A year ago, when Ohio State-USC promised to be a battle of the game's best linebacking corps,
The clash could be a defining game for both Ohio State sophomore
Pryor, for one, believes the game will match the expectations this time around. "It's going to be a fight, and it's going to be a war," he said earlier this week. "I'm looking forward to it. It's what you dream of -- it's going to be a real fun game."
Carroll, for one, doesn't believe the atmosphere will bother his new quarterback. "He's going to be excited to see what it looks like to be in an opponent's stadium of that stature and all, and then he's going to go play," Carroll said. "I don't think it will matter to him at all. That's just the way he's been and how he's handled things and he has such confidence and such comfort in his own skin."
The Buckeyes' hopes may well hinge on disrupting that comfort.
Against San Jose State, Barkley had the luxury of relying on USC's deep stable of running backs (
Offensive line coach
Mobile quarterbacks have long plagued USC, from
By now, the Big Ten having to defend its standing feels like a page from the
Tressel is 0-5 in his last five games against top five teams (back-to-back BCS title game loses to Florida and LSU and 2008 defeats against USC, Penn State and Texas in the Fiesta Bowl). He's by no means on the hot seat, but
Tressel and the Big Ten can go a long way toward restoring their images when USC comes to town, but it certainly won't be easy. Ohio State is 24-1 at home versus non-conference opponents under Tressel, but a Big Ten team hasn't beaten USC since 1996.
"Everything he does is perfect. He makes all the right reads and he conducts himself really well. For us, last year, we were trying to stop the rest of the team.
"We played against some big-time quarterbacks last season --
"Some of the balls he throws are NFL balls. They're passes no other high school kid can make. If a ball's got to be six inches from the corner marker of the end zone, [then] it's six inches from the corner marker of the end zone, it's not seven. He just throws a screamer of a ball, too."
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