Some (very early) Rose Bowl thoughts

December, 4, 2009
12/04/09
3:52
PM ET
The matchup is set for the 96th Rose Bowl Game (presented by Citi), as Ohio State knows it will be facing Oregon on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif. It's Ducks vs. Bucks in The Granddaddy of Them All.

We have nearly four weeks to break down the matchup, but you can never start early enough.

Series: Ohio State leads 7-0. The teams last met in 1987, when Ohio State claimed a 24-14 win in Columbus. Ohio State and Oregon met in the 1958 Rose Bowl, with the Buckeyes winning 10-7.

Rose Bowl history: Ohio State will be making its 13th Rose Bowl appearance (6-7 record) but its first since 1997, when it beat Arizona State. Oregon will make its fourth Rose Bowl appearance (1-3 record) and its first since 1995, when it lost to Penn State.

Bowl records: Ohio State is 18-22 in bowls and has dropped three straight. Oregon is 9-13 in bowls and has won back-to-back games.

Quick thoughts and story lines

  • The contrast between these two programs is fascinating. Both wear Nike apparel, but the similarities pretty much end there. When Ohio State wore throwback unis against Michigan on Nov. 21, it was a major controversy. Oregon changes its threads every week. Ducks coach Chip Kelly is known for his spread offense and aggressive playcalling. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel wins games through defense, special teams and limiting major mistakes at all costs. Ohio State is known as a tradition-rich, buttoned-down Midwest program. Oregon is as Gen Y as they come.
  • Get ready for a ton of Terrelle Pryor what-might-have-been stories. Pryor had Oregon in his final group of teams during recruiting, but he passed up a chance to play in the spread offense for Ohio State, where he's had mixed results under Tressel.
  • Ohio State tackled extremely well in the Fiesta Bowl last year, making Texas' high-powered offense look tame at times. Oregon boasts a ton of offensive weapons, but the Ducks don't face defenses as fundamentally sound as Ohio State's every week. Oregon State missed numerous tackles in Thursday's loss to the Ducks. I don't think Ohio State can match Oregon score for score, so the Buckeyes' D needs to be at its absolute best on Jan. 1.
  • Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is one of college football's most exciting players, in both good and bad ways. Masoli can turn any play into a touchdown, but he also plays out of control at times and will make mistakes. Ohio State ranks second nationally in takeaways (33) and needs to force turnovers from Masoli.
  • Oregon scored 42 or more points in seven games this fall, including each of its final five contests. Ohio State eclipsed 40 points just once, against New Mexico State. The Buckeyes posted three shutouts and held eight teams to 14 points or fewer. Oregon held only three teams to fewer than 19 points.

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