The BCS Championship Game is finally upon us. And by upon us I mean 5 hours away.
So I'm wondering, because I haven't heard it addressed anywhere yet, anyone know if one of these conferences has any distinct speed advantage over the other?
Time to fire up the running diary. You know it's a big event when theclevelandfan.com rolls out this bad boy.
315pm- College Football Live hosts Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer are debating whether the hats worn by Les Miles or the sweater vests worn by Jim Tressel are an indication of how the game will play out. 51 days of this crap is worse than water torture.
322pm- Shelly Smith reports the LSU squad watched ‘300' last night until about midnight and woke up at 10am this morning. I wonder how many beers, babes and police officers Tiger QB Ryan Perrilloux hit in the hours in between.
330pm- Jesse Palmer predicts a ‘great match up' and an LSU victory based on the fact the game is essentially a home game for the Tigers. What conference did Jesse play out of again?
359pm- Fans of one team or the other will want to dial into this after the game. God only knows what kind of things you'll see.
540pm- If the football game is half as entertaining as this live Roger Clemens press conference on ESPN I am going to be thrilled. At least Clemens's attorney doesn't seem too slippery or devious.
630pm- The participants are gathering. Not in the Super Dome, but right here in the living room for the weekly game of T-R-O-U-B-L-E with the kids. No quarter asked and none given. We do this weekly not to build a sense of family but because it gets dark too early to take these kids into the paintball woods and truly show them how merciless they need to be to survive. The youngest girl still is hesitant about being mean and underhanded. But the middle girl is perfecting it.
750pm- Fresh off a board game victory I've got the kids in the pajamas and all the required supplies: Nyquil, Advil, Sudafed and ginger ale. Hopefully the flu is the only thing making me ill this evening.
750pm- I tune back in to ESPN just in time to see Clevelander Desmond Howard predict an LSU victory. Where did he go to college? Shut up Erkel. Obviously Lee Corso is the only sane man on the ESPN crew. He donned the Brutus mask and made the right call.
810pm- This rendition of the anthem may last longer than ‘Dark Angel' did on Fox.
813pm- My keys; Todd Boeckman has to be kept comfortable and has to keep LSU honest. If Boeckman is ineffective, Chris Wells is going to have a tough time of it. And the Bucks need to make LSU QB Matt Flynn uncomfortable all night in whatever manner needed. Whether it is a surge up front, with LBs blitzing or sending guys off the corners, Flynn needs to feel the heat. As always, turnovers are death to either squad.
817pm- LSU looked so much faster than OSU running onto the field. Just kidding.
822pm- It strikes me after watching my alma mater, BGSU, lose 63-7 to Tulsa that anything less demeaning than a loss like that probably won't hurt too bad. Makes 41-14 look a lot closer.
823pm- Coin toss. I always, always choose heads. Tails. I lose, LSU wins and they will defer.
827pm- We're underway. And Boeckman gets stomped as he attempts his first throw. He does recover to hit Bran Robiskie with a 3rd and 5 throw for an OSU first down.
830pm- I'm not gonna lie, Chris Wells looked fast enough on a 65yd TD run through the heart of the LSU defense. The world's oldest South African place-kicker, Ryan Pretorious, adds the extra point and they're bummed on the Bayou. 7-0 OSU.
That was a nice drive. Boeckman makes a big throw and Wells gashes the Tigers for 70 yards in the series.
835pm- LSU takes over on their 20yd line after a touchback on the kick.
836pm- On 3rd and 7 Flynn watches the snap from center go right by him for a 17yd loss. Bucks get the ball back near their 40yd line after a fine LSU punt. Make hay while the sun shines boys. LSU is battling a severe case of nerves offensively and may be reeling a bit defensively right now too.
840pm- Yeah, just like that. A 45yd throw and catch to Brandon Saine to the LSU 15yd line. Saine is SEC fast.
843pm- The Buckeye drive fizzles after a false start penalty on Steve Rehring but Pretorious adds 3 points to the Buckeye side with a 30yd field goal. 10-0 OSU. This is going well, no?
847pm- Aaron Pettrey gets his second touchback of the first quarter and LSU is again at their 20yd line.
852pm- LSU is putting together a nice answer to the early OSU drives. Mixing the runs of Jacob Hester and some throws to Early Doucet the Tigers are at the OSU 12yd line. And there hasn't been much defensive resistance thus far. Hester is a monster folks. He doesn't ever fall where he's hit and it'd be wise to have more than one guy hit him.
Looking forward to the 3 hour halftime show so I can sleep, re-hydrate and self-medicate. I wouldn't wish this flu on Rich Rodriguez.
859pm- Vernon Gholston gets great pressure on Flynn on 3rd and long and LSU is resigned to take the field goal. 10-3 Buckeyes as the defense stiffened mightily inside their own 15yd line.
901pm- Maurice Wells returns the LSU kick to the OSU 27yd line with 2:15 left in the quarter.
903pm- Chris Wells has 5 carries for 87yds thus far and is getting 5yds per carry when he's not taking it 65yds for a score. Big10 strong and SEC fast? Did Mark May account for that?
905pm- Bucks will punt it away after picking up one first down but nothing more. LSU fumbles the punt but gets it back in the scrum afterward. That would have been extremely large.
End of the 1st quarter and OSU has a 10-3 lead. 2nd Quarter
911pm- Anderson Russell. Meet Jacob Hester. Enjoy the headache. Hester picks up 5yds and a first down through Russell.
913pm- Flynn beats a Buckeye blitz for 20+ yards and a facemask tacked onto the end of the play (the 2nd unsportsmanlike penalty in 3 plays) takes the Tigers deep into OSU territory. They score on the next play courtesy of a quick count TD pass from Flynn to Richard Dickson.
So much for momentum. We're even at 10-10.
919pm- Wow. Chris Wells just planted CB Chevis Jackson with a stiff arm on a huge gain. He's over a 100yds on the night and Boeckman hits Robiskie for another chunk of yardage.
921pm- Another personal foul sets the Buckeyes back to the LSU 45 after they had reached the LSU 30yd line. Boeckman gets a bunch back with a throw to Saine. Robiskie has a home run ball knocked away by Jackson and we're set up with an OSU 4th and 3. Interesting decision here. Time to think about it since LSU safety Craig Stelz is hurt.
926pm- Buckeyes choose to go the field goal route and watch Pretorious have it blocked setting up LSU at their own 34yd line. Momentum is clearly on the LSU sideline right now. I've never trusted 28 yr-old, junior, South African divorcees when a title is on the line.
930pm- LSU is driving again. Nice mix of runs and passes to inside the Buckeye 15yd line. Dare I say it, but Jacob Hester is very much a Big10 style runner and player. And the Buckeye defense could use a break and a sustained drive by the offense.
933pm- LSU has a 3rd and 5 from the 10yd line when Flynn rolls left and throws a beautiful ball to Brandon LaFell in the end zone. 17-10 LSU after the PAT and LSU has withstood the early Buckeye punches and delivered a few of their own.
This is one of those gut-check times you hear about. The Buckeyes need to answer and they need to settle in and quit stepping on their own feet with penalties. Throw in a cliché of your own.
Thom Brenneman tells us this is a very important drive for OSU. But I already told you that.
939pm- Uh oh. Boeckman lofts a ball for Small that's intercepted by Chevis Jackson and returned to the Buckeye 25yd line. Two plays later and the Tigers are at the 2yd line, first and goal.
945pm- Hester rams it in from a yard out on 3rd and goal and the Tigers have hung 24 unanswered on the Buckeyes. 24-10 and pundits across the country are smugly nodding their heads.
950pm- Buckeye receivers are getting no separation from LSU DBs despite facing mostly man coverage. That will need to change if OSU hopes to get back in the ballgame. Boeckman loses 15 yards and the football when he takes way too much time in the pocket. Rehring falls on the ball for OSU. The Bucks are forced to punt a play later as we hit the 1-minute mark in the first half. Did I mention LSU gets the 2nd half kickoff?
955pm- LSU is content to run out the last minute and head to the locker room up 24-10. the Buckeyes need a stop to start the 2nd half and they need to reassert their running game to get back in this football game.
Time for a Nyquil shot and a shower. The bowls allow for that kind of halftime luxury.
1010pm- Great. Not only are the Tigers of LSU peeing on my BCS parade but one of the family kittens decided to crap on the bath mat. The symbolism is jarring.
The good news at half-time is that OSU's Josh Huston out kicked LSU's David Browndyke in the alumni kicker challenge for a 100k OSU scholarship check. So we have that to hold over the head of the weak-legged SEC.
1017pm- What the hell is JaMarcus Russell wearing in his interview with Chris Meyers? Did he kill an African tribal leader?
Couldn't agree with Urban Meyer more. The first LSU drive is critical coming up. The Buckeyes can suck it up and claw back into the game or they can travel back in time a year to Glendale, AZ and listen to the brow beating for another season.
1025pm- LSU starts again at its own 20yd line after Pettrey's 3rd touchback. Just your basic 30-minute half time. Tell you in a few minutes if I wish it had been longer.
1030pm- LSU is spreading the Buckeyes out, content to run the ball and some clock. They're finding some success as well as they cross midfield.
1033pm- LSU is forced to call a timeout after Flynn is called for intentional grounding. It's 3rd and 23 after the penalty and the Buckeyes, obviously, need this stop.
And they get the stop as Flynn s forced to throw a short pass into the turf.
1035pm- The Buckeyes shoot themselves again as they rough the punter and give LSU the ball right back. On the first play after that, Cameron Heyward is whistled for another personal foul. What the Buckeyes are lacking in ability they're more than making up for with their lack of poise.
1039pm- LSU is down to the OSU 3yd line with a 1st and goal and this one has slipped away. Literally so as 2 Buckeyes let Doucet out of a tackle for loss and he walks into the end zone for a huge 31-10 lead after the Buckeyes had apparently stopped the Tigers at midfield.
This is déjà vu all over again. Just with Thera-Flu and Nyquil instead of Jim Beam and Jagermeister.
1047pm- The Buckeyes can get nothing going against the LSU defense after picking up a first down near midfield and they punt it back to the Tigers. Hopefully the clock is set to SEC speed and this game moves quickly and quietly toward its inglorious end.
1053pm- LSU slowly and steadily gets out of the shadow of their own goal. Hester is chewing up would be tacklers, yards and time.
1055pm- Wait just a second. Malcolm Jenkins intercepts a bad Flynn throw and returns it to the LSU 11yd line. That was about the only hope the Buckeyes had and LSU obliged. There's a gleam.
1057pm- On a 4th and 5 from the 6yd line Boeckman hits Robiskie for the score and the PAT makes it 31-17 LSU.
That was a huge lift for this OSU team. Only a LSU mistake was going to stop LSU. Now the Buckeyes, with a couple minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, have incentive to make another stop. And I'll be shocked if LSU throws the ball much more the rest of the way what with Hester picking up 6 or 7 yards every time he touches it.
1102pm- The Buckeyes are fired up as LSU starts form heir 30yd line. Flynn gets cracked on a keeper and Doucet picks up just 4 on an end around. Big 3rd down play coming up as we reach the 4th quarter.
1106pm- Too early for a ‘play of the game' call, but this is close. Flynn is flushed and gets 4 of the 6 yards he needed. LSU has a 4th and two and kicks it away. It reaches the end zone and the Buckeyes have the ball and some hope at their own 20yd line.
Fevers are fun. I'm sweating through my fourth shirt of the night. I'm actually convinced JaMarcus Russell's wardrobe was a fever-induced hallucination. It's the only reasonable explanation. Unless he's going to a ‘Coming to America' cast party after the game.
My God. Bran Hartline has a huge number of marijuana leaves on his helmet. I never noticed that before watching an OSU game sick.
1112pm- Boeckman and the Buckeyes are moving the football (despite delivering a couple of balls that actually knuckled). Ohio State is looking at a 3rd and 5 inside the Tigers 40yd line.
1114pm- Boeckman takes a sack and this may be the ballgame with a 4th and 7 play upcoming. The OSU receivers are simply failing to get open and Boeckman is bailing at the first sign of pressure. Not a good combination. Boeckman calls a time out to talk about it.
1119pm- Apparently Boeckman was told to bail out after his receivers couldn't get open again, get chased and fumble as he threw. Because that's what he did. And LSU recovered the fumble and took it down to the OSU 45yd line.
1123pm- Hester will run clock with 10 minutes left. He gets 3 on 1st down and 3 on 2nd down.
1124pm- Heyward knocks down a short, safe Flynn pass to make it 4th and 4 to go from the 41yd line.
1125pm- LSU punts, it's a touchback and the Buckeyes start from their own 20 again. They also need to decide whether Wells running is a better option than Boeckman throwing on this drive. It's just the season in the balance. Unfortunately the ticking clock may answer that question for them.
1130pm- The Bucks face a 4th and 1 from their own 29 and Wells gets a yard. Nothing wrong with a sense of urgency here Mr. Tressel.
1132pm- Boeckman fumbles for the 38th time tonight but falls on it himself. Tick...tick...tick. After another incompletion its 3rd and 15 to go. 5:50 remains in the ballgame.
1134pm- Boeckman gets some rare time to throw and sails a ball over Hartline's head that's intercepted. Those who need to be up for work in the morning are hereby dismissed.
1137pm- LSU has a 4th and 1 to ice this game away. Consider it iced as Flynn keeps it himself for the 1st down.
For as much as Jim Tressel is renowned for his love of the kicking game, it's worth noting that this game ultimately turned on two special teams plays. The first was the blocked field goal when the score was 10-10. That changed momentum and the shape of the game. The second was the roughing the kicker call on the Tigers first drive of the second half.
1140pm- LSU is inside the Buckeye 10 yard line. The OSU defense must have to get up for work tomorrow because they have left the building. Two minutes remain.
James Laurinaitis has 18 tackles tonight. Unfortunately most were 8 yards down field.
1142pm- LSU scores the ‘Rub it in the Face' TD on a pass to a wide-open tight end. 38-17 LSU. Flynn has had it (or made it look) easy tonight. 4 TD passes and very little duress.
The Buckeyes have earned whatever criticism awaits them after tonight. They weren't beaten by a faster team, just a better one. One that was more poised and disciplined, one that beat them on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game.
Yes, it was a rebuilding year for the Buckeyes. But when you don't show up to the biggest game of the year two years in a row, you reap what you sow.
1145pm- OSU is deep in LSU territory after a pass interference call and a couple gimme throws against an LSU prevent defense.
1149pm- The Buckeyes get in the end zone with 1:13 left on a Boeckman to Hartline TD pass. 38-24 LSU.
1151pm- The onside kick fails and the Tigers run out the last minute. Final score is LSU 38 OSU 24. And it really wasn't that close. 1154pm- Mercifully, this one ends. And before 1am too. Time to go to a double dose of Nyquil and await the onslaught of inevitable national media ‘I told ya so's' tomorrow.
Thanks for taking the time to read.