Interesting Tuesday in college sports, to say the least. We’ll get to all the movers and shakers, but first a little traveling music.
Most of the frustration was aimed at the inclusion of Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, who we’ve argued here before is only a finalist due to his team’s success, solid (but not great) numbers, and the great “story” that his season has been- both for him and as a heart of the awakened echoes of the Irish program. Tony Gerdeman from the OZone compared Te’o to AJ Hawk, the last linebacker to be seriously considered for the Heisman, and found that Hawk’s numbers eclipsed the Irish’ star. He, along with the guys at Land Grant Holy Land (check out the infographic) continue to compare his numbers to Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier- Gerd points out that, in the last three games of the season, Shazier outplayed Te’o and almost doubled his statistics, minus the interceptions. Given that Te’o plays in a variation of the Tampa 2 defense which requires more coverage, this might make sense- different roles for both players. But it does highlight the fact that Te’o is a debatable finalist… and as such, might have just as well been left home with Miller and Marquis Lee (who I believe is the best player in the country this season).
With no hope of a national championship, the Buckeyes saw excellence as its own reward—and achieved it. What better example of pure sportsmanship could there be? Next year, Ohio State will once again be jockeying for a high-profile bowl berth and all the cash that flows from it. This year’s team, by contrast, will stand forever as the one that played not for money but for pride.
Right about now, you’re either getting ready to sit down for an awkward family dinner with that weird uncle, or you’ve already eaten and are letting the tryptophan course through your body… Ah, the Holidays.
Here at tBBC we wanted to take a moment and reflect on the highs and lows from the past year, which will give me just enough time to snag that last piece of sweet potato pie while everyone is reminiscing.
Janelle: Coach Meyer. We knew that the Buckeyes would be better this season, but undefeated going into TSUN week? That far and away exceeded expectations. We knew it was possible, but after last season, I don’t think anyone was sure what would happen this year. He has rallied the troops and gotten them to play with so much heart and intensity. It has truly been fun to watch.
WVa: Braxton and Coach Meyer. In a season that the expectation was that the Buckeyes just be more competitive than last year, they have excelled because of these two. I am thankful for the relationship that they have forged as they lead the Buckeyes. The next two seasons will be very special because the Buckeyes have the best coach and the best player hands down. It’ll be interesting to have the discussion next year, when will their first loss together be?
Gary: Two things. I am thankful for being part of Buckeye Nation. This Nation has the best fans in all of college football. No one is more passionate than Buckeye fans. Second, I am thankful for a great football team that has fought through tremendous obstacles to become one of only two undefeated teams!
Eric: I must say that I am most thankful to have been able to participate on this blog for the last 4 years without having a drastic effect on my real life job. That it has enabled me to drastically improve my writing, improve my understanding of the sports I love, and participate in activities and events that I never thought possible a few short years ago. It may be the kind of activity that causes you to sit around for long hours of the day in your pajamas, but it is worth every anti-social minute.
I’m also thankful to have worked with some of the best sportswriters on the face of the earth here at the BBC. Each and every one of them has been an absolute pleasure to work with. The jokes shared, and the back and forth commentary and discussions we have both behind the scenes and in public are without a doubt some of the most enlightening, engaging, and entertaining I’ve ever had. Thanks guys. I hope to keep doing this with you for quite a bit longer.
Jason: Urban Meyer. Who knows where we would be and what the future would look like if anyone else had been given the job. With Urban we know the future is bright. I’m also thankful for 11-0 and the chance to be 12-0. I’d also like to thank the guys (and girls) here at the BBC for giving me a place to rant each week. Thanks!
JoeL: Jim Tressel putting this program back on the map. I am so excited for him to be back in the shoe on Saturday and I am sure many people have mixed feelings about it, but without him, we wouldn’t be where we are today, we were stumbling against tsun, we were in shambles academically, and he resurrected the program, and while it wasn’t the way we wanted to see him go out, he was able to turn a successful program over to another great coach that I am thankful to be here.
Mali: I’d echo everyone’s sentiments thus far, particularly the pleasure of getting to be a part of this great group of writers and fans. In addition, I’d say that I’m also continually amazed by and grateful for the folks who come by every day and join our party- readers, commentors, facebook friends, and members of the twitterati. We don’t do this without you.
The other thing I’m most thankful for, Buckeye related, is John Simon. And Nathan Williams. Etienne Sabino, Justin Boren, Reid Fragel, Orhian Johnson, Jake Stoneburner, Ben Buchanan, and ALL of Ohio State’s senior class. Their dedication to the program, their willingness to stay and lead after one of the most challenging seasons in the program’s history is something that is rare in the “what’s in it for me” culture in college sports, particularly knowing that there’d be no post-season for them. Here’s to hoping that their final game is the type of victory that they deserve.
Staying undefeated in November is a tough task. Just ask the Ohio State Buckeyes, who needed overtime to take care of business in Madison, Wisconsin against the Badgers on Saturday. Credit the Badgers for fighting to the end. Credit the Buckeyes for overcoming adversity and making plays to keep the dream alive.
Bert and the boys
It really seemed early on that the Buckeyes were going to run away with the game against Bert Bielema and his Wisconsin Badger boys. When Cory Brown’s punt return for a touchdown put the Buckeyes up 7 followed by a machine-like high tempo drive early in the second quarter that resulted in a Carlos Hyde touchdown giving the Bucks a 14 point lead, the Camp Randall crowd seemed uninterested and it looked like the good guys were going to have their way. We certainly didn’t see the dramatic ending that put this game in line with the recent history of classic endings in Wisconsin-Ohio State games on the horizon.
Both teams showed great perseverance and battled through the highs and lows of the game. For the Badgers it was facing a 14 point hole. For the Buckeyes, it was a stalling second half offense that couldn’t get things going. For the first time this season, Braxton Miller was contained.
Bielema and his staff devised a great scheme that slowed up Miller: Set the edge and force him to show his hand early on as to where he was going along with spying him with a corner and a safety. It is similar to what we saw Stanford due to Oregon later that night. They are daring the quarterback to stay in the pocket and beat them with his arm. They are also running the risk their spy’s can make a tackle one-on-one with one of the most elusive players in college football. The Badgers I’m sure are aware he hasn’t earned the name “XBrax360” because he lacks shake and spin. Bert’s gamble paid off and Wisconsin held Miller to his lowest yardage totals of the season and kept the Buckeye offense stammering to the end result of (even with overtime) a mere 21 points.
Fortunately in the overtime he offense got on track. Better late than never, I guess. Carlos Hyde’s seemingly easy touchdown gave the Buckeyes the coveted overtime edge of 7 points and put it on the shoulders of their defense. Four plays later, the Buckeyes were 11-0.
Last week we spotlighted the Wisconsin-Ohio State rivalry and how it was blossoming into a true “second tier” rivalry for the Buckeyes. Saturday’s game added to the burgeoning legacy. It was definitely one for the ages. Read More
After it was unclear if he would return after a brutal collision with Wisconsin running back Montee Ball in the fourth quarter, Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier made announced his return in the biggest way possible.
With the Buckeyes leading 14-7 and just over three minutes remaining in the game, Wisconsin had the ball 4th-and-1 from the OSU 2-yard line. We all knew who was getting the football, and Shazier knocked the ball out of Montee Ball’s hands and Christian Bryant recovered, giving the Buckeyes possession and the ability to hold on and get a 14-7 victory in Madison.
Far from it. The Badgers got the ball back and drove 41 yards in 1:25 and quarterback Curt Phillips found Jacob Pederson for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14 and send it to overtime.
In overtime, the Buckeyes scored first on just four plays as Carlos Hyde carried the ball in from two yards out.
Wisconsin’s possession ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down as Christian Bryant broke up a pass, giving the Buckeyes the 21-14 victory.
The Buckeyes led the Badgers 14-7 at halftime. After getting down 14-0, Wisconsin was able to respond with an eight play, 82-yard drive to pull within a touchdown heading into the intermission.
Statistically, the Badgers somewhat dominated in the first half–and the game. It was no secret Wisconsin wanted to run the ball, and the Badgers totaled 140 yards on the ground in that first half, 206 for the game.
Several things stood out from the game, both good and bad.
1. Philly Brown’s growth is somewhat astounding. I wasn’t expecting much of anything from Brown at the beginning of the season, but he’s really blossomed into a nice player. His 68-yard punt return for a touchdown to open the scoring was a thing of beauty.
2. The offensive line’s play is really fun to watch. This has to be the best group that OSU has had in recent memory. Some of it may be that Jim Bollman is no longer the coach, but I really enjoy watching these guys pave the way for Braxton and company.
3. John Simon was named as a Lott semifinalist earlier this week–an award given to the nation’s top defensive player. He played like it today, recording four sacks.
4. Carlos Hyde continues to impress me. He didn’t get the ball nearly enough, but he finished with 87 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns.
1. The play-calling today was atrocious. No creativity whatsoever and the offensive game plan was extremely predictable. Not very Urban Meyer-like at all.
2. I hit on this earlier, but the run defense was less than stellar today. Ohio State was second in the Big Ten in rushing defense coming into today’s game, but the Buckeyes gave up 206 yards on the ground. Granted, Montee Ball is one of the best backs in the country, but that is just not good enough.
3. Braxton Miller didn’t play his best game today. He was just 10 for 18 passing for 97 yards and was held to just 48 yards on 23 carries. He needs to learn to throw the football away, though. With that said, he’s still one of the top quarterbacks in the country and I’m glad he’s a Buckeye.
We all got what we wanted, though. Ohio State is 11-0 heading into “The Game” next Saturday.
It’s going to be epic.
After a week off Ohio State looks to get back on the field this Saturday and continue their growing rivalry with Wisconsin. What this also means is, after a week off we reach out to our fellow bloggers across the Big Ten for our Across the Web segment. This week we turn to Andy Coppens from MadTownBadgers and Delany’sDozen to give us some insight on the Badger’s. Check out our turn under the microscope from yesterday!
1. Coach Beliema and Coach Meyer say that there’s no bad blood following this off season’s “war of words” about recruiting. Do you think this adds to this game at all?
I think it’s honestly something for us media types and bloggers to chat about more so than something real between these two for the game. Come Saturday all the off-field stuff goes away and it’s all about what happens between the lines.
However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Wisconsin and Ohio State have been in some really big recruiting battles in the past season and probably will be for as long as Bielema and Meyer are around.
2. Last year, Ohio State’s last minute heroics derailed solid Wisconsin team; the year before, Buckeye players are still talking about how their undefeated season was “stolen” from them. What’s the perspective on the growing rivalry between these two squads?
I think it’s easily one of the biggest growing rivalries because of where these two teams are and likely will be in the future – competing for division championships. That alone helps grow the rivalry but the fact that Wisconsin owns the most wins over OSU since 1999 and the games have more often been good to great also adds to it.
Wisconsin fans have a general dislike for OSU and adding Urban Meyer to the mix only kicked that up a notch. I think the programs have respect for what each other do, but the fans, well that’s a whole different ball of wax. I’d say outside of Minnesota and arguably more than the Gophs this is the game Badger fans care the most about.
3. Is Curt Phillips the answer? Read More
Don’t fall into Wisconsin’s revenge plans. You better believe Wisconsin is going to be looking for payback after the way last year’s game went down. That has an added measure since they weren’t able to complete their revenge against MSU at home several weeks ago.
Take two steps forward in the passing game. The running game is an important part of the recipe to beating the Badgers, but we learned last year that the passing game is critical too. After the bye week, I’d love to see us advance significantly in our passing game.
Carlos Hyde with 150 yards running. Carlos Hyde has about 750 rushing yards on the season. If he can get a good chunk of that in Madison, which is not unreasonable considering OSU’s rushing this year, it will make achieving 1000 yards much easier for him next week.
Etienne Sabino on fire. He’s finally back in the starting line-up after being injured. It would be great to see him light up the field to make up for it.
A Wisconsin loss. It’s great to see ‘em lose. Make it happen.
New wrinkles. We have had two weeks to work on a new wrinkle or two. Maybe a fake punt or fake field goal?
Offense on speed. It would be nice to see us explode on offense and just make Wisconsin look like they are moving in slow motion.
Buckeye defense bringing the House of Pain. It would be great to see our defensive line playing in the Wisky backfield and not let the Wisconsin O get going.
20+ point victory. I am ready to see us go to Wisky and avenge the loss up there from 2 years ago.
A bye week can make for a lazy Saturday. Maybe you finish up some yard work before the weather really changes for the worst or maybe one last trip to do your favorite outdoor activities. For me, fun during a bye week is seeing the defending national champion aka the unbeatable aka the mighty aka the lock for the national championship game again from the otherworldly Southeastern Conference fall (at home!) to a mediocre Big 12 team with a freshman quarterback. I also enjoy thinking about the inevitable whipping that the Buckeyes are going to put on Wisconsin and the ensuing painful look on Bert Bielema’s face.
Maybe nobody has actually said it but it has been pretty apparent that Wisconsin has become the secondary rival to our Ohio State Buckeyes. The Badgers fill the “next level” rival spot for Ohio State that Penn State wishes it could be. The players this week have been pointing to the 2010 game (when the Buckeyes were ambushed at Camp Randall and a perfect season was ruined) as the spark that ignited the rivalry, but I think it goes back a lot farther than that. Let’s go back in time…
In the 1999 meeting of the Bucks and Badgers, the Buckeyes delighted the home crowd to a mid-second quarter 17-0 lead. Things seemed to be in cruise control and a blowout eminent, especially with freshman quarterback Brooks Bollinger filling in for injured senior Scott Kavanaugh for Wisconsin. The outcome? 42-17… Badgers.
The Buckeyes got revenge a year later in 2000 winning 23-7 in Madison. It should be noted: This game was played with the lingering stigma of Wisconsin finally returning to full strength after having 26 players suspended for obtaining illegal benefits from a local shoe store earlier that summer. In other words, Wisconsin felt due to the suspension their season was a bust.
In 2001 back in The Shoe, the Buckeyes once again went up 17-0. They would again not hold the lead and lost 20-17 to another Brooks Bollinger lead Badger team.
This made tensions high heading into the 2002 meeting at Camp Randall. As we all remember, the Buckeyes were undefeated and in the midst of making a magical championship run. The Badgers were beginning to be a real thorn in the Buckeyes sides. Would they play the role so many Michigan teams played in the 90’s and spoil the championship dream?
A little added fuel to the fire to help a blossoming rivalry also helped inspire and drive the Buckeyes to remain undefeated. The accelerant came in the form of an autographed picture Brooks Bollinger had given to a friend that was likely never meant to see the light of day. He signed the photo “The Horeshoe. They built it. WE OWN IT.” The Buckeyes won 19-14 and went on to win the national championship. Read More
Bert Blathers- Also in Tuesday’s B1G Conference Call, Coach Bielema talked about how impressed he is with Ohio State’s improvement as the season has progressed. He mentioned the offensive line in particular, and said that they are playing really well at this point in the year. He also addressed speculation that his team would be satisfied after last week’s win, which put them into the Conference Championship Game for the second straight year; and said that his team would not see a let down against the Buckeyes, especially given last year’s game. Added to the fact that it’s “Senior Day”, and it’s sure to be a high intensity game.
Uniform Updates Read More