We're nearing the end of May, and quite frankly it's hard to find meaty college football topics to write about. So I'm bumping around the web and I stumble across this nugget:
The vacancy left at Ohio State by the departure of Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith has not been filled. Fourth-year junior Todd Boeckman seems to be the leading candidate, but third-year sophomore Rob Schoenhoft apparently had a better spring game. Coach Jim Tressel has not made a choice and said three quarterbacks -- Boeckman, Schoenhoft and redshirt freshman Antonio Henton -- will play in the Buckeyes' season opener against Youngstown State.As a Notre Dame fan, I sympathize with the difficult task facing the Buckeyes - trying to sort out your inexperienced quarterback prospects to find "THE" replacement for the guy who has been your franchise player for multiple seasons. Charlie Weis is trying to sort out which of four talented young quarterbacks will succeed Brady Quinn. Notre Dame Nation is holding its collective breath waiting for Coach Weis to announce, any day now, which two of those four kids will be the leading candidates heading into Fall practice.
But then I read the above snippet again. Coach Tressel announced - in May - that all three of his quarterback candidates will play in the Buckeyes' season opener. Against Youngstown State.
Boy, it must be nice to open your Brutal Big Ten Schedule with a scrimmage against a Div. I-AA team so that you can sort through your depth chart at quarterback. Still, it seems risky to me to split all those reps in Fall practice among three guys. I mean, after Y-Town, you have the rest of your Brutal Big Ten Schedule to play, and your eventual starter will need those reps in practice to get ready. Or not. Because after the Youngstown scrimmage, mighty Akron rolls into Columbus. The Zips. I suppose Coach T could play all three QBs in that game too without much risk of an embarrassing defeat. But eventually Ohio State has to pick a quarterback and play a real football game, right? Well, sort of. Finally, in week three, the Buckeyes leave the friendly confines of Columbus and head west to face the fierce Huskies of the University of Washington, coached by that crazed, relentless, mad genius of coaching - Ty Willingham. The very early pre-season polls have Washington just barely outside the Top 50 teams in Division I-A. (54th at College Football News and 55th at Athlon).
What the heck is going on here? Hey Buckeye Fan, do have any freaking pride at all? Here is the 2007 Football Schedule for THE Ohio State University Buckeyes, along with the earliest post-2006/pre-2007 rankings of their opponents from College Football News and Athlon Sports, respectively. Plus some commentary from OC Domer.
- 9/1 Youngstown State, in Columbus. Not ranked by either publication, since Y-Town is a Division I-AA program. But Y-Town is a Top 10 team in I-AA, according to these guys, who have them ranked at #4, behind Appalachian State, Montana, and North Dakota State.
- 9/8 Akron, in Columbus. #95/#93. Another nice home game for the faithful, who are no doubt happy to have camped out to get these tickets.
- 9/15 Washington, in Seattle. #54/#55. Week three and OSU still hasn't played a Top 50 team, although UW is in a BCS conference, which is nice.
- 9/22 Northwestern, in Columbus. #66/#75. The beginning of the Brutal Big Ten Schedule. I guess Northwestern is another team from a BCS conference, technically. Good thing it's at home though, as crowds in Evanston can be very hostile.
- 9/29 Minnesota, in Minneapolis. #46/#53. It's week 5, and hopefully the Buckeyes are finally prepared to go on the road, all the way to Minnesota, to face a team that is arguably, maybe in the Top 50.
- 10/6 Purdue, in East Lafayette. #53/#51. The gauntlet that is life in the Big Ten continues with another road game against a team that is almost Top 50 caliber.
- 10/13 Kent State, in Columbus. #88/#103. Is it fair to call this one a breather? A chance to recover from three intense weeks of conference play, including back-to-back road games versus near-Top-50 teams. I wish I could be there to feel the electricity in the air as the Buckeyes take the field against their in-state rivals.
- 10/20 Michigan State, in Columbus. #60/#77. Good job OSU to play these guys in your own house, as Irish fans know how tough they can be in East Lansing. But still, a normally respectable opponent who has fallen on hard times and who shouldn't cause a TOP 10 OSU team too much trouble.
- 10/27 Penn State, in Happy Valley. #24/#17. I know week 9 seems a little early to play a Top 25 team, but you're just going to have to man up and do the best you can. Hopefully by now you will have sorted out your quarterback depth chart. This is probably the first game on your schedule where it will matter who the QB is.
- 11/3 Wisconsin, in Columbus. #5/#9. Well, it is November. This should be a doozy of a game, if OSU can avoid the landmines littered throughout September and October.
- 11/10 Illinois, in Columbus. #61/#86. That's more like it.
- 11/17 Michigan, in Ann Arbor. #10/#8. There's nothing cute to say about this one. Always a great game, and it figures once again to loom large in the hunt for the National Championship.
For an "elite" program, the opening eight weeks of the 2007 season are an embarrassment. OSU's loyal fans get treated to home games against Y-Town, Akron, Northwestern, Kent State, and Michigan State during that stretch.
I don't normally devote space at OC Domer to calling out other programs - unless it's USC - but I have to make an exception in this case. Hey Ohio State: Your Brutal Big Ten Schedule is a joke. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves and your athletic director. And Coach Tressel's mom dresses him funny.