Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
2:30 PM EST Televised on ABC (Commentators: Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Lynn Swann)
The first game of the season is finally here. The talk is finally over and it's time to get some questions answered.
When fans think of Texas Tech, they may not regard the school as a football powerhouse. Do not, however, think this is going to be a pushover. You can see by all the bold-faced names listed above that the team has a lot of experience, and there are some stars in there as well. This team could be in for another 4 or 5-loss season because of their schedule and the tough league that they are in, but if you put them in the ACC or Big East this year, they could be at least the third best team in each conference.
All talk of Texas Tech begins with their quarterback, Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury is a tough competitor who comes into this season as the preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and a Heisman candidate. He threw for over 3500 yards in the regular season last year. He'll have some quality receivers to throw to in Wes Welker, Mickey Peters, Anton Page, and Carlos Francis. Francis can make things happen and led the WRs in yards last year. He and Welker are small but dangerous. Page is a bigger target at 6-5.
The big issue comes at running back. Will Foy Munlin be able to pick up where departed standout Ricky Williams left off? Williams was a weapon both running and catching the ball and he could be missed. Munlin does not have a lot of game experience, but he has ability. The offensive line should be good as four starters return, including standout Rex Richards.
Defensively, the Red Raiders are strong up front. Four starters return, including pass rusher extraordinaire Aaron Hunt. Hunt will become the school's all-time sack leader this year, and he is an All-America candidate. He and the rest of the line will be a handful for this OSU offensive line; the Red Raiders had 35 sacks last season, so the Bucks' will be challenged. Another All-America candidate is at LB as MLB Lawrence Flugence is back. He is a tackling machine and will make plenty of plays. The secondary returns three starters, but that might be the area OSU needs to pick on a bit.
The Red Raiders will come out in their spread offense, which will show four and five receivers on the field. Seeing as how the perceived OSU defensive weakness is at cornerback, this could be a trial by fire. Expect Tech to put up some numbers through the air in this game. The key, of course, is keeping them out of the end zone.
Offensively, OSU will need to execute and keep that Texas Tech offense off the field. They should be able to move the ball offensively if the OL play is solid, and they might be able to get some passing yards as OSU's WRs match up favorably with TT's DBs. As everyone has been saying all summer, OL and QB play is key for OSU.
This game will not be like last year's opener against Akron, where, I admit, I almost fell asleep on the couch. This should be a good one, and it might be decided late. Overall, Texas Tech from top to bottom does not have quite the overall talent that OSU does, but there