Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Any team that has USC on the horizon wants to be at or near its peak.
For the second straight year, Ohio State is falling short of the mark.
Watching the Buckeyes struggle to separate from Navy, I can't help but remember being in Columbus last year for Ohio State's very tight affair against Ohio the week before it traveled to USC. The Buckeyes struggled to shake the Bobcats, and we all know what happened next at the L.A. Coliseum. Despite superior size and talent on both sides of the ball, Ohio State once again enters the fourth quarter with the game somewhat in doubt.
Navy has moved the ball surprisingly well against the Buckeyes' defensive front, mounting a 99-yard scoring drive late in the third quarter, chewing up eight minutes of clock in the process. Mids quarterback Ricky Dobbs has done some nice things, and Ohio State's offense hasn't been able to pull away. I do like the way Terrelle Pryor is throwing the ball and Brandon Saine could be the answer at running back.
Ohio State will win the game, but it would have been nice to see the Buckeyes run away with this one before taking on the Trojans.