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Life In The Void

Even the EMU band “The Pride of the Peninsula” is way overmatched. (photo from Eagle Totem)

Once again the Buckeyes enter a week against a grossly overmatched opponent, this time against the Eastern Michigan Eagles who have not won a game since 2008.  Yes, that is right.  The #2 ranked undefeated Buckeyes will be hosting a MAC team that sports a 0-15 mark under current head coach Ron English.  Most websites are tagging this as the most lopsided matchup in college football this season, and some sites going as far as to indicate that this game will be a continuation of the post-Hurricane warm up stretch that the Buckeyes have until mid October when they travel to Camp Randall (Oct 16th).

So as excited as the Buckeye Nation was for this season to get here…….welcome now to the void.

Last week the void was felt on a couple levels – obviously we all knew that the Bobcats were coming to town for a beat down.  But everyone can do the “gotta take every game seriously, can’t sleep on these guys” approach for a week.  So there was definitely a palpable void of excitement surrounding the game even before kickoff – but that was to be expected after the huge emotional bong hit that we all took when knocking off the Canes.  I think the void of Buckeye buzz really became apparent when the most replayed highlight of the game was Dufus the Bobcat mascot attempting to molest Brutus during pregame.  #2 team in the country, Heisman trophy candidate at QB, swarming defense – and what gets airtime?  Some douche dropout chasing his five minutes of fame.  FWIW – as someone who used to streak keg parties fairly regularly as an undergrad I totally get the wild shock value tackling Brutus and as much as I bag on the guy – his plan worked.  He got on Sportscenter, espn.com and the front page of Yahoo.

Another way the void has blanketed this Buckeye season is television coverage.  Last week BTN/ATT Uverse opted to pull the rug out from under Buckeyes in Cali (I am sure other places as well) at the last minute.  This week  ABC is already telling us that pretty much outside of the Midwest fans are screwed.  It is either GamePlan or go to a bar.  My comrade in SD that bleeds the same scarlet and gray as I thinks he can MacGruber a way to watch on his TV by hooking it up to his laptop and using ESPN360 but this has yet to be proven as effective.  So we shall see – as of now for the second straight week I am trapped in the Buckeye void of southern California.

As for the game – I agree with everyone that there is no way a MAC team that is 0-15 over the past two seasons is going to come into the Shoe for anything other than a fat payday and an spanking.  The EMU reclamation project may be underway but it is a long ways off from being even a competitive team.  They gave up over 500 yards of offense and 62 points last week..to Central Michigan.  The week before they lost to Miami (OH) by a touchdown.  The closest game of the season was a 31-27 defeat at the hands of Army.  This week could get really ugly for them even if we have in our backups the entire second half.

Eastern Michigan Quick Hits:

–          Head Coach is Ron English.  Former DC for TSUN back when they had an actual group of players assembled that could be considered a defense.  After managing to not die from suffocation in the stench of Ann Arbor he was fired by DickRod and moved on to become the Louisville as DC.  In his second year at EMU as HC currently and has an overall record of 0-15.  That is right, has not won a game yet.  But Wikipedia says that after his hiring there immediately was a buzz of new energy around the program.  Mmmmmkay.  No wins in an entire season – wonder if there is still any of that buzz left.

–          QB is sophomore #8 Gillett who can make plays with his legs but is suspect when it comes to passing.  Should be interesting against our front seven.

–          Senior #22 Priest was the top rusher for them the past season.  Short and shifty – had a great game against Army in the opener (142 yards) but been shut down the past two weeks.

–          #1 Thomas is the most notable WR – he went for 133 and 2 TDs against Miami (OH).

–          The EMU defense is giving up an average of 5 TDs per game.   Enough said.

–          Tyrone Wheatley is an assistant coach.  So if we are looking for any type of additional motivation to throw down an ass whoopin there it is.

As Tresselian as it may be, and I do love me some Senator sound bytes,  it just would not be very interesting to talk about how we can’t look past this team, have to take games one at a time, that EMU has talented players…and so forth.  So instead it almost seems like a better idea to have a wish list of goals that would be nice to see.  More of a challenge like competition within our own team.  Obviously the primary goal is to win, but it would be really cool if we could dictate the process of the inevitable outcome.

Buckeye Goal List:

–          DOMINATE the line of scrimmage on offense.  This line needs some fire, last week was a team they should have shoved around.  This week is a team that should be bullied.  Let’s see it five stars and seniors.

–          a hundred yard rusher that is not named Pryor, with Saine injured earlier in the week (even though he is supposed to not miss any time)  it could be a chance for a breakout performance from either Hall or Berry.  Boom will get his carries too but increased time to the other guys could make for an interesting day.  Of course it really depends also on how well the O line plays, but have to have high hopes, now with Big Mike’s improved attitude and all.

–          A Shut Out.  This will probably not be too hard of a stretch for the starting defense as I am sure they will put together a smothering performance complete with stuffs, sacks, and turnovers – even with the dinged up secondary.  If the backups are in (which they should be) it could be tougher for them not to give up something but not out of the question.  On special teams this is somewhat of a crap shoot.  I keep hoping that they can/will get this problems corrected, but seeing would make for believing.

–          No more injuries.  It was insane watching Torrence, Howard and Evege all go down last week.  Torrence is expected back this week, but Howard is out for this game and Evege out even longer.  We do get Sweat back this week though.  No matter what though it would be awesome to get through this week with no starters (or any player for that matter) getting dinged.

–          A pick free day for Pryor.  I am not hung up on him getting big numbers on the day.   I would be totally stoked for him to get something like 10/15 for 200 and 2 TDs and sit the rest of the game.   But the key is for him to get through clean with no turnovers to get him back to the mindset of not forcing passes….regardless of the competition.

That is really all I can ask for.  I like to keep it simple.  As for the Buckeyes covering the 44 point or whatever spread I could care less.  Do I think that it could happen…yes, but it would have to be a shutout and at least 10 of those points scored by backups I would think.

Predicton:

Buckeyes – 38

EMU – 0

Tressel uses second half to work in a lot of people.