We're under the 40 hour mark here on the 40 Acres, and we've thought and re-thought this game, playing out every possible scenario in our heads. We're definitely sure that both teams are capable of winning the game, and if it's not a 50-50 pick 'em, it's pretty darn close.
Still, there are reasons that we believe Texas will win this game. Let's walk you through them, and open the floor for predictions of your own.
DKR Home field, baby. Statistically speaking, home field advantage is worth about a field goal, overall. When you're talking about closely matched teams, that usually slim advantage is magnified. Troy Smith and the Buckeye offense, of course, have played in some big, big games. Their last big game was a clinic at the Fiesta Bowl. But the two before that, night games against Penn State and Texas... were less glowing. Smith won't be rattled, but he might try to do too much. And it's gonna be loud. As if our defense needed another boost.
Gene Chizik 29 games. The teams this man has coached on the defensive side of the football have not lost a contest in 29 games. If you can find me an active streak more impressive, I'd like to see it. You don't accidentally win 29 straight games. The man knows defensive football.
Special Teams Finally, those extraordinary Buckeye place kickers are gone. And though Ted Ginn is an extraordinarily dangerous player in the open field, Greg Johnson is one hell of a punter. Add in the unmatched accomplishments of The Posse over the last six years, and Texas has a chance to steal a crucial advantage in this game.
11-9 = 2 Many of the Buckeye faithful have huffed and puffed until they're blue in the face, but there's simply no way to sugar coat the loss of 9 defensive starters to the National Football League. That's like the Florida Marlins firesaling their entire team and talking about how the young guys can succeed enough to keep them in the playoff chase... Um... Wait... Okay, so it's certainly possible that the new talent will play at a high level on Saturday night. It's a lot to ask of such an unproven unit. I don't think you can beat Texas in a wild shootout. Can the Buckeye defense slow down Texas' offense?
The Prediction (Caveat Emptor) Last season, Texas slopped their way through the second and third quarters with turnovers and lousy play, the Buckeye defense getting the best of them. Still, the defense stuck, and Vince did his thing. Well, Vince is gone, and the Buckeye defense is gone. What's the same? The Ohio State offense and the Texas defense. That includes Chizik for those scoring at home. We think Texas can move the ball enough to score some points, and we're not sure that Ohio State can win a shootout on the road under the lights. Add in what we think is a Texas special teams advantage, and we're predicting a victory.
The Texas Longhorns defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes in Austin, 27-24.
What are your predicitons, readers? Offer your prediction in the contest below: pick the exact score, and win a BON t-shirt. If multiple readers pick the correct winner, they'll square off in a pick 'em next weekend for a t-shirt. If you don't want the BON t-shirt, you can have a shirt from the university online store of your choice.
Hook 'Em Horns! Beat Ohio State!