucks an early lead that they'll never relinquish. There is no reason for me to feel this way other than I do. This might be illogical, I know, but I'm telling you...this is going to happen. I feel it. I wish I could place a wager on this. But anyway, I see a higher scoring game than most realize. Like...
Ohio State 30, LSU 21
Was this column fun for you?
Oh wait, just one more thing before I let you go...
I received an email about a week ago from a grammatically-challenged dope named Daniel S. I was going to post the entire email in this space until I realized there was no point. But, I will say that he did make an accurate (and hilarious) comparison that scared the living crap out of me.
Daniel S. compared Todd Boeckman to Ken Dorsey...with AIDS.
In all my life that might be the best comparison that anyone anywhere has ever made. Even though I already knew Boeckman was shaky, this email made me realize how much. Damn you, Daniel S. Damn you!
That's all for now, boys and girls. Keep checking back during the big game. I might just get a hair up my ass and do some in-game blogging. Either way, I'll have a post-game reaction for y'all.
Keep the change, you filthy animals.
-Brad Spieser (Brad@TwinKilling.com)