Ten Pressing Questions: Ohio State at Texas

We are back with the Ten Pressing Questions surrounding No. 1 Ohio State's visit to No. 2 Texas (8 p.m., ABC national telecast). Can Troy Smith keep his torrid play going? That's one of the pressing questions. Plus, we have a ton of notables on this special match-up and a list of stories, video links and recruit updates on the site during this huge week. Click this free link for more!

As we all count down the hours until kickoff for Saturday's showdown between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Texas (8 p.m., ABC), I came up with my usual game day theme, Ten Pressing Questions, to think about what we may look for during the season opener.

As always, I'll come back on Sunday with my thoughts on how each of these questions were answered during my Sunday Morning Quarterback column.

Without any further adieu, here we go:

1. Can Troy Smith continue his string of strong play? -- Smith's last three games have been, arguably, the best of his OSU career. (OK, his performance against Michigan in 2004 would be up there as well.)

Over his last three games – the Michigan win, the Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame and last week's triumph over Northern Illinois – Smith was a combined 64 of 90 passing (71.1 percent) for 939 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He only carried the ball once last week (for minus-1 yard), but he had 103 yards and a touchdown rushing on 22 carries against Michigan and Notre Dame last year.

The strength of the Texas defense is in the front four. The Longhorns may miss starters Drew Kelson (who forced the late fumble by Justin Zwick last year) at outside linebacker and Tarell Brown at corner. If the OSU line can give Smith time and running lanes, he could be on his way to a big game. He will arguably be the best player on the field Saturday night.

2. Will the Buckeyes be able to run the ball against Texas? -- Last year, Ohio State managed just 111 yards rushing against the Longhorns. Again, the key will be for OSU's veteran, strong offensive line to open up some holes. That will be easier said than done against Texas' veteran, athletic defensive line.

Antonio Pittman had some success with 75 yards on 17 carries last year against Texas. Pittman came out of the blocks strong with 111 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries against Northern Illinois. His main backup, freshman Chris Wells, debuted nicely with 50 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, although Wells also had a fumble.

Wells could be the wild card here for Ohio State. Jim Tressel will not want to press him into service too quickly as a true freshman. But with his size (230 pounds), Wells could be the difference maker in the plethora of short yardage situations the Buckeyes figure to face in this game. He came through nicely last week, converting a fourth down against NIU.

3. How will Ted Ginn Jr. perform in one of his biggest games to date? -- Ginn was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to last year's 25-22 loss to Texas. In that game, the Longhorns bottled him up and held him to just two catches. Now, Ginn comes into the big game without his security blanket, Santonio Holmes, to take some of the heat off of him.

Yes, Texas will be without Brown. But Ginn had surmised that Texas' Aaron Ross – a Chris Gamble look-alike at 6-1, 195 pounds, who can really hit – would probably cover him anyway. If Ginn is able to beat Ross early for a few plays – even short passes – that would be a good sign.

Ginn is constantly dogged by questions whether he has become a "complete receiver" or just a sprinter who can outrun outmatched corners. This is his chance to show how complete his game truly is.

4. Will OSU's other receivers step up? -- Last week was a good sign as OSU completed passes to nine different receivers. It was great to see Anthony Gonzalez catch a touchdown and for Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, Ray Small and even Albert Dukes get involved.

As noted, Ginn will need some help. It seems unlikely that Roy Hall will play due to a high ankle sprain. That just puts the onus even more on Gonzalez, Robiskie and Hartline, in particular, to come through and make plays when the Buckeyes go to three- and four-wide receiver sets.

5. Will the Ohio State offensive line get the job done? -- The line did not surrender a sack last week as the Buckeyes piled up 488 yards total offense and moved the ball well enough to probably score 52 points.

But they will be in with the varsity this week. Texas end Brian Robison plays with a high motor. He reminds me of former Iowa end Matt Roth in that regard. Tim Crowder and Brian Orakpo provide the athleticism. Frank Okam holds the point of attack at defensive tackle. Yards between the tackles will be at a premium here.

As we noted above, the line needs to give Smith time and/or clear running lanes so he can operate. Last week's experiment of using Tim Schafer and Steve Rehring at left guard worked well. You may see more substitution and platoons with this game due to the immense heat. Perhaps Jon Skinner will also get a chance this week.

6. Can the OSU defensive front get to Texas quarterback Colt McCoy? -- To me, this is the pivotal question of the game. McCoy is a redshirt freshman who will make his second career collegiate start in this game. He comes with a pedigree as a winner from the high school ranks, where his yardage and touchdown totals are each among the top five in the annals of Texas prep football history.

His debut was borderline spectacular as he threw for 178 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score in UT's 56-7 rout of North Texas.

But this is Texas vs. Ohio State and it's one against two. Redshirt freshmen are not supposed to make the plays necessary to win a game of this magnitude. My guess is that Texas will keep it simple and have McCoy give the ball to UT's two great tailbacks, Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles, and try and execute quick hitter, high percentage passes to the Longhorns' posse of fine receivers.

OSU's task will be to rattle McCoy and harass him on every throw. If OSU can force him into one or two mistakes – like a fumble or a costly pick – it could turn the game. The Buckeyes registered four sacks against Northern Illinois last week. There is some hope with athletic play makers at end like Vernon Gholston (two sacks) and Lawrence Wilson and Jay Richardson (one each). But Gholston and Wilson, at least, are also inexperienced. Whoever goes against Justin Blalock, UT's All-American candidate at right tackle, could be in for a long night.

The smart money says OSU defensive coordinator Jim Heacock will bring everything but the kitchen sink at McCoy. Will Texas pick up the blitz and, if the Horns succeed in picking it up, will the back end of OSU's defense be able to limit big plays? Hmmm.

Keep an eye on this. If the Buckeyes haven't succeeded in getting to McCoy by midway through the second quarter, they may never get there. The UT offensive line is that good.

7. Will OSU's linebackers make an impact in this game? -- OSU unveiled its new linebacker corps for the Northern Illinois game to mixed results. Marcus Freeman was strong with nine stops. Middle ‘backer James Laurinaitis was OK with four stops. Ross Homan (three stops) and John Kerr (half a tackle) split time at the other spot. Larry Grant (an interception) also got into the game at the middle spot.

No one is expecting Hawk-Carpenter-Schlegel production from a unit with so little game action on defense. But it is clear this unit must step it up and help contain the UT running game and make plays on passes thrown underneath (and those are what McCoy showed he could complete against North Texas).

If you notice Texas sustaining drives as the first half wears on, it could be because these guys are getting swallowed whole by UT blockers who have found their way to the second level. And, no, that would not be a good sign.

One more thought: Jermichael Finley is a secret weapon for UT at tight end. We'll see how the LBs do in containing that versatile threat.

8. How will the OSU secondary stand up to UT's receivers? -- Limas Sweed caught the game winning touchdown last year against OSU and Billy Pittman also had a long catch-and-run against the Buckeyes. Both of them are back and are part of a UT receiving corps that may be as good as just about any in the country.

The OSU secondary got decent marks for its play in the opener. There were two short passes that turned into long gains, but otherwise there were no vertical passes to speak of. That was a good sign and you have to think the DBs can be taught to keep short passes from, as they say, "getting out the gate."

Malcolm Jenkins was strong and I thought Brandon Mitchell was as active as he's ever been. Anderson Russell, playing as a backup and also in some nickel sets, was a nice addition. It seemed like Antonio Smith and Donald Washington split time at one corner, and that was fine. Nick Patterson was OK, it seemed, in his first start. Jamario O'Neal showed, at least a couple of times, why folks are high on him but also why Mitchell got the starting nod over him.

All of them will have to come up big at some point in this game. We'll see how they pass the test.

9. How will the OSU kicking game survive? -- It wasn't a good sign that Aaron Pettrey and Ryan Pretorius each missed field goal attempts last week against Northern Illinois. Granted, the blustery conditions and slick field made kicking long field goals a dicey proposition.

But, psychologically, it would have been nice to see one of them put the ball through the uprights with a field goal before going into this kind of a pressure cooker. The best thing that might happen for OSU is the Buckeyes move the ball down to open the game, but stall out at the 10 and one of them has to come on and drill an easy one to get his feet wet.

That may serve the Buckeyes well if the game ultimately comes down to a field goal in the waning moments.

10. How will the Buckeyes deal with the heat? -- I did a radio show in Austin Thursday and one of the co-hosts was adamant that Ohio State could wilt in the oppressive heat. It has been over a month since the mercury consistently reached the 90 degree mark in Columbus, so, although the Buckeyes trained hard all summer in immense heat, this may take some getting used to.

The forecast is for a high around 92 with it dropping into the 80s after the sun sets. The key will be hydration and rotation of players. Tressel said Thursday they see a scenario where 57 players will get in the game by the end of the first quarter. OSU is taking 70 on the trip. That makes this a total team effort – to stay cool, pull yourself out when you're exhausted and make plays when your number is called.

Bonus Question: Is Ohio State truly a national championship caliber team? -- Nothing would show this any more than a win over the defending champions on their field. And, oh, yeah, it's on their field and it's at night, when the Buckeyes haven't won a road game in three tries dating to a 2002 win at Northwestern.

This is the beginning of a brutal four-week stretch for OSU, which hosts Cincinnati and Penn State the next two weeks and visits Iowa for a night game on Sept. 30. If the Buckeyes win, this is a question we will revist several times over the next three weeks.

If OSU loses, the Buckeyes would not necessarily be out of the hunt. The timing of a loss is important (remember Florida State's early loss to N.C. State trumped OSU's late loss to Michigan State in 1998). Of course, that scenario would involve most every other top team – most notably Notre Dame, USC, LSU, Auburn, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Florida – having to also lose a game.

The better thought is how a win – perhaps even a decisive win – will give Ohio State the confidence it needs to approach the rest of the season.

Also Notable

Here are some other notables about this showdown between the nation's top two teams:

* This will be the first regular season match-up of the top two teams in the polls since November 1996, when then-No. 2 Florida State defeated No. 1 Florida 24-21 in Tallahassee. That set the stage for those two teams to meet again in the Sugar Bowl, where Florida avenged the loss and won the national championship.

* This is the earliest ever meeting in a season between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2.

* Through the 2005 season, the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in the Associated Press poll have met 36 times since the inception of the poll in 1936. The No. 1 team has won 21 times with two ties.

Ohio State has been in two such games and has won them both. The first was the 1969 Rose Bowl, where OSU stopped No. 2 USC 27-16 to win the national title. The second was the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, where the Buckeyes defeated No. 1 Miami (Fla.) 31-24 in overtime to win the national title.

Texas has been in four such games and won them all. In 1963, No. 2 Texas stopped No. 1 Oklahoma 28-7. Then, the top-ranked Longhorns downed No. 2 Navy 28-6 in the Cotton Bowl at the end of that season. In 1969, No. 1 Texas defeated Arkansas 15-14. And, No. 2 Texas upended No. 1 USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl to win the national title last January.

* This will mark the 21st regular season meeting between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2. In those games, No. 1 teams have a record of 12-6-2.

* This will be the first time Texas has hosted the No. 1 team since it played SMU in 1950.

* Something will have to give since the Buckeyes have won eight straight games and Texas has won 21 straight. The Longhorns have beaten nine ranked teams during the course of that streak.

* Here are some scary trends:

Texas has won 13 straight home games against ranked opponents. UT is 15-1 at home against top 25 teams under Mack Brown.

The Longhorns boast the third longest home winning streak in Division I-A at 16 games after their win over North Texas. During that streak, Texas has outscored its visitors by an average score of 46-16. Texas has also won 36 of its last 37 home games.

Texas has won 14 straight home night games. The Longhorns are 19-1 at home in night games under Brown. The lone loss was a 1999 defeat at the hands of N.C. State.

The Longhorns have also won 16 of their last 17 games in August/September and 23 of their last 26 outings in the opening month(s).

* OSU is 27-4-1 all-time against teams currently in the Big 12. Texas is 10-5 all-time against current Big Ten members.

* OSU is 6-2 against top-10 teams under Tressel. The losses were to then-No. 5 Michigan in 2003 and then-No. 2 Texas last year in Columbus.

* Ohio State has a record of 16-9-1 all-time in games against top-five teams.

* OSU has a record of 54-9-1 all-time when ranked No. 1.

* This will be OSU's first trip to Texas for a regular season game since a 1976 trip to Dallas to play SMU at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. OSU also played bowl games at the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 1986 season and at the Alamo Bowl after the 2004 season.

* This marks the sixth time since 1968 that the Buckeyes have faced a defending national champion. The Buckeyes have won all of those games, including the 1969 Rose Bowl over USC, the 1974 Rose Bowl over USC, the 1986 Citrus Bowl over BYU, a 1998 regular season game against Michigan and the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Miami (Fla.).

* ESPN's College Game Day show, featuring former OSU quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, will be televised from Mike Myers Stadium on the Texas campus on Saturday morning.

* Six Marine FA-18 Hornets will provide a flyover before the game.

* The OSU Alumni Association will host a game day bash at the Erwin Center, UT's 16,000-seat basketball arena, beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday.

A Banner Week

This was quite a week at Bucknuts.com. We had four Chat sessions for subscribers, several video drops and a ton of content focused on the OSU-Texas game. Here is a sampling of some of the top content items on the site this week:

Babb's 10 Reasons OSU Will Win The National Title

Latest From Ramzy

Defensive Notebook

Offensive Notebook

The Buckeye Grove (column)

Tressel Comments On Thursday

Babb's 10 Reasons OSU Won't Win Title

Smith, Ginn Look Forward To Texas Game

Assistants Bollman, Fickell Preview Texas Game

Game Data: OSU at Texas

Bucknuts Radio Hour: Texas Preview

OSU Luncheon Coverage

Chat Transcripts

Gary Housteau

Steve Helwagen

Ross Lucksinger of Inside Texas

Dave Biddle

Prospect Videos

Dane Sanzenbacher

Antonio Jeremiah

Recruit Updates

Junior Michael Brewster Offered

Junior Terrelle Pryor Offered

Piqua's Brandon Saine vs. Xenia

Hey, as always, enjoy the game and we'll see you on the other side!




Buckeye Sports Top Stories

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","mobileBody":"As we all count down the hours until kickoff for Saturday's showdown between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Texas (8 p.m., ABC), I came up with my usual game day theme, Ten Pressing Questions, to think about what we may look for during the season opener.

As always, I'll come back on Sunday with my thoughts on how each of these questions were answered during my Sunday Morning Quarterback column.

Without any further adieu, here we go:

1. Can Troy Smith continue his string of strong play? -- Smith's last three games have been, arguably, the best of his OSU career. (OK, his performance against Michigan in 2004 would be up there as well.)

Over his last three games – the Michigan win, the Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame and last week's triumph over Northern Illinois – Smith was a combined 64 of 90 passing (71.1 percent) for 939 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He only carried the ball once last week (for minus-1 yard), but he had 103 yards and a touchdown rushing on 22 carries against Michigan and Notre Dame last year.

The strength of the Texas defense is in the front four. The Longhorns may miss starters Drew Kelson (who forced the late fumble by Justin Zwick last year) at outside linebacker and Tarell Brown at corner. If the OSU line can give Smith time and running lanes, he could be on his way to a big game. He will arguably be the best player on the field Saturday night.

2. Will the Buckeyes be able to run the ball against Texas? -- Last year, Ohio State managed just 111 yards rushing against the Longhorns. Again, the key will be for OSU's veteran, strong offensive line to open up some holes. That will be easier said than done against Texas' veteran, athletic defensive line.

Antonio Pittman had some success with 75 yards on 17 carries last year against Texas. Pittman came out of the blocks strong with 111 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries against Northern Illinois. His main backup, freshman Chris Wells, debuted nicely with 50 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, although Wells also had a fumble.

Wells could be the wild card here for Ohio State. Jim Tressel will not want to press him into service too quickly as a true freshman. But with his size (230 pounds), Wells could be the difference maker in the plethora of short yardage situations the Buckeyes figure to face in this game. He came through nicely last week, converting a fourth down against NIU.

3. How will Ted Ginn Jr. perform in one of his biggest games to date? -- Ginn was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to last year's 25-22 loss to Texas. In that game, the Longhorns bottled him up and held him to just two catches. Now, Ginn comes into the big game without his security blanket, Santonio Holmes, to take some of the heat off of him.

Yes, Texas will be without Brown. But Ginn had surmised that Texas' Aaron Ross – a Chris Gamble look-alike at 6-1, 195 pounds, who can really hit – would probably cover him anyway. If Ginn is able to beat Ross early for a few plays – even short passes – that would be a good sign.

Ginn is constantly dogged by questions whether he has become a \"complete receiver\" or just a sprinter who can outrun outmatched corners. This is his chance to show how complete his game truly is.

4. Will OSU's other receivers step up? -- Last week was a good sign as OSU completed passes to nine different receivers. It was great to see Anthony Gonzalez catch a touchdown and for Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, Ray Small and even Albert Dukes get involved.

As noted, Ginn will need some help. It seems unlikely that Roy Hall will play due to a high ankle sprain. That just puts the onus even more on Gonzalez, Robiskie and Hartline, in particular, to come through and make plays when the Buckeyes go to three- and four-wide receiver sets.

5. Will the Ohio State offensive line get the job done? -- The line did not surrender a sack last week as the Buckeyes piled up 488 yards total offense and moved the ball well enough to probably score 52 points.

But they will be in with the varsity this week. Texas end Brian Robison plays with a high motor. He reminds me of former Iowa end Matt Roth in that regard. Tim Crowder and Brian Orakpo provide the athleticism. Frank Okam holds the point of attack at defensive tackle. Yards between the tackles will be at a premium here.

As we noted above, the line needs to give Smith time and/or clear running lanes so he can operate. Last week's experiment of using Tim Schafer and Steve Rehring at left guard worked well. You may see more substitution and platoons with this game due to the immense heat. Perhaps Jon Skinner will also get a chance this week.

6. Can the OSU defensive front get to Texas quarterback Colt McCoy? -- To me, this is the pivotal question of the game. McCoy is a redshirt freshman who will make his second career collegiate start in this game. He comes with a pedigree as a winner from the high school ranks, where his yardage and touchdown totals are each among the top five in the annals of Texas prep football history.

His debut was borderline spectacular as he threw for 178 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score in UT's 56-7 rout of North Texas.

But this is Texas vs. Ohio State and it's one against two. Redshirt freshmen are not supposed to make the plays necessary to win a game of this magnitude. My guess is that Texas will keep it simple and have McCoy give the ball to UT's two great tailbacks, Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles, and try and execute quick hitter, high percentage passes to the Longhorns' posse of fine receivers.

OSU's task will be to rattle McCoy and harass him on every throw. If OSU can force him into one or two mistakes – like a fumble or a costly pick – it could turn the game. The Buckeyes registered four sacks against Northern Illinois last week. There is some hope with athletic play makers at end like Vernon Gholston (two sacks) and Lawrence Wilson and Jay Richardson (one each). But Gholston and Wilson, at least, are also inexperienced. Whoever goes against Justin Blalock, UT's All-American candidate at right tackle, could be in for a long night.

The smart money says OSU defensive coordinator Jim Heacock will bring everything but the kitchen sink at McCoy. Will Texas pick up the blitz and, if the Horns succeed in picking it up, will the back end of OSU's defense be able to limit big plays? Hmmm.

Keep an eye on this. If the Buckeyes haven't succeeded in getting to McCoy by midway through the second quarter, they may never get there. The UT offensive line is that good.

7. Will OSU's linebackers make an impact in this game? -- OSU unveiled its new linebacker corps for the Northern Illinois game to mixed results. Marcus Freeman was strong with nine stops. Middle ‘backer James Laurinaitis was OK with four stops. Ross Homan (three stops) and John Kerr (half a tackle) split time at the other spot. Larry Grant (an interception) also got into the game at the middle spot.

No one is expecting Hawk-Carpenter-Schlegel production from a unit with so little game action on defense. But it is clear this unit must step it up and help contain the UT running game and make plays on passes thrown underneath (and those are what McCoy showed he could complete against North Texas).

If you notice Texas sustaining drives as the first half wears on, it could be because these guys are getting swallowed whole by UT blockers who have found their way to the second level. And, no, that would not be a good sign.

One more thought: Jermichael Finley is a secret weapon for UT at tight end. We'll see how the LBs do in containing that versatile threat.

8. How will the OSU secondary stand up to UT's receivers? -- Limas Sweed caught the game winning touchdown last year against OSU and Billy Pittman also had a long catch-and-run against the Buckeyes. Both of them are back and are part of a UT receiving corps that may be as good as just about any in the country.

The OSU secondary got decent marks for its play in the opener. There were two short passes that turned into long gains, but otherwise there were no vertical passes to speak of. That was a good sign and you have to think the DBs can be taught to keep short passes from, as they say, \"getting out the gate.\"

Malcolm Jenkins was strong and I thought Brandon Mitchell was as active as he's ever been. Anderson Russell, playing as a backup and also in some nickel sets, was a nice addition. It seemed like Antonio Smith and Donald Washington split time at one corner, and that was fine. Nick Patterson was OK, it seemed, in his first start. Jamario O'Neal showed, at least a couple of times, why folks are high on him but also why Mitchell got the starting nod over him.

All of them will have to come up big at some point in this game. We'll see how they pass the test.

9. How will the OSU kicking game survive? -- It wasn't a good sign that Aaron Pettrey and Ryan Pretorius each missed field goal attempts last week against Northern Illinois. Granted, the blustery conditions and slick field made kicking long field goals a dicey proposition.

But, psychologically, it would have been nice to see one of them put the ball through the uprights with a field goal before going into this kind of a pressure cooker. The best thing that might happen for OSU is the Buckeyes move the ball down to open the game, but stall out at the 10 and one of them has to come on and drill an easy one to get his feet wet.

That may serve the Buckeyes well if the game ultimately comes down to a field goal in the waning moments.

10. How will the Buckeyes deal with the heat? -- I did a radio show in Austin Thursday and one of the co-hosts was adamant that Ohio State could wilt in the oppressive heat. It has been over a month since the mercury consistently reached the 90 degree mark in Columbus, so, although the Buckeyes trained hard all summer in immense heat, this may take some getting used to.

The forecast is for a high around 92 with it dropping into the 80s after the sun sets. The key will be hydration and rotation of players. Tressel said Thursday they see a scenario where 57 players will get in the game by the end of the first quarter. OSU is taking 70 on the trip. That makes this a total team effort – to stay cool, pull yourself out when you're exhausted and make plays when your number is called.

Bonus Question: Is Ohio State truly a national championship caliber team? -- Nothing would show this any more than a win over the defending champions on their field. And, oh, yeah, it's on their field and it's at night, when the Buckeyes haven't won a road game in three tries dating to a 2002 win at Northwestern.

This is the beginning of a brutal four-week stretch for OSU, which hosts Cincinnati and Penn State the next two weeks and visits Iowa for a night game on Sept. 30. If the Buckeyes win, this is a question we will revist several times over the next three weeks.

If OSU loses, the Buckeyes would not necessarily be out of the hunt. The timing of a loss is important (remember Florida State's early loss to N.C. State trumped OSU's late loss to Michigan State in 1998). Of course, that scenario would involve most every other top team – most notably Notre Dame, USC, LSU, Auburn, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Florida – having to also lose a game.

The better thought is how a win – perhaps even a decisive win – will give Ohio State the confidence it needs to approach the rest of the season.

Also Notable

Here are some other notables about this showdown between the nation's top two teams:

* This will be the first regular season match-up of the top two teams in the polls since November 1996, when then-No. 2 Florida State defeated No. 1 Florida 24-21 in Tallahassee. That set the stage for those two teams to meet again in the Sugar Bowl, where Florida avenged the loss and won the national championship.

* This is the earliest ever meeting in a season between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2.

* Through the 2005 season, the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in the Associated Press poll have met 36 times since the inception of the poll in 1936. The No. 1 team has won 21 times with two ties.

Ohio State has been in two such games and has won them both. The first was the 1969 Rose Bowl, where OSU stopped No. 2 USC 27-16 to win the national title. The second was the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, where the Buckeyes defeated No. 1 Miami (Fla.) 31-24 in overtime to win the national title.

Texas has been in four such games and won them all. In 1963, No. 2 Texas stopped No. 1 Oklahoma 28-7. Then, the top-ranked Longhorns downed No. 2 Navy 28-6 in the Cotton Bowl at the end of that season. In 1969, No. 1 Texas defeated Arkansas 15-14. And, No. 2 Texas upended No. 1 USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl to win the national title last January.

* This will mark the 21st regular season meeting between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2. In those games, No. 1 teams have a record of 12-6-2.

* This will be the first time Texas has hosted the No. 1 team since it played SMU in 1950.

* Something will have to give since the Buckeyes have won eight straight games and Texas has won 21 straight. The Longhorns have beaten nine ranked teams during the course of that streak.

* Here are some scary trends:

Texas has won 13 straight home games against ranked opponents. UT is 15-1 at home against top 25 teams under Mack Brown.

The Longhorns boast the third longest home winning streak in Division I-A at 16 games after their win over North Texas. During that streak, Texas has outscored its visitors by an average score of 46-16. Texas has also won 36 of its last 37 home games.

Texas has won 14 straight home night games. The Longhorns are 19-1 at home in night games under Brown. The lone loss was a 1999 defeat at the hands of N.C. State.

The Longhorns have also won 16 of their last 17 games in August/September and 23 of their last 26 outings in the opening month(s).

* OSU is 27-4-1 all-time against teams currently in the Big 12. Texas is 10-5 all-time against current Big Ten members.

* OSU is 6-2 against top-10 teams under Tressel. The losses were to then-No. 5 Michigan in 2003 and then-No. 2 Texas last year in Columbus.

* Ohio State has a record of 16-9-1 all-time in games against top-five teams.

* OSU has a record of 54-9-1 all-time when ranked No. 1.

* This will be OSU's first trip to Texas for a regular season game since a 1976 trip to Dallas to play SMU at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. OSU also played bowl games at the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 1986 season and at the Alamo Bowl after the 2004 season.

* This marks the sixth time since 1968 that the Buckeyes have faced a defending national champion. The Buckeyes have won all of those games, including the 1969 Rose Bowl over USC, the 1974 Rose Bowl over USC, the 1986 Citrus Bowl over BYU, a 1998 regular season game against Michigan and the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Miami (Fla.).

* ESPN's College Game Day show, featuring former OSU quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, will be televised from Mike Myers Stadium on the Texas campus on Saturday morning.

* Six Marine FA-18 Hornets will provide a flyover before the game.

* The OSU Alumni Association will host a game day bash at the Erwin Center, UT's 16,000-seat basketball arena, beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday.

A Banner Week

This was quite a week at Bucknuts.com. We had four Chat sessions for subscribers, several video drops and a ton of content focused on the OSU-Texas game. Here is a sampling of some of the top content items on the site this week:

Babb's 10 Reasons OSU Will Win The National Title

Latest From Ramzy

Defensive Notebook

Offensive Notebook

The Buckeye Grove (column)

Tressel Comments On Thursday

Babb's 10 Reasons OSU Won't Win Title

Smith, Ginn Look Forward To Texas Game

Assistants Bollman, Fickell Preview Texas Game

Game Data: OSU at Texas

Bucknuts Radio Hour: Texas Preview

OSU Luncheon Coverage

Chat Transcripts

Gary Housteau

Steve Helwagen

Ross Lucksinger of Inside Texas

Dave Biddle

Prospect Videos

Dane Sanzenbacher

Antonio Jeremiah

Recruit Updates

Junior Michael Brewster Offered

Junior Terrelle Pryor Offered

Piqua's Brandon Saine vs. Xenia

Hey, as always, enjoy the game and we'll see you on the other side!



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