Friday, September 12, 2008

Ohio State Over USC...I Don't See It (UPDATE).

A few Ohio State thoughts before moving on to the NCAA Vickers picks...

I don't think Terrelle Pryor is ready for this. He isn't a threat in the passing game, and he's looked unsure of himself as a runner. Well, USC's defense flies to the ball and smacks indecisive runners in the mouth. This is a big leap from the bums he skipped past in Jeanette, Pa. - and while that is the most obvious observation one could make, it's still very true. Sure, he's been playing against OSU's defense every day in practice, but still, there is no way to recreate the atmosphere of Saturday night at the Coliseum. Maybe Pryor can rise to the occasion, and maybe Tressel will have him chucking the ball deep instead of handing off, taking off or throwing safe stuff underneath...but I just don't see it.

So if that's the gameplan with Pryor--to play it safe and throw underneath--I just don't see how it will work versus the Trojans; they're too fast, and he's still getting the feel of things. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope this is his first Buckeye moment, but I just don't see it.

Which stinks, because, as stated in this space a billion times, I have no faith in Todd Boeckman. I like to write how Todd Boeckman is terrible, but that's unfair. Mike Teel, Rutgers' QB, is terrible. Brandon Cox, the guy Auburn ran out there the last few seasons, is terrible. Todd Boeckman isn't terrible, but he's not good enough for Ohio State - at least not with the abundance of talent currently surrounding him. It's possible that OSU might win a title with Boeckman doing Boeckman things, but it certainly won't be easy.

Look, it's not just that he's a flawed passer or poor decision maker, it's that he seems to be absent in the charisma/moxie department. Craig Krenzel wasn't just an inaccurate thrower, he made some terrible decisions in key spots (endzone interceptions vs. Miami and Michigan). But he always found a way to come up big in the biggest spots (Purdue, obviously, and 4th & 14 to name two). He had it, whatever it is. With Boeckman, I just don't believe in him. I wish I did, and maybe he'll make a big play on Saturday, but I just don't see it.

So there you have it: I don't have faith in Ohio State's quarterbacks, and they're about to play one of the biggest regular season games in school history.

If the Bucks pull this one out, I believe it will be a classic Tressel game...stout defense, sound in the kicking game, etc. Maybe I'm overrating USC, and hopefully a star emerges for OSU (Hines, Herron, Pryor, whoever), but again, I don't see it. Not without Chris Wells.

Final score: USC 24, OSU 9.

(And by the way, yes, I'll convince myself the Buckeyes will win come 7:59 tomorrow night. And it wouldn't be the upset of the millennium if they did.)

Quick Vickers picks with no explanation because I'm running late:

South Florida (-3) vs. Kansas

BYU (-7) at UCLA

USC (-12) vs. Ohio State

(UPDATE: NC State (+21) at Clemson is also a Vickers pick.)

As for non-Vickers selections, Oregon (-9.5) and Penn State (-28.5) will roll this weekend.

-Brad Spieser (