Sugar Bowl Preview: Ohio State vs. Arkansas

2011 BCS Bowl Previews: BCS National Championship | Fiesta Bowl | Rose Bowl | Orange Bowl | Sugar Bowl

Date: Tuesday, January 4 2011
Time: 8:30PM ET

Why Watch: Because this may very well be Terrelle Pryor, Daniel Herron and DeVier Posey’s final game as Buckeyes after they were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season after receiving improper benefits. Assuming there’s a NFL season next year, you have to wonder if all three will consider forgoing their senior years at Oho State to go pro. Either way, they’ll be in uniform for the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas and for now, that’s all that matters for college football fans (or the NCAA for that matter, which didn’t want ratings to suffer by suspending OSU’s best offensive players). The Buckeyes are 0-9 against SEC teams in bowl games and will face a Razorback squad making its first BCS Bowl appearance in school history. Fans that want to see a shootout may get one, as OSU averages 39.4 points per game and Arkansas averages 37.3 PPG. But the key may be OSU’s defense, which is allowing an average of 9.5 fewer points per contest than Arkansas.

Game FactsThe Buckeyes are 19-22 all-time in bowl games and finally broke a three-game bowl losing streak last year when they beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl. They haven’t played in the Sugar Bowl since 1998, when they defeated Texas A&M, 24-14. As previously mentioned, this will be Arkansas’ first appearance in a BCS bowl game and its first trip to the Sugar Bowl since 1969, when it lost 27-22 to Ole Miss. The Hogs are 12-22-3 all-time in bowl games, which includes a 20-17 overtime win over East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl last season.

Key Player: Knile Davis, Arkansas.
We all know about Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas passing game, but the balance that Davis adds is what makes the Razorbacks especially dangerous. Despite starting just seven of Arkansas’ 12 games, Davis managed to gain 1,183 yards and score 13 touchdowns. He’s also a First-Team All-SEC selection and if he can get things going on the ground, that will open things up for Mallett in the passing game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

NCAA rears its hypocritical head with Ohio State suspensions

First, the news: Terrelle Pryor and four other Ohio State players, including star receiver Devier Posey and star running back Daniel “Boom” Herron, have been suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits.

There were items sold and money made. There’s also some word about some free tattoos. The NCAA is forcing the players to repay the money to charity. OK, that’s fine. They screwed up, they have to suffer the consequences, we get it. It might seem a little harsh, but rules are rules, right?

Well, in the NCAA that’s a matter of opinion.

First of all, the players have not been suspended for the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas because there was a misunderstanding of the rules. To some, this might seem like a very transparent attempt to have Ohio State’s best players available for the game, which figures to be a huge money maker. If you’re thinking that, you’re right.

The NCAA and the BCS — two separate entities, mind you — are consistent when it comes to one thing, and one thing only: We make money, you don’t. It’s that simple, and until we all just accept it, we’re going to spend a lot of time getting pissed off about things like this. Not that we shouldn’t be pissed off, but I’ve found the games are more fun to watch if I just pretend the NCAA and the BCS don’t exist when it comes to college football.

Then there’s the whole, “Hey, didn’t the NCAA find wrongdoing in the Cam Newton case, but not suspend him at all?” Why yes, that’s also true. Sure, these are two different transgressions, but transgressions nonetheless. The NCAA interpereted its own rules to allow Newton to play for Auburn. The fact that he’s the best player on perhaps the nation’s best team probably had everything nothing to do with it.

Newton — the NCAA, SEC and Auburn decided — didn’t know what was going on behind his back as his father shopped him for $180,000 to Mississippi State. Newton’s ignorance of the situation wasn’t not knowing the rules, his was not knowing his own father was shopping him. Completely different.

There is one thing that’s similar in these two cases, however. The BCS and the NCAA don’t suffer anything when it comes to their bottom lines, as Newton gets to keep playing, and will be in the NFL by the time the NCAA decides to actually make a real punishment in this case. Pryor, Herron and Posey, along with the other two Ohio State players, also get to play on the big BCS stage and keep the game against Arkansas interesting. Without them, who really thinks we have a competitive Sugar Bowl?

So yes, the NCAA does actually enforce its rules — when it realizes it’s not the only one making money, that is. And that enforcement is also subject to whether or not its BCS brothers will have as much of an opportunity to make money as possible.

Glad we’re all clear on that.

2009 CFB Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Check out our other 2009 college football previews.

Preseason Ranking: No. 6 in AP Top 25; No. 6 in USA Today Poll.

Key Returning Players: Terrelle Pryor (QB); Daniel “Boom” Herron (RB); Dane Sanzenbacher (WR); Jake Ballard (TE); Michael Brewster (C); Bryant Browning (OT); Jim Cordle (G); Thaddeus Gibson (DE); Cameron Heyward (DE); Doug Worthington (DT); Kurt Coleman (S); Chimdi Chekwa (CB); Anderson Russell (S); Ross Homan (LB).

Key Losses: Chris Wells (RB); Malcolm Jenkins (CB); Alex Boone (OT); Marcus Freeman (LB); Brian Hartline (WR); James Laurinaitis (LB); Brian Robiskie (WR); Nader Abdallah (DT); Rory Nicol (TE); Ryan Pretorius (K); Steve Rehring (G); A.J. Trapasso (P); Donald Washington (CB).

Player to Watch: Terrelle Pryor, QB.
After dazzling Ohio State and Big Ten fans with his dual-threat capabilities last year as a true freshman, Pryor enters his second season looking to become a more complete quarterback. Pryor completed 60.6 percent of his passes last year and amassed 1,311 passing yards with 12 touchdowns. He also rushed 139 times for 631 yards and six touchdowns. With a full season under his belt, the sophomore should have a better understanding of Jim Tressel’s dynamic offense. In fact, Tressel has waxed poetically about Pryor’s development this summer, claiming that his sophomore signal caller is the same athlete he was last year, but 10 times the quarterback. If that’s true, the Big Ten is in massive trouble.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts