A big part of what makes college football so special is the passion of those connected to it: the players, the coaches, the band, the fans, etc. This passion and the intensity of emotions that it causes is what makes college football so great, it causes players to play harder and make spectacular plays that seem beyond their ability, it causes band members to devote hundreds of hours to practice in order to make the band and to get to perform at the game, and it causes fans to get up at ridiculous times and drive a few hours just to stand outside in often inclement weather to cheer on some kids that they don’t know personally.
However, like all good things, too much passion can be a bad thing and can cause people to go too far. This is most easy to see when a team loses and its fans have to find some outlet for the anger, disappointment, and frustration they feel. While most fans deal with these emotions in most appropriate, or at least harmless, ways, that isn’t true for everyone. Some fans go too far and react in ways that are inappropriate or even illegal. We have all probably had the unfortunate experience of seeing a fan attack an opposing fan, either verbally or physically, after a loss or engage in some sort of destructive act against physical property.
Technology has changed not only how we follow games but how we deal with losses. In the past fans would probably go to a bar, complain about things to other fans over a few drinks, and then go home, all under the watchful eye of a bartender and bouncer who would keep things from going too far. The invention of message boards made it easier for fans to reach out to other fans to commiserate with over a loss without the need to go to a bar. This has obviously been a boon for fans who are spread around the world, it also can cause anger to fester and grow as there is rarely a watchful eye to put a stop to things; fortunately the fact that most message board posters are at home when posting serves as a nice safety mechanism there. Twitter has provided yet another change with how fans interact as now they can not only share their thoughts with other fans, they can even do so with some of the players on their teams. While this can have the benefit of increasing a feeling of community, it also makes it easy for fans to lash out in inappropriate ways toward student athletes.
OK, I’m starting to feel a little nauseated.
This pick ‘em thing is not working out like I planned.
Of course I expected to win. Who expects to lose other than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Let’s recap our last week of picks, which was two weeks ago. Took a week off to attend the funeral of my 95-year-old grandmother in South Bend.
So our picks from the previous week included both Gary and myself picking Penn State over TTUN and Nebraska over Purdon’t.
Gary took Sparty and the Badgers, while I incorrectly took Indiana and Northwestern. Blech!
Once again we don’t have a consensus for this week’s picks.
Gary and I agree that Ohio State will beat Penn State, Nebraska will beat Minnesota and that Northwestern will win at Iowa.
But again, we differ in another game.
I like Illinois to defend the home field against Sparty, who couldn’t score with a pocket full of change in a …. well, never mind.
“Sticking with my hometown boy Dantonio to bring me success in beating down a Chicago Blackhawks fan,” Gary said smugly.
Illinois can’t stink all the time, right?
So to recap:
Standings after four weeks:
After more or less taking care of business in the season/home opener against University of Buffalo last week, the Buckeyes again play host, this time to the San Diego State University (SDSU) Aztecs. Last year’s Aztec team finishes a respectable 9-4 (7-1 Mountain West Conference) and had a strong finish to their season, winning seven consecutive regular season games.
As fearsome as their mascot is, last week didn’t go so well for SDSU. The Aztecs hosted FCS opponent Eastern Illinois (Ohio Valley Conference) and were demolished 40-19. It was an odd game in that SDSU had 440 total yards (318 passing) yet scored only 19 points. I’d suggest that a contributing factor was the Aztec’s 5 turnovers; 4 interceptions and 1 fumble. SDSU’s defense didn’t help matters much by giving up 533 yards; 361 passing, 172 rushing.
Ohio State on Offense
This will be a good game to work out some of the kinks that developed on offense last week. That would involve ironing out the transition between Linsely/Boren at Center, working in Rod Smith into the RB rotation, and perhaps even some Bri’onte Dunn there as well.
The Aztecs gave up a ton of yardage last week (see Introduction) and quite a few TDs. Eastern Illinois spread their scoring among 3 passing TDs, 2 rushing TDs and a punt return TD. The Aztecs run a 3-3-5 scheme, which should sound familiar, but fortunately, no Khalil Mack. Their front three isn’t that big, ranging from 6’1”255 to 6’4”275, so it would seem they can be manhandled. The problem is that with their DL being a bit on the shortish side, Coach Warriner’s troops need to really focus on staying low to get blocking leverage on SDSU. Once OSU’s linemen get engaged in their blocks, running lanes should open up.
With SDSU getting blistered in the passing game last week, I would expect Coach Herman to emphasize the passing game this week as well. There were flashes of it coming together, at least in the first quarter last week, and based on Eastern Illinois’ offensive performance, the Buckeyes’ passing game should do well.
The History: When you first hear the name of this bowl game, all it will make you want to do is eat a large pizza. At least that’s what it does for me. However, this years Little Caesars Bowl, which takes place at Ford Field in Detroit, pits one team from the MAC which has had quite a successful run over the past few seasons and another team playing in its first bowl game in school history.
Last Tuesday, College Football fans were treated to a mid-dearth-season debate on College Football. Unfortunately the debate wasn’t about playoffs, nor about preseason polls, nor even about which conference was the best.
No, the debate was about whether or not College Football should continue to be allowed to play at all.
This all seems a bit strange. A game that weathered the storm of criticisms early in its life when young athletes were dying is again facing similar criticisms. Despite rule and equipment changes over the last 100 years, things are still the same.
But is there any benefit to College Football? I’m not talking the benefit of tailgates, parties, alumni passions, and rivalries. No, I’m talking about real, tangible benefits to the players and the schools involved. There has to be something that drives the system today, and it’s worth breaking it all down and seeing if there’s anything that might make the game worth saving.
Now, I will note that Mali and I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on this issue. He has already expressed his ideas regarding how college football should evolve to face the modern challenges. This article is not an attempt to refute anything he has said in particular – but is merely an attempt to look at College Football as an entity, whether we decide to change it or not. I want to save the sport in some form, regardless of what that form might look like.
May’s second midweek madness gets existential. The big story of the day was the “discussion” about the future of our favorite sport- more on that after the jump.
But one thing is for sure – Urban Meyer will bring hardware back to Columbus with him before all is said and done. Gold pants, B1G titles and crystal footballs. For everyone who has piled on over the last twelve months – from those in Ann Arbor, Madison, and SEC country to those posted up at the headquarters of ESPN, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News – there’s simply no way around it. Urban Meyer wins, and he wins big.
The benefactor? THE Ohio State University.