Don't let the brazen Ohio State commenters fool you. Buckeye Nation is worried. They feel backed into a corner. They know the days of dominating an average Big Ten are behind them. They know that they cannot compete with the nation's best. I think two national championship flops and a throttling at the hands of USC proved that.
Through the four weeks of 2008, it looks like Ohio State has regressed. And while the following can't be said for the entire conference, it's clear Minnesota has taken steps forward. Simply put, Ohio State fans fear a changing of the guard. Right now, they fear a loss to the Gophers.
So, as you traverse the blogosphere looking to engage Ohio State fans, don't be surprised if they come across, well, like Kentucky basketball fans. And by that I mean entitled. This isn't really a criticism. It's just reality. The Buckeyes have been a national power for years, but the fanbase is uncomfortable. Want proof? Right now they are taking aim at Jim Tressel.
Just look at this blog post from the Columbus Dispatch. Ohio State fans are clearly complaining (via emails to writers) about the team's lack of speed, predictable play calling and Tressel's better-late-than-never move to start Terelle Pryor.
Minnesota fans, Buckeye Nation is nervous. They're worried about the maroon and gold. Enjoy it!
- Columbus Dispatch blogger Rob Oller in tongue-in-cheek manner I think, writes that in the eyes of the national media Ohio State is now irrelevant. I agree. And just wait until Saturday at around 3 p.m. eastern time!
- Sticking with Big Ten Country, they suggest Minnesota has no chance Saturday, then go on to write the following. Way to cover your bases, fellas!
Now take the Golden Gophers. They've beaten Bowling Green decisively, the same Falcon team who won in Pitt--which is the same place Iowa lost. Are you following all that? It's a verbose way of saying that in matchups by proxy, Minny is faring pretty well right now and they've got a young quarterback playing well. I'm trying to resist reading too much into this, as Ohio State's struggles can be directly attributed to the before and after effects of the USC game. And I would be utterly shocked if Minnesota won. But let's say the Gophs play well and hang in the game into the fourth quarter. If that happens, the world in the Big Ten might be ready to get turned on its head.
- Brewster tells ESPN that DeLeon Eskridge isn't yet the featured back. Jay Thomas and Shady Salamon should also see carries at OSU. No surprise here. DeLeon should still be trying to prove himself.
- If you care what Glen Mason has to say about the 4-0 Gophers, Charley Walters has the details. He also touches on whether Mason can be an objective broadcaster right after he gets done serving as an honorary captain for the Buckeyes.
- Mike Lucas of the Madison, Wis., Capital Times points out what Ohio State is playing for: Winning three straight league championships outright.
- The Men of the Scarlet an Gray are clearly assuming Beanie Wells is going to be 100 percent on Saturday and will play like the most awesome running back ever. "If you feel bad for Minnesota fans, consider the poor Gopher front seven. The energy and anger Beanie built while being injured, watching his Heisman shot go by the wayside, and not being there for the SC loss is going to be taken out on the conference’s 9th ranked rush defense. I predict 972 yards of rushing, before he is spelled in the second quarter by Boom Herron."