The Ohio State Buckeyes won today because Cal has a pathetic excuse for a field goal kicker. Period. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s nice to put a W in the record books, but Ohio State almost lost — perhaps they should have lost — to a team that just isn’t very good.
Don’t be swayed by the big plays; for much of the game the Buckeyes looked clueless on offense. Cal outgained the Buckeyes and easily won the time of possession battle. The offensive line isn’t very good right now, and the team seems to be incapable of moving the ball consistently on the ground through a traditional running game. The defense gave up a huge number of big plays and let a previously unknown, unused tailback make them look slow and stupid. The D experienced repeated failures at the most fundamental level — tackling. And the team as a whole played an undisciplined game, full of stupid penalties and cheap, embarrassingly chippy behavior. In short, the game was not a pretty sight for a Buckeyes fan.
Next week Ohio State plays UAB, and then it’s into the Big Ten schedule, starting with an away game at Michigan State. The Big Ten looks like it isn’t very good this year, but I’m guessing that teams like Michigan State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan are better than a Cal team that lost at home to Nevada earlier this year. If the Buckeyes hope to be competitive, they’d better get focused and get better — pronto.