Most of the nation's college football fans, including some from the Buckeye State, probably don't give Ohio State much of a chance to win against Texas in the Jan. 5, 2009 Fiesta Bowl.
OSU after all is nearly a 10-point underdog to a Longhorn team that believes it is No. 1 in the country and should be competing in the BCS championship game.
But don't count the Jim Tressel-coached Buckeyes out - ever.
Ohio State was only out of one game this past fall, and that was of course its setback to Southern Cal. The Buckeyes also lost to Penn State, but, if you had an opportunity to watch it on TV, that was a Big Ten contest that really could've gone either way.
The Joe Paterno-coached Nittany Lions, by the way, could have their hands full against the Southern Cal Trojans in the Rose Bowl.
To be honest with you, I'd prefer Ohio State vs. Texas than the Buckeyes against the Trojans again.
The thing is, while Colt McCoy-quarterbacked Texas has the capability of putting up a lot of points on the scoreboard, its defense appears to be lacking and is something to be desired. In fact, the Longhorns play in a very offensive-minded conference, which is exciting for the fans, but....
A lot of the so-called college football experts believe that Texas hasn't faced a defense as good as Ohio State's this season. Well, the Longhorns had better be ready for some good old-fashioned body-slam football, because I believe they're going to have to earn every point they get on the gridiron.
If Ohio State wins this game, it'll be because of its defense. Look for James Laurinaitis, Malcolm Jenkins and gang to be as hungry as starved wolves.
The Buckeye offense really isn't that shabby, either, with freshman QB Terrelle Pryor getting his confidence and improving with every game. A healthy Beanie Wells, who didn't play in the Southern Cal game, is also a big plus.
It's probably going to take multiple Texas Longhorn tacklers to bring the rugged Wells down.
If this game isn't close, I'll be surprised.
As for the Fiesta Bowl victor....gotta give the nod to the underdog.
n Just finished a Michael Rosenberg book entitled "War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America In a Time of Unrest." If you get a chance, check it out.
Hard to believe that when Dec. 29 rolls around, it will have been 30 years since the Gator Bowl incident in Jacksonville, Fla. That was of course when the legendary Ohio State football coach slugged Clemson reserve Charlie Bauman after an inteception.
Not to excuse Hayes' behavior - which cost him his coaching position - but the late coach was diabetic, and it's very possible that his blood sugar may have been out of whack at the time.
In the aftermath, Hayes did phone Bauman - but not to apologize. Reportedly, they talked football.
Interestingly - and I didn't learn this from the book - Bauman's pick of Art Schlichter's pass was the only one of his four-year collegiate football career.
And, ironically, after graduation, Bauman later moved to the Buckeye State, and resided in the Cincinnati area.
n As good as Tressel is as a head football coach is, he was also a pretty fair player in his day. In 1974, he was an All-Ohio Athletic Conference honoree as a quarterback for Baldwin-Wallace College, which defeated Marietta College 73-0 that season.
Overall, the Pioneers compiled a 6-3 record in 1974.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or firstname.lastname@example.org.