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USC/Ohio State Thoughts

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Here are some Ohio State and USC starting points if you want do some research. A number of Ohio State fans think Sweatervest is engaging in cloak-and-dagger counterintelligence with regards to Wells and that he's just fine; the USC fans are surprised that people still, like, live in places like Ohio.

My three keys to the game:

QB Play

Mark Sanchez is already an upgrade over JD Booty. The next question is whether he can play at a Matt Leinart/Carson Palmer level. He throws a nice ball and he has the weapons on the edge. A lot of his effectiveness will be determined by a makeshift Trojan offensive line that Virginia lacked the athletes to challenge.

Todd Boeckman is an interception chucking machine that Tress doesn't trust. So he is relegated to a dink and dunk offense where he boasts a pedestrian 6.6 yards per attempt average (he's 30 of 45 for 297 yards). That's after playing the Youngstown State Penguins and the Ohio Bobcats. Terrelle Pryor is a supreme athlete who could present major problems to the USC defense. In two years. With a healthy Beanie Wells in the backfield. With fast wide receivers on the edge. Sorry couch pyros. Beanie has bunions, Santonio Holmes plays for Pittsburgh, and it's not 2010.

Trojan D vs. Ohio St O

This is the most crucial matchup of the game. Ohio State's major problems will be on offense, not defense. Why? Ohio State has the athletes in their secondary to almost match up with USC and their traditional wolfsbane - the mobile QB - isn't Sanchez. Similarly, the USC OL isn't as solid as their outing against Virginia suggests. If the game gets out of hand to the tune of 45-10, it will be because Todd Boeckman is throwing pick 6s, Pryor is being thrown to the wolves, and the Trojan defense and special teams are setting the Trojan offense up with short fields.

Ohio State's fundamental issue is the lack of a major threat at any of their skill positions. At WR, Robiskie and Hartline are complementary guys and Small is speedy but is constrained by the structure of the offense and Boeckman at QB. Beanie Wells is a baller, but if his toe is a no go, Ohio State is done before they started. Perhaps Sweatervest is engaging in some top notch gamesmanship. Sans Beanie as a running threat, the Buckeye play action game won't garner respect and if they try to spread the Trojans out with their small ball passing offense they're matching up their skill athletes against arguably the best back 7 in college football. With Boeckman making the decisions. That fact, sportsfans, offers Buckeye offensive prospects as bleak as an Ohio industrial town.

USC Skill Position Depth

At RB you have Gable (running purist), Johnson (power guy), McKnight (multipurpose), Bradford (power guy #2). At WR, Damian Williams is developing into a proven quantity, Patrick Turner is a great red zone threat, Vidal Hazelton is not stinking as he did all of last year, and Ronald Johnson has the most raw talent of all of them. That's a lot of fresh bodies and a lot of ways to tinker with lineups, matchups, and probe weaknesses.

I see USC covering the 10.5 points readily. Call it 31-13, Trojans. If you're someone who is into retrospective trends, USC is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games coming off of a bye week