Write Off First Five 2011 Games? Not So Fast

Because of suspensions to top players and head coach Jim Tressel, some Ohio State football fans are already writing off the early part of the 2011 season. That is more than a little shortsighted and here is an explanation why.

Some days, my job feels like equal parts journalist and psychotherapist because on more than one occasion I have had to talk Ohio State fans in off the ledge. Recently, though, the sheer lunacy of the conspiracy theories regarding Tattoogate and the Jim Tressel saga nearly drove me to the psychiatrist's couch.

Countless times since early March when Tressel was hit with a two-game suspension and substantial fine, I have had to assure family, friends and fans that Tressel was not going to resign nor was he going to be fired. I think some even secretly believed the NCAA was plotting to bulldoze Ohio Stadium.

Now, with that firestorm seemingly dying away with each passing day, the Nervous Nellies and Chicken Littles have moved on to their latest doomsday scenario – the 2011 season could produce the worst record since Tressel's first team in 2001 finished 7-5 while the Buckeyes' streak of consecutive Big Ten championships will most assuredly end at six.

My reply: Not so fast.

There is no doubt the Ohio State football team is in a state of flux. When the team kicks off Sept. 3 in the Horseshoe against Akron, it will do so without 16 of the players who started the Sugar Bowl. Four of those – quarterback Terrelle Pryor, tailback Dan "Boom" Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and left tackle Mike Adams – are integral parts of an offense that averaged 38.8 points and 448.6 yards last season.

But as good as those numbers look, the cold, hard truth at OSU has always been that while offense stirs the masses, defense wins the championships.

Read the rest by clicking on this link: Rea's Day Blog: April 15.

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