Blogging with the Enemy: Q&A with Buckeye Battle Cry

What's becoming a little bit of a tradition, for the 2nd year in a row we did a little rivalry week Q&A with Jim from the tOSU blog The Buckeye Battle Cry. Here's his answers to my questions. Hope you enjoy.

My responses to their questions can be read here.

MBN: As hard as it is for me to admit, Ohio State's and Michigan's football programs have gone in opposite directions since their fateful meeting in 2006. Ohio State has stayed on that same championship course, while Michigan has gone from powerhouse to laughing-stock to rebuilding mode. As an ambassador for the Ohio State fan base, how do you view the Michigan program as is stands right now?

tBBC: It fluctuates between 'infinite source of amusement' and 'dangerous adversary that could hand us our most heartbreaking and embarrassing loss in the series in over 40 years.' It's is quite the dichotomy.

Michigan is a program with nothing to lose right now, particularly against their biggest rival. That is dangerous and somewhat scary as an Ohio State fan, especially considering how potent Denard Robinson and your offense can be.

At the same time, your defense is so bad that it is hard to imagine how many things would have to go wrong for Ohio State not to be able to put up points, particularly at home. The best way to stop Robinson is to keep him off the field, and that is exactly what Tresselball is best at.

As you mentioned, the programs are not equivalent at the moment, but pride comes before the fall. Ohio State needs to keep an edge against a dangerous Wolverine team with nothing to lose. Thankfully, with Jim Tressel at the helm, there is little doubt that the Buckeyes will be fired up and ready to go.

More long term, as a highly biased outside observer, it just doesn't seem like Rodriguez is the answer for Michigan. No matter how potent the offense gets, unless things change drastically on defense (both in recruiting and on the field) it seems likely that Michigan will drop a game or three each year at best... just like Rodriguez did at West Virginia (and Carr did before he got fired).

Does Rodriguez have it in him to completely revamp the way he approaches defense (and recruiting) to make Michigan into a truly elite team once again? It seems unlikely at this point.

MBN: As Michigan fans, we always hear a lot of complaining out of Columbus about Tressell's conservative play calling and Pryor's inability to throw, but yet you remain one of the most envied programs not only in the Big Ten, but in the country. Is this just folks being hyper-sensitive because you can no longer complain about not beating Michigan, or is there truly a groundswell of discontent among Ohio State fans?

tBBC: I think the issue here is not a groundswell of discontent, but rather a groundswell of young, spoiled fans that get their knowledge about offense and game plans from video games. The internet, wonderful as it is, amplifies the noise these fans make to a point where it seems like a larger issue than it is.

The conservative offensive game plans can be frustrating at times, particularly after tough losses. Even the most loyal fans wouldn't mind seeing a shake up on the offensive coaching staff. If Jim Bollman (the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach) retired I would not shed a tear.

That being said, you have to keep some perspective here. Ohio State just became the first team in the history of the Big Ten to win ten games in six straight seasons. Can you really complain that much?

MBN: Every Michigan and Ohio State fan has a unique story as to why they have such a strong allegiance to their team. A lot of fans are alumni, some are just big fans because their families were. A great part of this rivalry is the fans and their stories, I always love hearing about them. Explain a little bit as to why you're such a big Ohio State fan, and what led you to be so.

tBBC: All of the above? I was born in Columbus, both my parents (and a few aunts, uncles, and family friends) went to Ohio State, I am a two time alumni at Ohio State and continue to live and work in Columbus.

I don't have the most exciting story, but I like to think my Buckeye roots are strong.

MBN: As far as this game in concerned, I'm sure Ohio State fans are pretty confident...and rightfully so. Simply put, is there anything about this Michigan team that scares you?

tBBC: Denard Robinson and your offense will score points against our defense, no matter how well the Buckeyes play. If Ohio State turns the ball over and Michigan doesn't, it could get scary fast.

MBN: Finally, whats your prediction for the outcome? Who stands out in this game in your mind and why?

tBBC: I will go back to an old cliche and say that the players in the trenches will stand out in the game on Saturday.

The Buckeye offensive line opened up holes for the best rushing performance of the season against Penn State two weeks ago. Last week they played the best defensive line they will face all season and came away with at least a stalemate.

I imagine Michigan's defense will be bringing the house on most downs, challenging the offensive line each play. Whether it be through pass protection or opening holes in the running game, I think Ohio State's offensive line will be the difference in this game.

On the other side of the ball, Ohio State's defensive line will play a huge roll in containing (or at least attempting to contain) Robinson. If they play at their best, Ohio State will be in great shape to get the W.

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