Saturday, September 19, 2009

Buckeyes Lose Yet Another BCS Bowl Game

After leading for nearly the entire game, and holding a seven point lead late, the Buckeyes surrendered yet another big game that was theirs to win.

It was an exciting game for sure, with neither team leading by more than seven, and a number of ties and lead changes throughout, and the crowd even got to witness back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns to start the second half. But in the end, there were about a half-dozen plays the Buckeyes couldn't stop, and that was all the Seminoles needed.

Florida State wins the Sugar Bowl in an Overtime thriller, and the Buckeyes go home, yet again, without a BCS win.

Click for Game Stats

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Win in the Big House

Everything was on the line. A shot at a Big Ten title. A BCS berth. An outside shot at a return to the BCS title game. And most of all, pride was on the line as the Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to Ann Arbor for the biggest game of the year ... the biggest game of every year.

The Buckeyes did what they have been doing all year. They played solid defense, they ran the ball well, and they won the time of possession. That was enough.

However, one critical mistake could have turned this game around. With a 10-3 lead late in the second quarter, the Buckeyes drove deep into Wolverine territory, and were looking to score with under a minute in the half. However, Boom Herron would fumble on his way into the end zone, dropping the ball on the one-foot line. Junior linebacker Jonas Mouton would scoop up the fumble for the Wolverines, and rumble 39 yards before being tackled from behind by Terrelle Pryor. QB Nick Sheridan would hit a couple of big passes to take Wolverines into the end zone for the first time, tying the game at 10. The 14 point swing is the kind of thing that changes the momentum of any game, and with the Wolverines getting the ball back after the break, they had a real chance to take a lead, and perhaps break the Buckeyes' spirit.

But the combination of Buckeye defense and the legs of Brandon Saine (who came in for the injured Boom Herron early in the third quarter) were the difference. Saine ruched for 130 yards and three scores, every bit of it in the second half, and the Buckeye D got a couple of late interceptions, sealing the win and ensuring a successful season for the visiting team.

Buckeyes win. 364 days until we do it all over again.

Where's the D?

While all Buckeye fans were happy to see a big offensive day for the home team, the whopping 38 points given up by the Buckeye defense has folks worried going into the Michigan game next week.

For the first time this year, an opposing quarterback threw for 300 yards against the Silver Bullet defense. Coach Griffin was not happy:

"I guess some guys must feel pretty secure about their jobs, because that was a pretty lousy effort today. If it wasn't for Terrelle (Pryor), we would have ended up on the losing end of this one. The defense owes him big time."

That pretty much says it. Pryor carried the offense, and the D gave up 438 yards and four touchdowns at home. They managed to turn over the Hawkeyes three times, all of them interceptions, so this one could have gone much differently. Pryor's three touchdown passes, and two touchdown runs put the game out of reach, but the Buckeyes needed all 55 points to win this one.

Bye Bye BCS?

The loss this weekend at Penn State might be their biggest loss in years. With recruits watching, and the BCS already talking about the chance of a Buckeye-Gator rematch in the title game, Ohio State laid an egg on the road and dropped a game to Penn State that was never close.

The Nittany Lions appear to be all they are cracked up to be, as they simply lined up and ran right over the Buckeyes from the get-go. Evan Royster's 237 yards on the ground were the difference, as he broke a whopping (and perhaps AI assisted) 17 tackles in the game. It was evident from the very beginning that no one, or two, or even three guys was going to bring him down.

When Coach Griffin was asked about it after the game, he simply said:

"Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do. Penn State played a game we may never see again, and they got the win. I can't really say much more than that."

Aggies fall to the Buckeyes, 48-14

On a cold and wet Columbus Saturday, the New Mexico State Aggies, who are accustomed to playing in dryer climates, just never managed to adjust. While they managed a great first drive, briefly taking a 7-0 lead, the Buckeyes soon recovered, and left the Aggies flailing in the mud.

Most of the key starters for the Bucks spent a significant amount of time on the bench in this one. Pryor only attempted two passes, Boom Herron managed only six attempts on the ground, and TE Jake Stoneburner didn't play at all, his time being given to freshman Nic DiLillo, a freshman they Buckeyes hope to keep interested enough not to transfer, as some think he might.

Devier Posey had the first 100 yard receiving game of his career, and backup quarterback Joe Bauserman had his first ever three touchdown passing performance, going 17-19 for 231 yards in the process, without throwing a pick. Maybe it should rain more often.

Another week, another top-notch Buckeye performance. Next week, the Buckeyes travel to rival Penn State for the toughest road test so far this year.

Buckeye Pitch Shutout, Beat Gophers 58-0

There's really not much to say about this one. The Buckeyes just plain stomped the Gophers on Saturday. While Coach Griffin is usually the kind of guy who will call of the dogs when things get out of hand, but we think the firing of former Gopher head coach Glen Mason might have had something to do with this one. Apparently, coach Griffin didn't like the way his friend and fellow Ohio native Mason was treated, and decided to teach the Minnesota AD a lesson as a result.

But the real story in this one, and in the past few weeks, is the emergence of Terrelle Pryor as an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses. Pryor ran for over 100 yards, and threw for 185 yards, completing 16 of 22 attempts. If he keeps this up, the Buckeyes might just reach their potential, and that potential could be yet another national title game.

Next week, the Buckeyes bring in a non-conference opponent in the form of the Aggies of New Mexico State. If it too gets out of hand quickly, look for coach Griffin to pull many of his starters so they can rest for the final push towards yet another Big Ten title, a push that includes Iowa at home, and road battles against Penn State, and of course, the biggest game of the year.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Buckeyes Overcome Weather, Beat Boilers 42-6

The Buckeyes went into a wet and rainy Ross Ade Stadium Saturday, and came out with their seventh win of the season. On the kind of day when weather can become the great equalizer, the Buckeyes just kept right on rolling, never being in much danger of an upset.

After a rather rocky start, Terrelle Pryor seems to have found some comfort in the Buckeye offense. He threw 32 passes on Saturday, completing 17 for 149 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he didn't turn the ball over at all, and the Buckeye offense put up a lot of points as a result.

But once again, it was the Buckeye defense that led the way. The Silver Bullets are currently ranked second in the Big Ten in total yards, and have given up only 72 points in their first seven games.

Next week, the Buckeyes bring in the Minnesota Golden Gophers. A number of highly rated recruits will be in the stands, including the Kentucky safety duo of 4-star recruits Mike Jordan and James Curry, who many expect will sign during the visit.

Superman Arrives

That's right, folks - Kasey Gilbert is officially a Buckeye!

The 6'2", 248 pound middle linebacker (#1 MLB, #7 OVR) from Strongsville signed his letter of intent today, and the Buckeyes instantly became a better team. This kid is an absolute monster - speed (B-), tackling (B+), block shedding (B), hit power (B), stamina (B) ... and he isn't even a freshman yet. Here's what Coach Griffin had to say:

"Well, Kasey's been the top guy on our board for quite some time now, and we couldn't be happier to have him. With Austin (Spitler) graduating, we need help in the middle, so Kasey might just play right away. Freshmen don't do that very much here at OSU, but Kasey's got something special. Anyone who's seen him play can tell you that."

The signing couldn't come at a better time for the Buckeyes. With the recent change to a 3-4 defensive scheme, and only sophomore Etienne Sabino slotted in the MLB spot for next year, Gilbert might just walk into a starting job, though most expect fellow frosh Justion McConnell from DC to challenge for the job. Also, fellow potential Buckeye and Brook Park native Shawn McCarty (#13 MLB, #220 OVR) might just have enough to make it a three man race, but he'll have to sign before he can take a shot at Superman.

Expect to hear the Buckeye faithful chanting KG's name for the next four years or so.

Buckeyes Win Again, 31-14

Coach Griffin was all smiles after the game:

"Well, we did what we had to do. And let me to you - if we would have played this one like we played our last couple, the Badgers woulda whooped us good. They got a helluva team, and I bet they give the rest of the Big Ten fits. We needed our best game of the season, and that's what we got."

What probably has coach so happy is the fact that not only did OSU play their usual tough defense, but they also managed to pass the ball a little against the Badgers. Terrelle Pryor was a very efficient 13-15 for 154 yards and a touchdown. He threw a pick also, but that came as a result of a hit taken in the act of throwing rather than the bad decisions Pryor has been prone to make lately.

The Buckeye offensive efficiency was likely due to Coach Griffin's play-calling, as he spread the ball around throughout the game. Three different runners got ten carries or more. Six different receivers caught passes. And Terrelle Pryor ran and passed almost equally (13 run/15 pass), keeping the defense guessing the entire game.

The Game Ball went to right guard Jim Cordle, who racked up a whopping 6 pancake blocks in this one, while allowing no sacks. When asked why his two touchdowns weren't enough to earn the ball, HB Boom Herron said "You kiddin' me? Jimmy was blowin' guys up all over the place. Without him, I don't score any touchdowns."

And with that, he adjourned to the film room with the rest of the team.

BUckeyes win in Bloomington, 31-7

The Buckeyes traveled to Bloomington, Indiana and handed the Hoosiers their fourth loss of the season. Once again, the Buckeye passing game was lackluster at best, as Pryor seemed to hit Hoosier defenders more often than Buckeye receivers. The receiving corps didn't help much, though, dropping a number of balls that should have been caught. Even the sure-handed Dane Sanzenbacher dropped two, one on a wide open third down pass over the middle.

And once again, the Buckeye defense and the running game got it done. The play of the game came when Buckeye defensive tackle Dexter Larimore sacked Hoosier QB Ben Chappell, who coughed up the ball right in front of linebacker Tyler Moeller, who scooped it up and ran 78 yards for the score.

The Buckeyes ran the ball late, and secured the win. Next week, the Badgers of Wisconsin come to town.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

McConnell Chooses Ohio State

The Buckeyes snagged a big one this week, and we mean BIG.

#57 - Joey McConnell, from DC, is listed as the #3 middle linebacker in this year's recruiting class. The Buckeyes are short on inside linebackers, with Austin Spitler graduating at the end of the year. McConnell hopes to start sooner rather than later, and the gap leaves him the opportunity. McConnell is a run-stopping monster - at only 5'9" tall, but a whopping 252 pounds, he's built more like a nose tackle than a linebacker, but when coach Griffin saw him run (B- SPD) he knew he had to get the DC native to come to Columbus. Though the Buckeyes are also very close to signing local celebrity and five star recruit Kasey Gilbert at the same position, McConnell saw it as an opportunity for he and Gilbert, in the Buckeyes new 3-4 system, "to be the best linebacking corps in the country, no doubt."

McConnell was being intensely pursued by the Auburn Tigers, but a week four visit and a big win against rival Illinois helped him to make his decision. He signed his letter of intent right after the game.

OSU wins Big Ten Opener 35-21

Heyward recorded two sacks and four tackles for loss on the day

Terrelle Pryor had another bad day throwing the ball, but the Buckeye Running game was enough to win this one. Herron ran for 113 yards on 18 carries, scoring twice. Pryor added a sneak from the one, and Brandon Saine topped the hundred yard mark on only 10 carries, going for 107 and a score. Coach Griffin seems to have abandoned the passing game in the past couple weeks. Hopefully, recent changes will lead to more opportunities for Pryor to air it out. We'll have to see what coach Griffin has in store.

The Illini offense made a number of plays, but in the end, the Buckeye defense was too much. Williams couldn't get out of the pocket to run, and when he passed, he couldn't get the ball to Regis Benn, his number one guy, due to almost constant double coverage. Add an interception by linebacker Austin Spitler, and a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery by corner Andre Amos, and the Bucks had all the cushion they needed to ride this one out. A late score one a Juice Williams pass made it look closer than it really was. The Buckeyes handled the Illini with relative ease.

OSU 45 - Toledo 7

Saine and the Running game were too much for the MAC school

Terrelle Pryor was awful today. Just awful. He threw picks - 2 of them - he missed open receivers, and he just didn't play a smart game. Sure, he managed to talent his way into a short touchdown run, but it was the OSU running game and the Silver Bullet defense that got it done today. There was even a moment when Jeff Bauserman was asked to warm up.

Running backs Boom Herron and Brandon Saine complemented the defense with disciplined running (no turnovers) and effectively controlled the game. Saine had the biggest day (17-146-1) but Herron ran for 63 yards on 10 carries, scoring twice.

Also, Freshman cornerback Travis Howard showed signs of future greatness in this one. The pass-oriented Toledo offense called for a number of different coverage looks, so Howard saw a great deal of time on the field. He made the best of it. Seven tackles (one for loss) his first interception, and a touchdown to boot. Great game from the youngster.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Slugfest in the 'Shoe

Everyone knew this would be a tough on to win. no one had any illusions about that. But just how resilient the Trojans could be - well, no one quite understood until now. USC gave the Buckeyes all they could handle, and almost more than they could handle, but the Buckeyes proved too tough at home, and pulled out the narrow 17-14 victory.

USC came out tough early, forcing consecutive fumbles in the first two Buckeye possessions, and recovering both. The Buckeye defense held firm, but when preseason Thorpe nominee Kurt Coleman missed a tackle, USC's Joe McKnight made the Buckeyes pay dearly. Coleman had little to say about it after the game. He simply said "It won't happen again," and walked away. The Trojans missed the extra point, but led 6-0.

After watching their offense fumble on consecutive possessions, and their defense give up a big play reminiscent of last year's thrashing in the Coliseum, Buckeye fans might have felt as if they were in for another big Trojan victory, but the team had something else in mind. The Buckeye offense drove the length of the field and capped the drive with a TD on a pitch play to Sophomore Boom Herron. Senior Aaron Pettrey added the point after, and the Buckeyes led 7-6.

The third quarter passes as the defenses tried to control field position, but the Buckeyes were able to add a field goal as the quarter closed, making the score 10-6.

The fourth quarter of this game was something no football fan should ever miss. The defenses slugged it out, gaining and losing yards as if locked in a game of tug-of-war. Southern Cal would make a play, and the Buckeyes would counter with one of their own. But the play of the game happened just after the Buckeyes managed to drive to the five yard line of USC. Boom Herron manged to break a big run late, but he couldn't outrun Senior All-American Free Safety Taylor Mays. It was OSU's ball on the USC five yard line.

The Buckeyes were stuffed on the next two plays, gaining only two yards total. And then it happened. In a clutch situation, star players make big plays. Coach Griffin called the play-action pass on third and goal, the defense sold out on the blitz, and Terrelle Pryor showed us all just how great he might become as he hit the wide open man - (RS)FR TE Jake Stoneburner - in the end zone to put the Buckeyes up 17-6.

With only 2:15 remaining, everyone thought the game was over. But USC wouldn't go away so easily. Quarterback Aaron Corp led the Trojans on a quick drive down the field, but was knocked out of the game by Junior defensive end Cameron Heyward, who racked up three sacks in the game. Backup QB Mitch Mustain hit Junior wideout David Ausberry for a seven yard score with 49 seconds left, and after adding the two-point conversion, the Trojans had a chance. Ohio State 17, USC 14.

On the ensuing onside kick, junior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, who all say has the best hands on the team, recovered the high bouce and fell on it to secure possession and the win.

Or so we thought ...

It was just a simple pitch play. The Buckeyes have run it thousands of times. But this time, sophomore defensive end Malik Jackson did something none of us have ever seen before. He stole the pitch. It happened so fast, the camera guys even missed it. Were it not for the heads-up play of running back Brandon Saine, Jackson might have scored the game-winner.

But the Buckeye defense held firm yet again, and the Trojans were not able to advance into field goal position in time. The game ended with the Buckeyes winning 17-14, but it was a nerve-wracking game right to the end. It was a great one, but the Buckeyes might not schedule the Trojans again for a few years.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Buckeyes Win Opener 31-3

Posey was behind the defense all day

Ohio State did what Ohio State fans expected them to - they won the home opener with solid defense and timely, if sometimes frustrating offense. Ohio State stuffed up the option run game of the Army Black Knights, and got the win.

While the offense managed 351 total yards, the Army defense made a number of big plays on the Buckeyes, sacking Terrelle Pryor twice, and catching the Buckeyes in the backfield on a number of occasions. Though Ohio State rushed for 140 yards in the game, they needed 40 carries to get that number, averaging less than four yards a carry. Not quite a disappointment, but nothing to brag about. However, the Buckeye defense gave up only 59 yards on the ground, and only 41 in the air, so the home team found itself in good field position more often than not.

Perhaps the best play of the game came off the arm of Terrelle Pryor, who hit Sophomore Devier Posey in the corner of the end zone on a fade route in the second quarter. If Pryor can pass with this kind of touch on a consistent basis, he could have a special year.

As a whole, it was a decent showing. The defense was spectacular, and the offense was adequate. But when the big boys in the Big Ten start coming to town, a similar performance probably won't be enough to get the job done. But for now, both the coach and fans seem satisfied with the effort. Next week, we'll see what USC thinks about it.

Buckeyes Sign Two!

The Buckeyes reached into the top 250 recruit list and snatched two guys, a quarterback and a corner. Eddie Woods, from Akron, is listed as the #29 defensive back in this year's recruiting class. He's a big kid at 203 lbs against a 5'11" frame, but his speed doesn't seem to be affected by this (B+ SPD), as he still runs in the 4.4 range, and tends to excel in man coverage schemes (B MCV).

Quarterback Patrick King, from St. Clair Shores in Michigan, is a bit of a project. He's got good skills all around, but doesn't seem to have the wow-factor that really impresses the scouts. His arm strength and accuracy are above average, and so is his ability to avoid the rush, but he likely won't challenge for a starting job for a few years.

Coach Griffin admitted, though a bit grudgingly, that it is likely both will redshirt in their first year on campus. "But you never know," he said, "These guys just might be able to push a few starters, if they really apply themselves. We'll just wait and see."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Striking the Pose?

Might we see this from Terrelle?

No Buckeye fan could ever forget the day that Desmond Howard struck the Heisman pose in the end zone during the Ohio State - Michigan game in 1991. This year, the Buckeyes just might be planning a little revenge. Second-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor might just be a serious Heisman candidate this year, and if he is, and he scores in the big game, he might just exorcise the Desmond-Demon by putting his stamp on the award in Ann Arbor, hopefully in the same end zone, and in the same spot where Howard made history 18 years ago. When asked about it, Pryor just grinned:

We have a long way to go before we have to worry about any of that stuff, but it would be nice to shut those guys up by winning our sixth straight against them. Right now, I'm just concentrating on putting us in a position to win.

Don't bet on it, folks. Tressel might have coached up Terrelle's interview skills, but we see through it. Expect the pose if the Buckeyes win.

Or will this be enough for Buckeye fans?

Preseason Video

Just a little something to get me thinking about football, and that school up north.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Nicklaus Dots the "I"

I was at this game. Jack's pretty much the man around these parts, so this was a pretty cool day. Jack's reaction pretty much says it all.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Buckeye Season Preview

2009 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Preview

- 2008 Record: (10-3, 7-1)
- 2008 Bowl: Fiesta Bowl vs. Texas (L 21-24)
- Coach: Jim Tressel (83-19 at Ohio State, 218-76-2 overall)
- Offensive Coordinator: Jim Bollman
- Defensive Coordinator: Jim Heacock and Luke Fickell

Returning Leaders:

* Rushing: Terrelle Pryor, QB, 631 yards
* Passing: Terrelle Pryor, QB, 1,311 yards
* Receiving: Dane Sanzenbacher, WR, 272 yards
* Tackles: Kurt Coleman, S, 78
* Sacks: Thaddeus Gibson, DE, 5.0
* Interceptions: Kurt Coleman, S, 4

Other Key Returnees: TE Jake Ballard, C Michael Brewster, OT Bryant Browning, CB Chimdi Chekwa, G Jim Cordle, DE Cameron Heyward, LB Ross Homan, S Anderson Russell, DT Doug Worthington

Key Losses: DT Nader Abdallah, OT Alex Boone, LB Marcus Freeman, WR Brian Hartline, CB Malcolm Jenkins, LB James Laurinaitis, TE Rory Nicol, K Ryan Pretorius, G Steve Rehring, WR Brian Robiskie, P A.J. Trapasso, CB Donald Washington, RB Chris Wells

Seven Ohio State players were drafted in the first five rounds of the NFL Draft. Sure the Buckeyes will reload, but replacing players like James Laurinaitis, Chris Wells, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline and Marcus Freeman will not be easy. Nor will it happen overnight. But this is OSU after all and they will be a player in the race for a Big Ten championship.

Ohio State's Strengths:

Even though the defense lost Laurinaitis, Freeman and Jenkins, this will still be one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. The front line returns Thaddeus Gibson, Cameron Heyward and Doug Worthington. Gibson is the most dynamic pass rusher of the group and could emerge as a big time playmaker now that he is an upperclassman. The secondary will miss Jenkins, but ChimdiChekwa is a quality corner and safeties Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell will both be three year starters. As long as the Buckeyes can find a replacement for Jenkins, the pass defense will be among the best in the conference and possibly the nation. It is in the middle of the defense where there are the most questions. Ross Homan is the lone returning starter to the linebacker corps and the junior needs to become a leader right now.

Ohio State's Weaknesses:

As long as Terrelle Pryor is around, Ohio State will have a dynamic offense. Pryor threw for 1,311 yards as a freshman and ran for another 631. Pryor will do damage with his legs no matter what, but how far has he come as a passer? Without Wells around to hand the ball off to, Pryor is going to have to pass more often. The good news is that Pryor only threw four interceptions last year compared to 12 touchdowns. Even if the passing attack struggles, Pryor has proven that he can usually avoid making the big mistake. And the passing game may very well be ineffective this year without Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline. Those two accounted for 12 of the team’s 17 touchdown receptions. The only other player to catch more than one touchdown pass on the season was the now departed tight end Rory Nicol.

The Bottom Line for the Buckeyes:

Barring an injury to Pryor, the Ohio State offense should be fine. Even without their top two receivers, the Buckeyes should pass for more than 150 yards per game. Coach Jim Tressel limited Pryor’s passing game last year, but that will end now. Pryor will be heaving the ball down field and if that works out well, Ohio State will earn another Big Ten crown.

2008 Ohio State Buckeyes Team Stats:

* Rushing Offense: 192.46 (24th in nation, 3rd in conference)
* Passing Offense: 150.23 (105, 10)
* Total Offense: 342.69 (76, 9)
* Scoring Offense: 27.62 (45, 4)
* Rushing Defense: 110.23 (18, 3)
* Pass Defense: 183.54 (25, 2)
* Total Defense: 293.77 (14, 3)
* Scoring Defense: 13.92 (6, 2)
* Turnover Margin: 1.23 (6, 1)
* Sacks: 2.08 (50, 7)
* Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (83, 8)

Monday, June 22, 2009 Ranks OSU #6 in Early Poll

The preseason poll is out, and the Buckeyes have landed at the sixth spot on the charts. The gators of Florida take the top spot in everyone's poll, followed in most by the Sooners and Longhorns of Oklahoma and Texas, though Rivals splits this pair by placing USC between them at #3. LSU sits in the #5 spot, and then our beloved Buckeyes come next.

With the top six teams in the nation all playing each other at some point during the season, the fate of the Buckeyes is squarely in their own hands. Win, and they get a shot. That's about all the boys could ask for.

(This poll is taken word-for-word from the rivals site, which I link to throughout. Well, the links just pasted with the rest of the text. I didn't really do anything special. It's an early poll, so I don't think they'll mind, and if they do, then they have some serious issues.)

The season begins on September 5th, when Army comes to the 'Shoe 2009 Preseason Top 25

1. Florida
The Buzz: The potential exists for all 11 defensive starters – and each of their backups – to be back in 2009. And with QB Tim Tebow returning, the Gators will be prohibitive favorites to repeat.

2. Texas
The Buzz: QB Colt McCoy's decision to return means the offense again will put up a ton of points – and the running game should be better in 2009. The secondary could be a strength, but the front seven needs some tweaking.

3. USC
The Buzz: The defense will undergo an overhaul, from the coordinator down to the players. But the offense could be truly explosive.

4. Oklahoma
The Buzz: If quarterback Sam Bradford, TE Jermaine Gresham and DT Gerald McCoy go pro, this ranking will drop. If all three return, OU will battle for the Big 12 – and maybe national – title.

5. LSU
The Buzz: QB Jordan Jefferson's performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl provides hope that the offense will be more consistent. The linebacking corps needs to be rebuilt.

6. Ohio State
The Buzz: You have to figure the coaches will unleash quarterback Terrelle Pryor, which will jazz up the offense. The defense will be fine even without CB Malcolm Jenkins and LB James Laurinaitis.

The Buckeyes will seek revenge in week 2

7. Virginia Tech
The Buzz: The Hokies look as if they will be the class of the ACC. The defense always will be good, and if QB Tyrod Taylor becomes a better passer, the offense actually could be dangerous.

8. Alabama
The Buzz: The offensive line could have some questions and there will be a new quarterback, but depth should be better and there are some talented skill-position players on hand.

9. Boise State
The Buzz: QB Kellen Moore can become a star. If the Broncos can get their front four on defense settled, an undefeated season is within their grasp.

10. Oklahoma State
The Buzz: The Cowboys should have a deadly offensive trio in QB Zac Robinson, TB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant. The defense, though, has some work to do.

11. Georgia Tech
The Buzz: The Yellow Jackets were surprisingly good in coach Paul Johnson's first season, and Year Two in the triple-option offense could lead to big numbers. The defense should be fine.

12. California
The Buzz: Jahvid Best may go into the 2009 season as the nation's best running back. Coach Jeff Tedford needs to settle on a quarterback and the linebacking corps must be rebuilt.

13. Penn State
The Buzz: QB Daryll Clark and TB Evan Royster return, though there are questions about the offensive line, the receiving corps and the secondary. The front seven on defense could be outstanding.

14. Ole Miss
The Buzz: Coach Houston Nutt changed the culture around the program, and if Tim Tebow goes pro, Jevan Snead will be the best quarterback in the SEC. There is a lot of skill-position talent around him, too.

15. Oregon
The Buzz: The Ducks will need to settle on a quarterback and do some tweaking in the secondary. But the rushing attack again should be the team strength.

16. Florida State
The Buzz: The defense has a lot of potential, if the coaches can find some safeties. The offensive line actually could be a strength. But the passing attack must improve.

17. Utah
The Buzz: The passing game will be a huge question. But the defense returns a lot of key players in the front seven, and the Utes will be able to run the ball.

18. Georgia
The Buzz: Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno are gone. But it's not as if the Bulldogs' roster is bereft of talent. The offensive line should be much better, as should the defense.

19. Kansas
The Buzz: On paper, at least, the Jayhawks look to be the class of the Big 12 North. The return of QB Todd Reesing means the offense should be one of the most productive in the nation. But the defense must replace three starting linebackers.

20. Texas Tech
The Buzz: No Graham Harrell. No Michael Crabtree. A rebuilt offensive line. A tougher schedule. And the same old defense.

The Buzz: Yes, star running back Shonn Greene is gone, but the defense again should be tough. The offensive line should be stout and there still are some good backs on campus.

The Buckeye get the #21-ranked Hawkeyes at home on November 14

22. BYU
The Buzz: Replacing four starters on the offensive line is the top priority for the Cougars, whose defense should be much better.

23. Notre Dame
The Buzz: Hey, calm down there, all you Irish haters. Notre Dame has talent, the schedule is navigable and a staff shakeup should help on the field.

24. USF
The Buzz: One of these seasons, USF will start fast and finish strong. Next season will be the final go-round for quarterback Matt Grothe, who must cut down on his mistakes.

25. Oregon State
The Buzz: The Rodgers brothers mean the offense should be fine, and coordinator Mark Banker always seems to find answers on his defense.

Others that received consideration (in alphabetical order):
Air Force, Colorado, Houston, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern and Texas Christian.