Open Thread: Nerdwestern

Posted by Vico in Buckeye Football, Open Threads |

First, a note on the choice of graphic.  Try to understand.  There are two kinds of college football programs: jocks and nerds.  We, as Ohio State Buckeyes, are jocks while Northwestern is a nerd.  As jocks, it is our duty to give nerds like Northwestern a hard time.  Besides, othering Northwestern as nerds is the only way to build up some kind of antipathy to them.  Because, really, who hates Northwestern?

On topic, Ohio State football returns from the bye week to go on the road to Evanston as 11pt favorites to play the nerd school of the Big Ten.  Further, it is only the Buckeyes’ second game in Evanston since the 2004 game that was kind of lame.  Before that point, the Wildcats were winless against Ohio State since 1971, an impressive 24 game streak where the closest margin between the two came in the fabled 1979 season (16-7, in Ohio Stadium).  It’s not Navy-Notre Dame, but it’s still one of the more one-sided series in college football.

Though that certainly doesn’t matter now.  Lake the Posts — the premiere Northwestern blog and whose dedication to the Wildcats makes the rest of us look bad — ventured over to 11W and tried to assure fans that the Buckeyes put the fear of God in Northwestern fans.  In general, the very thought of playing the Buckeyes has most Northwestern fans thinking that a 4 touchdown difference in the scoreboard would be a close game.  Yet, given our struggles this season, the Buckeyes are in no position for bravado entering this Saturday (in spite of the previous nerd references and the ones to follow).  For those Buckeye fans that love offense or remember most of the awesome elements of 2006, the run of play from the front five has been justifiable cause for seppuku.  The Buckeyes have had three games this season where they didn’t register a touchdown on offense.  Naturally, the Buckeyes lost two of those games.  The lead actor in this painful offense has been the offensive line.  Their struggles, especially on the perimeter, made the Ohio and Purdue games rather ugly.  Their total awfulness in the USC and Penn State games may be some of the worst performances of any team in the 2008 season.  Predictable playcalling and a gun-shy true freshman quarterback don’t help things either.  Against Penn State, we see how all these elements can blend together to create a fail smoothie of soul-crushing disappointment.  Going up against Northwestern’s defense won’t be much of an easier challenge for the Buckeyes front five either.  They’re second in the Big Ten in sacks, made possible by the infusion of Mike Hankwitz (formerly of Wisconsin, and player for Bo in the 1969 atrocity) and stellar play from the front four on defense, particularly Corey Wootton.  For those unfamiliar, Wootton is a 6’7 270lb defensive end (#99) and will probably be the guy you see torching Browning off the perimeter.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes’ defense, the Northwestern offense has been recently ravaged by injuries.  The biggest news from that department to rock Northwestern was the injury to Omar Conteh announced just yesterday.  This is doubly crappy for Northwestern since Conteh was the backup to Tyrell Sutton, the Akron product who will be out for the remainder of the season with a dislocated wrist.  Stephen Simmons, a sophomore, is expected to get his first career start against the Buckeyes.  If that name sounds familiar, it should.  Simmons was the one who took the second half kickoff for six against Ohio State to get Northwestern’s lone score against the Bucks in the 2007 game.  There’s also a quarterback controversy (of sorts) between CJ Bacher, injured but the usual starter, and Mike Kafka, who led the Wildcats to victory last week against upstart Minnesota.  Further, it was the manner by which Kafka led the Wildcats that makes this a troubling decision for Fitzgerald.  Bacher set a school record for passing last season while Kafka set a school record for QB rushing last week (217 yards) and was effectively able to compensate for Tyrell Sutton’s absence.  The Buckeyes should have an interest in which of these two nerds gets the start against the Buckeyes for two reasons.  First, there’s the obvious Xs and Os stuff as Kafka’s presence will force contain priorities on some players on defense.  Second, the backup nerd will probably round up some other nerds on the team, steal some liquid heat and raise hell on the Buckeyes’ jockstraps.

The Buckeyes have much better talent than Northwestern, an advantage afforded to them by the nature of recruiting these days.  While lingering execution and planning issues compromise the Buckeyes’ ability to make good on talent discrepancies, Buckeye fans across the board appear to be expecting a Buckeye victory on that merit alone.  This is a justifiable sentiment considering the Beanie.  Penn State game aside (11 Penn State defenders on one Beanie), there is no tackling the Beanie.  So how well does our offensive line create holes for him?  It decides every game and it’ll decide this one.  I’ll shy away from any further predictions on top of that considering the run of play recently and that conference road games are, ceteris paribus, the most difficult games to play.  The Buckeyes have had two weeks to prepare for this one, but bye weeks aren’t very good predictors for wins under Jim Tressel.  Weather should be a factor, which may drydock Terrelle Pryor if Beanie is able to carry the offense.  It may also be punitive if Northwestern’s improved defense is able to force Terrelle to throw.  However it pans out, I’ll be upset if we don’t see any Buckeye Pistol against Northwestern, the absence of which was one of the most puzzling elements of the Penn State game.  Kickoff is at noon on ESPN2, with Andre Ware and that other dude calling the game.

Hey pal, did you get a load of the nerd?

Northwestern Wildcats team photo (courtesy: Northwestern Athletic Department)


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


35 Responses to “Open Thread: Nerdwestern”

  1. 1 Chadnudj

    Yep, that’s right….before this is over, Northwestern will be banging OSU’s girlfriend inside the Moon Walk while wearing a Darth Vader mask.

    “She’s not that type of girl?”
    “Why? Does she have a penis?”

  2. 2 Gabby Jay

    Revenge of the Nerds… nice. I’d be upset to read that this was the first ever reference to that classic in a college football blog.

    Well let’s get those nerds!!

  3. 3 PoisonousNut

    You do realize, of course, that you are invoking OSU in the role of the arrogant force that is improbably undone by the intelligent and earnest little guy…Is this really a great karmic idea? I mean funny, but, you might regret it in the long run…

    Plus, referring to NW as nerds and not emphasizing their QB is named Kafka? C’mon…this writes itself!

  4. 4 Joe

    Great post, Vico. Here’s hoping Tressel and the boys can buck history and play well after a bye.

  5. 5 Vico


    The idea was, given Ohio State’s struggles that make me unsure of any game, to resort to Revenge of the Nerds in that A) if the the Buckeyes lose, I’ll have something to help me laugh it away and a post that’s already written for me [basically Coach Harris' tirade] and B) if the Buckeyes win, we will have avenged not only Alpha Beta, Coach Harris and Adams College, but also laid the ghost of Ted McGinley to rest and all the TV shows he’s destroyed.

    Besides, what else is there to conjure in trying to get pumped up and get my hate on Northwestern?

  6. 6 bup bup bup

    that’s not the wallet inspector…

  7. 7 Vico

    we still can’t create running lanes, but still found the end zone… that’ll do.

  8. 8 Gabby Jay

    Northwestern’s O ran the same play like 7 times and we couldn’t do shit about it. That Kafka kid looks like Tim Tebow.

  9. 9 El Caballo de Sangre

    Howdy, y’all.

    So I was thinking when Tressel ran on 3d and 20 “Amazing – we’re playing to set up the punt”, and then he goes for the six. I don’t want to read too much into one playcall, but wouldn’t it be a great advantage to the offense if he finally figured out that he can succeed by BAITING people into thinking he’s gonna settle for Tresselball?

  10. 10 El Caballo de Sangre

    Also sorry if my comments are a few minutes behind – I’m DVR’in again.

  11. 11 Vico

    Hmm, looks like my prediction that Wootton would abuse Browning is coming to fruition.

  12. 12 Vico


  13. 13 Gabby Jay

    Awful offensive line play never looked so good

  14. 14 El Caballo de Sangre


  15. 15 El Caballo de Sangre

    Jebus I love that kid.

    And Gabby Jay is right – our OL just fucking sucks out loud.

    This continued and consistent FAIL line play cannot be redeemed by anything other than Bollman’s leaving.

  16. 16 Vico

    That second down stop after the Northwestern turnover seems to be indicative of our offense. A predictable playcall that Northwestern knew was coming… even knew the direction of the play, knifing through our offensive line and making the stop in the backfield.

    At least we got points.

  17. 17 Vico

    The offensive line has been underwhelming, but the defensive line has woken up.

  18. 18 Gabby Jay

    a first down pass :O :O

  19. 19 Gabby Jay

    another first down pass :O :O :O

  20. 20 Gabby Jay

    Alex Boone, you idiot. You unbelievable idiot.

  21. 21 Vico

    Senior. leadership.

  22. 22 Vico

    senior leadership turns 3rd and 1 into 3rd and 16, freshman abilities make it a first down and then some.

    The irony/contrast isn’t lost on me.

  23. 23 Vico

    24-7 with halftime coming.

    Start diggin’ some nerd holes!

  24. 24 El Caballo de Sangre

    Here’s a halftime adjustment for Tress to make: bench Boone and keep him benched for the first few series next week.

  25. 25 El Caballo de Sangre

    And tell him he better not say one more word to any reporters about anything until combine day. And I don’t give a shit how bad Mitchum or whoever plays for him is. That dude is a cancer – maybe HE’S the reason the line is so bad…can you imagine what it’s like for the OL coaches dealing w/ that wisecracking douchebag’s entitled attitude?

  26. 26 Vico

    If I can tell the playcall for Northwestern strictly by Kafka’s upper body and knees dispositions, I should hope everyone else could.

  27. 27 Gabby Jay

    Oh for Christ’s sake this Tim Tebow lookalike shit is getting old.

  28. 28 Vico

    Ohhhhhh BABY. I think Bryant Browning being torched off the edge actually set up that play by forcing Pryor out of the pocket (there was also a blitzing LB, I know)

  29. 29 Gabby Jay

    OMFG how did that touchdown happen?

  30. 30 Vico

    Defensive line has been outstanding this game, particularly in the interior… and particularly with Abdallah. Now Nathan Williams (freshman) is getting into the act.


  31. 31 Vico

    fake punt = dick move.

    and I loved it.

  32. 32 El Caballo de Sangre

    Nathan Williams FTW

  33. 33 Vico

    aerial assault after the fake punt = dick move.

    and I love it.

  34. 34 Vico

    save some touchdowns for the other games, boys.

  35. 35 JohnBoy

    “And tell him he better not say one more word to any reporters about anything until combine day. And I don’t give a shit how bad Mitchum or whoever plays for him is. That dude is a cancer – maybe HE’S the reason the line is so bad…can you imagine what it’s like for the OL coaches dealing w/ that wisecracking douchebag’s entitled attitude?”

    But they keep playing him! What did he do….I missed it.

    “Alex Boone, you idiot. You unbelievable idiot.”

    Your mouth to the graduation God’s ears my friend.

    “This continued and consistent FAIL line play cannot be redeemed by anything other than Bollman’s leaving.”

    Won’t happen unfortunately.

    Hmm, looks like my prediction that Wootton would abuse Browning is coming to fruition.

    Your predictions always seem to come to fruition Vico. Is it just me or does anyone else want to stand up and yell: Herculees! Herculees! Herculees! whenever Browning does manage to block someone?

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