But now it's gameday. It's sort of like Christmas, except Christmas is not followed by even better Christmases in the following weekends. Here's a few of my thoughts going into the game, in no specific order:
- I, probably like you, initially thought "blowout" for the game, then realized that Northern Illinois is good, and Tressel teams don't often blow people out. I thought of Cincinnati, San Diego State, and Marshall, among others, and actually got a little worried. I don't want any late-game drama in this game. I don't need a big win, but I couldn't deal with winning on the last possession of the game so early in the season.
- If I start to worry about this being a close game, I remind myself that Tressel has won every opening game in his Buckeye coaching career by two touchdowns or more. Then I feel better.
- Contrary to what you might hear throughout the sports world, you should not panic if the following things happen: Garret Wolfe gets over 100 yards, the defense gets burned on a couple long touchdowns, we don't blow out Northern Illinois, the offense doesn't look unstoppable, Ted Ginn and/or Troy Smith has an off game.
- You should worry if the following happen: Garret Wolfe looks even better than he is, the defensive line gets no pressure on Phil Horvath, the defensive backs get abused all game, both kickers play poorly.
- As the Ozone mentioned, you'll see a lot of players getting time, particularly on defense. Especially watch the corner position opposite Malcolm Jenkins, which seems anything but locked down.
- Once again, don't expect any fireworks on offense. It's gonna be chilly and wet, it's the first game of the season, and Texas is next week. Evaluate success not on big plays, but on execution. The offense should be able to run on Northern Illinois (otherwise we're in trouble), so expect a lot of Pittman and both Wellses.
- Hope for our defense to creat some turnovers. That's the only thing last year's D didn't do well, and I could see that being the sort of thing this year's team makes their signature. They'll probably give up a couple big plays, but hopefully they'll make some of their own.
- Keep an eye out for the freshmen: Chris Wells and Ray Small on offense, Ross Homan, Tyler Moeller, Kurt Coleman, and maybe Robert Rose on defense. With any luck, we'll have the starters out sometime in the third quarter, and they'll all see a lot of time.