Right now, Buckeye fans are having a hard time coping with the loss to UCLA. But if one compares the situation at OSU with this week's opponent -- the Indiana Hoosiers -- it should at least make us happy that we don't have the problems that Indiana has. As a matter of fact, it's safe to say that the majority of living Buckeye fans never saw the Buckeyes have to go through a situation like the one that Indiana faces.
That situation is the very realistic possibility of a winless season. After the Hoosiers lost at home to a not-that-good Utah team this week 28-26, fans took a look at the schedule and began to brace themselves for the worst. After all, if Indiana can't beat Utah, who can they beat in the Big Ten?
Head Coach Cam Cameron is feeling about as much heat as a head coach can feel. He's no longer on the hot seat -- his seat got so hot that it burned up. The question in Hoosierland isn't if he'll get fired, but when. Cameron was brought in from the NFL a few years back to get the Hoosier program on track to prominence, but during his tenure, they have taken a yearly seat at the bottom of the Big Ten. The outlook for this year's team is so bleak that some folks wonder if he'll make it through the season.
Indiana is not completely devoid of talent. Everyone in America is familiar with the exciting Antwan Randle-El. Randle-El was moved to wide receiver to start the season, but that experiment lasted one game as he was moved back to the starting QB position for the Utah game. He will be the player that the OSU defense will be focusing on as he is a threat to break one every time he runs the ball. Also joining him in the backfield is experienced RB Levron Williams. Williams is getting close to achieving a unique milestone; barring injury, he should become the first player in NCAA D-I history to rush for over 2,000 yards and have over 1,000 receiving yards. He's a solid player, as is fullback Jeremi Johnson.
At WR, the leading receiver is Glenn Johnson, but Levron Williams will also see some passes, as may TE Kris Dielman. The other starting WR is Travis Haney. The offensive line of T A.C. Myler, T Bobby Brandt, G Enoch DeMarr, G Anthony Oakley, and C Craig Osika is a solid group and is experienced.
The Indiana defense is where the question marks are, and it's a good time for the OSU offensive woes to start to get fixed. The fact that they gave up well over 400 yards of total offense to Utah says it all. They have six starters playing from last year. LB Justin Smith is the leader on defense.
For OSU, containing Randle-El as well as just having improved play on offense and special teams with less mistakes. If those things happen, things should take care of themselves. If Randle-El and the offense are held in check, OSU's chances to win are very good since the IU defense has yet to prove they can stop anyone. The overall talent level is much greater on OSU than it is IU, and OSU -- despite an opening line where they are favored by only nine points -- would have to play pretty poorly to lose this game.
This is a game that OSU should win, and win in a decisive manner. I look for Ohio State to put on a good performance and win by a solid margin. However, if they struggle with this game, well... if you thought the fans were angry now...
Don't worry about it though. This will be a Buckeye W. Pick: OSU 27, Indiana 10.