Tony's Tip Sheet

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Last updated: 09/22/2011 2:55 AM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet
By Tony Gerdeman

I never thought I would see the day, but it appears that the Tip Sheet has been rendered pointless.

As we all know, the purpose of the Tip Sheet is to let you know what the Buckeyes need to have happen in order to get to the BCS National Championship Game. That doesn't seem like much of a possibility this season.

So, in an effort to remain relevant and continue to justify my existence, we will now focus on what needs to happen for the Buckeyes to make it to the Big Ten Championship Game. With, of course, some other fodder mixed in.

Though if the Buckeyes start out 0-3 or 0-4 in conference play, things might start to get ridiculous around here.

Thursday September 21

Teams: NC State (2-1) at Cincinnati (2-1)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Cincinnati

We're cheering for Cincinnati because we are an empathetic people. We feel bad for the Big East and its eventual destruction. Once the Big East dies, what will happen to Cincinnati? The SEC and ACC already turned West Virginia down, and if they don't want the original West Virginia, clearly they won't want Ohio's version of West Virginia. I'll go ahead and confidently take the Bearcats in a bit of a shootout. The Wolfpack can't stop anybody, and with Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead averaging 9.5 yards per carry, I don't see it starting now. Cincinnati 41 - North Carolina State 27

Saturday September 22

Teams: Notre Dame (1-2) at Pittsburgh (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Notre Dame

You may not want to cheer for Notre Dame, but remember, a vote for Pitt is a vote for Mark May. Pitt choked so bad in last week's loss at Iowa that they still can't eat solid foods. They'll be able to run a bit with Ray Graham, but they'll be down too much to rely on him to win the game. Notre Dame 34 - Pitt 17

Teams: North Carolina (3-0) at #25 Georgia Tech (3-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: Georgia Tech

We're cheering for Georgia Tech because we just can't stand to cheer for programs who break the rules as blatantly as North Carolina. Or Michigan. Sure, Georgia Tech got in trouble with the NCAA, but they're actually an academic institution, so you know their heart is in the right place. Whereas North Carolina is just a place where you can wear the same clothes for three weeks straight and nobody thinks any worse of you. By the way, if you haven't looked at Georgia Tech's passing stats yet, you might want to take a seat before you do. Quarterback Tevin Washington is averaging 37.5 yards per completion. I haven't seen him play yet, but he must be an absolute magician with the ball fakes. North Carolina has the talent to make things more difficult on the Jackets than they have been to this point, but this offense might be so effective right now that it won't even matter. Georgia Tech 38 - North Carolina 30

Teams: Eastern Michigan (2-1) at Penn State (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Eastern Michigan

The quarterback situation at Penn State is so bad that Buckeye fans can still point and laugh. Though admittedly that's like a dude who gets beat up by a girl pointing and laughing at somebody who falls down the stairs. But hey, funny is funny. Eastern Michigan provides an opportunity for one of the Nittany Lion quarterbacks to gain some confidence and take some chances. If that doesn't work, they can always revert to running the ball as the Eagles will have no shot at stopping it. Actually, that's not true. This IS Penn State we're talking about. Penn State 27 - Eastern Michigan 7

Teams: Central Michigan (1-2) at Michigan State (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Michigan State

The Spartans come into this game with the weight of a loss to Notre Dame on their shoulders. No doubt they will play the bulk of the game with their heads hung in shame. After this game, Michigan State's friends will invite them out for a night on the town, but still being in a funk, they will decline and sit alone in their apartment watching X-Files DVDs and eating corn chips. As far as the game itself, the Spartans will obviously win. Michigan State needs to find a way to run the ball, and may just have to pass to open up the run. Last year after three games they had rushed for 725 yards. This year after three games, they're barely over half of that number. Losing offensive linemen by the day isn't helping, of course. Michigan State 24 - Central Michigan 7

Teams: UL-Monroe (1-2) at Iowa (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Iowa

Last week the Hawkeyes scored 21 points in under ten minutes to make a miraculous comeback and pull off a stunning win against Pitt and the ghost of Dave Wannstedt. If the same thing has to happen this week Kirk Ferentz should be fired on the spot and made to tour the state with the old CyHawk Trophy. The Hawkeyes are throwing the ball fairly well and have been aided by the emergence of receiver Keenan Davis, who gives Iowa two legitimate targets. As the passing game continues to progress, the struggles with the ground game should subside. Iowa 28 - UL-Monroe 10

Teams: San Diego State (3-0) at #22 Michigan (3-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Michigan

Michigan's offense is struggling. Fortunately, they're beginning to find something with the zone read, and San Diego State comes into Ann Arbor with the 98th ranked rush defense in the nation. Michigan could very well have two 100-yard rushers in this one, just like they did last week against Eastern Michigan. The difference between this week and last week, however, is that they might need every last one of those yards. Eastern Michigan rushed for 207 yards last week against the Wolverines defense, and they have terrible talent. San Diego State comes into this one with the nation's second-leading rusher, Ronnie Hillman, who is averaging 165.7 yards rushing per game. It's going to be a fascinating game to watch, but I just don't see Brady Hoke losing to the same players that he turned his back on without so much as a 'See ya later, suckers!' As an aside, this is now the third-consecutive year that Michigan has made it into the Top 25, which is probably like a record for them. Michigan 34 - San Diego State 23

Teams: #14 Arkansas (3-0) at #3 Alabama (3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Arkansas

We're cheering for Arkansas because everybody loves Bobby Petrino. Well, except for the fans of the 47 teams he has left in a shambles. This was a great game last year, as the Tide pulled a win out by four points. I don't expect this one to be so close. By the way, if you haven't heard, it's being reported that Duron Carter isn't going to be eligible to play for Alabama this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see him enter April's NFL draft, and even though there's no film on him, he won't even need to go to the Combine to get interest. Scouts will simply ask Nick Saban, 'Were you gonna cut him?', and if he says no, then they'll know he's a player. Alabama 28 - Arkansas 23

Teams: Colorado (1-2) at Ohio State (2-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC/ESPN2)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Ohio State

The Buckeyes have a lot of questions to answer, and the first question will be answered on their first snap from scrimmage. Joe Bauserman or Braxton Miller? If it's Bauserman, the team will have to wait for the booing to stop before they can even get a play off. I'm thinking there will need to be at least one timeout called, probably two. However, if Miller is given the nod, then it will become a happy atmosphere, an atmosphere that is easier to play in as well, one with less pressure. Plus, if Miller sucks, then Luke Fickell can look right into the cameras in his postgame and say something like, "I told you people! I ****ing told you!"

Teams: #7 Oklahoma State (3-0) at #8 Texas A&M (2-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2/ABC)
Interest: 3.5
Cheer For: Texas A&M

I know this should feel like a big game, but it just doesn't. This is a big game between two fake good teams. You know, your standard Big XII big game showdown. Actually, both teams are great on offense, but not great on defense. So, yeah, your typical Big XII big game showdown. I'm taking the better offense over the home field favorite. It's a crazy thought, I know. Oklahoma State 44 - Texas A&M 38

Teams: #11 Florida State (2-1) at #21 Clemson (3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 4
Cheer For: Clemson

Oh hey, a chance for Clemson to make a statement. Actually, it's really not. If Noles quarterback E.J. Manuel can't go, a win over Florida State isn't much of a statement, which is great news for Clemson, since they won't mess themselves before the game even begins. Florida State hasn't won at Clemson in a decade. Let's make that drought even longer. Clemson 24 - Florida State 16

Teams: Western Michigan (2-1) at #24 Illinois (3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Western Michigan

If Mikel LeShoure was still at Illinois, the Illini would be the second best team in the conference. Even without him, they may have a claim right now. There might actually be too much competence at quarterback to fall victim to a non-conference Zookening this year. The offense still needs to continue improving, but the pieces are there. However, the focus shouldn't just be on the offense, because the defense is only allowing 10.7 points per game right now. I think they'll give up more than that to the Broncos, but not enough to ever be threatened. Illinois 30 - Western Michigan 14

Teams: South Dakota (2-1) at #6 Wisconsin (3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: South Dakota

Barry Alvarez has done it for years, and Bret Bielema learned from the master. Ridiculously easy schedules are almost as big a part of Wisconsin culture as the cheese pacifiers given to newborns in all Wisconsin hospitals. Wisconsin 63 - South Dakota 10

Teams: #15 Florida (3-0) at Kentucky (2-1)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Kentucky

We're cheering for Kentucky because we like to be neighborly. Remember that one time we knocked on Kentucky's door and as a joke asked if they knew which type of wood was best for whittling? And then four hours later we were more educated on the topic than we could have ever imagined? Florida 30 - Kentucky 10

Teams: Vanderbilt (3-0) at #12 South Carolina (3-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Vanderbilt

Everybody loves Vanderbilt right now because the momentum in the program is so positive. People are just so happy with them! Like when a three-year old picks up their crayons without being asked. Oh joy! But things are about to get really real for Vanderbilt for the next few weeks. Go ahead and call Children's Services. South Carolina 34 - Vanderbilt 17

Teams: North Dakota State (2-0) at Minnesota (1-2)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (BTN)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: Minnesota

The last time these two teams played, the Bison (I don't know if that's North Dakota State's mascot or not, but it's probably a pretty good guess) came away with the 27-21 win. That was 2007 in Tim Brewster's first year. The Gophers also lost to such perennial powers as Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic. I can't see lightning striking again, especially since Tim Brewster is now on somebody else's sidelines. By the way, Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray is averaging 140 yards rushing in his last two games. That's probably a good baseline for him in this one--if he plays long enough. Minnesota 31 - North Dakota State 23

Teams: #9 Nebraska (3-0) at Wyoming (3-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (VS)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Nebraska

For some reason Nebraska didn't buy their way out of this game and make Wyoming come to them. I don't even know when this game was scheduled, but I'm assuming it was in return for a batch of trips to Lincoln, the last of which occurred in 1994. I can't think of any real reason to go to Wyoming unless you mistakenly thought you were going to Montana instead. I honestly think I could go to Wyoming with the intention of going to Montana, and even after buying a souvenir spoon that said 'Wyoming' on it still not realize that I didn't actually go to Montana. For me, if Wyoming and Montana were a tag team, they would be the ones that wore masks and would slip in and out of the ring undetected because you couldn't tell them apart. Nebraska 37 - Wyoming 10

Teams: #2 LSU (3-0) at #16 West Virginia (3-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: West Virginia

West Virginia can't run the ball, but I bet if it was moonshine they'd run the heck right out of it! Which makes me think that the key to beating LSU is to treat the Tigers like they're revenuers. They just have to chisel it into their minds that they can't let the revenuers catch them no matter what it takes. If that means heading full speed into a "Caution Bridge Out Ahead" sign with zero regard for how you're actually going to cross said bridge, then so be it. Never take your foot off the gas. Unfortunately for West Virginia, the sign should have read "Caution Bridge Out Ahead and Huge Freaking Wall is in its Place". If Geno Smith somehow pulls this out for the Mountaineers, then give him Denard's Heisman votes (since Denard won't need them after September). LSU 27 - West Virginia 20

Teams: Missouri (2-1) at #1 Oklahoma (2-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 (FX)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Missouri

Remember that one time when Missouri was relevant? That was awesome. I bet they look back on those days fondly. How much you wanna make a bet Chase Daniel can throw a football over them mountains. Oklahoma 52 - Missouri 20

Teams: #23 USC (3-0) at Arizona State (2-1)
Time (TV): 10:15 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Arizona State

I'm tired of hearing about Arizona State, and I wonder if USC is as well, not that USC pays attention to sports, being in southern California and all. There's just too much to do there to distract people from sports like sitting in traffic, or playing with air that you can actually touch and chew. I remember growing up there and having airball fights. You wouldn't think a ball of crusted gray air would hurt, but if you pack it well enough and then dip it in some water, you essentially have a cementy carbon ball that carries about the same mass as a ski-ball ball. Oh, the things to do there. And there are so many doorways to brace yourself in during an earthquake, it's just unbelievable. And there is probably no better place to live if you want to enjoy the excess of gang life. Stepping into the foyer of a crack house with a working changrelier is awe inspiring. USC 31 - Arizona State 20

Teams: #10 Oregon (2-1) at Arizona (1-2)
Time (TV): 10:15 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Arizona

Welcome to Oregon's comeback tour. On their first big stage of the year against LSU, they were exposed as frauds and fakers. They were dancing around on stage and the track that they were lip synching to started skipping. It was all over TMZ. It was tremendous. Now they are back and they're actually going to be doing their own singing. They're out to show everybody that they really do have talent. And they're going to do it by beating every inch of crap out of the Pac 12's colon. Like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube with a sledge hammer. Avert your eyes. Oregon 59 - Arizona 31.

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