Ohio State Football: 4th and Short, questions following Week 4

BLOOMINGTON, IN - AUGUST 31: Johnnie Dixon #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - AUGUST 31: Johnnie Dixon #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Ohio State football team took care of business in Urban Meyer’s return to the sidelines this past weekend and now the stage is finally set for a top10 showdown in Happy Valley. Two of college football’s blue bloods will take the field Saturday night in a game of vital importance to each program and their Big Ten and Playoff hopes.

Let’s take a look at your questions from around the college football landscape this past weekend. 

Q: Is Ohio State vs. Penn State the biggest Big Ten game this year?

A: Yes, this is the Big Ten game of the year until possibly late November in Columbus. The ramifications are as high as they can be this weekend in Happy Valley. The winning team is in the driver’s seat for the division, conference, and a likely Playoff spot.

The quarterback who wins this game will also receive national credibility and will cement his place in this year’ Heisman race. This game will allow both Haskins and McSorely to have a Heisman moment with more opportunities on the radar to amplify their case.

Q: Through the first few weeks, how would you rank the [Power Five] conferences?

A: Below is my ranking of the Power Five conferences with quick notes explaining each position.  

  1. SEC – Three teams in the top 5
  2. Big Ten – The top-tier of the Big Ten is / will be very good
  3. Big XII – Middle of the pack: top teams are good, bottom is average
  4. PAC-12 – The South is just not good, the North is carrying the conference
  5. ACC – Clemson and then everybody else, so no disrespect to the Tigers

Q: Is Haskins the [Heisman] front-runner with a standout performance against Penn State? What is your current Heisman rankings?

A: As I stated earlier, this battle of the heavyweights will provide both quarterbacks a platform for their first “Heisman moment.” Haskins has recently, finally, gotten the respect he deserves in the Heisman race as he checked in at no. 2 this week. I believe with another performance like he has had and engineering a win will elevate him past Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

My current Heisman rankings are as follows:

  1. Tua Tagovailoa
  2. Dwayne Haskins
  3. Will Grier
  4. Kyler Murray

Q: Who is the best team in the Big Ten not named Ohio State?

A: The Big Ten conference carried more preseason hype than any other entering the season.The headlining teams were not just limited to two or three but an unprecedented five. Although there were question marks with each team, answers have been provided based on their play which has altered our view of them.

Ohio State has done what no other team has done in the Big Ten so far. The Buckeyes have looked very impressive against lesser opponents as well as have beaten a very good team in TCU. The win over TCU is what has separated the Buckeyes from the rest of the conference.

The competition to be considered the second best team to this point is between Penn State and Michigan. The Nittany Lions have the top scoring offense in the nation as well as one of the best quarterbacks in the country. However, Penn State at times have looked shaky and not as impressive as they should have, but recovered well each time.

The Nittany Lions have their opportunity to solidify themselves as Playoff contenders this Saturday as they welcome the Buckeyes to Happy Valley under Whiteout conditions. A win would immediately label them among the top teams in the country and would give them the tie-breaker over Ohio State for the Big Ten East title.

Michigan on the other hand, endured an abysmal start to the season opener. Don Brown’s defense was torched right out of the gate and the offense was still going through an identity crisis. The Wolverines have since rebounded strong as they dominated blue blood Nebraska at home last Saturday. They possess the talent and arguably the best defense in the country to remain in every game they play.

The attribute missing from both Penn State and Michigan so far is a marquee win. Both teams have proven themselves against lesser opponents but questions still remain on how they will fare against top-level competition. Penn State gets its first shot to enhance its resume this weekend and Michigan will have theirs in two weeks against Wisconsin at home.

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Q: Does LSU have a real shot at taking down Alabama this year?

A: Earlier this summer my prediction was that LSU would upset Auburn, Georgia, or Alabama. The Tigers have already beaten Auburn to prove my theory correct. And now they look better than expected.

I believe LSU does in fact have a very good chance to upset Alabama and here is why. The Tigers’ quarterback play has been sub par at best in recent memory and that in itself has been the difference. LSU regularly boasts a strong defense and a punishing rushing attack. The addition of Joe Burrow has allowed them to return to their prominence and contend for the SEC.

Q: Similar question to last week: Is Texas back now or is TCU just not as good as we thought?

A: Texas has won back to back games against ranked opponents and looks to be rolling in year two of the Tom Herman era. However, the Longhorns have had their last two games at home so we will await a road test to make the official call.

Next. Urban Meyer: The Man, The Myth, The Legend. dark

Nevertheless, I would say it is safe to assume the Longhorns are back and will be in contention for the Big 12 title come late November, and a win in the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma in two weeks will solidify their case. Remember, the loss to Maryland was a non-conference loss which means it does not affect Texas in the Big 12 race.