Look, I know it’s the holiday season and all that, but I’m not feeling it just yet. Here’s some Ella if you’re in a similar mood this Monday.
And so it ends… not with a bang, but a whimper. Not for everyone, but for fanbases who entered Saturday with significant postseason aspirations, the doors gently shut on both those dreams and on their season.
While TWTW is usually reserved for Saturday’s festivities, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Northern Illinois started the slide on Friday; poised for a shot at another possible BCS bid, the Huskies fell for the first time all season in the MAC championship. And not just “fell”, but were beaten by 2o points by Bowling Green in a game that cost the Falcons (and the other non-qualifying schools) some pretty major cash.
Saturday’s early slate started with some Bedlam, a game where anything can happen and often does- this year in the form of an earthquake during a field goal attempt.
As a rivalry game, you throw the records and season results out the window, as any Ohio State or Michigan fan can tell you. And while TBPU looked to be the easy favorite, icy conditions and the passion of their cross state rivals kept this from being an easy match.
While both teams struggled to score early on, Oklahoma tied things up in the third following a fake field goal that may or may not have happened before the play clock expired. No call, though, so on we went.
Much like last week’s game in Ann Arbor, OkSU drove down the field with relative ease at the end of the game, and scored with time left on the clock in spite of our warnings. And, you can guess what happened- Oklahoma managed a length of the field drive to score which left only enough time for the Northwestern-esque “throw the ball around and hope for the best” play, and like NU, Oklahoma State’s efforts were interrupted and scored upon.
Check out the gif on the left there; this is after the spread-covering score, and you can see both a Cowboy cheerleader attempt to trip a jubilant Sooner and also notice that some happy fan has decided to huck a snowball at the field toward the end of the clip.
That’s what it means to be in a rivalry game… it’s bigger than just a regular loss, particularly when you fall at home and fall out of the BCS. I’m sure that excitement and emotion were behind the Sooner player’s decision to go full Marcus Hall on the Cowboy fan, and am certainly looking forward to them being benched for the entirety of their next game, the way that Hall was. And, media folks, feel free to spend hours discussing how classless this play was and what Stoops should do. You’ve obviously got nothing else to talk about.
With the Cowboys’ falling in Stillwater, the late afternoon game between Texas and Baylor became the defacto Big12-2 Championship matchup. Let that roll around in your head for a minute- Mack Brown, who may be on his way out after yet another disappointing season, was one game away from a Conference Title and a BCS bid.
And yet, it was not to be… after a close first half, Baylor made the plays that it’s executed so well all season and pulled away from Texas to win their first conference title in forever. Given that they’re opening a new stadium next year and just signed their coach to a sizable extension, it’s quite possible that we haven’t heard the end of celebrations in Waco.
And their reward? A trip to Phoenix to face the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl… the same UCF that held off SMU to win on Saturday. That game ain’t going to be pretty, folks.
By now, Buckeye fans know all to well that Auburn will be playing in the National Title game against Florida State. Poised in the computers to leap Ohio State with a blowout win against Missouri, the resurgent Tigers (no, the other ones) handled the
B12-2′s SEC East’s finest handily in Atlanta on Saturday, in a game that seemed to be played with an understanding that each team was required to ration their tackles (perhaps the same memo OSU got?).
That’s not to say that there wasn’t any controversy on the way to the SEC crown. One of Missouri’s early scores was on a long pass that clearly was not fully possessed by the receiver- I have no idea how that wasn’t overturned. Later, an Auburn player pushed Missouri’s Josey out of bounds after the running back had another long scamper, and the shove caused Josey to hit a nearby cart and miss the remainder of the game.
Auburn’s win meant that, should one of the top two teams fall, they would be in. Florida State started first in their epic clash against the Duke Blue Devils, and managed to go the entire first quarter without a score.
That was about it, though- the Seminoles managed to roll up a 45-7 win and punch their tickets to Pasadena, while Winston possibly scheduled a trip to New York to pick up some hardware. It’ll be interesting to see if we get a 2006 repeat- an undefeated team with a Heisman Trophy QB against a one-loss SEC program who “backed in” to the title game. That’s all I remember about the 2006 game… and I’m not listening if you try to give me any further facts.
Which brings us to Indianapolis. As if Ohio State fans didn’t have enough reasons to hate Sports Illustrated, this week’s decision to put Braxton on a regional cover added the Buckeyes to the list of Oregon, Alabama, and Baylor as teams who lost the week following their cover appearance. Splendid.
Look, my thoughts on the game are probably the same as the rest of Buckeye Nation:
Again, no disrespect to Ben Affleck or to Michigan State, but it feels more like Ohio State let this one get away from them than the Spartans “took” it. While I’d prefer that it was the Buckeyes in Pasadena, I’m still excited to see Michigan State play Stanford in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl.
Stanford won their rematch with Arizona State in a walk in front of less than stellar crowds. While some blame the “rematch” factor for poor attendance, I believe that it’s due to these being hosted on campus… as nice as that is for the home team, this time of year the trend is to allow fans the chance to travel to somewhere new. I’m conflicted on this, since I believe that any future Championship Expansion should consider home stadiums, but I also understand that there’s a huge money factor involved from tourism and so forth.
And that’s the heart of the silly season that we’re getting ready to enter- schools will pay lots of money for the “privileged” of making cash for television networks and tax exempt “bowl committees”; and only one game will “matter”, other than the contrived “Bowl Challenge” that the four letter network has created without consideration of even-matchups. When there are so many bowls that more than 50% of FBS teams get to go, is it really an honor?
That being said, this year should be a pretty good one for the B1G- in looking across the Bowl Landscape, there are only a few games that don’t feel like solid contests. See what you think:
The BCS games, then, would be Florida State/Auburn, Michigan State/Stanford, Ohio State/Clemson, Oklahoma/Alabama, and (bleh) Central Florida/Baylor.
All in all, a great set of excuses to gather friends and family for the holidays and then ignore them to watch TV. We’ll have breakdowns of each of these matchups in the coming days, as well as full coverage of Ohio State’s trip to Miami in an attempt to exorcise Charlie Bauman’s specter.
But with that… The Week That Were draws to a close for yet another season. Thanks for playing along with us all fall, and for being a part of tBBC Family. We’ll close with a bit of nostalgia to get you ready for Miami:
Coach Kevin’s crew hosted the 24th ranked Gonzaga Zags with a noon tip off today. Ohio State entered the game 6-4 record while Gonzaga entered with a 6-1 record.
The first minute and a half went well for the Buckeyes, as they moved out to a 4-0 lead, then things went sideways for Ohio State. During the next seven and a half minutes, OSU went scoreless, while Gonzaga scored 22 points, going up 22-4. The Buckeyes would chip into the Zag lead, and with 4 minutes remaining, had narrowed the gap to 28-16. The teams would hold serve, with Gonzaga taking a 32-20 lead into the half.
Ameryst Alston ked OSU in 1st half scoring with 9 points, while Darryce Moore had 4 points and 4 rebounds. This first half deficit was caused by two main issues; poor shooting (8-27, 30%) and even poorer ball handling (9 turnovers). Meanwhile, the Zags were led by 6’4″ forward, German native Sunny Greinacher with 8 points and 7 rebounds, along with Haiden Palmer’s 6 points & 6 boards and Lindsey Sherbert’s 6 points.
Welcome to this week’s latest edition of Weekend Wonderings. Since I write this before the Big Ten Championship Game, the outcome is still in doubt. However the game turns out, I hope you’ve all recovered, for good or ill, and we move on with our lives. And hopefully, we move on to the NCG. Please take a few minutes, grab a beverage and let’s get into this. Also, the Browns play the Patriots today, so you may need to double up the elixir.
Here’s some interesting news from The James. Due to the generous efforts and donations of Pelotonia volunteers and donors, nine research grants have been awarded.
“These pilot grants, funded by Pelotonia, are so critical to ensure that Ohio State stays at the forefront of speeding the development and delivery of treatments that target the molecules and markers fueling each person’s unique cancer,” says Michael Caligiuri, MD, director of OSUCCC and chief executive officer of the James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute. “These projects represent bold, out-of-the box thinking to develop preventions and treatments that target individual cancers. None of these ideas would have been funded—along with so many other big ideas in cancer research—were it not for the thousands and thousands of Pelotonia riders and donors. Each of rider helps bring us closer to our shared vision of a cancer-free world.”
Sorry for running late with this recap. I gad some technical difficulties last night.
As expected, Thad’s Buckeyes provided the afternoon appetizer as a prelude to the main course this evening. The Buckeyes, as expected, beat the outmatched Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Blue Devils 76-54. The 5th ranked Buckeyes had little trouble moving to 8-0 this afternoon, with an all around solid performance, led by a career high 23 points by LaQuinton Ross.
In the 1st four minutes OSU jumped out to a 13-2 lead, driven by 5 points by LQT and 4 points by Amir. But, as we’ve seen with the football team, fast starts often precede a flattening and at the 10:22 mark OSU’s lead was 22-10. Not expanding the lead, but merely holding serve during the 6 minute interim.
At just under the 8 minute mark a jumper by Shannon Scott put the score at 26-17, somewhat reversing a “cooling off” of OSU’s shooting, which at this point was ‘down’ to 52&. Which gives you some idea how well the Buckeyes had started the game. Also, at this point, both teams were doing much better with interior shooting, as they’d combined for 2-11 from 3-point range. Not good.
The Buckeye malaise continued for the next four minutes as CCSU pulled to within 23-28 on a layup by Khalen Cumberlander. At the 3:37 mark, a 3-pointer by Lenzelle moved the margin up a bit, the the teams traded turnovers to slow things down. At a little over two minutes left, LQR reasserted himself wit a basket +1 to move score to 36-23. However, the Blue Devils surged a bit at the end of the half, capped by a layup by Kyle Vinales to pull CCSU to within 38-29 at the half.
The Buckeyes and Spartans met in a head to head clash for the Big Ten Championship. In a battle that swung back and forth all night, the Spartans got the upper hand on the Buckeyes, securing the first B1G Championship for the Legends division with the 34-24 win. Braxton Miller was ok today against the stout Spartan defense, throwing 8/21 for 101 yards and a touchdown, while running 21 times for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. Connor Cook was much more impressive, connecting on 24/40 passes for 304 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.
Carlos Hyde broke 100 yards again, carrying 18 times for 118 yards. Corey “Philly” Brown led the Buckeyes with 5 receptions for 53 yards. Jeremy Langford of MSU was the first back to carry for more than 100 yards against OSU, running 24 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Keith Mumphery led the Spartans in receiving with 2 catches for 84 yards.
We got a chance to see the Spartan offense take the field first against the much maligned OSU defense. The Bucks did an excellent job of slowing down the MSU offense early, forcing a third and long on the very first possession. A poor play by Doran Grant kept the drive alive on an overthrown ball, and began to give MSU some confidence. On another third and long, Ryan Shazier made contact with Langford with the ball sailing over his head, again extending the drive. MSU wasn’t able to do much more than that, settling for a field goal deep in OSU territory.
Then it was time to see what the MSU defense could do against the high powered Buckeye offense. Carlos Hyde made himself known on the first play, pounding up the middle for seven yards. Unfortunately, a bad snap from the center on 3rd and 3 destablized the offense enough to throw off the timing of the play. Ohio State was forced to punt after a three and out that was obviously self-inflicted.
Michigan State took over again after the punt on their own twenty yard line. Things were beginning to start clicking for the boys in green. The blocking up front was beginning to open holes in the Buckeyes line that Langford could get a head start in. With Langford getting things going, it seemed like MSU was going to score again. A false start followed by a stuffed run on first down put MSU in a hole deep enough that they couldn’t quite dig themselves out of it.
We’ve got a double header coming up for Buckeye Nation!
First up are the OSU Shooty Hoopers, who are set to take on Central Connecticut at 4:30 PM Eastern Time on the Big Ten Network.
Following that game (and a quick dinner) the Buckeyes will face the Michigan State Spartans in the B1G Championship Game. That game is scheduled to kick at 8:17 PM on FOX.
Fifth ranked Ohio State (7-0) gets back into action after taking care of the Maryland Terrapins Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They host the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Blue Devils. The game is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, so this will be a nice appetizer prior to the football game at 8:00 PM.
Here’s a profile on OSU’s next opponent:
School: Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils
Location: New Britain, CT
Student Population: 9,942
School Type: Public, coed
Conference: Northeast Conference (NEC)
Arena: Detrick Gymnasium
Built: 1965, renovated 2005
Head Coach: Howie Dickenman
So much has happened since the last time we ventured down the RSB path that I really had to put forth some thought into what I was going to talk about. There are a lot of things to discuss before tomorrow title match-up with Sparty that I want to briefly hit them before Rumblin.
As much as it hurts me to say this, I applaud the TTUN coaching staff for their game plan last Saturday. What’s funny about the plan is that everyone in #BuckeyeNation saw it coming, they just weren’t too worried because it was TTUN and their struggling offense. What most were saying was how easily the Buckeyes were going to roll and those fans couldn’t have been further from the truth. The Game or The Rivalry, whatever you choose to call it, has rarely disappointed in regards to level of competition. As Buckeye fans know all too painfully, the underdog has had the sun shine on its back side quite a few times in this series.
What their coaching staff did, and it’s why most people in TSUN love Hoke, is keep their focus on the prize and that was destroy the Buckeyes season. They came into the game ignored by many, including the Buckeyes defense, and just about put it to them. If not for the gutsy, putting it all on one play, decision by Hoke to go for two, the Buckeyes may have lost in OT and be settling for the Outback Bowl, again. I tipped my hat to a couple TTUN twitter friends after the game, they could feel a little bit of pride for the way their team performed.
As I have said before, I could go on and on every week about Carlos Hyde and what he has done in his abbreviated season. One of the relationships on twitter that I have enjoyed this season has been with Corey Linsley, who last week was named First Team All B1G Center. He is the anchor to that offensive line who has been destroying the opposition this season. Read More