It’s All About the Quarterbacks. I Hope.
In 2005 the Texas Longhorns beat the Ohio State Buckeyes on the strength of an athletic, experienced quarterback.
In 2005 the Ohio State Buckeyes lost to the Texas Longhorns largely because they gave playing time to an inexperienced quarterback who wasn't up to the task of playing in such a monumentally huge game.
Now Troy Smith might not be Vince Young, and Colt McCoy might not be Justin Zwick, but I think it's clear that there's still some significant parallels between last year and this year. At least I’m hoping so.
Much has been made of the Buckeyes graduating nine defensive starters from last season, but quite frankly if I were a Texas fan I’d be more worried about sending out a green quarterback in the biggest game of the year, with only the experience of playing North Texas under his belt.
Colt McCoy’s counterpart, Troy Smith, has made a nice college career out of huge performances in the biggest games. Just ask a Michigan fan. If history is any indication, Smith should come through against Texas.
As mentioned earlier, the Buckeyes defense will have nine new starters this season, but they still feature six seniors, and plenty of players with significant game experience. Schools like Ohio State might experience drops in talent, but the talent level rarely falls completely off the table. The defense will almost certainly be solid by the end of the season, but Buckeyes fans have to hope that it’ll just be good enough in Week 2.
Focusing on the positive, there’s no denying the offensive talent of the Buckeyes. The most intriguing matchup of the Ohio State / Texas game will probably be seeing the elite offense of Ohio State matching up with the elite defense of Texas. The Buckeyes have a ridiculous amount of speed on the offensive side of the ball, and while I haven’t seen many previews calling it this way, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this game end up a high scoring affair.
My prediction? Buckeyes 27 - Texas 24
JD Arney was born and bred in southern Ohio, attended Ohio State, and has rooted for the Buckeyes his entire life. He has a small shrine to Mike Nugent in his home, and thinks Charlie Bauman had it coming. You can read his thoughts on the Buckeyes at www.aroundtheoval.com.