Wednesday Night Rumble: I’m Sorry

Written January 9th, 2013 by Jason

The National Championship has been awarded. Recruits are making commitments. Excitement for the 2013 Buckeye football season is already full throttle. Let’s rumble!

Notre Lame and the championship debacle

Let me be the first to say it, I was wrong, just completely and utterly wrong. I thought that the Irish would have learned from the mistakes of the 06 Buckeyes and some of the other programs to challenge the SEC in the years since. I was wrong. They had to learn for themselves, stubborn to the end.

So to you, the great people of Buckeye Nation, I am sorry. I allowed my disdain and overall loathing for the Southeastern Conference to put my faith in one of the most heinous college football villains of all time, the Fighting Irish. This is a mistake I shall not repeat. Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.

No contest

Heading into the game, the Irish brought one of the country’s best defensive units, at least statistically. They were led by Manti Te’o, a player that I still feel deserved to win the Heisman Trophy, but more on that later. While Te’o was their heart and soul, their defensive line was their backbone. Against Alabama, that backbone was broken in half.

For me, the most telling sign of a team in way over their head is the look on their faces and their body language early on when adversity hits them in the mouth. When Alabama took a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter, the Irish defense came onto the field with their hands on their hips, huffing and puffing with bewildered looks of confusion on their faces indicating thoughts of “what have we gotten ourselves into” and “I was in no way prepared for this.”

Welcome to the world of big time college football, Notre Dame. You’ve been gone for so long that you forgot how the big boys play it. I’ll take nothing away from your undefeated regular season since we certainly know the difficulty of navigating any schedule perfectly. But what exactly did you think was waiting for you in Miami, some combination of USC’s offensive line, Stanford’s take no risk quarterback with Le’Veon Bell bulldozing behind them? Was your line of thinking “Come on, how tough can they really be?” because by attacking the nation’s number one cornerback Dee Milliner on your first offensive possession (twice!) gave me the distinct feeling you had absolutely no idea what type of animal you were stepping into the cage with. Surely Notre Dame would learn from others mistakes and, if anything, maybe over prepare for Alabama and have to break down the myth, remind their players of the old “they put their pants on one leg at a time” speech, wouldn’t they?

It’s really kind of sad. I thought Brian Kelly was an offensive innovator, yet here’s a guy who early in the game decides to attack Alabama’s strength (it’s defense and specifically it’s best cornerback) with his weakness, Golson throwing from the pocket. Not to mention that they threw jump balls on the plays. Do you have any idea how low the completion percentage is on fades and jump balls? It’s impossible to come up with an actual number, but I’m guessing somewhere in the low 30 percentile range. Brian, it was real simple: Speed up the tempo, run your quarterback from the shot gun, be a little creative on your routes.

There is plenty of blame in South Bend for what went wrong and it starts in Tuscaloosa with the Crimson Tide. Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon were impossible to tackle, McCarron was on his game, the o-line was road grating. I get all that. But to look so unprepared, so out of shape and to try and use Brady Hoke’s genius idea of making your running quarterback (Alabama’s biggest weakness) a pocket passer is unacceptable. Hoke got the Wolverines smashed to the tune of 41-14 in Dallas for their season opener with the Tide. Brian Kelly was one point worse.

Alabama busted up Manti Te'o

Manti Te’o was abused. He missed tackles and was blocked by Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack all night long. In his defense, a 3-4 defensive line is supposed to eat up space and keep blockers off the linebackers. The complete destruction of the Notre Dame front line sent 320lb offensive lineman that will be first round picks in the NFL draft unabated to Te’o from their second series of the game throughout the duration. Since we’re being honest tonight, I actually felt a little bad for Te’o. Here’s a kid who’s done everything right in his career, been the model scholar athlete and (as we now have found out) miraculously led his team to an unbeaten season and a shot at all the glory only to have his head bashed in repeatedly by a relentless Bama front five mostly at the cause of and receiving no relief from the guys who are supposed to protect him.

I thought when I watched our Buckeyes get beat by Florida that that was as bad of a championship beating as I’d ever see short of Oklahoma’s embarrassment by USC. Despite the final score, at least the Buckeyes kept the game within reach into the third quarter and kept you wondering if maybe they’d snap out of it and right the ship. Monday night’s debacle was an embarrassment from start to finish. At no point past the coin toss was there any doubt that Alabama was going to and eventually did run over and through Notre Dame.

The Bowls and the SEC

Pat Fitzgerald and the Nerdwestern Wildcats

Prior to Monday night’s championship drubbing, I felt pretty good about the stigma of the SEC finally beginning to break down. Even the worldwide leader’s pregame show had the likes of Mike Bellotti, The Bachelor Jesse Palmer and “Twilight” Pollack suggesting that everyone else in the country was beginning to catch up.

We could look to Northwestern beating Mississippi State and Clemson knocking off LSU as barometers. We watched Nebraska blow a halftime lead then almost rescue themselves in the end only to drop a tight Capital One Bowl game with Georgia, a team that nearly beat Alabama in the SEC championship. Jaws dropped and eyeballs popped when Louisville dismantled the Florida Gators in the SEC’s prize possession, the Sugar Bowl. If they had any clue how to tackle, Michigan would have knocked off South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

All signs were pointing to what some (ahem, me) have been saying since early October: The very top of the SEC is still the very top of the SEC, but from the third spot down to the bottom things are beginning to balance out nationally. The outcome of these bowl games would show that the SEC strength of schedule argument has holes in it and people were finally noticing. Would the top of the league no longer be able to avoid scheduling real nonconference opponents since the argument for why they refuse to do so was being exposed as a fallacy in front of their faces?

Then Oklahoma and Notre Dame came to the party. As expected, Texas A&M spanked Bob Stoops boys from Norman and then the Irish soiled their sheets in Miami against the Crimson Tide. While it doesn’t mean we’re going all the way back to square one with the “SEC dominance” argument, we didn’t take the chunk out of it that could have been if these two had shown up and at the very least played competitive games deep into the fourth quarter.

And for the record, I hammered Notre Dame a few paragraphs up. So to be fair: Bob Stoops, what’s your story bro? Texas A&M is a team that you spanked last year in Norman and had a pretty high rate of success against in your career. Because they’ve become affiliated with the SEC, you suddenly lose your touch? Get it together, Bob!

Two more for the real “Linebacker U”

As we discussed last week, the linebacker position at Ohio State for 2013 is going to need some help. Well reinforcements have arrived as Buckeye Nation proudly welcomes Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell as the newest members of the family!

Trey Johnson is from Lawrenceville, Georgia. Rivals lists him at 6’ – 1”and 222lbs. He is ranked as the number 7 overall linebacker in the country and number 4 overall prospect in the state of Georgia. He committed last Friday night on national television as part of the Under Armor High School All-American game.

Mike Mitchell hales from Plano, Texas and is listed at 6’ – 4” and 216lbs. He is freakishly fast for a high school player with his size; Mitchell was clocked in the 40 at 4.39 seconds. He comes to Ohio State as the number 3 ranked linebacker overall in the country and the number 3 prospect overall in the state of Texas. Mitchell committed on Saturday also on national television but at the US Army All-American game.

Quick hitters    

Head coach Urban Meyer received great news along with the rest of Buckeye Nation when the Columbus Dispatch’s Tim May reported that Bradley Roby had contacted him and said he will indeed be returning the school for the 2013 and not entering the NFL draft. Aside from Jonathan Hankins, Roby was clearly the next closest “NFL ready” player on the Buckeyes roster. Most draftniks were speculating Roby would be picked somewhere between the 5th and 10thcornerback on the board, meaning Roby could have been as high as a late first round pick or as low as an early third round pick. I’m here to say, and I’m sure I speak for all of you, welcome back #1!

Bradley Roby

Urban Meyer did a great job on the pre and postgame shows for the four letter network’s coverage of the National Championship game on Monday night. You really got the sense that he was fighting the urge to politely say “We should be here.” I love his passion and can listen to him talk about football for days. We are lucky to only be scratching the surface of what Urban Meyer is going to bring to this program.

The basketball Buckeyes were walloped at Illinois last Saturday. They rebounded by winning a clutch road game at Purdue last night. Archrival TTUN comes to town on Sunday to see the Buckeyes at the Schottenstein Center. I don’t like to try and dissect x’s and o’s for basketball or dive into strategy. Basketball is the one sport I think I enjoy watching because I have no experience in it at any level (short of my driveway) and I can pretty much always be surprised by what happens. It’s the same way with hockey. That said, if Thad Matta doesn’t find some reliable scoring in his lineup we are looking at long dreary winter in Columbus. TTUN brings some serious explosion and looks like a Final Four contender.

How many days till spring practice starts?

Wrap it up

Thanks for checking in this week! I hope all of your 2013 resolutions haven’t been thrown by the side quite yet! Until next week, Go Bucks!

Metallica track of the week

I said ten years ago when it came out that in ten years people will back at St. Anger and say “You know, it really isn’t that bad…” As 2013 marks the ten year anniversary for the album (an album I love BTW) let’s make our MTOTW a cut from St. Anger. Here’s the video for Some Kind Of Monster!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyodOpUxgHA?rel=0]

33 Comments

  1. CbusNo Gravatar
    January 9th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    We were down 34-14 at half. I am not sure there was anyone who thought we had a chance in the second half. If you did, you were probably more drunk than I was.

    [Reply]

  2. C-DogNo Gravatar
    January 9th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I think we should officially change Manti Teo’s name to the easier-to-remember and easier-to-pronounce “Heart and Soul.” I actually read people writing that Teo should win the Heisman not for anything statistical, but because he is the “heart and soul.” For his sake, I hope not. That Notre Dame defense was a sham. I am so sick of hearing “heart and soul.”

    [Reply]

  3. C-DogNo Gravatar
    January 9th, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Ha, ha. And you’re of them that has bought into the Heisman=Heart and Soul. Sorry I didn’t read it more closely.

    [Reply]

  4. JasonNo Gravatar
    January 9th, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    It’s cool, thanks for reading!

    As for Te’o, the overall defensive numbers they put up this year against the schedule they played is pretty impressive. If Ohio State did the same thing, we’d have all been screaming that John Simon deserves the Heisman, and the Buckeye schedule was arguably worse than the Irish.

    The Heisman is about “the most outstanding player in college football”, not “the kid who beats Alabama and has the most stats.” If Manziel played all season the way he played the 2nd half of the Cotton Bowl, he’d have won in a landslide an would have had my support. He didn’t. Te’o did and led his team to an unbeaten season and some ridiculous numbers considering how had their secondary is and now that we know how bad their d-line is.

    Seriously, thanks for reading and commenting!

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Well, Jason, I see you went far afield and came back with a basket of goodies.

    Interesting comments about Manti Te’o. I had a conversation with my son yesterday, and he mentioned that judging by Te’o’s body language at halftime, the game was effectively over. He said that a defense largely runs on emotion, and at the half, ND’s emotional leader had a ‘dead look’ in his eyes.

    And Northwestern as the conference standard-bearer in bowl season. Good grief.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Gotta ask the question – is that more a sign that the conference is a little down, or that Pat Fitzgerald is doing a great job? I’d really prefer to think the latter.

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I’m going with Pat Fitzgerald doign a great job!

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 8:11 am

    In this case, I’ll take Door #2, ‘Fitzgerald doing a great job’ as my answer. The conference is down a bit this year, but Fitz kept his team focused all year long.

    First bowl win in 64 years for ‘cats, after a couple recent near misses. This is not your father’s Northwestern.

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Great point Ken. The bowl win, to me, is proof he’s doing a good job!

    [Reply]

    WVaBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Fitzgerald was my choice for B1G COTY, he does and incredible job and is old school in his approach, hard nosed LB as a coach. I am a fan of his and think he is one of the better coaches around.

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    He definitely belongs in the discussion for B1G COTY just for the reasons you stated above.

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Good point. This is a guy (Fitzgerald) who seemingly has done more-with-less consistently over past several years.

  5. PaulNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Many Ohio State fans are Catholic and do not loathe Notre Dame….they actually like ND. Woody would not schedule ND because he did not want to split the fan base.

    [Reply]

    C-DogNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I read a book that suggested that Woody gave ND a wide berth because it gave him another program to refer midwest guys that didn’t want to go to Ohio State. If they went to ND, they wouldn’t go to M*ichigan.

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Interesting point. I’m working on a post (up in a couple days) about being a fan.

    [Reply]

  6. JasonNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I think Fitzgerald can write his own ticket in college football if he wanted to leave Nerdwestern. Sure, they had success before him, he isn’t breaking barriers, but he does have them as a consistent winner and seems from all appearances to be doing it “right”. At some point someone is going to make him the right offer and he’s going to a big time program. Might be 8-9 years from now, but won’t eventually he want to test himself to see what he can accomplish with the resources of an LSU or Penn State?

    Te’o looked beat to me. Like he was taking a beating he’d never expected or been involved in. Try and find a pic of him at the interview table post game, dudes for head and chin are noticabley purple and swollen from getting smashed.

    It’s crazy how bad their defensive line played. First series they held their own, plugged gaps and the back 7 couldn’t tackle Lacy and gave up that long pass by McCarron. Next series they were being walled up and moved off the line, getting their shoulders turned… Just crushed.

    I just can’t imagine what they were preparing for? Who did they think they were playing? I imagine all the horror stories we heard about preparations in Glendale with the Buckeyes multiplied by 10.

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    What gets me Jason, is no one is really beating them up for not showing up in a Championship like they did to us against Florida……

    [Reply]

    C-DogNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    This game was not an upset. Nobody saw Ohio State crapping on the field the way they did against Florida. They used to say “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” The truth is that hell hath no fury like a sportswriter wrong. They pile on the loser to cover the fact that they predicted that the loser would win.

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Interesting point but I don’t believe the upset factor has anything to do with it. Media loves Notre Dame and they love to hate on the B1G and us not showing up against Florida gave the ample ammunition.

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Gary, I think that Paul’s post (@9:58 am) may touch on the fringes of the kid-glove media treatment the media.

    [Reply]

    JasonNo Gravatar
    January 10th, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Gary:

    Likely because they weren’t preseason number 2, won on the road at preseason number 1, then won a won vs two matchup to get to the show. And with the exception of the The Game, they really didn’t struggle. They also came in with a Heisman trophy winning QB, not a Heisman runner up linebacker. That 06 Buckeye team was supposed to not just beat Florida but a lot of people expected them to win somewhat comfortably.

    Now if it happens again, or lets say they get to another BCS game next year and get drilled, then Kelly will start taking the “can’t win the big one” rap, and it’ll be deserved.

    JMO

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I agree with all but the last part. For years the media has given credit to ND as if they were a relevant program. Performance wise, ND fell off the map but the media’s love kept them alive. I agree with what you are saying as the reasons for the media bashing us, but the SEC network…..oops sorry….ESPN talked ND up for years and they now deserve to be bashed….IMO

    [Reply]

    C-DogNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    ESPN really talked up ND at the end this year because ND was in a title game that ESPN happened to be covering. Make no mistake, ESPN is a business, & it’s all about the money. They HAVE to make that game look good so you’ll watch. As much as we all say we hate ESPN, we still watch. Dumb. If you REALLY think Mark May is a bum, don’t argue with him…change the channel.

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 10:22 am

    They have hyped them up well before they were any good. Also, I have not watched Mark May in years, I do change the channel. I know that I am the exception b/c all my friends tell me what Mark May has said or done lately! But I get everything on Mark May through hearsay.

  7. bhopNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 10:03 am

    ND had a good season…just like we did. They had a MUCH tougher schedule than we did for SURE to start the season. However, if you look at how the teams did that ND played as the season went on…it wasn’t as good as many thought. However it was still tougher than ours (Stanford was better than anyone we played). Did the media/ESPN hype up the game…yes….just like they would have if it was OSU vs ND or Bama. Watch if OSU plays Bama next year, they’ll do the same thing. Game of the century…and what not….we better hope OSU doesn’t lay an egg like ND did…otherwise we’ll look just like ND.

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I disagree about them hyping the game if it was OSU. It would have weeks of why every other team other than OSU deserved to be there IMO

    [Reply]

  8. JeffNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Why would they? The whole nation has the buckeyes as escape goats

    [Reply]

    GaryNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Well put Jeff.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    “Scape goats”.

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    January 12th, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Looking at our back yard this morning, I see our goats escaping.

    [Reply]

  9. JasonNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Not to stand on a soap box or whatever: bit I do what I preach, I do not watch ESPN unless it is a game I have to see. Halftime of those games I have to see, the channel is changed, I leave the room to do some “business” in another room or the TV goes on mute. Been that way since Herbstreit went off on us after the Florida game, basically called us a second rate program. I spoke to him that summer and he said “Sometimes I do what Im told, if they want me to be aggressive in my critique cause its better tv, then sometimes I do it.” I’m paraphrasing here, but he said he was so upset with tOSU’s performance that night that it didn’t take much coercing to get him to lash out against us. It’s partly why I tend to give Herbie a pass on most occasions, though twitter followers eat it up any time you bash him.

    [Reply]

    C-DogNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    So, Herbie has sold his soul. No big surprise there. They have a ton of ex-Buckeyes on there. Not just Herbie, but Spielman, Robert Smith, Cris Carter (although he does pro football), and now Joey Galloway. It’s funny how May and Holtz get to keep their cheerleader oufits, but everyone else has to be a “serious journalist.”

    [Reply]

    C-DogNo Gravatar
    January 11th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I actually expect them to get a little easier on Ohio State (but not the rest of the Big Ten) since we now have Urban Meyer. Urban is a well-spoken “rock star” coach and (due to his work on the Booyah Network) a friend of the program. He has opened up to ESPN (practice coverage, etc.). I suspect things will remain a little chummier until such time as Meyer gets burned by them, which is inevitable.

    [Reply]

Comment On Article

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE