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September 19, 2008 - Seth Staskey
A lot of area football fans thought this could be the season where the Ohio State Buckeyes and West Virginia Mountaineers meet with the BCS National Championship on the line.
Well, that idea will have to wait for another season (at least). The Mountaineers -- who suffered their second straight loss -- are officially out of the title chase with two losses and the Buckeyes are all but out of it after getting drilled 35-3 to USC last weekend in L.A.
What's gone wrong? Well, for WVU, you can say it starts with the turnover in coaching staff. Rich Rodriguez left and yes the Mounties won their bowl game last year, but they were riding a wave of excitement and still had the same players. Now some of the personnel is different and the ideas and philosophies are different.
With the Buckeyes, it's really hard to tell. Some of the problem lies with coaching in my humble opinion. Jim Tressel is a first-class guy and a top-notch coach, but you'd better be able to adjust to some things in big games and that's not happening right now. The offensive play calling against the Trojans was vanilla. It was a run, run, pass and normally punt approach. This isn't 1960 anymore, you'd better be a little more creative than that.
Some of the problem lies with the players, the offensive line has had trouble blocking, Beanie Wells is hurt, the defense doesn't seem to be as fast or furious as was expected and Todd Boeckman is showing his worth. The question comes to mind about the latter is the fact that Boeckman heard all about frosh sensation Terrelle Pryor coming to Columbus has badly regressed. I am not saying, by any means, he threw in the towel or anything, but something has happened to this guy. He was lights out through much of the season last year, but then ESPN and other national outlets starting talking Heisman Trophy and he went down hill from there. And has yet to recover.
Well, even though the national championship appears to be gone for both schools, at least a berth in the BCS is still alive. Ohio State is still the odds on favorite to win the Big 10, but the Mounties isn't as cut and dry. Remember, this is a team that lost to Pitt last year and South Florida. Also, this team must face top-10 ranked Auburn on a Thursday later in the season. Several more losses could be forthcoming for the Mounties.
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