pucker.

In football seasons past, a week like this would have been different. The buildups to the Texas games of 2005 and 2006 were both full of posts about the game.

Saturday’s game at No. 1 Southern Cal is that big. It might be bigger. It’s not unreasonable to say that the reputation of Ohio State’s football program — and, along with it, that of the entire Big Ten conference — is at stake.

Yes, I’ve been wearing Buckeye gear to work all week. Yes, by this time tomorrow night I’ll be beside myself, over a college football game that’ll be ready to begin in about 45 minutes.

But for some reason, this week has been different.

It could be the hangover from the last two national title games, one of which was an absolute beating and the other a game that Ohio State removed itself from with sloppy defense and far too many penalties.

It could be the team’s performance against Youngstown State and OU. The game against my Bobcats was especially poor; in fact, my Alma Mater should have beaten my Buckeyes last Saturday.

It could be the dreadful feeling — a pit-of-the-stomach ache — that we’re not really going to be ready to go unless Beanie Wells, our injured Heisman Trophy candidate, is ready to go as well.

And it could be that the Trojans looked awfully good in their only game of the 2008 season, a runaway win on the road against Virgina.

Whatever the reason is — I’m not feelin’ it this week.

The logical side of my brain has been trying to get my attention all week, shouting reasons why I shouldn’t be overly concerned:

  • It’s reasonable to expect that the team wouldn’t be especially excited about playing YSU and OU.
  • This is a team of veterans, who have played, and won, in big games, on the road, many times. Texas. Penn State. Michigan. They’ve done it before.
  • Virginia’s defense is horrible. Ohio State’s is not.
  • Our offense has been vanilla against the first two opponents. I’m betting it won’t be on Saturday.
  • We may not have Beanie, but we do have Terrelle Pryor. And I think Southern Cal will see more of him than did YSU and OU combined.

The logical part of my brain is often right. But when it comes to college football, that other side of my brain often wins out — and that part of my brain is kind of thinking along the lines of what Kewyson expressed in a comment on the last post.

Which side wins this time? We’ll find out tomorrow.

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