Sunday, October 22, 2006

And then there were two

Hey guys, sorry for the lack of posting in recent days. I'll try to pick it up a bit more throughout the week in order to make up for it all. I would post a wrap-up of the Indiana game, but if there's one thing I've learned in my time as an Ohio State fan, it's that what happens against Indiana means next to nothing when looking ahead to future games. After all, you just know you're playing Indiana when Lydell Ross runs for 130 yards.

Sean over at The 614 has an excellent post on what it's like to be the fan of the nation's top team. I definitely have to say that I fall into the "Suspicion" category most of the time. However, I do like to think of myself as a realist most of the time. That may be just my ego speaking, but I feel that I'm not the kind of fan that thinks the media is out to get Ohio State (usually), and I'm not blinded enough to notice that there are weaknesses on every team.

On the Heisman frontier, if you thought that Troy Smith's lead in the race to be forever immortalized as one of college football's greatest players was large before this week, it may have gotten even bigger after yesterday. Garrett Wolfe probably ended any chances he had with his 25 yard rushing performance two weeks ago, but his 45 yard performance against Temple (yes, that Temple), put the nail in the coffin. Also, Calvin Johnson probably didn't have much of a chance to win it to begin with as a WR that doesn't return kicks, so like Wolfe, Johnson needed a huge game in the prime time performance against Clemson to solidify himself in the Heisman race, but he was a total non-factor and didn't make a single catch all game long. Steve Slaton had a nice game (19 carries, 128 yards) against Connecticut, but just like with his team, a cupcake schedule won't get him the necessary attention to win.

In fact, there is only one person left in this entire chase that has a remote chance of catching Troy Smith at this point. That guy is none other than the preseason favorite to win it: Brady Quinn. Will Quinn actually end up catching Smith and beating him out? Not likely. Will he make the race at least somewhat interesting by the end of the season? He sure should. Quinn's and Smith's latter portion of the season are both quite similar: A few tune ups, and then a huge "final exam" if you will, to cap off the season. Until the showdown on the 18th, Smith has dates with Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern. Quinn has games against Navy, North Carolina, Air Force, and Army until the prime time rematch against BCS #2 USC.

Really, what even gives Quinn a chance at the trophy has less to do with how he plays, and much more to do with when he plays. Quinn's showdown against USC comes on November 22, one week after Troy Smith goes up against Michigan. If Smith does marginal against Michigan, or if he loses, and Quinn sets the world on fire against an undefeated USC team, voters may be inclined to punch their ballots for Quinn because of that impression he left in the short memories of the voters. Remember that last season Matt Leinart was considered the leader for the Heisman trophy until two late regular season matchups against Fresno State and UCLA, in which Reggie Bush made the Heisman voters completely forget about the previous 10 games on the schedule.

Now, I doubt any of this is too likely to happen. It would mean that Troy Smith is average at best the rest of the season, and nothing I've seen to date makes me believe that will happen, and it also means that USC would have to defeat both Cal and Oregon to maintain their top-3 ranking, something else that may not happen. Remember, Smith's lead over Quinn is much larger than Leinart's was over Bush at this time last season, and both guys get their own seperate chances to shine, whereas Leinart and Bush had to share the same football.

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