Saturday, January 07, 2006

Why All the Love for Ohio State?

Every time I see some writer place Ohio State in their early Top Five for next season, I laugh. I would appreciate if someone would enlighten me on how Ohio State loses such studs as Santonio Holmes, Donte Whitner, A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Schlegel, Nick Mangold, Rob Sims, Nate Salley, Tyler Everett, Marcus Green, Mike Kudla, Josh Huston and still possibly Ashton Youboty and manages to garner a Top Five ranking for next season? That's eleven starters, not counting Youboty, and a very good kicker in Josh Huston. Yet at the same time, Penn State loses 13 starters and everyone else in the Big Ten is ready for a PSU demise. Ok, Troy Smith returns. Yes he does and the Buckeyes offense will be very good with Smith, Ginn and Pittman. The only question mark there being how will Ginn do as the #1 wideout? Teams couldn't zero in on him with Holmes on the opposite him, now they can. At times, he didn't have any easy time catching passes and making plays. Penn State's defense made him a non-factor during the PSU-OSU game and we saw how efficient the Buckeye offense was. The Buckeyes need the replace at least EIGHT starters on defense, including the entire linebacking corps and possibly the entire secondary if Youboty declares for the draft. Not exactly a simple task. Many, if not all, of the departing defensive starters garnered All-American, Big Ten, etc. honors during their careers. Replacing a solid senior kicker is not easy. While Huston wasn't Mike Nugent, he was still efficient. Kicker is always a wildcard.

My point is that Ohio State is still going to be a good team and win a lot of games and contend for the Big Ten title. However, they are, in terms of talent, definitely behind Michigan and possibly even Penn State. The Buckeyes are worthy of being in anyone's, including my own, early Top 15 or so but they are going to be vastly overrated if they open this high in the real polls. Texas will wax them in Austin if that defense doesn't come together early on, much like could be case for Penn State against Notre Dame after losing so many starters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, I can understand what you are trying to say, but I guess you need to take a deeper look at the Ohio State roster.

In the first time in the Tressel era, the Buckeyes will be known for a high-powered offense as oppose to a stifling defense next year.

While the Buckeyes lose Holmes, they will still have two of the top three receivers back in Ginn and Gonzalez. Three of the five starting lineman will return, though the two that will fill-in for the departing seniors all saw playing time in the rotation during the 2005 season.

One thing that you need to know is that not only is Antonio Pittman returning, but Ohio State will have a true freshman spilting time with him, and that's Chris "Beanie" Wells, a 6-foot-2, 230 pound tailback that was just named the MVP after he scored three touchdowns in the All-American Bowl, an all-star game for blue-chip high school seniors.

After the 2002 season, the Buckeyes lost all three starting linebackers from the national championship team. Stepped in were sophomores A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter. There were a lot of question marks then, too.

There is a lot of talent on the roster, just not proven yet. And a lot of blue-chip recruits, thanks to having some of the best classes year in, year out.

Will next year's defense be as good as this past season? I doubt it, but it will still be good enough to contend for a national title. Plus, Vince Young will be playing on Sunday next year.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006  
Blogger The Nittany Blog said...

Don't get me wrong, I think Ohio State is going to be a very good team in 2006 and they get PSU and Michigan in Columbus, a big advantage for OSU. However, there are going to be ten new starters on defense and no Santonio Holmes. Ginn had some struggles last season, can he handle being the #1 target every down?

Wasn't there something like 14 players drafted into the NFL from the 2003 OSU team? That's a signficant chunk of talent to lose. Then look at 2004, the year after the last mass exodus- an Alamo Bowl appearance. I don't think it will be that drastic of a drop off for OSU, but I don't see them contending the national title. Big Ten? Sure.

I'm really looking forward to the OSU-PSU game next season. With all of the players leaving for the NFL from OSU, it has really leveled the playing field. Weeks ago, I would have penciled it in as a sure loss for PSU. Now I'm not so sure. Derrick Williams had a heck of a game against OSU in 2005. Will such a green defense be able to handle him and the other returning and arriving speedsters?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006  

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