Forget the rest of the season ... just give the national title to the winner of the Michigan-Ohio State showdown this weekend. November 12, 2006 Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - "Bring the national championship trophy to Columbus this weekend and just give it to the winner of the Michigan - Ohio State game. Enough is enough this year. Has Florida looked even remotely like a national title caliber team? USC lost to an Oregon State team that just got thumped by UCLA. Does Arkansas really belong in the national title considering it got obliterated 50-14 at home by the Trojans? Sure, that was a lifetime ago, but the loss has to still count for something. Notre Dame needed everything in its bag to beat Michigan State and UCLA and, in case you forgot, got its doors blown off by Michigan. Rutgers? I know, cute story, but come on. Texas, Cal, Auburn - thanks for playing. And no, there shouldn't be a rematch no matter what happens next weekend. What happens in Columbus, stays in Columbus.
"Not only have Ohio State and Michigan had the two best teams all year, there isn't anyone else deserving to be in the picture. In the storied history of college football’s greatest rivalry, and it is college football’s greatest rivalry, this will be the biggest game ever played between the two. That makes this, arguably, the biggest regular season game in the history of the sport. So let this weekend be it. Crown the winner the national champion, and let’s get the talk about the 2007 season going. USC, Florida or Arkansas as the preseason number one - discuss."
Five Things I Learned This Weekend November 12, 2006 Source: SI.com - Stewart Mandel writes: "That there are only two national-title caliber teams this season - and they're playing this Saturday. After watching Michigan in person Saturday for the first time since the Notre Dame game, I fully believe that The Game is a toss-up. This is not a slight against Ohio State, which is still quite clearly the team to beat. But the Wolverines are that good -- particularly their defense. Neither teams' Big Ten schedule has been particularly daunting this season, but they've both gone out and won convincingly every week. So when I see Florida barely surviving South Carolina (Big Ten equivalent: Penn State) or Texas losing to Kansas State (Big Ten equivalent: Purdue), it only reinforces that OSU and Michigan are in their own stratosphere this year..."
Game on! November 12, 2006 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Poetic justice has shaped this week’s 103 rd football game between Ohio State and Michigan into something greater than the usual grudge match rich in pathos. By winning their respective Big Ten games yesterday, the two traditional powers find themselves facing a showdown of historic proportions, just as it should be since they've been the nation’s two top-ranked teams since mid-October. Never before has a conference had two 11-0 teams, but Ohio State and Michigan will take those records - along with their 7-0 Big Ten records - into their annual regular-season finale Saturday in Ohio Stadium. 'It's something we can't wait to be a part of,' said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who is 4-1 against Michigan. Besides a spot in the Bowl Championship Series title game, the winner of "The Game" will also earn an outright Big Ten title, something Ohio State hasn't accomplished since 1984..."
Buckeyes' biggest test is in sight November 13, 2006 Source: USA Today - "For all the impassioned meetings in the storied rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan, none to date will top the fervor and buildup of Saturday's match up of undefeated Big Ten teams in Columbus, Ohio...It's possible the loser could advance to the championship, but Saturday's rash of upsets threw one-loss teams such as Southern California and Notre Dame back in the mix and strengthened No. 3 Florida's position..."
Countdown begins for Ohio State-Michigan November 12, 2006 Source: Associated Press - "No longer do the players have to watch what they say. There are no other teams left on the schedule. No. 2 Michigan, meet No. 1 Ohio State..."
Historical 1-2 bout cemented November 12, 2006 Source: CentralOhio.com - "Brandon Mitchell admitted it. He was rooting hard for the Wolverines on Saturday. 'Oh, yeah,' said Mitchell, who instigated No. 1 Ohio State's 54-10 trouncing of Northwestern while No. 2 Michigan routed Indiana, setting the stage for next week's epic clash of Big Ten titans in Columbus."
How big is this game? November 12, 2006 Source: Detroit Free Press - "It's the biggest regular-season college football game in years. The winner will play for the national title Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. The loser probably will play in the Rose Bowl...at least..."
The-Ozone Note and Quotebook November 12, 2006 Source: The Ozone - "The-Ozone Note and Quotebook is now online and includes the reason why the numbers 134-0 are important..."
Nothing stands between Ohio State and Michigan November 12, 2006 Source: ESPN.com - "In addition to a complete recovery from the hangover that followed a 17-10 win at Illinois on Nov. 4, Ohio State can now completely turn its attention to Michigan -- who won 34-3 at Indiana. Troy Smith had no problems Saturday with a thumb injury. The 103rd meeting -- and most important in decades -- between the 11-0 Buckeyes and the 11-0 Wolverines is now fair game to discuss because it's finally the next one of the schedule. Let the countdown to Columbus -- and the accompanying cacophony of hype -- begin..."
Thumb your nose at Smith's doubters November 12, 2006 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "...See, see, critics will say, after Smith passed for 185 yards, his third straight day below 200 yards, in a victory keyed by the five turnovers forced by the Buckeyes' defense. Throw in a blocked punt and a defensive touchdown, and Smith was consistently facing the smallest field since Secretariat was scaring everybody away from the Belmont. So what's the big deal about this guy, besides the talent Ohio State has surrounding him?..."
Hartline shows heart with two TD catches November 12, 2006 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "It’s easy for Brian Hartline to get lost in the Ohio State offense. He’s the fourth receiver behind stars Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez and emerging sophomore Brian Robiskie. But yesterday, quarterback Troy Smith found Hartline for his first two scores of the season in a 54-10 romp over Northwestern..."
Good thing Troy...doesn't have a Heisman vote. November 12, 2006 Source: ESPN - "If he did, the Ohio State quarterback might not put himself in the running for college football's highest individual honor, which by all accounts is his to lose as the 2006 season heads into its final weeks. After the senior dissected Northwestern's secondary for four touchdowns Saturday on 12 of 19 passing for 185 yards -- en route to a 54-10 win -- he downplayed his success and his role in the Buckeyes' 11-0 start..." (Also highlight video from NW game)
Thoughts about Wolverines always have been on Buckeyes’ minds 1 November 12, 2006 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "OK, now they can admit it. Maybe the Ohio State players did think about Michigan during the six weeks they spent crossing a vast wasteland of a schedule between the Iowa game Sept. 30 and a 54-10 win yesterday over Northwestern. Maybe even Jim Tressel had a stray thought or two about Michigan during weeks when the St. Paul Benevolent Society might have provided the Buckeyes better opposition than some of the hapless imposters who made it security and into the stadium. 'When you have a rivalry like ours, you think about it often,' Tressel said yesterday..."
A Dream Come True! November 12, 2006 Source: Go Blue Wolverine Magazine - "On Saturday, Michigan and Ohio State will face each other in a battle of undefeated not seen since long before most of us were born. It is the greatest game, of the greatest rivalry, of the greatest sport, and I've been waiting my entire life for just this moment..."
Mr. Bucknuts' Bucket Of Bullets November 12, 2006 Source: Bucknuts - "Mr. Bucknuts takes a unique perspective on the Northwestern game as well as addressing such burning issues as: why do opposing fans write to him, where is Pittman in the overall Buckeye universe, how is recruiting coming along and why doesn't he write more professionally. All compelling stuff in a new pre-Michigan Bucket of Bullets..."
Captain's Corner: The Game Is Here November 12, 2006 Source: Bucknuts "There's not much else that needs to be said -- the big OSU-Michigan game everyone has been talking about for weeks is finally here, and it doesn't get any bigger. Jerry Rudzinski gives some early thoughts on the game as well as some views on the Northwestern game in this week's Captain's Corner..."
Ohio State vs Michigan 2006 Video November 11, 2006 Source: You Tube - "This video is kind of like a timeline through the last 30 years that has led up to Saturday's game..."
Ohio State can finally look to Michigan after defeat of Northwestern November 12, 2006 Source: USA Today - "Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith gave himself "a strong B" for his role in keeping the top-ranked Buckeyes unbeaten Saturday. Maybe Smith is saving his best for No. 2 Michigan next weekend. Smith matched a career high with four touchdown passes in the Buckeyes' 54-10 romp over host Northwestern Saturday to set up next weekend's highly anticipated meeting between the top two teams in the country, a matchup that could repeat itself for the national championship Jan. 8..."
Five bests November 12 2006 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Best strip...best fake...best block...best grab...best pass..."
11 and 0; big one to go November 12 2006 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Northwestern managed a neat trick yesterday: The Wildcats gave Ohio State a game while also giving OSU the game. The Wildcats moved the ball well on the Buckeyes, but they also committed five turnovers and had a punt blocked..."
Ohio State routs Northwestern on eve of Michigan visit November 11, 2006 Source: ESPN - "The Ohio State Buckeyes made quick work of Northwestern, and now it's finally time to turn their attention to Michigan. 'It's the biggest rivalry in college football," running back Antonio Pittman said after the top-ranked Buckeyes routed Northwestern 54-10 on Saturday. "And it's been talked about for the last six weeks.' And it will be talked about day and night before next Saturday's showdown in Columbus -- No. 2 Michigan (11-0) vs. No. 1 Ohio State (11-0). 'It's what you dream about as a little kid, playing in that game,' defensive tackle David Patterson said..."
Buckeyes Cruise At NU; UM Showdown Set November 11, 2006 Source: Bucknuts - "Troy Smith threw for four touchdowns and Antonio Pittman moved over the 1,000-yard mark for the year as No. 1 Ohio State took a 54-10 win at Northwestern. The win sets up next Saturday's showdown with No. 2 Michigan for the outright Big Ten title and a spot in the BCS national title game..." (Also: Recap, Play-By-Play, Drive Chart, Box Score, Video & Photos)
Buckeyes Crush Northwestern November 11, 2006 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "The Ohio State Buckeyes made quick work of Northwestern, and now it's finally time to turn their attention to Michigan. 'It's the biggest rivalry in college football," running back Antonio Pittman said after the top-ranked Buckeyes routed Northwestern 54-10 on Saturday. "And it's been talked about for the last six weeks.' And it will be talked about day and night before next Saturday's showdown in Columbus - No. 2 Michigan (11-0) vs. No. 1 Ohio State (11-0)..."
Buckeyes set up showdown with 54-10 win over Northwestern November 11, 2006 Source: The Morning Journal - "They have been in the other's shadow every week, lurking, lingering, longing for late November. Two bullet trains running downhill, pounding on sparring partners and waiting for Nov. 18..."
It's time to make history November 11, 2006 Source: Akron Beacon Journal - "Ohio State can finally concentrate on Michigan game. History is upon us. Neither No. 1 Ohio State nor No. 2 Michigan stumbled. After six weeks of the Buckeyes tip-toeing around the only game that anyone cared about, OSU senior right guard T.J. Downing can finally dye his mohawk blue and get away with it..."
Ohio State walks over Northwestern 54-10 November 11, 2006 Source: College Football News - "Ohio State had little trouble getting out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and was up 33-10 at halftime helped by three Troy Smith touchdown passes, including two to Brian Hartline, and a 46-yard interception return for a score from Brandon Mitchell. Smith hit Ted Ginn with a 34-yard touchdown pass with three seconds to play in the first half to spark a run of 27 unanswered points. eight-yard Tyrell Sutton touchdown catch and a 29-yard Joel Howells field goal..." (Includes all 11 games recap; they had predicted losses to Texas & Iowa.)
Ready For 'The Game' November 11, 2006 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "The final hurdle has been cleared, and the Buckeyes can now take on also-unbeaten Michigan in the final week of the season with everything on the line. The Buckeyes first had to dispatch Northwestern on the road, a task they handled -- mostly -- with ease..."
OSU wins big, prepares for Michigan November 11, 2006 Source: Dayton Daily News - "The Ohio State football team won, but, more importantly, it's officially Michigan week. The Buckeyes defense and special teams served up four first-half turnovers and a blocked punt Saturday en route to a 54-10 beating of Northwestern at Ryan Field..."
Ohio State looks sharp vs. Northwestern November 11, 2006 Source: Foxsports - "If Ohio State was looking ahead, it was tough to tell. The Buckeyes did a good job staying in the moment even though several players admitted it wasn't easy. 'It was real hard not to look forward," Mitchell said. "Now that it's here, it's a surreal feeling.'..."
Smith has plenty of admirers November 11, 2006 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "There are many pluses when a defense grabs turnovers the way Ohio State did yesterday, but defensive tackle David Patterson named one that others might not have guessed. 'I just enjoy getting to watch the best player in the country when I'm off the field,' Patterson said..."
Buckeyes defense proficient at pickoffs November 10, 2006 Source: The Columbus Dispatch - "The streak appeared to be in jeopardy until James Laurinaitis went back to his old ways. Just five minutes remained in Ohio State’s game last week at Illinois, and for the first time all season, the Buckeyes did not have an interception..."
Buckeyes' stars impress NFL scouts November 10, 2006 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "One NFL scout who has watched Ohio State's Troy Smith and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn finds one main difference in his evaluation of the two senior quarterbacks..."
Laurinaitis Named Butkus Award Finalist November 9, 2006 Source: OSU Official Site - "The Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, the organization which annually presents the prestigious Butkus Award® to the nation's best collegiate linebacker has announced the three Finalists for this year's award..."
The-Ozone Note and Quotebook November 10, 2006 Source: the Ozone - "It's online. This week's the-Ozone Note and Quotebook with all those little tidbits from the week, including Jim Tressel's take on his offensive line's performance last week, and one player's comments on the possible replacement of the turf in Ohio Stadium when the season ends..."
Injury Update November 8, 2006 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith today said a wrap he has been wearing on his right hand is to protect a minor injury he suffered several weeks ago.
'I'm OK,' Smith said. 'It’s a seasonal thing. It's a growing pain, and we have to play through it. It happened a while ago. I can’t really pinpoint one thing that made it start hurting. It was probably just an ongoing thing and it got worse.
'It's sort of like a sore ankle. It’s going to take that pressure and those hits, but you’ll never find me crying or whining about it.'
Center Doug Datish is also wearing a wrap and brace on his right wrist. He said he hurt it several weeks ago, and though he’s fine now, offensive line coach Jim Bollman wants him to continue to wear it. Bollman thinks it helps Datish not bend his wrist while he is snapping, which was a problem he was having earlier in the year."
Starting left tackle Alex Boone, who did not play Saturday, will probably sit out again with a knee injury. Backup cornerback Kurt Coleman, injured late against Illinois, is questionable. Backup receiver Ray Small, who did not travel after suffering a concussion against Minnesota, will return to practice on Wednesday and should play.
Key Members of Buckeye Offense Nursing Injuries November 7, 2006 Source: the Ozone - "The OSU offense limped through the fourth quarter of the Illinois game. It's also doing a bit of actual limping as well with three key members of that offense hampered to varying degrees with injuries as this week progresses..."
Unbeaten Ohio State at Northwestern in Road Finale November 7, 2006 Source: OSU Official Site - "Top-ranked and unbeaten Ohio State concludes its two-game road swing Saturday at Northwestern. The Buckeyes and Wildcats will play at 3:36 p.m., EST, in Ryan Field (cap: 47,130). The game will be televised by ABC and broadcast by WBNS Radio..."
Tressel Press Conference Wrap-Up November 7, 2006 Source: Bucknuts;- "Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel met with the media on Tuesday at his weekly press luncheon, as well as on the Big Ten teleconference. Tressel reviewed the Buckeyes' tight win over Illinois and previewed this week's game at Northwestern. The coach also gave injury updates and much more..."
Personnel Update November 7, 2006 Source: The Ozone - "Jim Tressel talked about the players of the week, or more accurately, the lack of them, for the Illinois game today, as well as the injury situation. Additionally, Anthony Gonzalez talked today about his position on leaving for the NFL after his junior season..."
Ohio State vs. Northwestern Preview November 9, 2006 Source: The Ozone - "According to the Ohio State press release this week, the Buckeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats have met 71 times previously, with the Buckeyes holding a 56-14-1 advantage. However, and perhaps prophetically, the Northwestern press release has the series 57-14-1 in favor of the Buckeyes..."
Game Data: Ohio State at Northwestern November 7, 2006 Source: Bucknuts - "We take a look at the pertinent information, the depth charts and a prediction for Saturday's game in Evanston between No. 1 Ohio State and Northwestern (3:30 p.m., ABC). The Wildcats are led by RB Tyrell Sutton, who is closing in on his second 1,000-yard season..."
Buckeye Football Weekly November 5, 2006 Source: coachtressel.com - Watch the replay of Buckeye Football Weekly, featuring Coach Tressel, that is posted each week on his website. Click the link to watch now.
Trying to finish strong November 8, 2006 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "...'We’ve talked a lot about playing our best football at the end of the season, and we did that every year under coach Walker,. said Fitzgerald, who at 31 became the youngest coach in Division I-A when the school elevated him from assistant to head coach after Walker.s death. 'And now we have an opportunity to shake up everything in the country.'..."
No. 1-Ranked Ohio State Visits Ryan Field This Saturday November 6, 2006 Source: Northwestern Official Site - "Ohio State enters this week's action with a 17-game winning streak after holding off Illinois 17-10 in Champaign last Saturday. The Fighting Illini held the Buckeyes to 224 yards of offense and kept leading Heisman Trophy candidate Troy Smith in check..."
Game Notes & Two Deep
Head coach Pat Fitzerald has done a decent job in his 1st year at NW, assuming the top spot after the untimely death of Randy Walker.
Since installing C.J. Bacher, a red shirt sophomore, at QB the Northwestern's spread offense looks like the one Brett Basanez commanded. Bacher threw for 218 yards against Iowa, which was the third straight game he has reached the 200-yard mark. He has five touchdown passes in three starts and that is four more than than NU had in their first seven games. (Take a look at: Wildcats Hang Tough With No. 2 Wolverines. Bacher, in just his second career start, completes 20-of-41 passes for 204 yards.)
WRs Shaun Herbert, 6'1", Ross Lane, 6'3", Eric Peterman 6'1", and RB Sutton have all had game highs in receptions since Bacher has been in control.
Now with this new found passing attack, Tyrell Sutton, from Akron Hoban and pictured above, as been able to do what he did in 2005, namely run for more than 100 yards a game, which he has in two of Bacher's three starts. He's currently 6th in the Big Ten.
Iowa lines were banged up, but Northwestern controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Nortwestern's defense played another good game holding the Hawkeyes to only 264 total yards. Northwestern, however, is 11th in total offense and 7th in total defense in the Big Ten.
Locker room buzzing about Buckeyes' visit November 5, 2006 Source: Chicago Sun Times - "Northwestern coaches and players didn't give Ohio State coach Jim Tressel any bulletin-board material after their 21-7 victory Saturday at Iowa, but it's fair to say they're looking forward to hosting the top-ranked Buckeyes next week..."
Random Thoughts: BC's, Prospects and OSU vs? November 9, 2006 Source: Purple Reign - "...OK, no more tempests in a teapot here, but I wonder if all the interest in the Buckeye-Wolverine #1-#2 matchup won't impact the game in Evanston Saturday. Remember folks that the Wildcats have a win over the #1 team to gain, and nothing else to lose."
Defense Bounces Back To Control Games November 6, 2006 Source: The Daily Norwestern - "Call it an issue of pride or a source of motivation, but for the second consecutive week following a second-half meltdown against Michigan State, the Northwestern defense dictated the tempo of the game in a 21-7 win against Iowa on Saturday.In their past two contests, the Wildcats have allowed a combined 24 points and held their opponents to an average of 291 yards of total offense per game, which is 74 yards below their season average..."
Stewart Mandel's Power Rankings November 7, 2006 Source: SI.com - "This week, we welcome Maryland back to the Power Rankings for the first time since 2003. Back then, Ralph Friedgen's boys were regulars in these parts, but following consecutive 5-6 seasons in 2004 and '05, the Terrapins fell off my radar and did not return until...oh, about two weeks ago. But honestly, can you blame me?..."