Marshall, Buckeyes favored
Meatloaf once told the music world that two out of three ain’t bad. Three out of four is even better.
Of the four major college football programs of high local interest, three -Ohio State, Ohio University and Marshall -will be participating in postseason bowls. Only West Virginia University missed out, for the first time since 2001.
Let’s take a look at the matchups involving our teams:
- Ohio University will be playing East Carolina in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl -the only bowl with two hyphens in its name -at 2 p.m. on Dec. 23 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Ohio, considered during the preseason as one of the favorites in the Mid American Conference, finished a disappointing 7-5. The Bobcats not only lost three of their final four games, but were outscored in those games 123-16. Given the success of the past two seasons and the experience level of a veteran team, that was indeed disappointing.
East Carolina, meanwhile finished the season 9-3, losing its Conference USA regular season finale to Marshall, 59-28. That’s the same Marshall team Ohio beat 34-31 on Sept. 14.
Still, East Carolina had several impressive wins, including a 55-31 victory at North Carolina and a 42-28 win at N.C. State.
The betting lines haven’t yet been released but look for the Pirates to be favored by two touchdowns.
- Marshall will meet Maryland in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Mary., at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 27.
The Thundering Herd finished 9-4 including five straight wins before losing to Rice in the Conference USA championship game. Marshall took Virginia Tech into three overtimes before losing at Blacksburg. All four of the Herd’s setbacks came against bowl-bound teams.
Maryland finished 7-5, including a 63-0 loss to top-ranked Florida State. That slaughter took place the week after the Terrapins embarrassed West Virginia, 37-0. So if Marshall wins or loses by 36 or less, it will claim the mythical state championship, since the Friends of Coal Bowl no longer exists.
Look for Marshall to be favored by a field goal or less.
- Ohio State was all set to win its 25th straight game under Urban Meyer when Michigan State downed the Buckeyes, 34-24, in the Big Ten championship game.
So 12-1 OSU’s consolation prize is a trip to Miami to play in Orange Bowl against Clemson at 8 p.m. on Jan. 3.
The Tigers finished 10-2 with losses to Florida State and South Carolina, the only two teams to hold Clemson to 24 or less points.
This is a great matchup of quarterbacks featuring Braxton Miller for OSU and Tajh Boyd for Clemson.
Clemson’s last Orange Bowl appearance resulted in a 70-33 loss to West Virginia. Given that Ohio State always seems to top anything WVU accomplishes, maybe the Buckeyes will score 71.
OSU is favored by less than a TD.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com