Ohio State in Trouble, BYU a Possible BCS Buster


Ohio State in Trouble, BYU a Possible BCS Buster With Week 1 of the college football season now in the books, what have we learned? Almost nothing.

Yes, BYU stood tall in its upset of Oklahoma, and Miami and Florida State's Monday night shootout made both programs relevant again.

But the bulk of the matchups to this point have been equivalent to a spring exhibition game. Why? Because top Division-I teams essentially set their depth charts on the way to pounding less talented D-I or Football Championship Subdivision teams.

This is not a knock on the decision to start a team's schedule with cupcakes, because you should definitely be firing on all cylinders before tackling opponents in your conference. It's just that the national championship picture isn't any clearer because of last weekend's slate of games.

Aside from the showdown between Alabama and Virginia Tech, teams in the top 10 outscored their opponents 290 to 91. So to put this all in perspective, if you triple the point production of the opponents, they're still 17 points short of matching the nation's top 10 squads.

Now, what can be gathered from last weekend? First, an appreciation for the old school, Tom Osborne Wing-T/option offense. Its more common form, the triple option, gives defenses so many different looks to account for that it leads to problems for any opponent.

Ohio State nearly fell victim to triple-option-based Navy for this exact reason. The Midshipmen did a pretty good job of running the ball, as their top two rushers tallied 83 and 61 yards, respectively. The 83-yard rusher — junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs — took part in all four touchdowns the team scored, rushing for two and passing for two more. To make matters worse, Dobbs completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, and his two touchdown tosses were to sophomore running back Marcus Curry.

Usually tough wins like this bode well for a team, especially defensively. But in this case, I think the Buckeyes could be in trouble. Making the adjustment from facing a triple-option squad to a "conventional" offense should be smooth because certain formations only allow for certain plays. But considering that the Buckeyes' next opponent is USC, this week of preparation will be just like starting over in fall practice. Furthermore, the holes left by key seniors like James Laurinaitis, Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline could be too much for the Buckeyes to overcome.

Another thing to keep in mind from Week 1? BYU has always had the potential to knock off a top team. True enough, the Sooners entered the game without highly touted Jermaine Gresham and then lost Heisman winner Sam Bradford,and that sealed their fate. But BYU winning this game really shouldn't be considered a huge surprise. Oklahoma has had trouble with strong non-BCS teams in the past (i.e., losing to Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl). BYU — and Davy O'Brien Award candidate Max Hall — utilized gaping holes in the Sooners secondary to the tune of 329 passing yards and two scores on 26-of-38 passing.

Since 2005, when the Cougars went 6-6 and lost to both Utah and 11-1 conference champ TCU, the BYU has posted a 32-6 record and won two of three bowl games. The Cougars have also defeated a Pac-10 opponent in each of the past three seasons and knocked off non-BCS powers Utah and TCU in two of the three years.

With Utah's huge win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last season and Boise State proving to be too much for Oregon to handle in the season opener, those schools definitely are the top two BCS busters to this point. But if either squad falters, look for BYU to be the next team in the mix.

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