I. Ohio State unleashed
In an explosion that no one saw coming, the Ohio State Buckeyes put up 481 yards of offense as they smashed Nebraska 63-38. I saw firsthand in this game a Buckeye team that proved they are more than just the Braxton Miller Show. While Miller was outstanding, with 16 rushes for a career-high 186 yards and a touchdown, OSU got contributions elsewhere too, which makes them a very dangerous team to play right now. Running back Carlos Hyde had 140 yards on the ground and 4 TDs and tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett combined for 85 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Throw in a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bradley Roby and an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown by Corey Brown and you have a team that now has multiple ways to beat you.
II. Big Ten: And then there was one
Coming into last Saturday, there were two undefeated teams left in the much-maligned Big Ten: Northwestern and Ohio State. The Wildcats of Pat Fitzgerald were looking for their first 6-0 start in 50 years, but they could not get it done in losing to Penn State 39-28. So it’s only the Buckeyes who remain perfect thanks to that 63-38 drubbing of Nebraska. The biggest thing to take away from OSU’s big win is to remember that Urban Meyer and company have this team playing motivated, championship football with zero chance of the postseason due to NCAA sanctions. Meyer is showing his true magic right now. You combine this kind of coaching with a couple more top-five recruiting classes and Ohio State may run out of room to hang championship banners in the next 10 years.
III. Florida State: C’mon man!!
I am on record in my week four edition of Rocky’s V declaring (like most every other pundit in the country) that the Seminoles were back. After dismantling three cupcakes to open the season, FSU eventually dominated a very good Clemson team followed by a win versus USF. But alas, their nemesis, the NC State Wolfpack came to play last Saturday and stunned the Seminoles with 17-16 win, and in the process crushed FSU’s dreams of a national title. This was an NC State team that just a week earlier had given up 650 yards to (what has turned out to be) a very average Miami Hurricanes team. But the Wolfpack made an improbable turnaround, shutting out the then third-ranked Seminoles in the 2nd half and scoring 17 unanswered points to pull out the victory. This is the fourth time Florida State has started a season 5-0 then lost its 6th game since the 1999 season, so Seminole fans can’t say they haven’t seen this before. An ACC title is still possible but hoisting that crystal-studded BCS championship football trophy at season’s end is no longer a reality.
IV. Happy for Penn State
After the nightmare of all off-seasons, Penn State came into this season looking for a new beginning and a start to reviving a championship program. But after going 0-2 with loses to Ohio University and Virginia, the dark cloud over the Nittany Lion program remained. Now, under head coach Bill O’Brien’s leadership, Penn State has won four straight, culminating in last week’s upset of the previously undefeated Northwestern Wildcats. To me, this shows the beauty of sports, particularly of college football. In only a short time, Bill O’Brien has seen the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, and I for one couldn’t be happier for Penn State right now.
V. Showdown in Baton Rouge this week
Even after stumbling in the Swamp last week, losing to Florida 14-6, LSU is a very good football team that will face a surging South Carolina Gamecocks squad in an SEC showdown this week. South Carolina is coming off a dominating performance of then 5th-ranked Georgia, winning 35-7. They are 6-0 for the first time since 1988 and are playing their best football of the Steve Spurrier era. The best part of this Gamecocks team is that they are led by a dominating ground game, not the “fun-and-gun” aerial assault that led the way for Spurrier’s Florida teams of the past. LSU must get its ground game going if it wants to contend in this contest after only rushing for 42 yards in the loss to Florida last week.
– Rocky Boiman
Rocky Boiman is an analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of NCAA Football. Each week in “Rocky’s V,” the former Notre Dame captain and Super Bowl champion writes about five topics that have captured his interest from around college football. This week, Rocky and John Sadak will be at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge to bring you all the action as LSU hosts South Carolina. Coverage begins Saturday at 7:30 PM Eastern on Westwood One Sports. You can also follow Rocky on Twitter.