College football is back, and all is right with the world.
For all they hype and promise that the Urban Meyer hiring brought to Columbus and our beat up, downtrodden fan base, the pessimist in me thought it would be impossible for Meyer and OSU to live up to the hype.
For one week, anyway, those concerns were swept away in a 56-10 destruction of Miami.
Granted, the first quarter was a bit disconcerting, but after that, it was a steamrolling that I've been wanting to see OSU do for 10 years. Jim Tressel, for all his accolades and accomplishments, would not have hung 56 on an Ohio school (he wouldn't hang 56 on anyone, he's just too much of a gentleman), and would've pulled up and brought in the second and third team guys early in the third quarter.
There's something to be said for that. There's nothing wrong with being a class act, and there's nothing wrong with sportsmanship.
There's also something to be said for sending a message to the rest of college football. And that's exactly what Ohio State did yesterday.
For 15 minutes, I'll admit I was a bit worried. The secondary made some mistakes, Miami made some plays, and the offense couldn't get untracked. But when Devin Smith pulled in that ridiculous 23 yard TD pass, that seemed to break the dam. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was something else, but after that catch, OSU seemed to relax and they took Miami to the woodshed.
It won't be this easy every week, and OSU will not win every game 56-10. Heck, they probably won't win every game. But for now, we're back...back in the high life again. Mr Winwood, if you would, please:
We'll have ourselves a time
And we'll dance till the morning sun
And we'll let the good times come in
And we won't stop till we're done
We'll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time
Will open up again
We'll be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched us once
Will smile and take us in
SMR, after the jump
Blue Chip Stocks:
Braxton Miller, QB: Miller shook off a very uneven start to finish 14/24 with 207 yards and 2 TD's passing, and another 161 yards rushing, to include a dazzling 65 yard run and juke TD on the first play of the third quarter. This was the kind of potential we thought we would see last year, but never materialized. After shaking off what looked to be early nervousness, Miller ended up having a very good game.
Urban Meyer, Head Coach: Meyer is living his dream right now, and I was happy to see that he wasn't too critical of the first quarter in the grand scheme of things. The Meyer of the past would've focused on the negative too much, but he seemed to have everything in it's proper perspective. At least after one game and a convincing win, he has everything in perspective, or seems to.
The Offensive Line: When you have a converted tight end as one of your starters, it's safe to say that this could be an area of concern heading into the season. For one game, they looked pretty good. The running game got yards in chunks, they did a good job protecting Miller and Kenny Guiton, and acquitted themselves well.
The Much Maligned Wide Receivers: Devin Smith had the highlight of the day, and quite possibly the year, but how about the job Philly Brown did? He had 7 grabs for 88 yards, a TD catch, and set up Devin Smith's highlight with a 38 yard catch and run. Meyer himself said that WR was the big area of concern when he took the job, and they made big strides yesterday. Converted TE Jake Stoneburner only had two catches for 28 yards, but he is going to be a bigger contributor as the season goes on.
The Freshmen Defensive Line Recruits: What got most people fired up about the Meyer hiring last season, besides the fact that it was, you know, Urban Meyer, was the way he turned around the recruiting class in such a short period of time. Adolphus Washington signed just on the rumor that Meyer was going to get the job, and Noah Spence was one of Meyer's first 'flips'. They both recorded sacks yesterday, and gave us a mouth watering glimpse of things to come.
Carlos Hyde, RB: With Jordan Hall out, running back depth was a big concern, but Hyde eased a lot of those worries yesterday. Miller stole the show, but Hyde got some tough yards between the tackles, and rarely went down at first contact. Overall a very good day with over 80 rushing yards and two TD's.
The First Quarter: C'mon, admit it--after 15 minutes of play, you were writing a sternly worded email to Gene Smith demanding that Urban Meyer resign. I went out to my shed, found some lighter fluid, and was waiting for a buddy to come over to help me move my couch out to the porch. Luckily, the next three quarters happened, and drastic action wasn't required.
Buy: Going For It On Fourth And Goal At The End Of The Half. Yes, Carlos Hyde was stuffed and OSU got no points as the clock ran out, but I loved...LOVED...the aggression. We all know what would've happened in seasons past, and on another day in other situations against different opponents Meyer could very well settle for a field goal, but the message that was sent is clear: We are going to go really hard, all the time.
Sell: Not seeing as much Zack Boren As I Thought We'd See. Is it nitpicky? Yeah, it is. After the way Meyer talked up how he was going to utilize him, I was mildly surprised when he wasn't targeted more. But hey, there's 11 more games to go. But my #ZackBorenForHeisman hashtag is going to be tough to get trending if this will be the norm.
Buy: Kenny Guiton As A Guy That Could Start. I'm not trying to start a QB controversy, nor am I saying Guiton is better than Miller, but I am saying that Guiton could start and do very well if pressed in to service. After the soul-scarring Joe Bauserman era, I don't ever want to see OSU put in to a situation where a guy like that has to play significant time. Ever. Again.
Sell: The 'Quick Cals' 23 Minutes Before The Game. I like that Meyer is trying to start some new traditions at OSU, and that he reveres the current ones. And I'm not saying the quick cals won't grow on me, but after watching the video from the BTN, I was just kind of 'meh' about it. Maybe it felt better in the stadium, but it just seemed out of sync or something. if you were in the 'Shoe, please feel free to tell me I was wrong on that.
Buy: Devin Smith's Catch: I'll admit that most of OSU's non-conference games are emotionally flat for me, for the most part. I love the Buckeyes, and I love the fact football is back, but after the first couple minutes, I don't get too worked up or too bummed out as the game ebbs and flows in these early non-con games. However, I lost my mind with what
Cris Carter Smith did on that catch. Ree-Dam-Diculous.
Overall, it was a very good day to be a Buckeye. The offense got untracked, the Silver Bullets looked, for the most part, to be back, and the Urban Meyer era got off to about as good a start as one could hope. I'm giving the Buckeyes a strong 'buy' rating after one week, and I fully expect this stock to keep rising.