Game 1 of the 2008 season is less than 48 hours away, but nobody that I know of expects anything less than an Ohio State win. Hell, nobody expects anything except a blowout (except for the 80 people wearing Youngstown State clothing on the sidelines).
Whenever a lower-echelon team takes on a Top 5 squad, it's their game of the year. If they knock off one of the elite, their name will be sung throughout the land. So believe that YSU is taking this one seriously. But thanks to Appalachian State (and the eternal wisdom of Jim Tressel never letting his team look ahead), Ohio State will not be shocked by anything on Saturday.
But there are plenty of questions about the '08 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes, and we can start answering those slowly with a few steps on Saturday. Here's what I want to see from the Buckeyes as they take on the Penguins at Noon.
1) A touchdown on the very first Ohio State possession - The Buckeyes cannot start slow. There can be no questions about this team early. Be it a quick strike or a long sustained drive, they must begin their season forcefully.
2) A stop on the very first YSU possession - The Penguins do not have much of a chance and they know it. They'll fire out of the locker room with great enthusiasm, and the longer they get to stay energetic, the tougher it'll be on us. Push their hopes down fast and get inside their heads from play one. A three-and-out is not entirely necessary, but it'll help.
3) Beanie Wells needs 100-120 yards in the first half - Wells isn't going to see much game time in the second half, so getting his numbers early is important. Plus, if he gets to the century mark fast, it'll allow more time to see our backups in action. Give Boom Herron the ball and see what he does.
4) FG kicking must be perfect on the day - Our kicking unit has been the biggest weakness during pre-season. Ryan Pretorius' leg might make the difference in a big USC game, and the more confidence he has in Games 1 and 2, the better he'll be in Los Angeles.
5) 4 to 6 sacks on defense - I want to hear the talk about "no dropoff in talent" from the Big Ten announcers. There will be plenty of "how will the defensive line play with Vernon Gholston" discussion, and that'll squish it like a bug fast.
6) 65%+ passing from Todd Boeckman - The more accurate he is, the quicker he'll get to the bench, which leads us to;
7) At least three possessions for Terrelle Pryor - Let the kid see the field in Game 1 and he'll get at least a few jitters out of his system. He'll need it when he inevitably sees the field at USC for some trickery that Tressel has in store.
8) A TD pass for Joe Bauserman - He's going to be the forgotten QB, barring injury, for his Ohio State career. Let's give him some glory and put him in the scoring books for all eternity.
What do you want to see on Saturday? Add your points in the comments.