What Masoli did to that Okie St defender is what the Buckeyes have coming to them
Ohio State (10-2) v. Oregon (10-2)
This game features two mobile QBs, one who supposedly gets to the edge (Terrelle Pryor) and the other who is estimated to be a physical runner (Jeremiah Masoli). That characterization is not entirely accurate. Pryor runs to the edge against slow defenses in the Big 10 and teams from lesser conferences. You cannot call Pryor fast if you watch him closely and objectively. Despite being 6'6", his stride is that of a sub-6 foot tall player. He appears to be in permanent jog mode when he runs the ball. Pryor has never run the ball further than 43 yards in his career and he's got a PCL tear that he will playing on in the Rose Bowl. Masoli doesn't just run hard, he runs wherever he wants, see the video above. Masoli is also the better of the two QBs at throwing the ball (Ohio State has the 106th ranked passing offense, Oregon is not much better at 92nd). Let's compare the two common opponents of Oregon St. and Ohio St.: Pete Carroll's Trojans and Purdue.
- Ohio St. lost to both teams, Oregon beat both teams
- Stat line v. the Trojans: Pryor 11/25 177 yards 0 TD, 1 INT, 10 rushes 36 yards (1 sack taken); Masoli 19/31 222 yards 1 TD, 0 INT, 13 rushes 164 yards, 1 TD
- Stat line v. Purdue: Pryor 17/31 221 yards 1 TD, 2 INT, 21 rushes 34 yards (2 lost fumbles, 5 sacks taken) 1 TD; Masoli 11/21 163 yards 0 TD, 0 INT, 14 rushes 84 yards (3 sacks taken) 1 TD
The big difference in the Purdue games (besides 4 Pryor turnovers) was that Ohio State ran for 66 yards and Oregon racked up 192 yards. In the games against the Trojans, the same thing applied (granted, Tressel went full sweater vest kicking FGs from the Trojan 1 yard line and 5 yard line), the Buckeyes had 88 yards on the ground and the Ducks had 391 yards rushing. Jim Tressel has lost 3 straight bowl games and is only 3-3 against Pac 10 teams (1-2 in the last 3 years). The best Pac 10 Tressel beat was Washington State in 2002--that Cougars team went 10-3 including a Rose Bowl loss. Oregon will have no problems running the ball on Ohio State but Pryor will likely struggle against Oregon both running and throwing. I look for the Ducks to completely dominate the Buckeyes in this game. Lincoln is taking Ohio State.
Cincy's secret weapon, TE Ben Guidugli
Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0) v. Florida Gators (12-1)
What are the Bearcats doing back in the BCS after they got smoked by Virginia Tech last year in the Orange Bowl? Well, they beat everybody on their schedule, won the Big East for the 2nd year in a row and finished 12-0. Had Hunter Lawrence sent his FG wide or more probable with kickers this season, off the upright, the Bearcats are in the National Championship. It wasn't always easy or pretty for Cincy but they made it to New Orleans. They also got Brian Kelly'd after the de facto Big East Championship. Florida won 22 straight games (including a BCS National Championship) after Tebow's promise. The first loss was when UF got handled by Bama in this years' SEC Championship. That's how they got to NOLA and they don't like it. Tebow cried on TV again. The fans weren't buying the tickets. Urban Meyer resigned and then unresigned.
Cincy has a high octane passing offense. The Bearcats QBs Tony Pike and Zach Collaros give this team the highest passing efficiency rating in the country. If they ran the ball better, they'd have the number one offense in the country instead of the 6th best offense. Their star WR is Mardy Gilyard. He also is the number 2 player in all-purpose yards in college football because of his explosive kick and punt returns. Gilyard is the leader of the team as well as its soul. The Bearcats are a reflection of his attitude. Thus far this season, he has refused to lose and made the big plays to keep Cincy in games they should have been out of. The Bearcats secret weapon, if they watched the SEC Championship tape, is TE Ben Guidugli. He is a capable pass catcher and runner. He had a huge day against Illinois with 7 catches for 149 yards and 2 TDs. Guidugli should see some throws his way to open up plays to Gilyard. The Bearcat defense is only a middle of the road group so the offense will have to be firing on all cylinders in order for Cincy to have a shot at the upset win.
Florida's Tim Tebow has played a larger role in the offense than the Gators wanted or needed this season. Steve Addazio's offense has been shaky all season in the redzone and left Gator fans perplexed. The Gator defense remains in the top 5 though. However, the defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is now the head coach at Louisville. The Gators offense is not one that precipitates power running outside of Tebow running at defenders. This plays into Cincy's hands because they had a heck of a time stopping teams with big physical running backs, see the games against UConn, Pitt and Fresno State. The spread offense is not one the Bearcats have struggled to defend. The Gators offensive and defensive players are still faster than Cincy. They have more skill players than Cincy. The Gators D is dominant. On paper there is no way the Bearcats have a chance in this game.
Since this game will not be played on paper but in the Superdome, what are the things that don't go into stat lines that could play a role in the game? The coaching situations. For Cincy, it won't be an issue without BK as head coach, Mardy Gilyard assures us of this. I believe him, the Bearcats play for larger things than one man and that man betrayed them anyway. The Gators want to send Meyer into his indefinite leave of absence with a win. They have also lost assistant coaches before the bowl game. The Gilyard factor. No matter what happens during a game, he won't get rattled. Gilyard used to live in his car and work four jobs while trying to get his scholarship back. The Gators can't let up with a lead or they might just lose it. Disappointment. The Gators don't want to be in this game. Their goal was the National Championship game. I think they come out a little flat and give Cincy a shot to make something good happen right away.
This is more a pick from the heart and not the head. I know I should pick Florida, but I appreciate what Mardy Gilyard does for Cincy much more than I will ever like any Gator player. I'm going with the Bearcats. Lincoln has safely picked the Gators.