Tomorrow night the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the USC Trojans in a clash of college football titans at Ohio Stadium. I am certain that many Ohio State fans are viewing the game with some trepidation, because Ohio State got waxed by the Men of Troy in L.A. last year, and Ohio State’s performance against Navy last week raises a lot of questions about Ohio State’s offensive and defensive lines. I am a football traditionalist who learned by watching Woody Hayes-coached teams. I therefore believe that the vast majority of football games are won by the team that is better at blocking and tackling, with the toughness and technique to win the battle of the trenches. Ohio State’s offensive and defensive lines will have to play much better this week if Ohio State hopes to beat the Trojans.
Even if Ohio State loses, I am glad that the Athletic Department is scheduling teams like USC, Texas, and other quality opponents for regular season games. I think if you want to be viewed as a premier program you need to play a premier schedule and prove that you can compete with the best teams in the land. Lately Ohio State has struggled with elite non-Big 10 opponents, but that doesn’t mean it should shy away from such contests. Excellent teams welcome challenges and rise to meet them. Respect has to be earned, and a win over the Trojans would go a very long way toward repairing Ohio State’s damaged reputation among college football fans. I’ll be watching, and rooting, and somewhere I think Woody Hayes will be watching, too.