ACC: Ohio State Buckeyes

Kickoff Show (1 ET)

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
Join reporters Edward Aschoff, Heather Dinich, Adam Rittenberg and host Chantel Jennings as the discuss who should be in the top four when the College Football Playoff committee's first rankings come out next week. They will also preview Week 9's best games and take your questions.

ESPN's Ivan Maisel, SEC blogger Chris Low and ACC blogger Heather Dinich look back at Oklahoma's stunning upset of Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and preview the Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and the big matchup between Florida State and Auburn in the VIZIO BCS Championship.

You can listen here.
Has something seemed odd to you about the BCS bowls this year? Does it seem like ... oh wait, West Virginia just scored again.

Does it seem like ... wait, there goes De'Anthony Thomas. Don't think he'll get caught from behind.

Does it seem like ... wait, would somebody please tackle Justin Blackmon?

Does it seem like there have been a lot of points this bowl season?

It's not just you. There have been a lot of points. More points than ever before. And by huge quantities.

So far, BCS bowl teams have averaged a total of 77 points in the Rose, Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls. That, folks, is nearly 26 points more than last year (51.6). And it's nearly 11 points better than the previous high of 66.3 from 2001-02.

Perhaps pairing two SEC teams in the title game has created a black hole sucking all defensive stinginess into the LSU-Alabama rematch, which you might recall went 9-6 with no touchdowns in their first meeting. West Virginia scored 10 touchdowns -- 10! -- against Clemson. Alabama gave up 12 TDs all season.

Speaking of Clemson: ACC. Well, well, well.

After the Tigers ingloriously fell 70-33 to the Mountaineers, we got our second story from the BCS bowl season: The ACC's insistence on throwing up on itself in BCS bowl games.

The conference that was once expected to challenge the SEC is now 2-13 in BCS bowl games. That's hard to do. You'd think in 15 BCS bowls the conference could get lucky at least five or six times. But no, it insists on making ACC blogger Heather Dinich, a genuinely nice person, into some sort of Grim Reaper every bowl season.

Heck, the Big East has won seven BCS bowls -- second fewest among AQ conferences -- but it's 7-7.

Of course, this all ties together, and we're here to bring out a bow, but first a warning: If you don't want to read about how good the SEC is for the 56,314th time this year, then stop reading. I'd recommend an episode of "South Park" or perhaps a John le Carré thriller as an alternative for passing the time.

We can all agree the SEC plays great defense right? Alabama and LSU will play for the title Monday with the nation's top-two defenses. Do you think perhaps that it's not a coincidence that the conference that is 16-7 in BCS bowl games plays great defense?

The only other AQ conference with a winning record in BCS bowl games is the Pac-12, which is 11-7. The Pac-12 isn't known for defense, either, but USC was when it won the conference's last national title in 2004.

The only team to win a BCS national title without an elite defense was Auburn in 2010, but the Tigers' defense seemed to find itself late in the season. Since 1999, eight national champions had a top-10 defense. Other than Auburn, the lowest-rated defense to win a BCS national title was Ohio State in 2002. It ranked 23rd in the nation in total defense.

Three of the four BCS bowl games have been thrillers. Two went to overtime. We've seen big plays all over the field in the passing game and running game. Yet, if things go according to script in the title game, we'll see none of that. We might not see more than a couple of plays that go for more than 20 yards. We might not see any.

Some might call that boring. It might seem that both offenses are so paranoid of making a mistake that they are stuck in mud, both in game plan and execution.

But, snoozefest or not, when the clock strikes zero a team from the SEC will hoist the crystal football for a sixth consecutive time.

That might say something about playing better defense.

Video: National storylines from Week 3

September, 18, 2011

Pat Forde and Heather Dinich break down the biggest storylines from Week 3, including the ACC’s big day, Notre Dame’s win and Auburn’s loss.

Halftime: Miami 17, Ohio State 6

September, 17, 2011
He's baa-ack ... yeah, that Jacory.

Sorry, Miami fans, I was convinced quarterback Jacory Harris would avoid the tale of the turnovers in his first start since the Sun Bowl. But the story remains the same in the first half against Ohio State, as Harris has two picks.

Fortunately for Miami, they've got Lamar Miller, who has already gashed the Buckeyes' defense for 128 yards, and the Canes are leading 17-6. Miami's defense has done its part, and the Buckeyes have had a turnover of their own. By no means should Miami feel comfortable with this lead, especially if the turnover trend continues in the second half.

Video: College GameDay onsite

September, 16, 2011

Pat Forde and Heather Dinich break down Oklahoma-Florida State, Auburn-Clemson and Ohio State-Miami.

Ohio State tours Tobacco Road

April, 1, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Clemson visited Texas, Virginia Tech went to Georgia, and Wake Forest checked out TCU, but the ACC also has a few things to offer. It's common for staffs to travel to other programs during the offseason to pick up tips and copy from playbooks, and Ohio State's staff made its way to Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and NC State this offseason.

Quite frankly, it doesn't seem like Jim Tressel was too impressed:

"The first thing we talked about is we have great facilities here," Tressel told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "And the second thing is we have great kids. And the third thing is a lot of the things we saw others doing well, we were doing them very similarly. And maybe even some things we felt as if maybe we were a touch ahead in that category. Certainly we're not woe is me. And sometimes you need to go look around and recognize that maybe we're doing things OK."

Sure, if you consider the ninth-best offense in the Big Ten and the 105th best passing offense in the country "OK."

Then again, the ACC isn't exactly the conference to pilfer from if you're looking to revamp an offense. Hence the reason Clemson went to Texas.

National upset watch

September, 20, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

If you're engrossed in ACC football, take a few minutes to check in on Ohio State and Troy. Things are getting interesting for the Buckeyes, who have a precarious 14-10 lead in the third quarter.

USC ready to prepare for the Buckeyes

August, 30, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- USC coach Pete Carroll has been reluctant to talk too much about Ohio State's visit to the Coliseum on Sept. 13, and he had some more fun toying with reporters about it again on Saturday.

"We play them two weeks from now, right?" he asked.

After a bit more prodding, Carroll acknowledged the fact their staff will begin preparing for the Buckeyes "a week from now."

"I'm thrilled to be coming back to the Coliseum and getting a home game," he said. "It's going to be exciting for everybody. There's a ton of hype about it and all that. We'll get to work on that a week from now. It's a terrific chance for us to get a great challenge again. ... Ohio State is a great program, they are a great program. We'll try to get ourselves ready to play them."

His players are ready to start preparing.

"When we get back to school we definitely have to start watching film," receiver Vidal Hazelton said. "I'm sure they're going to bring it just like we are. They're a real good team. We just have to continue to watch film and prepare."

One reporter asked Carroll if he knew Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells got hurt.

"He did?" Carroll asked, raising his eyebrows.

"You weren't aware he got hurt?" the reporter asked.

"Yeah, somebody told me," he said with a wry smile. "They stuck it on my chair when I came in."

USC's Sanchez '100 percent'

August, 30, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

 AP Photo
 USC quarterback Mark Sanchez led the Trojans in a convincing 52-7 win over Virginia on Saturday.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The soft black Bio Slim brace protecting USC quarterback Mark Sanchez's left kneecap looked more like an accessory on Saturday than it did a necessity.

It certainly didn't prevent him from completing 26-of-35 passes for 338 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

Sanchez , who dislocated his kneecap earlier this month, he felt "100 percent" following the Trojans' 52-7 drubbing of Virginia.

He looked it, too. Sanchez was able to move around in the pocket, get the ball downfield, and manage the offense.

"That was the big question mark coming into the game," Sanchez said. "... When the first news came out four weeks, (the doctors and trainers) didn't want to hear it. That's the kind of attitude I like and I'm glad they got me back out. I moved when I needed to and was really happy out there."

USC coach Pete Carroll said Sanchez has been ready since he was cleared to play on Tuesday.

"He was fine," Carroll said. "The recovery was extraordinary. The guys working with him ... those guys did a great job. Every step of the way they knew what they were doing, they took care of him. Mark was diligent about working and it wasn't a factor. It just wasn't. Once he was back, he was back. He had to prove it to himself as well. He moved around beautifully in the pocket. His resourcefulness back there is what gives you that second chance."

Not that USC needed one.

"USC was a big, powerful, fast team with superior quarterback play today," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "We were anything but big and fast and our quarterback turned the ball over too many times."

So much for Groh's surprise element at quarterback.

Peter Lalich completed 18-of-35 passes for 155 yards and one interception and he was sacked twice -- something Sanchez didn't have to worry about.

The Trojans dominated every phase of the game, and it all started up front, where USC's offensive line had no problem blocking against a defensive line that struggled to replace Chris Long and defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald.

"These guys played beautifully," Carroll said of his offensive linemen. " There were a number of times in this game when Mark had forever back there."

How much time?

"A lot," Sanchez said, laughing. "A lot. That's good. Coach (Pat) Ruel always calls it, in practice he says, 'We're cooking steaks back there because we've got that much time,' and that's the way it felt. The whole line takes pride in that, not letting me get hit and me having ample time to make the right decision and get the ball out of my hands. It felt good. I love that feeling."

Sanchez played conservatively against Virginia, and will speed up the offense in coming weeks. Odds are, he'll have less time to think against the Ohio State defense. But yes, how smoothly everything went for Sanchez and his knee today will only help with his confidence and preparation for the Buckeyes.

"I can keep doing my rehab, that rehab stuff never stops it's going to go all season long," he said. "The doctors and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's exciting to know I've got one under my belt with this whole knee deal and I'm back to 100 percent. I feel good and we're ready to start preparing for Ohio State."

Virginia vs. USC's unsettled QBs - Trojans win

August, 19, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Let's keep it real.

Even if USC quarterback Mark Sanchez doesn't play against Virginia, the Trojans still win the quarterback battle, and in turn, should win this game.

By a lot.

While Al Groh and his Secret Society of Quarterbacks have spent all summer making sure the Cavaliers' starter for their Aug. 30 season opener against Southern California remains a mystery, one thing remains certain -- none of them have the starting experience of USC's quarterbacks.

And Sanchez only has three starts.

His backup, third-year sophomore Mitch Mustain, started eight games two years ago as a freshman at Arkansas.

Groh's options include Peter Lalich, a sophomore who played in eight games last season behind Jameel Sewell; Scott Deke, who hasn't thrown a pass in a college game, or Marc Verica, who hasn't seen the field on a Saturday yet.

The only way something crazy in this game happens is if USC looks past Virginia to Ohio State.