The Sugar Bowl was played five months ago but that doesn’t mean University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino has gotten over the fact that five suspended Ohio State players were allowed to face the Razorbacks. The Buckeyes beat Petrino’s team 31-26 with starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas in their lineup after seeing their penalties pushed to the start of the 2011 season.
“There’s no question that I don’t understand how they were eligible to play in the game,” Petrino said Tuesday. “I just don’t, and I never will. They (the NCAA) kind of changed the rules for that bowl game.”
As a competitor Petrino said he was fine with Arkansas facing the best Ohio State players in the game even though it certainly was detrimental to his team.
For once The Ohio State Buckeyes might actually be doing something right when head coach Jim Tressel has asked that his two game suspension be bumped up to five games, the same that was handed out to his five players right before the Sugar Bowl. On the same night that the NCAA announced that it upheld the five game suspension for the players for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits, Tressel requested to the university he do the same amount of time.
Ohio State had suspended him for the first two games and fined him $250,000 after he failed to inform the university of potential major violations and signed NCAA paperwork saying that he knew nothing about those violations.
“I spoke with Athletics Director Gene Smith, and our student-athletes involved, and told them that my mistakes need to share the same game sanctions,” Tressel said in a statement. “Like my players, I am very sorry for the mistakes I made. I request of the university that my sanctions now include five games so that the players and I can handle this adversity together.”
The first two games are projected as easy victories against University of Akron Zips and University of Toledo Rockets, but the Buckeyes then face University of Miami Hurricanes, and University of Colorado Buffaloes and Michigan State University Spartans at home. The five players suspended are quarterback Terrelle Pryor, tailback Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, left tackle Mike Adams and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are suspended.
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features The Ohio State University Buckeyes taking on University of Arkansas Razorbacks in the 77th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl at Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Arkansas, 10-2, 6-2 SEC, Razorbacks were viewed as an SEC contender earlier in the season but on the biggest stages in SEC play came up short, falling at home to Alabama and then again at Auburn. Head coach Bobby Petrino has a balanced offensive attack as his team uses the pass to set up the run as they average 489.2 yards of total offense, with 338.4 coming via the pass.
Arkansas is led by standout quarterback Ryan Mallett who threw for 3,592 yards and 30 touchdowns. One of Mallett’s favorite targets is tight end D.J. Williams led the way among pass catchers with 49 receptions for 589 yard and 4 touchdowns. Mallet spread the ball around a lot this year as 6 different receivers had at least 4 touchdowns on the season.
The ground game is led by tailback Knile Davis and his 1,183 yards and 13 touchdowns for a huge 6.6 yards per carry.
Ohio State, 11-1, 7-1 Big Ten, The Buckeyes shared the Big Ten title with Michigan State and Wisconsin, and earned their 6th straight BCS Bowl bid and 9th overall, the most among all Division I schools. The lone loss on the season came in Madison against the Badgers but the team rebounded to win 5 straight to the first school in Big Ten history to win at least 10 games in six consecutive seasons.
Head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes, had an NCAA investigation on their hands that left five players status for this game in question, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor. However the five in question will be suspended for the first five games next season and were recently cleared to play in this game, providing they gave a commitment to return to Columbus next year.
Pryor’s suspension will cover the first five games of next season, so he will be under center tonight orchestrating an offensive that amassed almost 450 yards total per game, with tremendous balance. One of the few teams in the country with over 200 yards both rushing (219.7 ypg) and passing (229.2 ypg).
Pryor completed 65.8 percent of his throws for 2,551 yards and 25 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. When Pryor looked downfield he could either look left for Dane Sanzenbacker and his 52 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns or to his right for DeVier Posey,who will also sit the first five games in 2011, and his 50 catches for 778 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Tailback Dan Herron, who will also sit the first five games in 2011, rushed for 1,068 yards and 15 touchdowns on 5.6 ypc. Pryor got involved as well ranking second with 639 yards and 4 touchdowns.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools.
PICK: The Ohio State University Buckeyes
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the Ohio State University Buckeyes taking on the University of Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium.
Head coach Jim Tressel brings his Buckeyes into Madison as the number one team in the country with an overall record of 6-0 and 2-0 in Big Ten play. Tressel has his Buckeyes riding a 12 game win streak after easily beating Indiana 38-10 last weekend to earn his 100th victory at Ohio State.
Junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor, 1349 yards 15 touchdowns 3 INTs, is a main contender for the Heisman Trophy and the Buckeyes will only go as far as he leads them. He is also second on the team in rushing with 354 yards and has scored 3 touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Although the season rest on Pryor’s shoulders he does have help from junior running back Dan Herron, 355 yards 7 touchdowns. When Pryor goes to the air he has a pair of solid receivers in senior Dane Sanzenbacher, 411 yards 7 touchdowns, junior DeVier Posey, 364 yards 3 touchdowns.
The Buckeyes defense is once again stacked with All-American talent, highlighted by senior linebacker Ross Homan, 37 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, junior defensive linemen Nathan Williams, 24 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and senior defensive lineman Dexter Larimore, 16 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, are a huge reason why Ohio State are holding teams to 13 points per game.
Head coach Bret Bielema has his Badgers playing it’s first game against a number one team in Madison since 1997. It is just the ninth time ever that the Badgers have played host to the top team in the nation and they have only three wins in the previous eight encounters to show for it. Bielema has his team with a 5-1 overall record and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin’s success is hinged on it’s running game where they rank 11 in the nation and average 240.8 yards per game against its opponents. The Badgers are carried by a potent one-two punch from junior running back John Clay, 692 yards 9 touchdowns, and freshman James White, 485 yards 8 touchdowns. The two running backs are averaging 6.0 and 7.7 ypc.
Wisconsin is a running team but they have a very good quarterback in senior Scott Tolzien, 1,207 yards 7 touchdowns 2 INTs, who is completing 69.7 percent of his throws. When the senior quarterback looks to throw the ball he looks for fellow senior Lanc Kendricks, 391 yards 3 touchdowns.
The Badgers defensive has a tendency to give up the big play but still have some great players on that side of the ball. Junior defensive tackle J.J. Watt, 30 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and junior defensive tackle Louis Nzegwu, 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, do the most damage and should be paid attention to.
Ohio State holds a 53-17-5 advantage in the all-time series, including a 25-10-2 record in Madison.
PICK: The Ohio State University Buckeyes
“The Granddaddy of Them All” adds its 96th edition this New Year’s Day, as Ohio State Buckeyes from the Big Ten face the Pac-10 Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Rose Bowl is the oldest bowl game, beginning in 1902 and played continuously since 1916. This year’s combatants both come in with stellar 10-2 records.
Jim Tressel’s Buckeyes captured the Big Ten title for the fifth straight season, distancing themselves down the stretch with five straight victories to close out the regular season. OSU’s bowl resume consists of an 18-22 postseason record. The team will be participating in its fifth straight BCS bowl game and is making its first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1997. The Buckeyes are 6-7 all-time in 13 previous Rose Bowl appearances.
The Buckeyes have relied heavily on the run this season and the results are a gaudy 198.9 yards per game, on 4.7 yards per carry. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor leads the team in rushing with 707 yards and 7 scores. Tailbacks Brandon Saine has 694 yards, 4 touchdowns and Dan Herron has 558 yards, 7 touchdowns. The passing attack has taken a backseat in Columbus this season as Pryor has completed 55.8 percent of his passes this season for only 1,828 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Sophomore DeVier Posey is the top target with 52 receptions for 727 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The Buckeyes ranked fifth among the nation in total defense at 262.5 ypg. The Buckeyes were lead by linebackers Ross Homan 96 tackles and 2 sacks and Brian Rolle 91 tackles. Kurt Coleman amassed 64 tackles and 5 interceptions in the secondary. The ends where maned by Cameron Heyward 5.5 sacks and Thaddeus Gibson 4 sacks.
Chip Kelly has pushed all the right buttons in his first season at the helm at Oregon. The Ducks opened the year with a deflating loss at Boise State, but regrouped to win seven straight after that to regain their swagger. A shootout loss at Stanford put the Pac-10 title in jeopardy, but Oregon responded with three straight wins and clinched the conference title with a 37-33 win over rival Oregon State in the regular-season finale. Oregon is making its first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1995 and will be making its fifth trip to the event all-time, with a 1-3 record thus far.
The Ducks uses one of the nation’s most prolific ground games to wear the opposition down and it has worked to near perfection. Oregon ranks sixth nationally rushing the football, averaging 236.1 yards per game on an impressive 5.5 yards per carry.
The team lost starting tailback LaGarrette Blount for most of the season after Blount was suspended after one hittin quittin a Boise State player. It was OK for the Ducks as red shirt freshman and ALL-SGE-NCAA Football member LaMichael James took over the slack and rushed for 1,476 yards and 14 touchdowns, on 6.9 yards per carry after the third game of the season. The other devastating weapon on offense for Oregon is dual-threat quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. The junior signal-caller rushed for 659 yards and 12 touchdowns while throwing 2,066 yards and another 15 scores. Wideout Jeff Maehl had 686 yards and 6 touchdowns, but tight end Ed Dixon did a lot of damage with his yards after catch and blocking while finishing with 42 receptions for 551 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Oregon is giving up just 329.4 yards of total offense per game, while limiting opponets to 23 ppg with 32 sacks and 24 takeaways on the year. Freshman safety John Boyett has made an immediate impression on this team with 78 tackles and 2 interceptions. Safety Javes Lewis has 77 tackles, 2 interceptions while corner Talmadge Jackson has 4 interceptions. Linebacker Casey Matthews has 72 tackles, 2.5 sacks, Spencer Paysinger 72 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and Eddie Pleasant 50 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks while defensive end Kenny Rowe has 8.5 sacks with 11 tackles for loss.
The series between these two teams has been dominated by Ohio State, which has won all seven prior matchups. However, these two schools have met just twice in the last 41 years (1983 and 1987). The first-ever meeting took place in the 1958 Rose Bowl.
PICK: University of Oregon Ducks