I said it in my last post, but now I'd like to discuss it....can we consider ourselves 11-0 right now?
At the beginning of the season, I marked down three games as our most difficult of the season....Texas, Iowa, and Michigan. We've won two of those games already (in VERY convincing fashion), and the final game will come during Week 12 on November 18th.
Technically and realistically, we're 5-0 right now. But let's look at the next 6 opponents;
- Bowling Green - The Falcons are 3-2, but two of their wins came against teams ESPN had in their "Bottom 10". And here's two facts that will allow you to breathe easy this weeks - BG's defense allows 30 points per game, and they lost to Kent State by a score of 38-3. This one's going to be a walk in the park.
- Michigan State - OK, now I was a little bit worried about this game, until I saw them collapse against Notre Dame and then actually lose to Illinois. Now they seem like the bottom-half team they usually are. Wins against Idaho and Eastern Michigan now appear to be their backbone to 6 wins and getting into a bowl, and that doesn't scare me. Drew Stanton is their biggest weapon, and I'm no longer afraid of QBs named Drew. It'll be a tough game for about a half, if MSU can play on emotion. After that, if they're still around, John L. Smith will find a way to lose.
- Indiana - The only drama about this game is whether or not I'll be able to find 2 tickets, so I can take my daughter to her first game the day before she turns 8. Whatever the point spread is, take the Buckeyes.
- Minnesota - A decent offense, but against who? Winning by a combined score of 106-0 against Kent State and Temple was impressive, but getting stomped by Cal, Michigan and Purdue suggests they aren't ready for the big boys. They won't be again and the Buckeyes should romp.
- Illinois - We're not Michigan State, and Illinois probably won't win another game this year, unless they upset Indiana.
- Northwestern - The ONLY question about this game is "Will NW fans behave like Iowa fans and believe that they'll win this game because they won 2 years ago?" The answer is "no, because only smart people can get into Northwestern." Expect to see a LOT of scarlet in the stands at Ryan Field and expect to see a LOT of substitutions as Tressel gets his team rested for Michigan.
Judge for yourself. Do ANY of the above 6 teams look like they can knock off the #1 Buckeyes? Sorry, I just can't see it at all. And if I'm right, that makes us 11-0 heading into The Game.
The only remaining factor, I've discussed before....every team has a bulls-eye on us now. Will the emotion and drama coming from the opposing sideline be able to stand up long enough to give us the need for heart medication like it did in 2002? Can't predict that one, but I will make one bold prediction.
We will be 11-0 when Michigan comes to town. How we play between now and then is crucial. While I am taking a few long sighs of relief, our boys better not, or 12-0 is in serious danger.