Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Buckeyes needed the opponent had to be LSU

If you are a true Ohio State football fan and not just someone who screams I O at bars, then LSU is exactly the match-up that you wanted. And for many reasons.

The first and foremost is that black eye Florida gave the Buckeyes last year has not gone away. All season it has allowed Ohio State to be ridiculed. The SEC has absolutely no respect for Ohio State or for the Big Ten because of that embarrassment. It has allowed the SEC and its fan base and media slurpers to declare Ohio State would not even finish .500 in their conference. And Ohio State hasn't been able to say otherwise. (However I would like to see some of these SEC teams try to win in nasty Midwest weather-- those pretty quick slants aren't so easy to come by in sleet)

To win back respect, the opponent in the title game had to be from the SEC. A win over Oklahoma, Missouri or West Virginia would have done nothing to stop the stream of trash talk from the South. I know the SEC likes to think they have the best football and with the effort of the majority of the Big Ten it is hard to argue otherwise. Because of the Florida debacle-- you can't make the argument do they play defense down south. LSU is supposed to have this great defense. I haven't seen it. But maybe every offense down there is NFL ready as thier loyalist fans seem to believe.

Ohio State had to play an SEC team and I think they got the right one. The Tigers are going to have a home game by playing in the Sugar Dome in New Orleans. All the odds are stacked against the Buckeyes and that is how it should be. (Although I really wanted Miles to go to Michigan- if you have watched LSU play this year-- he lost two games and tried to lose two others-- otherwise his kids may have been undefeated) I figure the point spread will be pretty high. In fact I expect the buildup to the game will be the exact opposite of last year.

But do not kid yourself, this is the most important game in the history of the Big Ten. Bar none.

If Ohio State gets blown out-- it will be a long time before the conference ever gets respect again. Big Ten football has become a joking matter for the rest of the country and if Ohio State gets destroyed it will get the ultimate punchline.

Like the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, the Buckeyes will be heavy underdogs, I expect the talk leading up to the game will be if LSU wins a close game- should Georgia, Oklahoma or even Hawaii with a huge upset over Georgia (something I really want to see) should be the non-BCS share of the title.

Let everyone talk. But it is time for the Buckeyes to put up or shut up. For themselves and the reputation of an entire conference.