First up, Bruce Hooley's wondering if the OSU-Michigan matchup will be all that great. The argument's basically "yeah, they've done well, but they did it against the Big Ten, and the Big Ten sucks this year." He might be right. I wouldn't be surprised if the game doesn't live up to the hype. These games seldom do. I don't think his argument holds much water, though. "The rest of the Big Ten hasn't been very good, therefore OSU and Michigan aren't that good, either." It might be true that neither team has regularly been tested against top-flight competition, but who is that true of? Most conferences don't look all that deep this season. If The Game doesn't meet expectations, it's not because the teams aren't that good; it's because the expectations are too high. Not every game that should be a classic is.
In other news, the Butkus Award finalists have been announced, and James Laurinaitis is one of them. That's some nice recognition for the dude. He hasn't been A.J. Hawk good; I never worried about whether Hawk was going to make a tackle, which is something that sometimes concerns me with Laurinaitis. But then, Hawk didn't win the Butkus; they decided to give it to Penn State's Paul Posluszny, as I'm sure you remember. There would be some justice in Pos not winning the Butkus this year, but in that situation, I expect it to go to Patrick Willis of Ole Miss, the other finalist. I don't see a sophmore winning the award over two seniors.
Speaking of Penn State, Joe Paterno will miss this weekend's game against Temple. If there's ever a game for a head coach to take off, Temple's probably the one. But basically, I just want to mention how badass JoePa is. He sustained the sort of horrific injury that would have pretty much every player on the ground moaning and groaning for fifteen minutes. Paterno, by contrast, still tried to stand and coach on a broken leg. That's hardcore. You gotta like JoePa. I maintain that he's the only thing keeping Ohio State-Penn State from becoming a rivalry. As long as Paterno's coaching, everyone's liking and respect for him will keep Ohio State fans from developing the requisite hatred needed for a good rivalry. Once he retires, it's on.
Okay, JoePa's retired. So now, I guess, it's on.