images-1Saturday night, while part of the country was watching Serena Williams lose her mind, and another faction of sports fan was watching a bunch of souped-up cars race around in a circle (we hate NASCAR), college football’s first truly big game of the season took place in Columbus, Ohio.  The Ohio State Buckeyes, ranked 8th in the country coming in, lost to the third-ranked Southern California Trojans, 18-15.

The hype surrounding the game was legit.  Ohio State had come into this game as losers of four straight games against highly-rated out of conference opponents (Ohio State plays in the Big Ten, which paradoxically has 11 teams, while Southern Cal is a member of the Pac-10).  But Ohio State was playing at home against a Southern Cal team that had lost its starting quarterback to the NFL (New York Jets beefcake and newly-minted starter Mark Sanchez), and was starting  freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, who last year was playing games in front of mostly friends and family and now was forced to operate in front of 105,000 hostile fans.

For a while, it looked good for the Buckeyes, but Southern Cal scored  with a little more than a minute left in the game on a two-yard run by halfback Stafon Johnson to give the Trojans the lead for the first time since midway through the first quarter, and USC would hold on from there.  Barkley, playing in his first road game, was terrible and would have been the reason the Trojans lost the game if not for the late comeback.  But USC’s superior size, strength, and speed led them to victory.

Water Cooler Cheat Sheet:

Most of the time, in a water cooler-type conversation, you will only be required to throw in one or two throwaway lines to look like as if you watched the game in question.  As this game took place on Saturday night, and there was no way you were going to spend your Saturday evening watching football, we’re here to help.

“Ohio State outplayed USC, but still lost.  That’s a huge loss, not only for the Buckeyes, but the entire Big Ten!”

The reputation of the Large 11, once a football powerhouse, has taken a beating over the past few years as highly-rated opponents have stomped the conference’s best teams in bowl games and other highly-publicized tilts.  Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State used to be considered three of the best football programs in country, but the Buckeyes have been humiliated in two of the past three national championship games, Michigan went an unthinkable 3-9 last season, and Penn State was drubbed in the Rose Bowl last year by these same USC Trojans, causing the rest of the country to view the entire conference as paper tigers.  The Big Ten really needed a signature win, and it looked like Ohio State was about to deliver it before USC’s late comeback.  For more information on the Big Ten’s recent struggles, click the links above.  If you really don’t care about the sport and just want to sound knowledgeable, deliver the line above, fill your water glass, and get back to your seat.