Friday, June 30, 2006

Sad News

Northwestern coach Randy Walker died of an apparent heart attack last night. He was just 52. He had been diagnosed with a heart condition in 2004, and said afterwards that he was changing his diet and work habits.

There's nothing I can really say that doesn't sound incredibly trite and cliched, so I'll just say that this is very sad, and leave it at that.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

Lest the esteemed gentlemen of the M Zone think that OSU fans are the only ones setting things on fire in the name of a rivalry, I present this video:

And it only took them two tries!

For any further commentary, see the linked M Zone post, making minor edits as necessary to apply it to the above video.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Raising a Superstar

It's kind of old, but the Plain Dealer had an article about receiver Brian Robiskie and his father, NFL coach Terry Robiskie, that's worth a read if you're into the human-interest angle of sports. It's a discussion of the work father and son put in on making Brian a better wide receiver, and the pressure they both put on him. Terry Robiskie expects a lot from his son, but it's clear that it's no more than Brian expects of himself. It seems to be a family situation that allows Brian to be as successful as possible, and if they're all happy with how things are going (and they should be, since Robiskie should see quite a bit of playing time this season), good for them.

The article got me thinking about what it takes to raise an athlete capable of competing at the highest levels. What is it that separates a Peyton Manning from a guy who never got past second string in high school? The simplest answer is talent, but that's not the end of the discussion. Even among individuals of similar talent, there's a wide range of degrees of success. What influences that success? For the purpose of this discussion, I'll limit the factors to those related to parenting.

In terms of athletes whose success was impacted by their parents, there are two ends of the spectrum. On one end, there's Tiger Woods, taught golf primarily by his father, tremendously driven and tremendously successful. He seems happy with his career and how things turned out. And why not? Have you seen his wife?

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Who needs golf when you have Elin Nordegren?

On the other end of the spectrum, there's Todd Marinovich. Trained his entire life to be an NFL quarterback, he apparently cracked under the pressure, and a variety of off-the-field problems led to the end of his NFL career a year after it began.

So what's the difference between the two? Both were clearly talented, and both had fathers that pushed them to be the best athlete they could be. The difference, I'd say, lies in the desire. Tiger Woods wanted to be the best golfer ever. According to Tiger and his late father, it wasn't that Earl Woods made Tiger practice, it was that Tiger made his father practice with him. The decision to become a golfer was his own.

I don't know as much about Marinovich's situation, but I'd argue that he wasn't given nearly as much choice in the matter as Tiger. If he wasn't given a chance to say "I don't want to play football," then all he could do was go along for the ride, doing what he was told. Then one day, he realized he was on his own; nobody was telling him what to do. He didn't have to play football, and perhaps he didn't want to play football, but football was about all he knew. So he ended up with the variety of problems detailed in the article above.

So, the trick to raising a superstar is to have a kid that wants to be a superstar, and making sure the choice is his own. Pushing a child, or anyone really, to be someone that they aren't doesn't work in the long run. This is not to say that a parent shouldn't push his kid to get better. On the contrary, that's a very important part of it. Would Tiger have been half the golfer he is today if his father didn't care what his son was doing? Unlikely.

In conclusion, if you want to raise a successful child, all you need to do is have a kid with talent and desire, and push him to be as good as he can be. That's all it takes. You can trust me, I'm entirely qualified to have an opinion on raising children.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Feel Like I'm Taking Crazy Pills!

I would have posted yesterday, but I was busy trying to set an NBA franchise back a decade. You see, I'm trying to get an NBA head coaching job, and that seems to be the way to do it.

Seriously, Isiah Thomas does arguably more damage as a GM than anyone in NBA history, and he gets more responsibility? What the hell?

Couple things to have a look at:
  • Brian at mgoblog warns OSU fans about overlooking Michigan. There's a variety of comments I could make here, but I just see all of them being quoted in a celebratory post at a Michigan blog following their victory, so I won't tempt karma. I will say, though, that while Texas may very well be favored when we play them, and the Iowa game will likely be a coin flip or thereabouts, OSU looks like a favorite in the rest of their games, due in no small part to favorable scheduling. Having Michigan and Penn State come to the 'Shoe worries me a lot less than going to their respective stadiums. If UM or PSU is being overlooked by fans, it's because we assume that the OSU football team will win more often than not when playing a team of roughly equal talent at home.

    That said, yeah, don't overlook Michigan (or Penn State, or anyone else, really). They're still Michigan, and along with 9-3 seasons and naked gunplay comes the ever-present possibility of defeating the Buckeyes. The possibility has grown smaller, however, with the departure of John Cooper (or, as he was better known during the various Weeks After Michigan he presided over, That Dumbass John Cooper).
  • This article in the Dispatch makes the claim that Terence Dials is better off not being drafted at all than going in the second-round, as it provides more options for him. Sure, if they say so. I'm still not sure I could see a Big Ten Player of the Year going undrafted. No, I don't expect him to be an All-Star, or even a starter, but are you telling me the guy couldn't provide help off the bench? With a little work, I expect him to work his way into the rotation somewhere.

    Also interesting is that J.J. Sullinger and Je'Kel Foster are hoping to latch on to an NBA team. Both are long-shots, but I wouldn't be stunned to see them latch on as role-players. J.J. could be your stereotypical energy guy off the bench, and if Je'Kel finds out where he left his shot at the end of the season, that might be enough to get him on a roster. But like I said, long-shots.

    And, one last random factoid from the article: Matt Sylvester grew up in Italy. I did not know that. I learned something today.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I just finished a couple modifications to the site.

First, I added a video of the OSU Marching Band's ramp entrance to the videos page. I get chills whenever I watch it, both on video and at the stadium. For me, the band is as much a part of the game day experience as the football team. I'll remember the ramp entrance, Carmen Ohio, "Hang On Sloopy" before the fourth quarter, and, of course, Script Ohio every bit as much as any Ted Ginn run or Mike Nugent field goal. If you haven't been to a game, play the video, crank up the volume, and pretend your watching the game through a very strange set of binoculars.

The second change is a minor one, changing "junior" to "senior" over on the sidebar. It's technically a little late, since I had senior status beginning spring quarter, but I figure I can't really be a senior until my fourth year. Symbolically, it was a pretty big change. By this time next year, I'll (hopefully) be a graduate of the Ohio State University, out in the world working a job that isn't ending at the end of the summer. I'll be starting that "rest of my life" that I've been putting off and ignoring for as long as possible. I'm sure that at some point I'll put up some touchy-feely post about ending my time as a student, but right now the prospect of graduation terrifies me too much to think about.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday Reading List

Things to check out while wondering if you should still care about the World Cup. . . .

  • Beaker over at Heavyweight Football Champs discusses the drawbacks of a playoff system in college football. Basically, a playoff would reduce the importance of the regular season and all but eliminate major non-conference matchups like Ohio State-Texas. He proposes a four-team playoff, determined by BCS rankings. Sounds good to me. There's still going to be a team left out that feels they're deserving, but any argument for the fifth-ranked team as a title contender is probably a weak one. And a four-team playoff doesn't extend the season too much for the players, which I also like.
  • The Sports Economist has a post about how the United States World Cup team didn't have any members of the U-20 team (which had doen pretty well for itself in international competition) on it, and it probably should have. I don't really know that much about the U-20 team, so I suggest you follow the link if you want to know more, but the way I see it, a couple more young guys couldn't have made things worse for the U.S. side.
  • On the topic of soccer, Brian linked to this Fox Sports blog that creates and discusses the rumor of German coach Jurgen Klinsmann leaving their team after this World Cup to take over the U.S. spot, assuming Bruce Arena vacates it (voluntarily or otherwise). It seems like a great move. The Germans weren't real happy with Klinsmann's approach leading up to the Cup, and the guy's pretty Americanized, living in L.A., married to an American, etc. Plus, he seems like a good coach, but that opinion's based on just this World Cup, so it's tough to know for sure. He could end up like the mid-major coach in the NCAA tourney that takes his team on a surprising run or two, gets the job he wants, and doesn't live up to expectations (I'm thinking Dan Monson here). But still, if we're looking for a new coach, the USSF could certainly do worse than hiring Klinsman, if he's available.
  • Oh, and that whole new director of football performance has a criminal record thing. I'm not necessarily too worried about it. Here's his side of the story:
    "I was in school, working two jobs, one as a bouncer and one as a sales representative selling memberships to the gym," Lichter said. "Unbeknownst to me, (Williams) was involved in drug trafficking. One night he came up to me and said, ‘I’ve got a guy coming, can you hand him this envelope?’ and I said, ‘Sure, no problem.’ It turned out to be a locker key (where the drugs had been stashed).

    "My wife was pregnant, I was making pretty decent money and it was a job I really wanted to keep. I was 22 years old and impressionable; I figured I’ll do it (deliver the envelope) to stay in his good graces. That was the extent of it. You live and you learn."

    It seems reasonable to me. The M-Zone doesn't buy it, claiming that if you didn't know you were committing a crime, why would you plead guilty to it, as Lichter did? It's a valid objection, but I imagine he was pretty freaked out, to be implicated in a drug ring for handing over an envelope. And let's say some FBI agents, looking for an easy conviction, came up to him and said "Hey, handing over that envelope means you were involved in the operation. You will get convicted if this goes to trial. Plead guilty, and you'll get probation. Not guilty, and you'll get jail time." If he didn't have a lawyer, or had a pretty bad one, it doesn't seem unreasonable for him to say "I don't know what's going on, but if you say it'll keep me out of jail, I'll do it." I just think the guys over at the M-Zone are drawing conclusions based on Lichter's so-called Buckstache. Stereotyping is wrong, guys.

    That said, his explanation does seem a little fishy. I'm just willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, because his story seems fairly plausible. He should, however, be kept on a pretty short leash. But then, so should everyone else associated with the football and basketball teams for the next few years, so that's nothing unusual.

Friday, June 23, 2006

CFN Previews the Buckeyes

I'm on my way out the door, but if you need some reading material, College Football News released its Ohio State preview today. It's a pretty good read, but it has its bad points. I'll break it down.

  1. They say that the kicker will be the key to a successful season. I'm inclined to agree there. It's one of the big question marks on the team, and it's an important position. How many games have been won by having a great kicker (e.g., Nuge), or lost by having a crappy one? If Pretorious or Pettrey can be anywhere close to as good as Nugent and Huston, that would be huge.
  2. They're pretty high on the defense, rating each unit an 8. If they're right (I'm not totally convinced), that should be good enough to get the job done.
  1. CFN says that anything other than a national championship will be viewed as a disappointment. Maybe that's true, but I don't think it should be. If a team replacing five first-round draft picks and 9 of 11 defensive starters doesn't win the national title, I don't consider it a disappointment. Now, I'd be disappointed if we didn't win the Big Ten championship, but the undefeated (or 1 loss) season needed for a national championship requires a lot of luck, and I won't see the season as a failure if all the needed bounces don't go our way.
  2. According the preview of the offense, "it's possible [Antonio Pittman is] the team's third best back." If someone tried to argue that Chris Wells is better than Pittman, I'd say "I'll believe it when I see it," but I wouldn't think they were crazy. But from what I've seen, I'm not convinced Maurice Wells is on the same level as Pittman. Hopefully he proves me wrong, though. Three quality backs would be a pleasant change from '03 and '04, when we had none.
Anyway, if you're like me, you're starved for news, you're reading any college football news you can get your hands on, so this is probably a welcome read for you. Check it out.

Ze Goggles, They Do Nothing!

So, it's already mentioned elsewhere, but Oregon's new uniforms are very ugly. They're ugly now, and they're going to be worse once they start mixing and matching. I sorta feel bad about all the bitching OSU fans did about the uniform change earlier this year. It's like complaining about being hungry, then seeing starving people in some third-world country. I mean, sure, I don't like the stripe change on our uniform, but at least they didn't put that diamondplate pattern on everything. Check out the Uni Watch blog for an exhaustive analysis of the new Oregon unis.

Looking at the pictures, I got to thinking: if you were an Oregon fan, how many wins would you trade a year to not have Nike tinkering with your team's uniform like that? I would seriously consider trading a win a season for some decent-looking uniforms. I mean, wins are great and all, but what good is a win if your team's uniforms are so hideous that you are unable to gaze upon their victory without being blinded by ugliness?

Oh, and sorry for missing another day on Wednesday. This job's taking a lot of time, and sometimes I'm not willing to spend even more time in front of a computer after I get off work. To make it up to y'all, I'll try to post on the weekends, so you can read the same amount of blathering from me, just more spread out.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

You Know I Should Have Stayed in Bed

So, today did not go especially well. First, the U.S. lost to Ghana, getting themselves knocked out of the World Cup. I didn't see the game, since I was working, but I gather that Claudio Reyna, Bruce Arena, and the ref caused as much trouble for the team as Ghana. I still don't understand why Arena didn't use a second striker. I also don't understand the foul on Onyewu in the box. I also don't understand Reyna giving the assist to Ghana on their first goal. Basically, I don't understand a lot of that game. And now I'm left without a team to root for. I suppose I'll cheer for Australia, and maybe England, and maybe Brazil. But still, it was a let down.

And then, on my way home from work, I was ticketed by the Columbus Police Department for doing 37 in a 25, a zone which not so long ago had a speed limit of 35 mph. Now, my house here on campus has been broken into twice, and the police have made no progress in tracking down those perpetrators. But when I speed, they have no trouble tracking me down and hitting me up for $120. I wish they were so successful in getting my stuff back.

I guess I shouldn't complain, though. I knew the limit was 25 mph, and that it was a likely speed trap, but I was speeding anyway. No one to blame but myself. Still, not a good end to the day. But enough whining.

You know what just occurred to me? I'm a moustache away from appearing on the M-Zone. Or would be, if they took mugshots of people committing minor traffic violations. Which they don't. So I guess I'm not that close after all.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Busy Day

Sorry I didn't get a post in today. Between work and life outside of work, I wasn't left with much time to work in a post.

I did, however, want to direct you to Buckeye Commentary's interview with Bruce Feldman. You are likely aware of it already, but if not, you should read it. There were some good questions for Feldman, and he gave some good answers. There's no earth-shattering revelations (there hardly ever are in June), but it's well worth your time. That's right, I'm making judgments about how you should spend your time. And I don't even know you.

Feldman's one of the people that make me seriously consider becoming an ESPN Insider. His blog seems worth reading, and that, combined with the occasional other articles of interest, moves a subscription into the "seriously consider" category, especially now that I have some income. Insider's behind an XBox 360 (probably) and NCAA Football 2007 (definitely) in the things I'll spend my money on in the near future, but it's something I think I'd be interested in. Is it worth it, current and/or former Insiders? More importantly, would the money be better spent on cheap beer? Because cheap beer is very dear to my heart. My liver, not so much.

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The fourth Google Image Search result for "sad liver." The surprising thing is that he wasn't first.

Monday, June 19, 2006

World Cup Thoughts

(First, a note: I started my summer internship today. As a result, until mid-September, there won't be any posts from me until after 6:00, generally. Unless I get ambitious and wake up early to post. But really, what are the odds of that?)

So, as you are likely aware, the U.S. played to a 1-1 tie against Italy. What's more, they did it with 9 players on the field. Italy was down a man themselves, but to play one of the best teams in the world to a draw when you have fewer players on the field than they have is impressive. Some of my thoughts on the match:

  • The red cards: The Italian player deserved his for the foul against McBride. Mastroeni's challenge was of the sort that FIFA's supposedly cracking down on, but I still don't think it was worth a red. It was poorly-timed and reckless, but I don't think he was trying to hurt the guy or anything. Pope's foul would have deserved a yellow card if it had been his first, but I think the ref should show a little restraint in giving out second yellow cards.
  • Arena's changes to the starting lineup were good, I thought. Bocanegra for Lewis worked out pretty well, I thought, and Dempsey was very effective. The new lineup let Donovan play facing the goal, where he looked more comfortable. I'd still consider starting Johnson over McBride, his supposed untouchability nonwithstanding. The guy hasn't been much of a threat thus far.
  • Speaking of McBride, what a contrast to the Italians he was. It was a physical game, but the Italians were definitely taking some dives and doing the whole "Oh, get the stretcher, I'll never walk again, oh look, now that I'm off the field I'm fine" act. Meanwhile, McBride catches a big elbow, starts bleeding like he's in the WWE, and just walks off to get a band-aid and a clean jersey. You can see why the Fulham fans like him. Maybe he should be left in the starting lineup after all.
  • What was the deal with Arena not using the last substitution? I'm not saying we should have put Johnson in for Reyna and risked losing the draw or anything, but why not bring in O'Brien or someone? Reyna looked dead at the end.
  • Today on Around the Horn, ESPN's collection of clowns argued about whether the draw should be considered a moral victory. The consensus seemed to be "no," because the offense was no good and we should be past the point of moral victories, or something along those lines. I tend to agree more with this ESPN article. The team played a lot better than they did against the Czechs, and they tied one of the best teams in the world after spotting them a man for a half. If you had told me at the start of the World Cup that we'd tie Italy, I'd have found that acceptable. If you told me we'd manage a tie while being a man down, I'd have been very happy.
  • It'll be interesting to see what changes Arena makes, since Pope and Mastroeni will be unavailable. Since Jimmy Conrad came in to take over Pope's spot, I kind of expect we'll see him on the back line.

    Replacing Mastroeni will be more interesting. The easy thing for Arena to do will be to just start O'Brien, and that's what he'll probably do. If he gets tricky, though, he might say that since Ghana will be missing two of their best attackers (Gyan and Muntari both picked up their second yellow cards against the Czechs), he won't worry so much about defense, and put in Eddie Johnson up front to replace Mastroeni, and go with a 4-4-2 or something along those lines. I don't really expect it, but I wouldn't think it's out of the question, and I think I'd prefer to see that.

Santonio Holmes Arrested. . . Again

Santonio gets in trouble with the law again, this time for some domestic violence. I was willing to let his disorderly conduct arrest back around Memorial Day slide, because that seemed pretty insignificant. This time, he's charged with domestic violence and simple assault, which are misdemeanors, but are still something I would consider serious and stupid.

There's not really much else to say. He messed up pretty good, and if he doesn't straighten himself out quickly, he's going to throw away an opportunity most of us can only dream of.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Those Crazy Non-College Football Sports

From the world of sports that think they matter:
  • Ben Roethlisberger apologizes - Hey, don't apologize to me, man. Apologize to your face. If you hadn't been a moron, it'd be fine right now. A full discussion of the stupidity of risking an NFL career by riding a motorcycle helmetless has already been discussed elsewhere (more capably than I could manage), so I will not say anything further here.

    I thought that maybe his accident would have an impact on other motorcycle riders, but from the small sample of riders I saw on the highway today, that doesn't seem to be the case. I saw three bikers, two without helmets. And one actually had a helmet strapped to his bike. That's just tempting fate, dude.
  • Ozzie Guillen yells at a rookie pitcher for not hitting a player - This is why I think baseball's stupid. In professional football, the written rules (specifically the ones against having fun) are what bugs me. In MLB, it's the unwritten rules. For example, a manager leaving the dugout to argue balls and strikes in the 4th inning, knowing full well he's going to get kicked out and not change anything. Or two teams deciding to have a benches-clearing "brawl," where both teams will meet in the infield and hope that nobody actually throws a punch. Or in this case, where a rookie pitcher is brought into the game specifically to throw at a player, and then getting yelled at by his manager when he is unsuccessful in his attempt. John Chaney did something very similar in a college basketball game, was suspended three games for it, and there was extensive discussion about how he should be punished worse, or be fired for it. Yet this is considered just part of the game in baseball. It's a game that doesn't make much sense sometimes. Plus, it's a slow game, with a lot of spitting and scratching. And the coaches wear uniforms. And Joe Buck is prominently involved. There's not much good about it.
  • Bruce Arena's considering changes to the World Cup lineup -I'd hope so, otherwise the guy should be fired immediately. I definitely think Eddie Johnson should be in the lineup, and I don't care if he's too similar to Brian McBride. He's just about the only one that looked willing to make something happen up front. I'd like to see John O'Brien replace Pablo Maestroni, as Pablo seemed pretty much invisible, and O'Brien looked pretty fit and capable when he was in. I'd like to see Clint Dempsey play, but that just might be because he's the only one on the team with a rap video. DaMarcus Beasley didn't seem to contribute much, so maybe Dempsey could replace him, though Dempsey's defensive skills are a concern. The author suggests a 4-4-2 for the team, with Johnson and McBride up front, Claudio Reyna and O'Brien in the middle, and Bobby Convey and Landon Donovan at the left and right midfield, respectively. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

    I'd like to know, though, why Reyna and McBride are considered untouchable. I realize Arena loves McBride (and I can relate, seeing as he played for years with the Columbus Crew), but did McBride do anything against the Czechs? And has Reyna been all that impressive? I'd like to see Reyna replaced by a defensive midfielder, allowing Donovan to play attacking mid, but we don't really seem to have anyone capable of playing the defensive mid role, so I guess we have to make do with what we have. Hopefully Arena can put something together and get a win against Italy, but in reality a draw would be pretty impressive for the team.

We're Goin' Streaking!

The Washington Post has an interesting tale of love, nudity, and gun play in Ann Arbor (via the Bucknuts message board):
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A marriage-minded man ran naked through his neighborhood, trying to show his hesitant girlfriend that taking risks is important. He got more than he bargained for when he ended up being chased and shot at.
Sure, the guy running around naked to prove a point is pretty weird, but equally bizarre is the man who carries a gun on a walk with his girlfriend and shoots a naked man that's running away from him. Generally speaking, naked men trying to avoid me is not behavior I would want to punish.

I suspect, sadly, that the man and his potential bride-to-be aren't Michigan students. Why, you ask? This paragraph:
The couple were discussing marriage early Wednesday when the woman said she wasn't sure if she was ready, according to Ann Arbor police reports. The man responded that taking risks is an important part of life and, to prove his point, jumped out of a first-floor window and ran naked across the street.
If his girlfriend attended U of M, he wouldn't be jumping out the window to convince her to marry him. He'd be jumping out the window to escape! *rimshot*

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"Aw, that's mean, man"

But seriously, folks, I'm not one to spread false generalizations, but everyone in Ann Arbor is either a naked lunatic or a gun-toting maniac. Stay away from there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Some Reading Material

  • According to the Dispatch, OSU's working on a home-and-home with Alabama (HT: Roll 'Bama Roll). If it happens, it'll probably be a decade from now, because OSU's got a pretty loaded slate of nonconference games for the next ten years or so: Texas this year, Washington (meh) next year, USC in '08 and '09, Miami in '10 and '11, Cal in '12 and '13, and Virginia Tech in '14 and '15. It'd be awesome to add Alabama to that list. I can't think of the last time Ohio State played an SEC team outside of a bowl game, and if the team we'd play is one with as much history as Alabama, well, that's pretty cool. Hopefully they can get the deal finalized, and hopefully both schools are top-ten in the country by the time the games roll around.
  • Stewart Mandel's got a new mailbag up on On the second page, there's a question about the Big Ten creating its own channel on DirecTV, leading eventually to this:
    But in talking to league officials, I've learned that they envision a day in the not-too distant future when fans are watching games on their laptops and hand-held devices as often as they do actual television. When that happens, sports leagues will want the ability to control these potentially lucrative revenue streams, and I imagine eventually the Big Ten, SEC and every other major conference will follow the Mountain West's lead.
    Now, I'd like to know: would anyone out there choose to watch the Buckeyes on a computer over watching them on TV? Now, I admit this would be nice for times when you aren't around a TV or when you've traveled to a place where you can't get an Ohio State game on TV, but if the people in charge think fans are going to watch games on 6- and 17-inch screens "as often as they do actual television," they're crazy.
  • Last up, a little-known fact: a Michigan Man does not have to show up at court appearances. It's true, ask Cato June. Just don't ask the Indiana legal system; they think that sort of thing should get you arrested or something.

ABC, You May Have Just Cost Me A Security Deposit

The folks in charge of scheduling at ABC, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to schedule the OSU-Michigan game at 3:30 (HT: Buckeye Commentary). For some reason (involving dollar signs, I imagine), the schools have decided to go along with this.

I think this is a bad idea. Some who agree with me do so because of tradition. The Game is meant to be played at noon, the argument goes. That's the way it's always been, that's the way it should be.

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Wrong "The Game"

I don't make this argument. For starters, last year it was moved to 1:00, already breaking tradition. Further, I'd argue that traditions should be followed only if there's not a good reason to get rid of them. I'd argue that a three hour change in start time is worth it if it brings in a bunch of extra cash, which is it likely to do.

No, I argue against the move out of concern for my automobile. As you are aware, in 2002 Ohio State beat Michigan in a noon game, securing a spot in the national title game, and there was rioting. This year, we come in among the preseason favorites for the championship, so a repeat of that situation is not out of the question (furiously knocking on wood). Except that this time, ABC has decided to grant an extra three hours of drinking to potential rioters. I doubt the University and Columbus Police Department's well thought-out and effective (ahem) plan of ticketing people possessing open containers of alcohol will be enough to offset this additional drinking time. The end result?

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Not entirely accurate; a significant orc presence is unlikely.

Of course, there is the possibility that students, citizens of Columbus, and the assorted multitude of thousands just in town for the game will have learned that it is possible to celebrate a big victory peacefully. Not likely, but not impossible.

I suppose, though, that if people are going to set things on fire, they're going to do it regardless of the kickoff time. A later start isn't going to help things, but it's probably not creating problems. And who's to say I wouldn't set my car on fire in exchange for a National Championship? I'm not sure I would, but I'd at least consider it.

Of course, there's the very real possibility that the Buckeyes will get to the Michigan game with a loss or more, and none of this will be an issue. So why worry about it before it happens? We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Highlight Vids

Inspired by Peter over at Burnt Orange Nation and his development of a Texas highlight section, I've created my own collection of highlights. Mine are, of course, of the Ohio State variety. Rather than clog up this main page with a bunch of YouTube vids pushing the rest of my insightful and witty writing further down the page, I've backdated the post of the highlights and linked to it on the sidebar, just below the links to the blogs.

If you want to see the OSU highlights, click here. And, as I mention on the highlights page, if you encounter any other clips that belong on there, please let me know.


  • The US gets stomped in the World Cup - I watched all of this one. It started bad and never got good. Other than a shaky defense, a midfield that couldn't start any attacks, and a set of forwards that were almost invisible, the team looked pretty solid, I thought. The Czechs are a good team, so I won't panic yet, but unless we can mount some sort of attack against Italy on Saturday and get a win, we're almost certainly out of the tournament.
  • '06 Basketball commit David Lighty gets arrested (HT: M-Zone) - Dude shoots a guy with a BB gun, laughs with his friends about it, and fails to leave the scene before the cops show up. You have to be a pretty big jackass to shoot someone with a BB gun and laugh about it, and you have to be a pretty big dumbass to wait around for the police after doing it. Unless this is some sort of giant misunderstanding, he'd better be kicked off the OSU basketball team. This program needs to be cleaner than most after the O'Brien incident, and no team should have this kind of guy on it.
  • Ben Roethlisberger injured in motorcycle accident - Details are still kind of sketchy, but it sounds like he wasn't wearing a helmet. Not very smart of him. Here's hoping he makes a quick, full recovery.

Who Owns Ohio?

I was recently e-mailed a link to this YouTube video, an old clip from the Today show discussing the Ohio University-OSU trademark fight from the late 90's. In 1993, OU filed for a trademark for their "attack cat" logo (seen on lots of their stuff, like their athletics website). The patent was granted in 1995, and Ohio State filed to cancel OU's trademark in 1997. The problem was that this might technically prevent Ohio from using "Ohio," which would be a problem, what with Ohio Stadium and Script Ohio and the Stadium Ohio cheer and so on and so forth. Things were eventually settled in 1998, with OU getting the trademark, and Ohio State getting to use the word "Ohio" in all the ways it's been using it. For the complete story, check out this old article from OU's student newspaper, which provided pretty much all the information for this paragraph.

The video itself is of pretty poor quality, with the audio about five or ten seconds ahead of the video, but it's interesting. It summarizes the lawsuit, then discusses which university is "Ohio." A couple Ohio State students seem to argue that we're Ohio, which seems kind of silly to me. I realize that we have Script Ohio, not Script The Ohio State University. I also realize when I yell "O-H," someone yells "I-O," not "I-O-S-T-A-T-E-U-N-I-V-E-R-S-I-T-Y," but those two cases are due to a lack of the band members and time needed to spell all that out. If I ask what school someone goes to, I know they mean OU if they say "Ohio." Further, I say I attend Ohio State (or The Ohio State University, if I'm feeling arrogant), because everyone knows Ohio refers to OU.

But maybe I'm just seeing the results of the settlement. I was in junior high when most of this was going on, so I had more important things to think about than lawsuits involving the word "Ohio." So it's interesting to look back on this situation, and see my university and OU getting so worked up about something that seems, at least on the surface, to be so unimportant.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Holbrook to Retire in 2007

Karen Holbrook, president of the Ohio State University, has announced she's retiring at the end of her contract in June 2007 (HT: Ohio State Online). At first, I figured it was some sort of crappy joke, but then I received the press release in an e-mail from the university, so unless the prankster has friends in high places, it's true.

Holbrook's not going to be remembered kindly by a lot of people. Tuition's been rising steadily, which upsets the students, and the crackdown on tailgating and ban on open containers was spearheaded by her, which upset a lot of fans. So a lot of people are going to say "good riddance."

I have a more positive view of her. The various academic strides made by the university are detailed in the press release I linked above, but in short, Ohio State's a significantly better university than it was before she got here, which means my degree is worth more than it would have been five years ago.

There was a discussion on some radio station about a year back about whether OSU should be raising its admission standards. The argument seemed to be that tOSU was meant to provide a college education to Ohioans who couldn't otherwise afford one, or couldn't gain admission to most colleges. I would argue that this is a role that has been taken over by community colleges, and to a lesser extent by other public universities in Ohio. There are plenty of options in Ohio for someone who wants to go to college; Ohio State can be more selective in admissions without costing someone a college education. I think that accepting higher-quality students (2/3 of this year's graduating class were in the top quarter of their high-school class) attracts better professors, as does the increased spending at the university. This results in a better university, better graduates, and a better pool of potential employees for businesses, which is ultimately good for Ohio. So I give Holbrook credit for improving the university.

The gameday crackdown I'm more ambivalent about. Something had to be done, the rioting and gameday behavior were not acceptable. However, I'm not convinced the solution worked (ask your average Texas fan whether Columbus is a pleasant place to be on gameday). It seems like the measures taken went after easy targets (tailgaters and people walking around with beers) without addressing the real issues. For example, I was once stopped on a gameday by some undercover cops and ID'd, just for carrying a 12-pack of Bud Light to my buddy's house. I was sober and minding my own business, yet they decided to stop me. I think they could have better spent this time going after some drunk screaming "Fuck the Spartans!" However, much of the problem with the gameday enforcement is more the fault of the Columbus Police than Holbrook, I think. I'm guessing they came up with the policy, and they're the ones that decide how it's enforced. She could have said "No, there's got to be a better way to do it," though, and she didn't, so she certainly deserves some blame for that.

Long story short, for all the blame Holbrook gets for eliminating fun on gameday, she deserves even more credit for improving the university. Hopefully her successor continues improving the university, while working to develop a more intelligent policy regarding fan behavior on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More Links

Like I said, this is Finals Week at Ohio State. Contrary to what you might think, this isn't quite as bad as it's made out to be. If you have two (or three) finals without enough time to adequately study, or if you have a brutal final, then it's no fun at all. Other than that, it's not too bad a time. When you don't have to study, you have nothing to do, which for me means a lot of music video and game show watching, but for others results in equally unconstructive activities, like going to the bar or hanging out on the Oval. Basically, unless you go the route of sorrow and major in engineering, pre-med, or something similar, it's about 49% having fun and killing time, 49% studying, .25% happiness because you how to answer most of an exam, and 1.75% terror because you have no idea what any of that stuff on the exam is, and you are in fact unsure about whether you've been attending the right class all quarter. Good times.

There's a couple new (or new to me) Buckeye blogs out there for you to have a gander at:
  • Buckeye Banter - For some reason, it doesn't look quite right in Firefox, but it's still readable. It's a great place to go for Ohio State news, and well worth reading regularly. Check it out.
  • Death Cab for Woody - A more general blog, focused not just on OSU sports, but also music and that strange sport known as "hockey." I must admit, I don't quite understand it.

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    Your Canadian sport frightens and confuses me!

    However, as a fan of a sport even less popular than hockey (joga bonito, baby), who am I to judge? And, I must admit to following hockey, however casually (even went to a Blue Jackets game and saw them get whomped by the Red Wings), so all is well. Besides, it's a well-written, entertaining site, regardless of topic. And that name is fantastic.
I just noticed that I got linked at mgoblog. Don't know how I missed that one, seeing as it's a mention from one of the biggest college football blogs. That deserves a "w00t!" even if "w00t" is very nerdy of me, and the link does come from one of those diabolical Michigan blogs.

It's That Time Again. . . .

Sorry I haven't posted, this is Finals Week at Ohio State. I'm currently on a break from studying for a Finance final. I'll try to work in a post tonight or sometime tomorrow. Thursday, at roughly 10:30, I'll be done with finals and free to forget everything I've learned until September.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Nothing good happens during prime-time football

As you've probably heard, the Iowa and Texas games this year are night games. As this Plain Dealer article points out, this is generally viewed as a bad thing. Ohio State's last four night games have all been losses, against Wisconsin, Northwestern, Texas, and Penn State. I guarantee you'll hear about this in the week leading up to the Texas game (I predict a brief piece on Gameday with interviews of Buckeye players, followed by Herbstreit saying the time doesn't matter and Corso sputtering through a retort that it does matter, probably mispronouncing a name along the way).

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Thomas Edison and his light bulb: indirectly causing Buckeye defeats?

But do night games really cause a problem for OSU? Probably not. Let's look at the games one by one.

The result of the Wisconsin game was one everyone knew would come eventually. The offense that had been just good enough wasn't good enough for a game, and the defense made one mistake that cost them the game. If this game was played ten times, OSU probably wins 5 or 6 of them. I don't think you can chalk this loss up to the start time.

The Northwestern game seems to be great evidence for the "OSU sucks in night games" argument. It certainly looks like the Buckeyes should have blown the Wildcats out of the water. But then, Ohio State's offense was still anemic, and the defense tended to give up short gains while waiting for the opponents to get greedy or make a mistake, which played right into the hands of the Northwestern offense. These facts, combined with the Buckeyes probably overlooking an opponent, led to a loss that could have come at any time.

The Texas game was lost because of the quarterbacks. OSU played two of them, meaning they basically had none. Texas, meanwhile, played one, and he just happened to be the best player in college football. If Ohio State had stuck with one QB, I think they might have won that game. I must, however, acknowledge the very real possibility that the better team won that game. Either way, the night had nothing to do with this one.

Penn State might be a different story. This was a big game, especially for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions fans had a lot of time to get excited and loud for this one. It's tough to argue that the Buckeyes weren't rattled by the night game crowd. However, I think the bigger issue was that the offense in general, and Troy Smith in particular, hadn't regained the form they had at the end of the previous season. The defense held Penn State to 17 points, and the offense could only muster ten. With an offense that bad, you'll lose whenever you play.

That said, I'm still worried about the whole night-game thing. Here we have four examples of games that were essentially coin-flips or better, and Ohio State lost all four. It certainly looks like the team has a problem with night games. I don't think Tressel has a problem preparing for night games, but the more the evidence mounts, the tougher it is to explain it away. If Tressel wins both of the night games this season, all the talk of "Ohio State can't win at night" will disappear. If not, it will get louder than ever.