When I was in grade school, I took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. It purported to measure proficiency in things like reading and math. Today at 3:30, the Ohio State Buckeyes take their own version of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. They’ll be lining up against the Iowa Hawkeyes looking to demonstrate the basic skills of blocking, tackling, running, and playing a full four quarters of football.
The Buckeyes are undefeated — which is an accomplishment in and of itself — but they haven’t been overly impressive, and it has their fans worried. They’ve beaten the two best teams they’ve played, Wisconsin and Northwestern, but they didn’t blow their doors off like people hoped they would. The Buckeyes clearly have talent, but it doesn’t look like they’ve fully gelled. The Buckeye Nation is hoping that happens today.
Iowa looks to be a decent team in a pretty weak conference. The Hawkeyes are 4-2, with losses coming to Northern Illinois and Michigan State. Iowa tries to run the ball — although they had no success on the ground against Michigan State — and plays pretty good defense. They’ll face an Ohio State team that can move the ball up and down the field with a lot of different weapons but also has been giving up a lot of yards and a lot of points.
Ohio State fans always assume that wins will occur and look ahead to whether Ohio State will make the National Championship game. The team, of course, can’t afford to do that. Today’s game against Iowa gives them a chance to continue to work on coming together, playing better defense against the pass, and being more consistent and focused on offense. The Buckeyes need to take the rest of this season one game at a time, and work on improving their basic skills from week to week. If they can do that — starting today against Iowa — the National Championship game will take care of itself.