And Then There Were Four: While the Buckeyes didn't play this past weekend, you have to believe that most of the players watched some of the other top teams in the nation with interest. Of course, both Alabama and Louisville left the realm of the undefeated, meaning that only four BCS teams are still unblemished: Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Once again it is a reminder of how hard it is to go through a year without a loss. I don't care which conference you are in or who you play, it is really difficult to navigate through an entire year without stumbling at some point.
Of course the big news heard round the college football world was the Alabama loss, as they were defeated at home by Texas A&M. Although everyone knew the Aggies can score points behind boy wonder Johnny Manziel, nobody thought they would beat a team that some felt was good enough to play in the NFL. Personally, I am thrilled when an SEC frontrunner takes it on the chin, and it would make me very happy to see a BCS National Championship Game without a team from the $EC, but I'm not holding my breath. There's still a lot of football to be played, and the powers that be love those southern teams.
Some Buckeye fans were upset that Ohio State didn't move up in the AP rankings this week, with both Alabama and Georgia, at 9-1, rated ahead of the Buckeyes who check in at 6th in the poll. Honestly, considering how weak the B1G is this year, and how soft our pre-conference schedule was, I can't complain. But if OSU were eligible for a bowl this year I'm sure I would feel differently, and would be lobbying to see "our" boys get to the National Championship Game!
So what are the odds of Ohio State winding up perfect in 2012 like they did 10 years ago, when they finished a magic season at 14-0? A few weeks ago I would have said this squad had about a 1 in 25 chance, but the odds have gone up following two well-played games versus Penn State and Illinois Still, Wisconsin and Michigan both present tough challenges, and the Bucks may need to play their two best games of the season to finish 12-0.
Urban Meyer shared a number of interesting tidbits at his weekly press conference this afternoon as he prepares the Buckeyes for a big, road game. First off, Meyer said the team seems rejuvenated after a week off, and had a great day of practice. He also indicated that the team sees Wisconsin as one of their main rivals, and that they have great respect for the Badgers. Additionally the head coach acknowledged that Wisky is a team that has greatly improved as the season has progressed and is playing their best football presently. And when asked what the Badgers do especially well he replied:
As for the injury report, Meyer is cautiously optimistic concerning the return of Etienne Sabino. There is no guarantee that he will be ready but they believe he will play. Still you have to wonder just how many snaps he will be able to handle. Center Corey Linsley is still banged up but they hope he will be ready to go as well. And, one of the piranhas, Armani Reeves, will return to action this Saturday. The news is not so good on tailback Bri'onte Dunn who has a MCL sprain and will miss at least one week. That would leave only two healthy tailbacks for the Wisconsin game. Actually Jordan Hall might be able to play in a pinch, but that would mean he wouldn't be able to redshirt this year, so it is doubtful the staff would play him. Let's hope Hyde and Smith can remain healthy, and have big games to boot.
Hoops Highlights: Although the Carrier Classic contest versus Marquette was cancelled due to a slippery deck, the Buckeye roundballers did get their season underway on Sunday at home against Albany, and after a bit of slow start they played pretty well. Actually with about 5 minutes left it the first half the team fell behind. DeShaun Thomas couldn't throw a pea in a silo, starting 1 of 7 from the field, and team defense was lacking as well. Then Thad Matta called a timeout and tore into his team.
Of concern, however, is the poor play at center from both Amir Williams and Evan Ravenal. The 2012-13 Bucks will need more from their big men if they are to have another banner season.
Just In Case: I doubt any of us need more motivation for the season finale, when the good guys host the ugly helmets from up north. But in case you need to get a little more amped for
"The Game" consider that we may be seeing an early preview of the rivalry uniform that the Buckeyes will be wearing. Check out the ad on the official Ohio State site and see what you think. And you have to love that the guy with the ball is wearing #45 Go Bucks!