Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mother of God nuttiness

First point: I have to apologize to FOX Sports. Although I ridiculed them for the simulated playoff box score, and the remaining games still seemed wrong, Penn State advanced to the playoffs and lost to USC. So, I, uh, can't really argue there. Yah. Wonder how that happened. So just pretend the rant below never happened, okay?

Still here? Great.

Now I get to make fun of them. Holy freaking smokes, Batman. The one thing I know about the Big Ten next year is that I know nothing. The two constants in the Big Ten, Penn State's defense and Ohio State's defense, are returning a grand total of 6 players. I don't worry about Penn State's defense that much: the only unit which is being wholesale replaced is the secondary, and Justin King saw a lot of time at corner before Williams' injury, and Donnie Johnson saw a fair amount of time at nickel after King went to offense.

Ohio State's defense, though - that's a different story. Gone are the linebackers, and the secondary, and all that's left are two starters on the defensive line. And guess which unit I thought was the weakest on the Buckeyes last year? Yah. D-line. And I have to echo Buckeye Commentary in saying that starting 3 LBs who had barely any starting experience at all is a big, big worry. Funniest line from the blurb about OSU: "Why Ohio State isn't the pre-preseason #1: ... The top nine tacklers from last year's D are gone." Man, must be a relief that the it isn't any more! At least they have the uh, two fewest tacklers in the starting defense. Buckeye Commentary isn't kidding when he says "I know some people think we reload, not rebuild." Jeez.

Sure, OSU could be fine. But to me, that'd be a surprise more than something I'd expect. I have high hopes for Penn State next year, as there's a lot of talent on that team, but I agree with the concerns about the offensive line and quarterback, so I can understand a 9-3 finish. And heck, road wins vs Notre Dame and Ohio State both would be really crazy. But predicting OSU as a preseason #5? That's way too optimistic.

I really hate to state this here - I'll do preseason evaluations of Big Ten teams later, but if I was going to put 1 Big Ten team in the Top 10, it'd be - really, don't kill me - Michigan. I don't see Michigan's offense declining - heck, I see it improving, as Henne has talent, just not consistency. He'll get that consistency next year. And Michigan's got a whole freaking slew of talent waiting in the wings on defense. Look seriously at the 2005 season - Michigan was close in every game, and they're replacing a grand total of 4 starters on defense, and 5 on offense. Sorry, I know half of PSU fans hate Michigan now (50% better than OSU fans, though!) but if I had to pick a 2006 Big Ten champ other than PSU, it'd be Michigan. No question.

Now, I'm not predicting Michigan to be the national champion. Are you kidding me? Realistically both PSU and OSU will likely decline, and Michigan will improve. And we all play each other. And OSU plays Texas. Michigan and us play Notre Dame. On the road. Ha ha, we're all screwed.

Oh, and MGoBlog: neat new site layout, now add an archive link to the side. Pretty please. I had to manually type in the standard Blogger archive URL in order to get one. Grr. I swear to God, those archive links on the left weren't there when I looked last. Or I'm a moron. Either one, really.


Blogger Brian said...

I didn't futz with the archive links at all... you be crazy.

10:45 PM

Blogger Mike said...

I think PSU will be just fine next year. When you look at PSU teams from the past, the great teams all had something in common that the poor teams lacked. Great wide recievers. From OJ to Bobbie to Bryant Johnson, those were the players that made the great teams. This team has loads of talent at WR.

The defense will be fine. It always is. By week four they will be settled in. The O-Line will be ok too. Let's face it. Our O-Line was not that great in 2005. We struggled running the ball most of the time. Pass protection was spotty. We just got away with it thanks to M-Rob. Hopefully some fresh talent anchored by Levi Brown can make them better.

8:00 AM

Blogger Pat said...

Well, I don't always agree with the "defense is always fine" or "offense is always fine" for certain teams. Ohio State's defense is almost always fine, but I think in 2006 it'll show flashes of brilliance, but complete and utter breakdowns as well.

But I do believe Penn State's will be fine. Donnie Johnson and Justin King will be fine in the secondary - King saw plenty of action early, and teams targeted the hell out of him, and he held up pretty well.

Penn State has a slew of talent along the defensive line, and while Paxson, Rice, and Hali are gone, plenty of other defensive linemen had playing time as well. Plus Alford is still there, so it's not a complete transition.

But I can understand them not being ranked in the top 10 - especially with the schedule we have next year (schedule == very bad, mmkay?) Switch to a new starting QB always makes people skittish. I think the one "thank God" thing for 2006 is that Tony Hunt is still there, and that Austin Scott finally started to show promise during the Orange Bowl, although you'll hear more about that later.

11:49 AM

Blogger Mike L said...

I'm hoping for a split of the OSU and ND games. A win in Columbus would be preferred as it would give us a better chance of winning the Big Ten. But I'll wear my PSU blue glasses and predict a 12-0 finish. HA!

5:50 PM


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