Ohio St. vs. Marshall: the Brutally Honest Game Preview

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Basically, college football is to me what cocaine is to Paris Hilton- I go through withdrawal without it. Therefore, as the season begins (and that long offseason finally ends) I’m covering not one but two games this week.

Throughout the season, I’ll be bringing you these informative yet blunt game previews of every contest I cover; with a heavy focus on Northwestern, Illinois, Notre Dame, and the Big Ten in general.

Ohio St. versus Marshall should be a very tight and exciting game…for the first quarter and a half. Ohio St QB Terrelle Pryor came into Columbus with sky high expectations. In the state of Ohio, he’s had almost as much hype as ESPN’s airing of Lebron’s The Decision. After two seasons of mixed reviews, Pryor began to live up to that hype in the 2010 Rose Bowl, as he carved up the Oregon defense like a surgeon (“Like a surgeon, HEY! Cutting for the very first time. Like a surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgeon, here’s a waiver, for you to sign.”)

By Paul M. Banks

ohio state jesus

OSU synopsis: Beyond Pryor and his vivisection of the team with both the ugliest uniforms and the hottest cheerleaders in all of college football, the Buckeyes return 10 starters on offense, 6 on defense and look somewhat like the 2002 national championship OSU team. They have that much talent, and the same knight in shining sweater vest leading them.

They are not underrated, nor overrated with their spot as the #2 team in the nation. They are perfectly rated. This year could be huge in Columbus. Huge like Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo’s man-crush on Illini WR/backup QB/CB/actor/child psychologist Eddie McGee.

I’ll let TSB OSU guy Hans Hetrick expound: Four lineman return from an offensive line that gelled into a steady, powerful unit during the last 6 games of 2009. Pryor’s receivers, DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher, are eerily reminiscent of 2006’s potent deep threat Ted Ginn Jr., and precision possession man, Anthony Gonzalez. At running back, Brandon Saine and “Boom” Heron grew into seasoned college veterans last year. And don’t forget the maraschino cherry in the sloe gin fizz, Pryor’s new toy, a  frighteningly athletic 6-5 tight end named Jake Stoneburner.

As team co-captain Sanzenbacher said at Media Day “I think you always approach your senior year a little bit different because it’s your last shot at it, and you feel that urgency.”

we_are_marshall

Marshall synopsis: “WE ARE (clap, clap) MAR-SHALL (clap, clap)” (see footnote 1 for more about this movie) The scouts aren’t too high on Marshall despite their appearance in the 2009 Little Caesars Bowl (I actually didn’t make up that bowl name, believe me it’s real)  Here are their 2010 Pre-Season Rankings:

Athlon Sports: #87
Pre-Snap Read: #79
Sporting News: #93

Still, they have a new Coach named Doc Holliday, and you don’t want to mess with any man who has the same exact name as a famous Wild West era gunman. The Thundering Herd did not score much last season, and they were a very turnover-prone and undisciplined team that committed too many penalties. The offensive line and secondary will be question marks, but they have a big playmaker on both sides of the ball in TB Martin Ward and LB Mario Harvey.

Guys you’ll see Saturday eventually playing on Sundays: On Ohio State- there’s at least one or two in every position group. DT Cameron Heyward could be a top ten pick, DE Dexter Larimore has some pro potential, Linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan, defensive backs Chimdi Chekwa and Jermale Hines, Posey, Pryor, and OL Boren and Brewster. On Marshall- none really jump out at me, perhaps Ward if he develops.

Prediction to be taken with a grain of salt (actually, make that a whole truckload of salt)

OSU 46, MU 16.

Another fearless prediction- it will be revealed that Sanzenbacher is actually the secret sixth member of N’ Sync. If you saw his outfit at the kickoff luncheon, you would certainly agree.

And since “I can’t leave college football alone the game needs me,” tune in Thursday for my prediction of the second game I’m covering this week: Notre Dame vs. Purdue.

Footnote 1. I actually lmao at a certain scene in this Disney film. No, it’s not when the plane crashes and everybody dies, I’m not that sick. It’s the scene where the coaching staff is talking about their need for the most simplistic offense possible, so they settle on the veer. Seriously, you have to be a paint-sniffer if you can’t master the veer. In high school, the coaches made me run the veer as a scout team quarterback for the week leading up to our laughable slaughter at the hands of mighty Thornridge high school in beautiful Dolton, IL.

This scenario played out well for both parties involved because:

1.) I was one of the few people on the team who could actually learn a new offense over a weekend.

2.) Since I had no role at all in the two-deep roster I was a perfectly expendable punching bag for the first team defense.

3.) I can now impress single women by telling them I “played quarterback for my team in high school” without lying. So I can be golden with any woman who digs the Al Bundy type.

Anyways, the veer is a primitive play book of option-reads, zone-option, and option sweep-pitches. VERY vanilla. And yes, for some reason, I was the only person in the theater laughing hysterically at that scene in the film. Years later, in MBA school there was girl in with my project group and when she told me she went to Thornridge high, I immediately responded “your high school runs a very primitive offense.”

Yes, I know I’m quite a special person.

Written by Paul M. Banks, president and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest-focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

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