Are OSUs struggles this year different than in the past?

Submitted by TK on November 5th, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Last year at this time OSU was a 2 loss team that had just lost by 31 points to Iowa and was very lucky to not have 3 losses after a miracle finish against Penn State. Seems eerily similar this year except they didn’t play a good team like Oklahoma this year. That team bombed Sparty 48-3 and then won out. I’m still in the camp of waiting for them to turn it around. What’s different this year for those who follow them more closely?



November 5th, 2018 at 5:04 PM ^

Michigan looking really, really good is one thing. The other is people assume that Urban's "health issues" and Bosa (team captain) basically leaving the team are leading to similar locker room issues that Urban had at Florida.

Also, a lot of the OSU fans do not think Schiano is any good (I'd disagree with that).

Monkey House

November 5th, 2018 at 5:06 PM ^

They are still very good, and can beat anyone on any given day. I think there is a problem in the program.  Its possible we might be seeing the same cracks that started to show the last 2 years Urban was at Florida.  He doesn't recruit fit and character,  he recruits the best player. That works well, but eventually that causes problems.  Just my take.


November 5th, 2018 at 5:56 PM ^

my thoughts exactly...they have and will for at least a few more years 'out athlete' most schools. Problem is the circle jerk of trust bullshit has skeletons, and it's the same pattern from Florida...winning QB/leader, graduates, and he's left with a room full of 5* douches. Self centered players thinking of themselves, divisiveness, and it's starting to mount with health concerns once again...he can ride the talent train for so long, and the thug nation will cause more harm than good. His three game suspension things went fairly smooth against reasonable talent. Time will tell, but I think the tide is turning and it will be MICHIGAN AGAIN...MICHIGAN. Like our basketball woes, it took integrity a few shaky hires, and a little bit of time to right the world.


November 6th, 2018 at 12:28 AM ^

My only worry is the OSU will go to a 2 QB offense for UM and we will get caught off guard.

much like last year we weee doing ok and the. Backup WB comes in and lights it up and we have no gameplan. Barrett plays the whole game last year and UM wins.

i think urban may use Martell in the Tebow role to good effect. How D Brown is ready!

if OSU doesn’t bring some kind of wrinkle UM will pound them into submission.


November 6th, 2018 at 1:30 AM ^

Makes a “scum” reference and then wonders why we refer to them as an evil empire. You do realize the empire is really the only people that use the term “scum” right.

if it walks like an evil empire and beats spouses like an evil empire and murders like an evil empire and.... well shit man that about does it I guess. 


November 5th, 2018 at 5:12 PM ^

Different in two ways for sure:

1. The defense is actually bad (mediocre at least - bad compared to anything else they've fielded in the last decade). Iowa just played the game of their lives against what was otherwise a fairly good defense last year. This year, every mediocre opponent is putting up what would look like Iowa 2017-type games against OSU, and OSU is just outscoring them save for Purdue. They can't stop the run, the LBs are really not good, and the safeties have been iffy too. They're just a poor defensive unit.

2. They aren't starting a running QB, and aren't playing the running QB that they do have, and it's killing their running game. Yes, the OL is mediocre too, but Urban's concepts require a QB that is a threat to run, and Haskins just isn't, and that is crippling their running game. Now, Haskins is a fantastic passer, so they make up for it there, but being one dimensional will kill you if that dimension has an off day or if you run into an opponent who elite at stopping that one dimension.


November 5th, 2018 at 5:25 PM ^

Well, they are claiming that they have fixed the run issues after rushing some against nebraska. I call BS. We will see how much of a "fix" it was as they play MSU. I expect them getting shut out on running plays. If Haskins has an off day (rain rain come again! E. Landfill calls again..) MSU can win it next weekend. 

Here is to hoping. 


November 5th, 2018 at 5:35 PM ^

I agree with your points wholeheartedly.  To add to this, I think their string of 3-and-out players is finally catching up to them on defense.  Each year they seemingly have 7 or 8 early entrants into the draft.  Many 4/5 stars are ranked based on their measurables and athleticism, but need time to develop (see Michigan 2017).  Now they have gaps at LB, new starters in the secondary, and a lack of depth on the DL (now that Bosa is gone).  They have a lot of talent, but not a cohesive bunch.

That's why I don't mind Harbaugh filling up the "bottom" third of his recruiting class with Harbaugh and Don Brown style grinders, who will end up playing five years.  Those guys give you depth and solid starters to plug the gaps and scheme continuity.  I know they were four stars, but Chase and Hurst are/were obviously a huge reason why we've had success up front the last two seasons.  Harbaugh guys that are fully entrenched in the system.  OSU doesn't really have much of those guys.  This is also why I don't like seeing guys like Hudson and Singleton transfer in their RS Freshman year.         


November 6th, 2018 at 5:58 AM ^

Your "grinders" comment is a good take. If you look at Michigan's roster right now, Uche, Paye, Wilson, Dwumfor, Glasgow, Mason, Bell, Metellus, Higdon and Gil are all grinders. Of course you have to have elite athletes around them, but having some players around you practicing hard and having to prove they belong makes everyone better.

The Fugitive

November 5th, 2018 at 5:13 PM ^

They don't run the ball well at all. Much more of a 1 dimensional offense.

On the podcast,  Brian et al noted that their linebackers can easily be fooled and are often out of position.

Both of these flaws bode well for Michigan because they can absolutely get after the passer and cover downfield.  On offense, Harbaugh will mess with their defense worse than he has the past 2 seasons. I expect another excellent game plan from him this season but now he has the personnel to make it work.

All that said, I think OSU is going to play a heck of a game and make some big passing plays.  Michigan just needs to limit them and control the clock.


November 5th, 2018 at 5:13 PM ^

Last year's OSU team was 8th in overall defensive S&P+, 2nd in rush defense, 12th in pass defense. They were 3rd in havoc rank (24th in secondary havoc rank), 8th on passing down defense and 6th best at preventing explosive plays. They were 2nd in S&P+ rush offense and also 4th in pass offense.

This year they are 45th in overall defensive S&P+, 49th in rush defense and 90th in pass defense. They are 10th in havoc rank (59th in secondary havoc rank), 121st at passing down defense and 115th best at preventing explosive plays. They are 12th in S&P+ pass offense but 88th in rush offense. All of these numbers include Nick Bosa, who is still 3rd on OSU in sacks and 4th in TFLs despite not playing since week 3.


November 5th, 2018 at 5:16 PM ^

Michigan has beaten two teams in a row whose defenses are more than 20 spots better than OSU, and they've done it by running the ball at will and controlling the clock and the field position, keeping opponents offenses off the field. If the s&p numbers are predictive at all, Michigan should grind OSU into a paste. Maybe it will be close (17-0) at halftime, but by the end of the game it will be a blood bath.


November 5th, 2018 at 5:13 PM ^

Yeah it's different. Look at their S&P numbers. Their defense is lower than Maryland's. Their offense can't run the ball. They're also struggling in every single game. 


November 5th, 2018 at 5:33 PM ^

It feels kind of silly to predict us to score 40 on OSU in Columbus, but, I mean...mid-30s seems like a pretty safe bet? By S&P's numbers we will be the best offense they face this year outside of Purdue, and we will also be the best defense they face, obviously. They're going to struggle to keep us off the field, and they're going to struggle to stay on the field against us.

I think watching OSU play MSU's defense this weekend will be interesting. They're up to 7th in S&P after that Maryland drubbing, and they will be the best defense OSU has faced since PSU (20th). MSU isn't us - especially in the secondary or in their organic pass rush - but it will give us a better comparison.

Jack Hammer

November 5th, 2018 at 5:16 PM ^

I didn't watch much of their games in 2017 out of depression for our own issues.  But from what I've seen this year, their defense overall looks average and lacks intensity.  We will have to deal with Haskins extending plays and using a great arm, but I don't think we will struggle too much to score on that porous D.

I'm curious to see how MSU's normal chippy shtick plays this weekend against OSU's currently vapid team mentality.  I think that will tell us quite a bit about OSU and Meyer.  A second loss this early in a second straight year might be too much for those spoiled brats to handle.


Sione's Flow

November 5th, 2018 at 5:22 PM ^

This is the effect of Urban staying in one place to long and recruiting based on star rankings.  He takes highly rated guys but I don't think he casts an eye towards the future to see if they're a fit.  Case in point, he recruits Tebow and Cam Newton (similar skill sets), then signs John Brantley (pure passer) to run his offense, coincidentally his last year in Gainesville.


November 6th, 2018 at 9:19 AM ^

This is straight up incorrect, and their recruiting battles against Michigan are perfect examples: 

  • Buckeyes stopped pursuing Derrick Green to go way off the map to Missouri and get a much-less-touted Ezekiel Elliot.
  • Then they let Kareem Walker walk because they sensed trouble, and pressed to go for JK Dobbins the next year instead.
  • Michigan targeted Brandon Peters. Ohio State went whole hog on flipping Dwayne Haskins. How's that looking?

Michigan's fervor over those three guys alone should tell you everything you need to know about Urban's ability to scout talent vs. Harbaugh. 

A big part of Urban's success has been his ability to recruit great 4 and 5* guys but to also understand who isn't a fit despite their star rating. Not to mention, they won the national title with guys like Darron Lee and Michael Thomas, both of whom weren't big-name recruits. 

Urban and the Buckeyes have their issues. Coaching is a big one, but understanding who to recruit is definitely not.




November 6th, 2018 at 10:49 AM ^

Ezekiel Elliot, the way off the radar top 70 player? Also Jim Harbaugh did not recruit Derrick Green so you missed on that one. JK Dobbins, the guys ranked 50 spots ahead of Kareem Walker? Kareem did not flame out at Michigan for lack of talent.


I get your overall point, people trying to peg Urban as a guy just throwing out offers to the top ranked guys ala Larry Coker is not accurate. But please leave out the douche connotations implying his vast superiority to Harbaugh in that regard. You cherry picked 3 examples, 2 of which don't really make any sense. Oh and Karan Higdon is better than Mike Weber so shove that up your ass.


November 5th, 2018 at 5:27 PM ^

they have clubhouse cancer issues, aka, team discord that i'm guessing is off the chart.   great athletes who were probably tending toward the lower end on character in the first place (hence, they chose ohio), who have a coach who is a fraud and now the assistants are worried about their jobs.  this is different, signif different, and as i've been saying, when you make a deal with the devil, satan always extracts his price.  i'm guessing it's pay-day in columbus...


November 5th, 2018 at 5:31 PM ^

I don't know but Michigan led 14-0 last year with a 3rd strong QB and Michigan is much better this year. I think this is Michigan's best chance to win The Game in a very long time and I expect that we'll do just that. 

Stringer Bell

November 5th, 2018 at 5:31 PM ^

They've become a Big 12 air raid team.  Their coach looks like he's about to stroke out on the sideline at any given moment.  Their defense is horrendous.  They've struggled against some bad teams (Minnesota, Nebraska).  Their game against Iowa last year involved JT throwing like 8 picks, this year they simply got firebombed to oblivion by Purdue.  It sure seems different.


I'm still nervous as hell for that game though.


November 5th, 2018 at 5:31 PM ^

They just don’t look good offensively. Meyer is relying too much on throwing the ball and have had difficulty running it. Haskins is a great qb but he is nowhere near as mobile as Barrett. If our secondary plays decent and our dline gets after him he will make many mistakes. He’s shown this in the past. I really wanna see how he plays against a great msu dline. Even if they win if he struggles I think we beat osu by double digits.