Across The Web: THE GAME

Written November 25th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

For our last blogger chat of the season, we approached several writers for TTUN to see if they could manage to actually string a few one syllable words together… but unfortunately, most of them were in jail. Then we remembered that the great MZone had re-opened their shop, and were happily cranking out photoshop coping mechanisms. We emailed Yost about joining us, and once he’d sobered up he sent us what you see below.  Be sure to follow their stuff on twitter, and also on an upcoming edition of “COPS”.

Do you ever feel dirty rooting for the Maize and Blue?  Do you ever get one of those shudders like pure evil has settled into your soul?

Wonder What He's Been Eating?

Never dirty, just horribly dazed watching what passed for our beloved Wolverines the last three years.   And if you’ve been following the Maize and Blue this season, as you know, the only evil emanating out of A2 is of the Pop Evil variety.  While, as the world knows, the evil that spews forth from Columbus is more of a Mordor strain.

What’s your favorite memory of The Game? On the other end of the spectrum, what play or game gives you nightmares?

Near the top of the “good” list are ’95 and ’96 when Michigan wasn’t given a chance and Ohio State was undefeated and, I believe, #2 in the country both times.  Of the two, I think I enjoyed ’96 a tad more just because it was in Columbus.  That was the 13-9 Michigan win that swung U-M’s way when Shawn Springs slipped and fell allowing Tai Streets to score on a 69 yard slant.  OSU had been up 9-0 at halftime and you could almost hear the dread as it settled over the stadium.  My god, I’m getting weepy just thinking about it again.  But I digress.

Actually, at the top of my fave list has to be ’97 when #1 Michigan faced off against #4 OSU with everything on the line.  The Game initially looked to be a Wolverine rout with Charles Woodson returning a punt for a TD (you seen that replay once or twice, right?).  But when OSU cut U-M’s 20-0 lead to 20-14, you could hear a car key jingle pin drop in The Big House.  Thankfully, Michigan held on and then won the Rose Bowl to claim a National Championship.

It was the stakes of ’97 and what a victory meant that made it so meaningful and memorable.  Conversely, that’s precisely why 2006 still gives me nightmares.  For the first time in history, Michigan and Ohio State were #1 and #2 at the time of The Game.  OSU had the big lead at halftime but Michigan fought back.  With 6:49 left, Michigan had cut the lead to 35-31.  OSU had the ball on the Michigan 38 yard line, 3rd and 15.  Troy Smith rolled out and threw an incomplete pass.  Michigan was gonna get the ball back with a chance to drive down for the winning score.  But… Read More

Across The Web: Penn State

Written November 17th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

Today, our long time friend Mike Pettigano from Black Shoe Diaries swings by the clubhouse to give us insight on the Penn State season as well as some of his thoughts about what might be next for the Nittany Lions. We also talk about fair media coverage… and agree that it’s not happening. Mike was the one that brought PSU’s efforts with RAINN to our attention… worth your time to get involved.

Penn State spent a good portion of the early part of the season struggling to find an offensive identity.  Has the coaching staff worked out some of the kinks, or is the PSU offense still a work in progress?

MMMMMMMoxieeeee!!!

The offense suffered a pretty big hit this past week losing Mike McQueary’s services on the sideline. He was the guy running the show, calling in the plays, substitutions, personnel packages. Granted, the reasons for his absence dwarf the problems on the field last week. But it’s the football-related answer to your question. Silas Redd has become the offense since late September, but he suffered a minor shoulder injury this week that kept him out of practice so far. He should be ready to go for the game this weekend, as he’s the most physically well-conditioned player I’ve seen in a long time. The guy was averaging 28 carries over three weeks in October, yet still churned out 100-yard games like it was nothing. However, Redd hasn’t been able to win games on his own. The quarterbacks have to be at least functional. And whatever the view on Matt McGloin may be, he’s the starting quarterback now. As long as McGloin avoids stupid mistakes, he can be a decent game-manager. That’s all Penn State needs in a quarterback, but hasn’t gotten much of it against decent opponents this season.

 

Whispers are that Silas Redd may not be healthy enough to play on Saturday, and it was announced that McGloin will be the starter (rather than sharing time with Bolden) – How does that impact the Lion Offense against Ohio State? Read More

Across The Web: Purdue Boilermakers

Written November 11th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

Our weekly visit with “enemy” bloggers comes to a screeching halt in front of the palatial mansion that houses the Boiled Sports braintrust- greatest building in the city limits, since they tore the West Lafayette Women’s Clinic down. The fellers were good enough to not kick us off of their porch, and instead gave us time for a little Q&A. Be sure to check out our side of the story over at their one stop spot for all things Boilertastic.

After Boiling the Zooks for Homecoming, Purdue has dropped two straight. What do you sense is the attitude of the team as the season enters it’s last month?

Hey. Let's do... stuff.

We think the team — the players, especially — has shown remarkable resiliency. We’ve seen teams nearly quit in the past or roll over or look scared and that’s one thing Danny Hope has going for him — these guys don’t seem to fear anyone. Which, frankly, is more than we can say for the coaching staff, who seem to get conservative at weird times and play not to lose, etc. The Illinois game is a good example — Purdue looks quick, dominant, fresh, prepared, etc., and races out to a 21-0 lead, doing many things right, few things wrong and seemingly turning a corner. Then in the second half they managed only three first downs, two of which came on the same drive. And why? It wasn’t the players decided the game was over — it was ludicrously scared play-calling.

The team doesn’t back down, though, as I said and despite being slapped around in Ann Arbor and Madison, we still saw our corners locking up with WRs and jawing after the play, for example. They may not be winning, but they’re not scared, and we sort of like that. Hey, you have to like something these days.

Two years ago, the Boilermakers defeated Ohio State in a game that has since been known as “Purdue Harbor” (when it is known at all).  What does Purdue have to do to make this Saturday “Purdue Harbor 2″? Read More

Across The Web- Indiana

Written November 4th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye
Another visit with a brother from another mother, this time in the form of Crimson Quarry’s John M. Be sure to check out CQ’s coverage of all things Hoosier, we’re excited to have him back for another visit!

0-5 is a rough way to start in the Big Ten.  What does Kevin Wilson need to do to get this Indiana team a conference win? Now that he has more experience, do you think Wilson is the right fit for Indiana?

Top Of The Billboard Charts

Well, he needs to beat Purdue.  That’s the only hope for a conference win.  IU could improve its play 100 percent in each of the next two games and wins at Ohio State and at Michigan State still would be unlikely.  The offense, led by true freshman QB Tre Roberson and RB Stephen Houston, seems to be coming around, but to have any hope of beating Purdue, we will have to cobble something together on defense.  As for Wilson, I think it’s too early to say.  I really liked his qualifications when he was hired and I still do.  I really liked the qualifications of his staff and I still do.  This season has been a disappointment, particularly on defense, and Wilson seems willing to blow things up to some degree and start from scratch.  We’ll see if it works.  Plenty of successful coaches have had rough first years (Barry Alvarez, Bill Snyder, Bill Mallory at IU).  Plenty of unsuccessful coaches have had rough starts as well.  It’s just too early to tell.

What is one thing that Indiana fans are hopeful can get sorted out by the end of the season? Read More

Across The Web: Wisconsin

Written October 28th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

This week, we’ve got our friend and the guy in charge of Bucky’s Fifth Quarter, Adam Hoge, joining us for a little give and take. This is his third visit to tBBC , and it worked well for Buckeye hoops, but not so much for pigskin… Be sure to check out our side of the conversation at B5Q!

1. Russell Wilson has had an obvious impact on the field for the Badgers this season.  Has he also had a significant impact to this team off the field?  What was the fan reaction to his arrival on the team?

Welcomed Addition

It’s truly remarkable how seamless the transition was for Russell Wilson. He had been in Madison for less than two months when he took the field in the opener against UNLV and he had the entire offense mastered. But what’s even more impressive is that his teammates voted him a captain in such a short time. Wilson is a great football player and is very smart, but his leadership skills are off the charts. You saw that come to life last weekend when he led the Badgers back in the fourth quarter at Michigan State.

As for the fan reaction, it was nuts, has been nuts and will continue to be nuts. The term floating around Madison is “Russell Mania” and that sums it all up. The recruitment of Wilson was the story of the summer in Wisconsin and it was probably the second-biggest college football story of the offseason behind the Ohio State drama.

2. Has the addition of Wilson substantially changed the “Power Run” offensive style Wisconsin has preferred since….well, the beginning of time?  How would you describe the offensive attack now? Read More

Across The Web: Nebraska

Written October 6th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

We’re continuing our give and take with “enemy” writers, and though our first conversation with Cornhusker faithful deserved something special. As such, we’ve eschewed the usual conversation with folks who blog and instead turned to the some of the geniuses behind the best Nebraska board on the intertubes.

Formerly anchors for Huskerpedia, HuskerDan and Tad Stryker are thriving at HuskerMax, which should be a required stop for anyone who cares about B1G sports (not just Nebraska). Here we go!

Husker fans seem to be experiencing “A Tale Of Two Taylors”- last season he started well, but struggled at the end of the year, and we saw similar issues in the two halves against Wisconsin.  What are your thoughts about his occasional inconsistency and how does Big Red adjust moving forward? Are Nebraska fans excited to have option football return to Memorial Stadium?

What Taylors Do Best

Husker Dan- I don’t think there is any nostalgia about option football. Frank Solich ran it and got fired. Husker fans want to win and they don’t much care what kind of offense Nebraska runs, just as long as it consistently wins games.  Last year, Taylor Martinez’s problems midway through the season dealt primarily with his foot and ankle injuries.  And Saturday night, it was poor play calling (among other things) during the middle of the second quarter and beginning of the third that force third that forced Martinez to try to be Tom Brady.  Passing is not one of Taylor’s strongest points. Three of his passes were intercepted and all led to Badger TDs. Game over.

Tad Stryker- Husker fans are in favor of option football; they would like to see the coaching staff commit to using the running game more, since it’s the strength of the team.  I am puzzled why Husker offensive coordinator Tim Beck had Martinez throwing the ball so much when NU led 14-13 late in the first half.  Martinez has started 17 games now but is still very erratic at times.  That is not a good sign. He still does not seem to realize that he has limitations throwing the ball. Nebraska needs Martinez to gain some maturity.

Quick word association- What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “ESPN”?

HD- Game Day.

TS- WalMart

Mali- I’m sorry, those are the wrong answers, although Tad was close. We would have accepted “Biased”, “SEC”,  or “Selective Journalism”… moving on. Read More

Across The Web: Michigan State

Written September 30th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

As we get ready for conference play, we wanted to do something “special” for our weekly chat with an “enemy” blogger.  Given that we were playing co-champion Michigan State, and given the multiple connections that Spartan and Buckeye football have (coaches, players from the same high schools, hatred for all things scUM), it was even more imperative that we brought someone in that represented the Green and White with excellence.  And, if they continued to refer to themselves in third person, all the better.  So, we’re grateful to have The Enlightened Spartan swing by for nachos and chit-chat this week… be sure to check out Eric’s response to his inquisition, in the first (and most likely last) MSU PhD B1G Blog-off.

Kirk Cousins has obviously been a bright star for the team, and represented MSU particularly well at the B1G media days. Do you feel he’s reached the top of his game, or are there areas that he is still developing in?

Cousins has not reached the top of his game… but can he?  Yes, it is possible, he could be the best QB in the B1G, if not the country.  He has the talent, smarts, and confidence to be a la Tom Brady.  But, he seems to have difficulty consistently responding to difficult challenges.  He is showing how he can let the buzz get to his head.  While Cousins may have come from nowhere to be the Spartan starter, but he seems to be OVERconfident – Cousins throws off his back foot far too often, he still does, and he knows better.  With OSU pressure in his face, Cousins may likely give up an INT or two as much as he hits a streaking Cunningham or Nichol.  It’s a crap shoot with Cousins, but it shouldn’t be in senior year five.  Frustratingly fantastically just-short-of-championship potential – kind of like David Bowie or George Lopez. Read More

Across The Web: Colorado Buffaloes

Written September 23rd, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

Again, huge thanks to Bob Bell of the Ralphie Report for being our guest this week- he’s really popular! If you haven’t already, check out his thoughts in this week’s tBBC Radio Hour as well as Eric’s visit to the Ralphie Report podcast.

What are the initial impressions of Jon Embree so far? How big was the win over in state rival Colorado State for him?

Vision for the future

Ultimately, the Buffs have had a chance to win the two games they lost, especially California who beat the Buffs 52-7 last season. So that is an improvement. I think offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has done a solid job calling plays in his first stint at running an offense. The thing we at the Ralphie Report are judging this year on is game over game improvement which we have seen. Some of the things that are still frustrating fans after three games are the mental mistakes and penalties. Colorado continues to be one of the highest penalized teams in the nation, something that carried over from the Dan Hawkins era apparently.

The Buffs are lacking in depth and overall talent which is something Embree will have to improve over time. If Embree can get that talent, I think this coaching staff has the ability to be a good one.

As for getting his first win, It is certainly better than losing to Colorado State and going into the game 0-3 with absolutely no momentum. The good news for Buff fans is the team progressed from the game against Hawaii to the game against California. We saw some flashes of brilliance but still plenty to improve. And while many are still uneasy about this team after the Colorado State game, getting a win was still a positive step forward.

While the Colorado passing game is extremely dangerous, the running game seems to be nearly non-existent, despite having a Senior at running back.  Is this a cause for concern, or do you expect the running game will play second fiddle to the passing game during Jon Embree’s tenure? How much do you think getting David Bakhtiari back will change that philosophy?

Read More