I’m still basking in the glow of 12-0. And more importantly, I continue to cherish the win over Michigan and think about it every day. I didn’t realize how much the 2011 game impacted me until this week. To see them lose to TTUN after everything that happened to them in 2011, while playing maybe their best game of the season, was truly heartbreaking. But that memory can be suppressed, the undefeated Buckeyes have made it so. It’s Wednesday, let’s get ready to rumble!
Braxton and the Heisman
I was absolutely shocked when the Heisman trophy finalists were announced on Monday evening and Braxton Miller wasn’t amongst them. I realize he had “average” games against Wisconsin and Michigan to close the season, but his team did finish 12-0 and he put up some pretty gaudy numbers in leading them to that mark. I didn’t in any way expect him to win it, but in a year with no clear favorite how does the highlight reel quarterback of the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes get left off the invite list?
Without further ado: The finalists are Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. I know what you want to know now: Who should win it and who would I vote for?
If you’re looking for consistency then it has to be Klein or Te’o. If it’s the “story” that you’re looking for, it would have to be Te’o or “Johnny Football” Manziel. If it’s the guy who meant the most to his team, it’s Te’o spearheading one of the nation’s best defenses through a tough schedule and leading it to Miami and the national championship game. If it’s the statistically best player in college football, Klein has thrown for 2500 yards and ran for 900 more while Manziel has accounted for 4600 total yards on the season.
Who would I vote for? If Collin Klein’s team had finished undefeated, he would likely have been my pic. However they didn’t, so he’s out. I’m not giving the Heisman Trophy to someone simply based on what conference they play in. So while “Johnny Football” has ridiculous numbers and a win at Alabama, he can win it next year if he does it again. That’s provided he can hold off Braxton Miller and the run he will get just from having the Ohio State name and exposure attached to him. So that leaves Manti Te’o of the three finalists, and yes, he’d get my vote. I realize he doesn’t lead the nation in statistics, but if he were not on the Notre Dame defense, would they be in Miami challenging for the crystal football? I think absolutely not. He’s not only the best player on the number one team in the country; he is their heart and soul.
The Heisman used to be about awarding the best player in college football, regardless or conference, stats, position etc. A vote for Te’o is a throwback and I’d be “all in” for it. I’d have absolutely no problem checking the box to give the Heisman Trophy to Manti Te’o.
If you’re on campus, I strongly encourage you to try and make it to St. John Arena for the celebration on Friday night for the undefeated Buckeye football team. These types of seasons don’t happen every year and whether a bowl game is on the docket or not this team deserves to be celebrated. And you all deserve to celebrate the accomplishment with them! The official website for the Buckeyes says that all entry vouchers have been dispersed, but if I were a student on campus I’d still head over that way just in case. For those of us not on campus, the event will be streamed live at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com
Almost the instant they were announced, everyone began complaining about the bowls and the matchups in them. The BCS continues to be a joke, but at least we only have to deal with it for one more season. Let’s take a look at the Big Ten pairings and some instant rational thoughts:
By absolutely demolishing the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten championship game, the Wisconsin Badgers are headed to the Rose Bowl for a third consecutive year. However, in a truly shocking event, head coach Bert Bielema will not be with them as he has accepted the head coaching job at Arkansas. Despite being 1-5 vs Ohio State, losing every BCS game he’s been invited to, losing to Rich Rodriguez when he was at Michigan, the Arkansas folk believe Bert is the guy to lead them back to prosperity. Do they know he cried about Urban Meyer’s style of recruiting here in the north? This one is a true head scratcher all around.
So what of the Badgers and their chances in Pasadena? This year they face the PAC 12 champion Stanford Cardinal. Yes, these are the same Badgers the Buckeyes beat at Camp Randall and the very same Badgers that lost in Happy Valley the following week to Penn State. We all know the Badgers snuck into the title game by virtue of Ohio State and Penn State being ineligible to participate. That said, Bert and his guys took advantage of the situation and looked like a top ten machine in rolling the Huskers. Stanford has been very good this year, losing in overtime at Notre Dame and winning in Eugene against the once considered unstoppable Oregon Ducks. Maybe the Badgers play inspired with the loss of their coach and looking to impress the new boss? Maybe Barry Alvarez leads the troops for a “one night only” gig in the Rose Bowl. Regardless, if the Wisconsin that was in the title game shows up, they may shock some people.
Our smelly friends to the north have been summoned to Tampa for the Outback Bowl and a date with the South Carolina Gamecocks. I like how everyone instantly proclaimed Michigan will get trounced in this game. Why? What has South Carolina showed you that, given a month to prepare, the Wolverines couldn’t counter? I’ll give you Jadaveon Clowney (if you don’t know that name, look it up!) But by and large, once again the SEC stigma alone is controlling public opinion. Brady Hoke got a much less talented team prepared for Virginia Tech and won last season’s Sugar Bowl. Why can’t they be ready for SC?
The Gator Bowl will see Northwestern take on Mississippi State and Nebraska takes on Georgia in the Capital One Bowl in the other two SEC-Big Ten matchups. While I like Northwestern over Mississippi State, I have to worry about Nebraska taking on Georgia. While the Dogs are susceptible to huge amounts of yardage on the ground, Nebraska couldn’t stop Wisconsin from doing anything and everything they wanted the last time we saw them. I think the Huskers need to hope for a shootout, that way at least their offense is clicking giving them some semblance of a chance.
Other Big Ten teams going bowling include Minnesota in the Meineke Care Care against Texas Tech, Michigan State takes on Texas Christian in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Purdue takes on Oklahoma State in something called the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Those are all winnable games for the Big Ten teams. But as always, all eyes will be firmly planted on the Big Ten’s matchups with the Southeastern Conference.
Basketball season is in full-go and the Buckeyes dropped a tough one at Cameron Indoor Stadium to the Duke Blue Devils last week. Despite the loss, it’s hard not to like what we saw from the Buckeyes that night. Let’s be honest: Cameron Indoor Stadium is a tough place for anyone to win. Some of the best teams yearly go there and get blown out. I’m not one for moral victories, but the Buckeyes let us know that they can play with anyone in the country. There is going to be a fun season in store for us on the hardwood.
Urban Meyer is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award presented by the Football Writers Association of America. I get the feeling that much like the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award, this one will go to Bill O’Brien of Penn State as well. It’s hard to not be impressed with what O’Brien accomplished in the face of everything that happened at Penn State. Meyer, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Florida Gator head coach Will Muschamp, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, all the finalists are certainly worthy. However, none of them had to face what O’Brien dealt with daily in Happy Valley: Matt McGloin as his best option at quarterback.
If you have the means, go out and see our senior Buckeyes on their “mall” tours and get some stuff autographed. While you’re there, let them know how much you appreciate them staying through the adversity of 2011 and persevering to accomplish what they did in 2012. I know currently Zack Boren, Jake Stoneburner, John Simon and Ben Buchanan are traveling the state together. Call your local mall or Ohio State sports store and tell them you want to meet the Buckeyes! I’ve gone to plenty of these and the guys are extremely friendly and appreciative. If you don’t collect autographs, so what, I’m sure there is a kid you know or are related to who would be ecstatic with it. Bottom line: I know it’s the holidays and times in general are tough, but if you’ve got the means or want to get a Buckeye fan a great gift, get out there and support our guys!
Wrap it up
I still can’t believe this season is over and that they finished 12-0. Time flies when you’re having fun has never been more prophetic. See you next week, until then, Go Bucks!
Metallica track of the week
On Monday, December 10th a new live dvd/bluray is being released from the two stops in Quebec on the World Magnetic tour in 2009. They are being released on the newly announced Blackened Recordings. Nearly unprecedented amongst today’s artists, Metallica now has complete control over all their master recordings both audio and video. The Quebec concert dvd is the very first release on their own through the previously mentioned Blackened Recordings. This is huge! They gave us a sample of the upcoming dvd, the CLASSIC “Master of Puppets” so why not make it our track of the week!