Tuesday, August 10, 2010


You know Brian's getting his point across when I feel back about cutting players in NCAA Football 11.

Monday, August 02, 2010

So. . .

I'm back. I think.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Nobody's Home

I don't post here anymore. I post at Around the Oval. This site's dead, that one's not. If you're so inclined, please update your bookmarks and read my rantings and ravings over there. And if you're really ambitious, ask the person whose site directed you here why they haven't updated their links. I understand if you don't want to put in that much effort, though. All I ask, is that if (for some reason) you enjoy reading what I write, continue to read it over at Around the Oval.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Moving Onward and Upward

The Cliff’s Notes version of this post: I’m taking over Around the Oval, and will be posting there from now on.

Why? If you pay attention to the college football blogosphere, you’ve noticed that the former proprietor of AtO, JD, hasn’t posted regularly there for some time now. Turns out he had a bit more on his plate than he could handle, and asked SportsBlog Nation to find a replacement for him, so he could focus on his Cincinnati Reds blog, Red Reporter (which is excellent, by the way, if you’re a Reds fan). Peter of Burnt Orange Nation, the dude in charge of SBN’s collegiate section, asked me to be that replacement, and I accepted. Today, I’m taking my show on the road, and headed over there.

So what changes in this scheme? Well, the net result is the end of The 614. It makes more sense to keep AtO going rather than starting this site over again at SBN. So I’m gonna start posting at AtO, and stop posting here. Net result, minus one OSU blog. That’s alright, it’s not like we were all starved for Buckeye-related content anyway, and another OSU blog will probably be started shortly, anyway. OSU blogs can’t be stopped. You strike one down, two more rise in its place. Never fear.

That’s pretty much it in terms of negative changes. The rest is all good. Over at AtO, I’ll reach a larger audience, which I am of course excited about. But I’ll also get to take advantage of all the features of SBN, in particular the diary system, which allows readers to offer insights, opinions, analysis, and all that type of stuff without having it tied to a post of mine. Effectively, it’s an opportunity to work toward creating a Buckeye community at Around the Oval, which is a pretty exciting possibility.

The point of all this is that today’s the big move to Around the Oval. If you want to continue reading whatever I write (and I hope you do), that’s the place to do it in the future. Please update your bookmarks. If you link here from your blog, I hope you’ll link to me at AtO. I’ll be sure to reciprocate once I get settled in over there.

That’s it. Everything I have to say will be said at Around the Oval from here on out. I’ll see you over there.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gonzo's Gone. . . zo

Per The Ozone, who presumably has someone at Anthony Gonzalez's press conference, Gonzo is passing up his final year of eligibility and declaring for the draft. Ted Ginn is expected to announce before long that he's also entering the draft, but Gonzo's officially headed to the draft.

It's not a major surprise. While Ginn was the better athlete and a good receiver in his own right, Gonzo was the best receiver on the team this season. We'd all hoped he'd stay out of a love for college life or a desire to not end his collegiate career on such a down note, but he and Antonio Pittman are probably the two most NFL-ready juniors on the roster.

Initially, my concern, for both Gonzo and Ginn (assuming he goes), was that they might be underestimating the depth of the receiver class this year. Jeff Samardzija, Calvin Johnson, and Dwayne Jarrett could all easily be drafted before either OSU receiver. With excellent workouts, Robert Meachem from Tennessee and Sidney Rice from South Carolina are two other juniors that could give Gonzo and Ginn some competition. Is it worth leaving school early to be the fourth or fifth wide receiver drafted?

Last year, it certainly wasn't. Santonio Holmes was the only wide receiver drafted in the first round. But if you look at other drafts, their decisions make more sense. Six wide receivers went in the first round in 2005 and seven went in 2004. So in reality, both guys would likely be taking first round money by leaving early, and that's something that's worth doing, especially when they could end up hurting their draft stock by staying and working with a new quarterback. Gonzo (and presumably Ginn) made the safe choice, and probably the smart choice.

But where does this leave Ohio State for 2007? In a rather nebulous cloud of receiving mystery and potential. Brian Robiskie will move to number one receiver, up from rough number 3.5 receiver. He was pretty good this season, but there wasn't a whole lot asked of him. All he had to do was capitalize on openings created by Ginn and Gonzo. How will he respond to the dramatically increased attention?

Opposite him will likely be Brian Hartline, who was the fourth or fifth receiver this past season. He looked pretty decent over the course of the season, but as the fourth or fifth option, it's tough to look bad, unless you're helping the defense make tackles or running the wrong way with the ball or something. He came in as a pretty highly-touted recruit, so we'll get to see what has become of that potential.

But we'll save the in-depth looks at the receiving corps for much later. For now, good look to Gonzo and (again, presumably) Ginn in the draft, and good luck to the Brians that will be replacing them.

Update: There's an AP article with some more information on Gonzo leaving. The biggest piece of new info from it is that an NFL committee told him that he would be a second-round pick. Interesting that he decided that the risks inherent in returning for another year outweighed the benefits (chief among them: a degree and a better contract if he improved his stock to first-round status). Not necessarily a wrong decision by him; who are we to tell him what's best for him? But interesting. The question is: did he just want to make the safe play and head to the NFL, or does he suspect something about next year's offense that the rest of us might not?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

National Championship Postgame - A Guest Piece

As I mentioned earlier, I'm not especially interested in rewatching, thinking about, or acknowledging the national championship game. I felt a little bad about not providing any analysis, but it was my sanity at stake, so you all were out of luck. Or so I thought. Jeff Forward, an Ohio State alum out on the West Coast, e-mailed me a piece sharing his thoughts on what went wrong Monday night. I figured I'd share it with you all, since it allows me to post thoughts on the game without actually having to think about the game. I'd like to emphasize that this is his work, not mine. All the credit for the time and effort put in goes to him. I just did the cut-and-paste shuffle. I don't agree with all of it, but he does make some good points. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, or send them to Jeff here.

Why The Buckeyes Got Trounced - A Few Theories
By Jeff Forward

I don't think any sane Buckeye fan thought that what happened on Monday was possible. I am sure that a 41-14 butt-whupping with a mere 80-some yards of offense was not on anyone's mind.

But, that's exactly what happened in a stunning and painful fashion. As I sat in a sports bar in Granite Bay, Calif. with 120 other Ohio State fans and alumni, the pain of the game grew with each passing minute and Tim Tebow run up the gut of a tired, on-the-field for 40-minutes Buckeye defense.

Obviously the press jumped on this blow-out in typical fashion, with Lee Corso from ESPN telling viewers the Gators would beat Ohio State nine out of 10 games. Amazing how fast they switch sides, isn't it.

Here are my theories of why what happened in Glendale happened.

The Florida Gators simply played the best game they possibly could on the same night that Ohio State played their absolute worst game possible. When they showed the stats of Chris Leak through the first quarter, he was having a near perfect game. I didn't think he could maintain that for four quarters, but it's exactly what he did. Same thing goes for the entire UF team. They all played their best on the night the Buckeyes played their worst.

I am sorry, but 51 days between games for the Buckeyes was insane and unfair. Florida had an extra two weeks of serious, meaningful practice and two difficult and important games on the road while OSU was at home twiddling their thumbs. Say what you will, but it was obvious the Buckeyes were rusty.

Bringing me to this point: give credit to Urban Meyer for realizing the Buckeyes would be rusty and out-of-sync and creating a great game plan for the beginning of the game to exploit this. As things unfolded and the Gators were en route to 21-unanswered points, I turned to a friend and said, "Meyer has run nearly every trick play in the book in the first quarter alone." My friend replied the Gators hadn't run a reverse yet. Well, two plays later, there it was - a Percy Harvin reverse. Those trick plays really affected the Buckeye defense and its confidence.

As much as it pains me to say this, Jim Tressel did a very poor job preparing the Buckeyes for this game. And, during the game, he made some very questionable calls and decisions. Not only that, but Tressel and his staff did not make any in-game changes to the game plan or strategy which may have swung momentum back to the Buckeyes.

Trailing 21-7, Tressel decided to run the ball. Troy Smith and Antonio Pittman combined for a lot of yards on the ground and OSU scored and cut the lead to 21-14. A great three-and-out by the defense gave the Buckeyes the ball back with a prime chance to climb even at 21. But, instead of going back to the successful running of the previous drive, Tressel had Troy throw on first down - incomplete; and then throw on the next two downs - both incomplete; and was forced to punt. Why not stick with the run when it was already successful and Troy's bad passing game was so very evident? Then there was an ill-advised fourth and one play that was a failure and led to more points.

The last questionable coaching decision Tressel did not make was benching Troy Smith. As soon as I mentioned this, my friends laid into me. "Come on," they said. "Troy is the Heisman winner. We have to stick with him." I agree to a point. But by the third quarter it was evident that Troy was not going to get any better. He was playing poorly on all fronts and was not improving. Why not put Justin Zwick into the game? I mean, this guy has started a lot of games and he can throw the ball. He may not be as mobile as Troy or the leader, but with the terrible game Troy was playing with no signs of getting better, why not gamble and put Zwick in?

I can see it now....add in a tight end on every play for extra protection on the offensive line, put Stan White at fullback and rotate Pittman and Chris Wells and have two receivers and run - no, pound - the ball until you make them honest on defense. Then throw when things open up. I was saddened to not see Zwick in the game for at least one or two series at the end.

My final thought is the Ted Ginn Jr. injury affected the Buckeye offense much more than any of us could have imagined. After the big win over Michigan, Troy was on the set of Game Day and told the crew that he felt Ted Ginn Jr. should win the Heisman. That's how important Troy thinks Ginn is to this offense. With Ginn out of the picture, there was no worrying about everything he could and can do by the Gator defense. No direct snaps to Ginn. No reverses. No post routes blowing by a DB. No punt or kick-off returns. That absence of talent and speed hurt the Buckeye offense and special teams, no question.

In the end, people will say Florida deserved the title and are the champs. But, I can't help but wonder what the outcome may have been if this game was played in December. But, as my father always said, if my grandma had balls, she'd be my grandpa.

Here's to next season and thanks to the Ohio State football team for one hell of a ride and a lot of memories I will never forget. Well, there is one memory I hope goes away fast. I think you know what I am talking about.

Final BlogPoll

A little late, I know, since the official version is out, but here's my ballot:

1 Florida 2
2 Ohio State 1
3 LSU 1
4 Southern Cal 1
5 Michigan 3
6 Boise State 4
7 Wisconsin 1
8 Louisville 1
9 Auburn --
10 California 1
11 Oklahoma 3
12 West Virginia 1
13 Rutgers 2
14 Arkansas --
15 Notre Dame 3
16 Texas 2
17 Penn State 3
18 Oregon State 5
19 Brigham Young 3
20 Boston College 6
21 Wake Forest 4
22 TCU 4
23 Tennessee 4
24 Virginia Tech 8
25 Central Michigan --

Dropped Out: Nebraska (#21), Texas A&M (#24).

Like I said, the final poll is posted at mgoblog, and yours truly won the "Mr. Stubborn" award convincingly. I think my ballot looks pretty reasonable, but Brian has said I am stubborn, and Brian is an honorable man. So I suppose I should defend my ballot a bit.

Since this isn't really a "Your rankings suck!" award, but more of a "Did you even watch the bowls?" award, I won't work through my thinking for all the rankings. It would seem to me that if my rankings are reasonably close to the actual BlogPoll, they're alright, and my lack of change in my ballot is due less to ignoring the bowls, and more to my amazing skill at ranking teams prior to the bowls. So let's just take a look at the teams whose place on my ballot differs from the actual BlogPoll by more than, say, three places. Arbitrary, but it doesn't seem out of line to say that's where personal opinion starts to become personal stupidity.

10. Cal (14 in BlogPoll) - This was basically semi-irrational exuberence throughout the season that wasn't going to be corrected now, since they crushed Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl. I've had Cal ranked a little high all season. What can I say? I heart Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson (Seans unite!).

17. Penn State (23) - Big Ten pride is some of that, probably. But still, their only losses are to OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. According to the BlogPoll, the collective wisdom of the voters is that every team ranked below Notre Dame would also lose to those teams. We know PSU should be ranked below the four teams that beat them, but beyond that, it's a judgement call. My ranking isn't too crazy; Sagarin and Billingsley have PSU at 18, and they use computers and numbers and stuff.

21. Wake Forest (17) - Any faith I had in the quality of the ACC was crushed repeatedly throughout the season (Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia Tech, etc., not to mention Miami and FSU). So yeah, I didn't have much respect for Wake Forest. Maybe it's just because they're Wake Forest, but am I so crazy?

24. Virginia Tech (20) - See above. I got no love for the ACC.

25. Central Michigan (UNR) - Leftover wackiness, mostly. I figured winning the MAC oughta count for something, and then they went out and crushed Middle Tennessee State, so who knows? But this is almost certainly the least defensible ranking in my ballot.

So there you have it. Five teams whose rankings could reasonably be called into question. Brian himself has five teams that meet the above criteria, and Brian is an honorable man. I expect most bloggers have a similar number of questionable rankings, and they are all, all honorable men.

In conclusion, it wasn't that I was stubborn, or in denial about the bowls (much as I tried). It was that I was just that awesome at ranking teams prior to the bowl games. When you're this damn good, you don't have to change your rankings much.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Men. . .

Well, that wasn't what I had in mind.

If you're hoping for any breakdown of the game from me, you're out of luck. I spent most of last night in shock, and I intend to spend the rest of today in denial. There will come a day when I am prepared to rationally discuss the national championship game without the extensive and creative use of profanity, but by that time, everyone will have moved on, so this is probably all you get from me.

Congratulations to the Gators, though. They clearly showed that they were the better team last night. The Buckeyes were outplayed and outcoached, something that has seldom happened under Tressel's watch. Florida played a great game and deserves that fancy crystal football.

But it's not as though this season was a failure for Ohio State. A Big Ten championship and a win over Michigan define a successful season for me, however disappointed I am in the beating the team took in the national championship game.

The basketball team has a big game tonight at Wisconsin. They crushed Illinois over the weekend in a game where they didn't even shoot very well. That's something to build on, but that's not the Illinois team of a few years ago. The Buckeyes have come up short in their two big tests thus far this season, and I'm not too wild about their chances in this one. I think Ohio State is the most talented team in the Big Ten, but Wisconsin is playing better right now, and they'll be at home. A win for the Buckeyes would be a big statement, but if they're in the game for its entirety, that will be satisfactory.

That said, if they turn in the second loss in a big game in 24 hours for Buckeye teams, this week is officially ruined for me. But if they win. . . well, it's still probably ruined. Such is the risk you run when you attach your emotional well-being to the success of a collegiate athletic program.