Not gonna lie… got a pretty mellow vibe for this week’s updates.
As you’re reading this, I’m somewhere above you making the phrase “flyover states” a reality, and heading back to the left coast. As such, this week’s review will be a bit shorter than previous ones, but know that I’ve only got one song on my mind as I write it
And now, we know the form of our destructor. Notre Dame has finished the season undefeated, and will play for the National Title, most likely against an SEC team of some semblance. Who knew that the Holy See was so closely connected with Tikal? We said early on that it would be an amazing accomplishment for the Irish to finish the year undefeated- and yet, here we are. Granted, they faced a down Southern Cal, a “choke-prone” Oklahoma, and struggled against Purdue and Pitt, but they stand atop the polls as our nation’s finest team. So, let the “Oh, I’ve totally been a Notre Dame fan forevah” crap begin- they’ve deserved it.
And, in an eerie way, they’re similar to a team that we just honored on Saturday in The ‘Shoe- unranked, under the radar, winning with great defense/limited mistakes/a lot of luck. The expectation is that they’ll get clown stomped in their bowl match up, but who’s to know? Any one, any where, any time… isn’t that what our flawed “single elimination Bowl Championship Series” has taught us?
One of the more controversial aspects of the Irish resurgence has been the Heisman candidacy of linebacker Manti Te’o, seen here getting really excited about seconds of sweet potato pie on Thursday. His statistics are pretty similar to Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, who may not win B1G first team honors, minus the fact that Notre Dame’s scheme has allowed Te’o to achieve seven interceptions this season.
From all that I’ve read, Te’o is an incredible human being and strong leader for his top ranked team; the Heisman trophy would not be dishonored by his name on it (unlike certain other Trojany folks we might mention). That being said, there’s still a lot of controversy on whether he should be a finalist for the award, and I can see arguments either way.
The fact of the matter is that, in addition to his play on the field, Te’o is benefiting from the National Broadcasting Corporation. By this, I’m not only referring to NBC’s deal to broadcast as many Notre Dame games are are possible, I’m also eluding to the Peacock’s impact on sports coverage as a whole. NBC, as you may know, has television rights to the Olympics, and has chosen to shape their telecasts of those events in a way that tries to reach the broadest audience possible. So, they’re less concerned with the actual results and scores and game achievements and more interested in establishing narratives and storylines for the “casual” fan to connect with and appreciate. As if being the world’s best was somehow not interesting enough.
This isn’t limited to NBC by any means, ESPN’s continual decision to push narrative over fact has significantly impacted their coverage of sports for the negative, as most Buckeye fans can relate to. However, NBC was, along with ABC’s “Wild World Of Sports”, one of the first to mainstream this philosophy- being great is not as intriguing as being great AND having a powerful “story”.
Which brings me back to Te’o: As you may know, he’s overcome some incredible tragedies in his life recently, including the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend just this season. These are horrible events, and it’s remarkable that he’s been able to perform at a championship level in the face of them; I’d probably be up to my ears in a bucket of Cracklin’ Oat Bran in a similar set of circumstances. But the question remains: Does “Solid numbers on a great team with a powerful personal narrative” override “Amazing numbers on a good team that totally relies on you“, particularly when the award has been acculturated to represent the “best” college football player in the nation (who’s most often an offensive skill player)?
I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Read More
Several sources have informed Buckeye Nation this evening that Urban Meyer is almost a certainty to be the next head coach at Ohio State University.
Again, this is just a rumor at this point. But the timeline for this news seems to be pretty solid, not including the emails and phone calls we’ve been a part of over the past few hours. Take a gander:
So this is where we currently stand. There are still a number of questions to be answered, primarily “Is this accurate?” If it is, though, we will still need to discover the following pieces of information:
On this last point- there have been whispers for a while now that Coach Fickell would be glad to stay on board at Ohio State, should he not be retained as head coach and should the new administration extend that offer. There is even speculation that Coach Fickell might be kept on as a “Assistant Head Coach” or “Head Coach In Waiting”- obviously having Urban Meyer as the new head man might strengthen those ideas (given his health concerns and the desire to find better balance between his personal and professional life).
So for now, we wait. Don’t be surprised to have a number of sources refute this for the next several days, or even if the agreement changes and/or dissipates. We’ve seen that before in major coaching searches, with even solid sources being off base.
But for now, this is where we are: Sources are pointing to Urban Meyer returning to Columbus as the next head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Many fans have expressed many ideas regarding the Ohio State coaching search. Urban Meyer and Bo Pelini are two of the biggest that we’ve already taken a look at. Mentioned in the same breath with those two illustrious names is another young bright star of the coaching profession – Jon Gruden.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time Gruden’s name has come up in a coaching search in the last six months. He was first suggested as a replacement for Randy Shannon at Miami, followed by Rich Rodriguez at Michigan. He was also offered, and turned down, a position as offensive coordinator at Oregon. The Ohio State job is simply the most recent addition to the list.
Gruden has spent 11 years on the highest stage of football with varying success. There is plenty of debate regarding his success – specifically that his greatest have come due to the hard work of others. There is no debate, however, that he is very good in his own right. That makes him worth a look for this position.
We’ve gone through a few names in our coaching search here at the BBC. Now it’s time for another name that’s flying under the radar a bit. Of course, by under the radar, I mean that he’s not being mentioned at all. That doesn’t mean he can’t still be a legitimate name for the job.
Special thanks to a friend of the BBC who recommended this feature on O’Brien.
Most of you are probably looking at the title of this post and saying to yourself “who?”. Well, that’s probably your own fault because a few year’s ago O’Brien was one of the top names in college football. You may most clearly remember him as the guy who jumped ship from successful ACC member Boston College to full-meltdown-mode ACC member NC State.
Tom O’Brien was born in the great state of Ohio, in the city generally forgotten by the rest of the state – Cincinnati. He attended High School at St. Xavier, playing at Defensive End.
He matriculated from the Naval Academy in 1970 after 5 years. While there he played ball for the Middies for all 5 seasons (I believe he took a redshirt, though I can’t prove it), including his final 3 as a defensive starter. Unfortunately, Navy was terrible at that time, going overall 5-26 while O’Brien was a starter. The defense also gave up more than 300 points per season while their offense struggled to break 100.
This series took an interesting turn during the last week with the announcement that Gene Smith was removing the “Interim” tag from Luke Fickell. It’s possible that the University has decided that Fickell is their guy and that any future search will be unnecessary.
At this point, though, a future coaching search is still in the plan. Until that explicitly changes, we’re going to keep running these articles because, honestly, you really want to know.
We’ve looked at a number of different possibilities for the future of the Ohio State head coaching position so far. We hit the obvious answer of Fickell first, and followed it with the nearly unheard-of possbility of Lovie Smith. Just last week we took a look at one of the big possible names for the job, Nebraska’s own Bo Pelini.
Now we hit the next big name for the job, and the one that most Buckeye fans clamor for after Luke Fickell – Urban Meyer.
As an aside, I find it amazing that Buckeye fans would be interested in hiring a coach that handed us our butts on a silver platter on the national stage. Maybe it’s because they want the best (and, lets be honest, Meyer is one of the best). Maybe it’s because he once stated that Ohio State was one of his dream jobs. Maybe it’s because he was a former OSU Assistant, and grew up in Ohio.
Whatever the reason, it netted Meyer a spot near the top of everyone’s wish lists.
Urban Meyer grew up in Toledo, Ohio, eventually receiving a scholarship to the University of Cincinati. Urban spent four years playing defensive back for the Bearcats on a number of teams that simply weren’t very good.
From 1983-1986, while Meyer was on the team, the Bearcats went a combined 16-27-1 with no winning seasons. They did show improvement, though, going 5-6 during in each of Meyer’s Junior and Senior seasons.
Ever since his meteoric rise in the college coaching ranks six years ago, Mark “Bo” Pelini has been a well known name for the top spot in Ohio State football. Though he hasn’t ever explicitly said so, having been raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and having graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School, Pelini has likely been a Buckeye fan for life.
Of course, it also helps that he played ball there.
Recruited by Earle Bruce, Pelini spent most of his days on the field as a free safety under John Cooper. He was a starter in his last two seasons (1989, 1990) and Co-Captain his senior year. Clearly the Scarlet and Gray runs deep in his blood.
After his playing career, Pelini jumped straight into the coaching circuit. He spent a year as a Graduate Assistant at Iowa, followed by another year as the Quarterbacks coach of his old High School.
He then jumped into the professional leagues, coaching DB’s at San Francisco (94-96) for three years before coaching Linebackers for the Patriots (97-99) and Packers (00-02).
In our continuing look at the Ohio State coaching search, we go far afield and look at a guy who isn’t getting a lot of love for the spot.
Many, many names have been mentioned in the context of the Ohio State head coaching search. Some have made some sense (Fickell, Hazell, Dantonio, Pelini) and some not so much (Meyer, Saban, etc.) We will get to them all shortly.
One guy that may not have entered your radar yet is Lovie Smith, current Head Coach of the Chicago Bears. I’ll wait while you stop laughing.
Any minute now…
Smith started his collegiate football experience playing Linebacker and Safety for the University of Tulsa in the late 70’s. You might recall that the head coach of the Golden Hurricanes at that time was one John Cooper. Yes, that John Cooper.
Rather than playing in the pros, Lovie went straight into coaching and took over the Defensive Coordinator position of his former High School – Big Sandy. After a few years at the High School level, Lovie secured a job with his former coach at Tulsa, staying there once Cooper left to take the top spot at Arizona State.