Good News and Bad News for Buckeye Fans
The Good News: With almost the entire offense, over half of the defense, and most of the key backups returning, the Buckeyes have a legitimate shot (again) to contend for the national title in 2006. Perhaps more importantly, given head coach Jim Tressel's record after a bye week at Ohio State, the Buckeyes don't have one next season.
The Bad News: In what may be a rebuilding season in 2007, Ohio State has a bye week entering Big Ten play.
The Good News: It is right before Northwestern.
The Bad News: Northwestern tailback named Tyrell Sutton projects to be much better as a junior than he already is as a freshman. You may recognize Sutton; he was Mr. Ohio Football in 2005 but wasn't offered a scholarship by the Ohio State. Paging Mr. Ryan Brewer, Mr. Ryan Brewer…
The Good News: Ohio State is in position to land the number one tailback in the nation for 2005 in Wells.
The Bad News: This will still give Ohio State only two bona fide studs at tailback. Meanwhile, former residents of Ohio are tearing up teams across the college football world. Gary Russell ripped up Michigan and the Big Ten when he gets a chance to tote the rock at Minnesota. DeShawn Wynn is scoring touchdowns at Florida. Javon Ringer is showing his wares as a Michigan State Spartan. The aforementioned Sutton is wowing the entire college football world from Evanston.
The Bad News: Antonio Pittman has yet to score a touchdown in 2005, and Wells will be a true freshman in 2006.
The Good News: Speaking of scoring touchdowns, the 2005 Ohio State defense has allowed fewer points per game (12.2) than the 2002 national championship squad (16.2) at the same spot in their respective seasons.
The Bad News: The 2005 Buckeyes lack an offensive identity and as a direct result sit at a lowly 3-2 while the 2002 Buckeyes never lost a football game. They remain the only 14-0 national champion in college football history.
The Good News: Bill Parcells thinks offensive execution is more important than game planning. In a recent press conference he opined, "Here's another thing that is overrated – game plans. Ok? That's the most overrated thing in football. The most underrated thing in football is execution. People don't go into games with bad game plans. Trust me…Everybody says it's the game plan and the play calling and all that – that's not true."
The Bad News: Bill Parcells isn't exactly doing too hot in the National Football League the past few seasons. If he doesn't start winning, he will discover NFL can also stand for, "Not For Long" – as in the length of time you get to keep your job without making the playoffs in Dallas.
The Good News: Ohio State has the talent to pull out of their slump on offense. Troy Smith can hit targets down the field for big gains in big games. He proved it against Michigan in 2004.
The Bad News: Ted Ginn seems to have regressed since last season and his mind appears closer to Mars than Ohio Stadium on many plays. Smith's big game against Michigan is no longer such a big deal considering these days most every quarterback or offensive star is having a career day when they play the Wolverines.
The Good News: Ohio State could still win out and find themselves in a BCS bowl. With Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, and Michigan still remaining on the slate, the Buckeyes have more than enough talent to get the job done. None of those teams have the defense or special teams of the Buckeyes.
The Bad News: Minnesota and Northwestern both scored more points against the Nittany Lions than Ohio State. Glenn Mason's Golden Gophers put the ball in the end zone twice, but Randy Walker's Wildcats hung 29 on Paterno's team. Then there is Michigan – who is sure to be playing for pride on November 19.
The Good News: Even if Michigan is playing for pride that might mean very little considering how poorly they have showed thus far. You know a team is looking poorly when people start saying they are playing for pride. That means they don't have anything else left.
The Bad News: Ohio State will get no style points this year even if they thump the Wolverines. The Buckeyes need teams in front of them to lose as well as winning out themselves if they wish to play in a decent bowl game. They are tied for seventh place in the Big Ten Conference, don't play Wisconsin, and lost to Penn State. In short, unless those two teams lose they are playing for at best a third place finish.
The Good News: For all that critics question Tressel's coaching abilities right now, Buckeye fans can take solace in the fact that he has five national titles on his resume. That's four more than Bob Stoops, three more than Pete Carroll, and three more than Bobby Bowden. In fact, if you put those three coaches together only then would their combined resumes equal that Tressel with regard to titles.
The Bad News: With what is perhaps his most talented team (at least in terms of depth), Tressel has already fallen short, and it's not even homecoming.
The Good News: This weekend is homecoming for Ohio State. The opponent is a very dangerous Michigan State squad which scores points in bunches. 10 points will not get it done this week, but the Buckeyes do much better at home than on the road as of late.
The Bad News: Ohio State fans now have yet another Southern state in which they cannot travel or live without hearing an earful from the natives. Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi (thanks to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis), Florida (Florida State and bitter Miami fans), and South Carolina were already on the list. With the loss to Texas, Buckeye alums can now chalk up another geographic region of misery.
The Good News: Mercifully, I have run out of things to say…