I am trying to convince myself that UW is going to win this game, so here is the first installment of reasons why I should pick UW in this game.
1) The OSU defense
OSU put up a shut out today in their last non-conference warm up game vs. Florida A&M. As you may expect, this is not very impressive as Florida A&M's best offensive performance was 27 points at home against Miss Valley State. Florida A&M also scored a paltry 7 points at home against Tennessee St. Enough said.
OSU also had a dominant performance against San Diego St beating them 42-7. At first this seems impressive as SDST has been a good team of late going to a bowl for 3 consecutive years. In the process they also lost their head coach Brady Hoke to Michigan and more recently offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig to UW. SDST is 0-3 this year including a 40-19 home loss to Eastern Illinois.
In OSU's first game of the year they jumped on Buffal0 23-0 after the first quarter, however Buffalo climbed back in the game and got it to 30-20 in the third quarter. This was due to 2 Buffalo TD passes, but also a defensive score. 2 things struck me about this game. The first was from the ESPN recap which stated that OSU came into their season opener with 10 of 11 new starters on defense. Any team replacing that many people is vulnerable to a drop off regardless of the talent base they recruit from. The other is that while the Buffalo offense only accounted for 14 points, this was their highest offensive output of the season. Buffalo scored 13 against Baylor, and just 10 in regulation against Stony Brook (They won that game scoring 26 points in regulation plus 5 overitmes).
That leaves us with OSU's only real test of the year, the road game against Cal. OSU jumped on Cal early, getting up 21-0 6 minutes into the game, and won that game comfortably. Despite the early lead again, Cal was able to keep it interesting because the OSU defense gave up 20 points before halftime and OSU lead just 31-20 going into the 3rd quarter. For the game Cal put up 34 points, 28 first downs, and 503 total yards. In Cal's 2 other games this year they put up 37 points in a home win vs. Portland St, and 30 points in a home loss to Northwestern.
All the talk in Columbus is about who is starting at QB. Perhaps it's time someone started talking about the defense.