By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
BROOKLYN -- I'm no fortune teller, but I already know what people are going to be saying about Ohio State after it plays a very dangerous Oregon team in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
If the Bucks beat the Ducks, everyone outside Columbus, particularly those in southern states, will say, "Oh yeah, now you win a Rose Bowl when USC has an off year."
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If OSU loses, even more people will hurl their weak insults toward the Buckeyes, something in the manner of: "They suck; they can't even beat Oregon."
You know what? Not many teams would be able to beat Oregon this year. That is an excellent football team. I spent a week in Eugene in October and immediately developed a man-crush on that entire football program.
Just because USC had a bad year by its standards doesn't mean the Trojans are suddenly a bad team. Not many people can do to Pete Carroll what Chip Kelly and the Ducks scared up for him on Halloween night at Autzen Stadium. That was a thorough shellacking delivered by an excellent Ducks team.
I think the Rose Bowl will be one of the most exciting of all the bowls this holiday season. If Ohio State wins, the Bucks can know they beat a very good team and take the momentum into the offseason, and the countdown will commence with immense confidence eight months before their big game against Jacory Harris and Miami.
If Ohio State loses, it won't be because it plays in the Big Ten or because Jim Tressel can't win a big game. It will be because Oregon will have been better on one particular day. One game. One day. A winner and a loser. It's a lot simpler than the many haters allow it to be.