Here we are, another week. Grab your coffee and let’s get right to it.
A bit of a slow week, but not entirely dormant for Buckeye fans. Obviously, I’m referring to Jim Bollman being hired as OC by Michigan State after a quite brief stint as offensive line coach at Purdue. Evidently, Jim thought that he only needed a month or so to get the Purdue offensive line to the standards that we experienced in Columbus during his tenure. Since this chain of events involved Bollman, Mark Dantonio and Darrell Hazell, the Jim Tressel Coaching Tree is in full leaf.
Entering the week, the Buckeyes came off an impressive display of basketball, gouging the Gophers 71-45 in Columbus. Then Ohio State had a truly inspired effort to beat a tough, especially this time of year, Michigan State team, 68-60 on Sunday. On Wednesday OSU had an all too common experience in Evanston, toughing out a 63-53 win over a shorthanded Northwestern squad. There was quite a bit of ebb and flow until about the 3:57 mark, after ‘Zelle Smith’s 3-pointer gave OSU the lead 51-49. From that point on, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots by the Buckeyes ebbed the Wildcats into submission. Read More
After Sunday’s hoops win over TTUN, some shocking numbers and facts were brought to my attention. There is a hiring at Purdue I don’t really understand, we’ve got some quick hitters on recruiting and even some professional sports. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
No. 1? Not in Columbus
Smack dab in the middle of the NFL divisional playoff weekend was a college hoops showdown at the Schottenstein Center between our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and their arch nemesis, that team up north. The Fighting Stink Rats came into the game at 16-0 and ranked number 2 in the country. After the top ranked Duke Blue Devils fell to North Carolina State on Saturday, TTUN was poised to step into the number one spot when Monday’s polls were released. All they had to do was win in Columbus.
Admittedly, I wasn’t too sure our guys could beat them. After coming from ahead to lose at Dook and getting thumped by Kansas at home and Illinois on the road, my hoops confidence level was somewhere around a 5 out of 10. Of course, this was TTUN they would be playing on Sunday and it was being played at home in front of the Buckeye Nuthouse. It wouldn’t be of “shock the world” caliber, but a win would have been surprising to most considering the Stink Rats had been dominating opponents and looking like it may actually be there season to shine after all these years in the dark.
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.
Getting ready for the next phase of college fandom, that wonderful world filled with gifts of college hoops and bowl catastophies. As such, here’s the soundtrack for this week’s look back.
Robert Frost once said, “Nothing Gold can stay”; and so, another leaf turns and this college football season comes to a close. Before we jump into Championship Weekend, let me take a second to say “Thank You” to a great Ohio State blog and BBN member who hung up their keyboards this week- Dave and Drew, Godspeed on the next adventure.
Well, the crapocalypse is surely upon us- we’ve now got the choice to pull for Notre Dame or for Alabama in the Mythical National Title game come January; although I’m still holding out hope that the Mayans were right.
Alabama punched their ticket to yet another dance via a dominant second half performance against a very game Georgia team. Throughout the first half and into the third quarter, it looked as if the Bulldogs had figured out a way to neutralize the Bama defense, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown only extended the sense of dread that Alabama fans must have been feeling throughout the sold-out Georgia Dome.
And then Nick Saban remembered that he had a running game. From that moment on, the Crimson Tide’s offensive line and stable of running backs managed to decimate the Georgia defense, churning clock and yardage. After running all over the Black and Red, it only made sense that Alabama’s last score would come on a beautifully executed play action pass- everyone, including the cameramen and your humble correspondent bit on the fake, and McCarron’s ball was perfectly targeted for the score.
Again, kudos to the Georgia team; they refused to give up even under dire circumstances and dwindling clock. They managed to drive to the red zone in a short amount of time, but then made decisions that I’m still trying to figure out.
After passing for the first down on the Alabama 8 yard line, Georgia chose to run a play and not spike the ball for clock stoppage goodness- they had used their last time outs forcing the Tide to punt on the previous series. The process of setting the play up itself cost them a good 5 seconds or so, and then they chose to run the following attempt:
There’s a lot of things that went wrong here- the pass was tipped at the line, and the receiver should have intentionally dropped it (although that’s a hard thing to do, as it goes against years of practice). But the decision to not control the clock a bit better at the end send Nick Saban to Miami to defend his team’s national title, and ended up pushing Georgia to game against the B1G Championship Runner Up (more later). Read More
Part two from Ty Kelly’s manifesto after winning our bowl competition; for background, allow him to reintroduce himself.
Now, let’s talk about the future of the head football coaching position at The Ohio State University. Clearly, we have to look at it from the administration and the athletic director’s viewpoint – whoever that may be in seven months, (because an argument can be made that A.D. Gene Smith, and Pres. E. Gordon Gee may not last another three months at Ohio State).
Regardless, the 2012 A.D. and OSU brass will likely be looking for three main criteria-
So…who fit this description ? Bo Pelini? … Probably. Jon Gruden? … Maybe. Gary Patterson? Urban Meyer? Each candidate has their pros and cons. I will go in to full detail for the top tier candidates as to why or why not they may be the head coach at OSU in 2012, and I will briefly go over the rest of the candidates who could be considered viable in the position.
Ohio State has announced today that Luke Fickell has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach, effective immediately.
AD Gene Smith, in the announcement, had this to say-
Luke Fickell is a Buckeye to the core. He has earned this promotion to assistant head coach through his hard work, dedication and performance. We have great trust and belief in Luke’s ability to work with our entire coaching staff to lead our young men through the first five games this fall. I have confidence our entire football family will work together to maintain our standard of excellence.
These responsibilities will include serving as head coach during Coach Jim Tressel’s suspension in the 2011 season, which is currently set for five games. The NCAA investigation, as you know, is ongoing.
Coach Fickell is a Columbus native Ohio State graduate, and was named the AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010. Currently, he serves as the Buckeyes linebacker coach and co-defensive coordinator. He fills the role that has been vacant since Coach Hazell left to become the head coach at Kent State University.
Congratulations, Coach Fickell!
Current Buckeye assistant Darrell Hazell will be announced tomorrow as the next head coach of the Kent State University Golden Flashes. This is Hazell’s first head coaching job after 23 yrs of coaching at schools like Rutgers, WVU, and Western Michigan.
Hazell has been at Ohio State since 2005 when he came in as the WR’s coach. He has made a splash in the recruiting circles as well as helping in the offensive game plan, so much so that his name was thrown around some as the one that was actually calling plays, (we all know those are closer to the Vest).
This is a good step for Hazell as being the man in charge. I look for Kent State to turn it up in the recruiting circles within the MAC and become a team that makes some nice strides toward perennial MAC champions.
It will be interesting to see where Ohio State goes from here- it would be nice to grab a very good recruiter to fill in for one of Hazell’s strengths.