It's only June, and I'm already getting tired of the Penn State haters. Our offensive line is inexperienced. Our secondary got shredded like coleslaw in the Rose Bowl, and this year we have to play with the coleslaw's backups. We'll miss those great wide receivers. You know, the ones that were supposedly overrated as well as uninspiring and hard to tell apart. But just to cover their bases in case Penn State does put it all together and do well, people are already starting to rip the schedule: a drum beat we're sure to hear from now until next January.
I'm not here to say Penn State is going undefeated. I'm an experienced blogger who has learned to not make crazy predictions like that because some Pitt troll out there is going to bookmark the page and send me the link when we choke in some late October road game. I can deal with the fact Penn State has holes to fill. That's the nature of college football. Every team has holes to fill. But what I don't understand is, why does Ohio State always get a pass?
Every single crackpot preseason poll I've looked at so far ranks the Buckeyes in the top ten and the favorite to win the conference. And what is the general reasoning for this believe? Simply the fact that Terrelle Pryor has improved. For the life of me I can't understand how the Bucknuts have come to this conclusion. Is it because of his performance in the Fiesta Bowl against Texas? My God, he completed five passes for 66 yards against a pass defense that ranked No. 104 in the country. Let's retroactively give him the Heisman. If anyone tries to say he looked great in the spring game I'll just laugh. I can remember a few years ago Knowledge Timmons had two interceptions and Chris Rogers had three sacks. Neither guy sniffed the starting lineup. Spring games mean nothing.
The Ohio State offense was far from a juggernaut last season. They ranked 76th in total offense and 45th in scoring offense. Now they don't have Beanie Wells to carry them. Their offensive line situation is very similar to ours. They have to replace the left side and some guys on the right are switching around. And while we have to replace our top three receivers, they have to replace their top two, Brian Robiske and Brian Hartline. But hey, everything will be fine, because, you know, Terrelle Pryor will be better. I mean, he has to be, right?
Oh defense the Buckeyes are also very similar to Penn State. They return a scary defensive line, but they also have to replace James "Pile-jumper" Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman. And they lose all Big Ten cornerback Malcolm Jenkins so there are holes to fill there. It's not like their pass defense was all that special last year. They ranked 25th in pass defense and 13th in pass efficiency defense. Penn State ranked 27th and 19th, respectively, despite the Rose Bowl debacle.
Now, Ohio State recruits well and I'm sure they'll fill the holes with very good players. But how can anyone assume they will play as a cohesive unit from the get go? Why are they getting a complete pass on all of this and a top ten ranking while people are lining up to tear down Penn State before the season even starts?
I'm not saying Penn State deserves a top ten ranking. Long time BSD followers will remember my stance on preseason polls. I hate them, and I don't think there should be any poll released until week four or five in the season. But I just don't understand why Ohio State is getting a free pass on all of the talent they have to replace.