Don't sleep on Ohio State's chances at USC
Have you heard that Ohio State is visiting the Coliseum this Saturday night to play USC?If not, you must have been locked in on the round-the-clock obsession with the presidential race on all the 24 hour "news" channels. In that case, heaven help you. But, yeah, it's the Bucks and Trojans in 2008's regular-season "Game of the Century." The only reason that there isn't more hype is that too many fans believe Ohio State is really overmatched. I don't agree. True, winning a road game in the Coliseum is the hardest chore in college football these days. Unless you creep in as a 41-point underdog and catch Pete's guys in a stupor (hello, Stanford).
2. The Swamp: Loud and nasty, but a bit disappointing last Saturday night. The fans never seemed worried about Miami, and the place never reached peak electricity. When LSU gets there, I suspect it will be vintage Florida Field.
3. Tiger Stadium: When it's not raining, for a change. Lately, when we visit, the weather gets ugly. When I stay dry, I love the place.
4. Beaver Stadium: I love the white-out thing. The next one planned is for Illinois on Sept. 27. It is unrecognizable since my childhood days of watching the Lions in the old horseshoe-shaped place, but Penn State's student section is awesome.
5. Autzen Stadium: Beautiful setting. Mysteriously loud, given its modest size. I'm not a structural engineer, but it's something about the acoustics. Just missing the cut: Kyle Field at Texas A&M and Folsom Field in Colorado. (Hey, it's alumni bias, but the backdrop of Boulder's foothills is pretty special). Used to make the list: the Orange Bowl. Gone forever, never to be replaced.
The BCS-buster derby is onFor the moment, there are four legitimate at-large contenders from three different conferences. Voters have shown a willingness the past two years to reward an undefeated season. Boise State and Hawaii made the big time despite not beating a ranked opponent in the regular season. Will the Rainbows' woodshed beating from Georgia make pollsters think twice this year? Maybe.
Off The TracksA special screening of the new movie "The Express" on Friday night in Syracuse serves not only to honor the film's subject, Ernie Davis, but also to illustrate how far off the tracks the Orange have skid. When Davis and Jim Brown were rambling through defenses, Syracuse mattered. A lot. It was a symbol of racial tolerance and diversity and a darn good program. When Donovan McNabb was mesmerizing people, the Cuse mattered simply because it was good. The film, which carries the central theme of triumph over racism, will cause tremendous unease in places like Texas and West Virginia. Scenes depicting ugly treatment of Davis and his teammates by players and fans in those places are uncomfortable to watch. These days, the performance of the Syracuse team is tough to watch. And don't expect any sympathy from Joe Paterno on Saturday. Syracuse has always been an important game to him. The old days of battling Ben Schwartzwalder and Dick MacPherson for the Lambert Trophy are still very fresh in JoePa's ageless brain. Lions fans of a certain age would love to see their team punish the Orange for having the impudence to challenge State's eastern supremacy in decades gone by. I think they will get their wish. Next week's Northeastern game is Homecoming at the Dome. Good call. It looks like Syracuse's only chance to avoid 0-12.
Just AskingWhy is Baylor a home underdog to Washington State? I am not sure Wazzu should be expected to win any road game anywhere right now. Pac-10 coaches are almost unanimous is stating how far down the Cougs seem to be. It takes real dedication for various alums to bring the omnipresent Wazzu flag and wave it behind our "GameDay" set each week! I applaud the spirit, in the face a huge rebuilding challenge in the Palouse. But I gotta go with the Bears to pull the mild upset Saturday. Saying "I told you so" gives me no pleasure. In fact, I hate when my wife (not to mention Corso or Herbstreit) are quick to point out when they foresaw something. So I won't mention (or maybe I will) how certain I was that overzealous officials would step in and follow orders to more sternly enforce the unsportsmanlike conduct rule at an inappropriate time.
Chris Fowler is the host of ESPN's "College GameDay." Kick off each Saturday with "College GameDay" at 10 a.m. ET to get the latest news on college football.
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Showdown In The Coliseum
National championships. Heisman winners. Storied histories. Ohio State and USC seem to have it all. No wonder their Saturday meeting (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) is a hot ticket. Showdown In The Coliseum
No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 1 USC
• Maisel: Rules of attraction
• Forde: Tale of the tape
• Rittenberg: OSU's athletic LB tag team
• Miller: USC's physical force
• Fowler: Bucking the trend
• I-Formation: Deep impact at USC
• Forde: Dash of excitement
• Schlabach: QBs under the microscope
• Who Has The Edge At QB?
• Who Has The Edge At RB?
• Expectations for Mark Sanchez
• Which Ohio State team will show up?
• Field Pass: Beanie Wells
• ESPN Road Trip: Day 2
• Vote: Ohio State or USC?