The hypocrisy of the NCAA will be on full display tonight as the Ohio State Buckeyes take a full allotment of players into the Louisiana Superdome to face the Arkansas Razorbacks, despite five players receiving legitimate suspensions which will not be enforced until next year. It is clearly all about the money. Then the added underlying story of the Big Ten’s recent struggles against the SEC, and bowls in general this season, only add to the pressure and defiance Ohio State shall face. One of the more interesting BCS matchups has now been marred by these two instances only sullying the process.
3 keys from scouts
1 Tat five. Four of the five players which received illegal benefits will have a direct impact on this contest. They include Ohio State’s starting quarterback (T. Pryor), running back (D.Herron), left tackle (M.Adams), and team’s second leading receiver (D. Posey). Each is very talented in his own right. Two play premiere positions on the football field. The combined production of the three skill position prospects tally over 5000 total yards and 51 touchdowns. When the decision was made to allow the transgressors to play, the NCAA and Sugar Bowl officials knew exactly how these names will affect the outcome of this particular game.
2 Mistake prone. Pryor’s affect, along with Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, may not be entirely positive. Both are tremendous talents playing behind center. Pryor is a premiere athlete at the position. Mallett’s arm has no equal. Both have shown a tendency to make ill-advised throws in crucial situations on the field. This year alone Pryor’s completion percentage was 50 percent, and he threw three interceptions, against the three most talented defenses the Buckeyes faced. Mallett was much better statistically against all of his opponents but still had his struggles against the best. His completion percentage was much better as a junior than during his sophomore campaign facing top defenses. He still threw five interceptions against Alabama and Auburn. His throws cost his team a win against the Tide. Again, both are blessed with unbelievable ability, but they can be rattled.
3 Discrepancy in defense. The famous SEC speed has given Ohio State its troubles over the years, but Arkansas rarely faces a defense as talented and disciplined as the Buckeyes. Coach Tressel’s unit ranks second in the nation. They are third against the run and sixth against the pass. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks are not *quite* as good. They are 32nd in the nation and surrender nearly 90 more yards per game on average than Ohio State. Arkansas can rush the passer if given the chance.
Bold Prediction: The Big Ten’s fragile ego is on display. Unfortunately for Buckeye fans, Mallett is a superior talent at quarterback compared to Pryor. The way these two signal callers play dictates each team’s success. Ohio State will get into Mallett’s face, and they could rattle the big gunslinger, but he has faced as good and still posted numbers. Whereas Pryor has fallen flat on his face in multiple big games. Ohio State would prove less winning this game than they would losing without the suspended players. Karma should be in full effect. Arkansas 34, Ohio State 28.
|1st||Cameron Heyward||DE||97||4Sr||Large, athletic lineman with a great amount of upside potential. Possible two gap lineman in a 3-4. Better athlete than given credit for. Not a great pass rusher but a terrific defensive lineman.|
|2-3||Mike Adams||T||75||3Jr||The next great left tackle from the Ohio State program. Athletic, agile and a terrific pass protector with the footwork to slide out off the edge and block speed rushers.|
|2-3||Ross Homan||ILB||51||5Sr||Smart, intelligent linebacker that understands the game. Not a great athlete yet gets the most from his assets.|
|2-3||Mike Brewster||C||50||3Jr||Terrific blocker on the pivot with a complete understanding of the game. Plays with great quickness, intelligence and intensity. Outstanding shot gun snaps. Not a mauler but understands positioning and angles. Effective in motion.|
|3-4||DeVier Posey||WR||8||3Jr||Large, physical receiver that flashes the ability to separate downfield. Very raw in many of his techniques but has a great upside.|
|3-4||JB Shugarts||T||76||3Jr||Solid strong side prospect.|
|3-4||Chimdi Chekwa||CB||5||5Sr||Strong, physical corner that shows flashes. Top athlete but lacks instincts and never really improved his game from the ’08 season.|
|4th||Devon Torrence||CB||1||4Sr||Nice number two or three corner for the next level. Needs to iron out his mechanics but has an upside.|
|4th||Terrelle Pryor||QB||2||3Jr||Terrific athlete that really needs to prove he can be a passer.|
|5-6||Justin Boren||C||65||5Sr||Transfer from Michigan who can play center or guard. Effective when he plays with good fundamentals but looks unathletic at times and really did not impress us this year. Looked sensational in ’08.|
|7th||Jermale Hines||S||7||4Sr||Underrated zone safety that can be an intimidating force. Lacks great ball skills but effective between the numbers or downhill.|
|7-FA||Brian Rolle||ILB||36||4Sr||Undersized defender that projects as a one-gap linebacker or possible strong safety. Fast, explosive and covers a lot of area on the field but small.|
|7-FA||Bryant Browning||G||70||5Sr||Solid small area blocker that improved his game this season. Potential back up for the next level.|
|7-FA||Dane Sanzenbacher||WR||12||4Sr||Tough, smart wide out but a one speed receiver. Projects as a number five in the NFL.|
|FA||Dexter Larimore||DT||72||5Sr||Hard working interior lineman with marginal upside.|
|FA||Brandon Saine||RB||3||4Sr||Non–instinctive ball carrier with solid physical skills. Lethal pass catching threat.|
|1st||Ryan Mallett||QB||14||4Jr||Proto-typical pocket passer with a rifle arm. Needs to develop his game yet offers incredible upside. Character issues with throw up red-flags.|
|3rd||DeMarcus Love||T||65||5Sr||Adequate blocker with potential at a number of spots on the offensive line.|
|3rd||Greg Childs||WR||85||3Jr||Developing receiver with a big time game. Terrific size, reliable hands and a lot of upside.|
|4th||D.J. Williams||TE||45||4Sr||Athletic pass catcher that lacks the pure ht/wt for the next level. Possible H-back or move tight end.|
|7-FA||Ray Dominguez||G||73||5Sr||Underrated blocker best at guard in confined quarters|
Angry Game Preview: Brent Sobleski
Prospect Preview: Tony Pauline