The Buckeyes got a nice wake up call last week with a scare against Navy. The Columbus faithful have had this game circled since getting buried 35-3 in Los Angeles last year. The Buckeye faithful feel that since USC lost most of it’s defense from last year as well as their starting QB to the NFL, that they’ll be just fine at home with their own seasoned QB running a swanky new offense.
Apparently, Las Vegas doesn’t agree with Columbus. The game originally opened up as USC a -3 point favorite on an early line two months ago raising a few eye-brows that such a young team would be favored in Columbus. The combination of the occurrences from last week in each of their games made the opening line on Monday -7 where it has stayed all week.
USC reloads every year and they showed it last week with Freshman QB Matt Barkley leading the charge with 56 points against San Jose State. The greatest stat of the week involves USC and Pete Carroll in their last nine games against the Big 10 that has seen the Trojans win and cover all nine. In all nine instances, USC won by double digits.
On a positive note for Ohio State, their 12th man, the Fans - all 106,000 of them get to rattle a freshman QB. No matter what Barkley says to shrug off the daunting task of calling plays in front of what is arguably the most hostile crowd in College Football, he’ll still be affected. He may have all the tools and make up to make him great down the road, but not in his first road game as a collegian, and not there.
This is only the third time the Buckeyes have been a home dog under Jim Tressel’s watch and overall, Tressel is 55-8 at home. With the spread being relevant this week getting +7, only two times has a Tressel team been beaten by double-digits (11 and 12) at home.
There lots of reasons why USC should be favored, but I’ll base my choice of Ohio State winning the game on my faith in the crowd to do their job and create easy opportunities for Buckeye scores by letting the Freshman have it. He's bound to have a few mistakes and in agame like this, sometimes taht's all it takes is a few turnovers on your side of the field.
This game is under the lights which means most of the older alumni and supporters stay home because night games bring out the freakiest of freaks in Columbus. They‘d rather not get caught up I the drunken craze that goes on before and after a big night game in Columbus, so they give them away to younger friends of the family .
Another positive is that the Columbus Fire Department is already on alert with extra staffing for the anticipated Columbus ritual of burning couches in the streets. Yes, that’s couches, as in what most of us sit in to watch TV.
After big wins in games of this magnitude, the entire city goes nuts and they pull couches off their porches, and sometimes bring out from inside their homes, and set them on fire in the streets.
Needless to say, there haven’t been many big wins the last few years for the Buckeyes that have excited Buckeye Nation to get the ritual started again, but if Firemen are standing by for a burn-fest, that’s a good enough sign for me.
Ohio State 24, USC 16