I hope everyone had a great Christmas and survived it safely! Did you get what you wanted? I decided since this is the last week of 2012, why not do a “best of and worst of” to recap all the things that caught our eye or made us angry this past year. Let’s rumble!
The Gator Bowl- The year started out with the Buckeyes in the Gator Bowl taking on the Florida Gators. The outcome and subsequent bowl ban clearly make this one of our “worst of” for the year. The catch to it that makes me crazy is listening to everyone now talk about it like they knew that the bowl ban was coming. From Gordon Gee to Gene Smith and down the line to all of us, everyone thought they would be getting probation and reduced scholarships for “Tattoo-gate”. The revisionists out there like to destroy Smith for not taking a self-imposed one year ban. There are plenty of reasons to not like Gene Smith, the bowl ban isn’t one of them.
Beating Syracuse- Everyone knows Jim Boeheim is a cranky old fart. One of the “best of” moments of 2012 was watching the Buckeyes take apart his Syracuse Orangemen to earn a berth in the Final Four. Watching him grimace and complain, knowing he was outmatched and on his way out of the tournament was a beautiful sight!
Circle Drill- Read More
Vince Lombardi used to tell his teams that they would strive for perfection while knowing full well they’d never reach it. However, he knew that somewhere along the way in the pursuit of perfection they would end up being pretty good. By defeating (we can say the M word again) Michigan on Saturday, the Buckeyes achieved perfection. Along the way they faced adversity and doubters but still wound up being pretty good!
The Reckoning: Mission Accomplished
The 109th rendition of The Game was more than an opportunity to finish a season unbeaten (only the 6th in school history) it was a chance to right a wrong. Heading into Saturday, the sting from last years game in Ann Arbor was still there. When Denard Robinson broke tackles for a 67 yard touchdown run in the second quarter all the emotions from 2011 came roaring back. It all finally subsided after seeing Carlos Hyde look to the Ohio State sideline and give Urban Meyer and his staff the “feed me” hand motion of spooning food into his mouth with around three minutes to play indicating he was more than prepared to finish off the game and that there wasn’t a thing the Wolverine defense could do to stop him.
Last week I introduced the idea of The Reckoning and wanting payback for the showboat antics, not to mention the loss in general, of the Wolverines in 2011. When Hyde motioned to Meyer and the Blue’s spirit and will had been broken, that indication and only then finally had The Reckoning been achieved. I didn’t want to see the Buckeyes win; I wanted to see Michigan broken and demoralized. It wasn’t until I read the stat sheet that I realized just how broken and demoralized Michigan actually was.
Silver Bullets to the rescue
Much maligned throughout the season, and rightfully so, the Buckeye defense stepped up huge and shut down the Wolverine offense almost completely in the second half. Luke Fickell and Everett Withers made adjustments at halftime that anticipated every move Michigan would make in the second half. They set up the Silver Bullet’s in a position to pin their ears back and fly around. The results were several big plays including sacks, fumbles and the eventual game clinching interception by CJ Barnett.
Early on in the game it’s easy to assume Fickell wasn’t sure exactly the extent of Robinson’s injury. Were they using him exclusively to run or did he have the treat to pass despite the injury to his right hand/wrist? Around the middle of the second quarter the discussions regarding Robinson abilities on this particular afternoon had to be compelling to listen in on. Ultimately the decision was made that in their opinions he wasn’t going to throw it and that they’d live with the consequences if he did. The gamble paid off, they were right, Robinson made zero passing attempts and his runs were completely shut down.
If you asked me before the game, I’d have almost guaranteed you that my vision of The Reckoning would have been realized by the Buckeye offense with an absolute onslaught of points and Braxton Miller dancing all over the Blue defense. I’m glad I would have been wrong as seeing the Silver Bullets intimidate and overpower the Wolverine offense was special and, in a way, much more satisfying. Read More
Rattle the QB.He got rattled eventually. The couple of times he got hit and coughed up the football would have been enough, excluding the few times he got eaten in the backfield. Nice shot by Zach Boren, by the way.
Make Them Guess. They didn’t really have to make them guess, and I’m not certain they even tried. The game plan seemed pretty cut and dried, and was not excessively outside what we’ve seen in other games this season.
Take It Back. The Buckeyes clearly showed that the last year was an aberration. You have to wonder what was going through Brady Hoke’s mind as he stormed off the field in Columbus on Saturday. I’d like to think the shiver he got was Dave Brandon throwing away his resume.
Bring the noise. I was all the way up in 28C (only a few rows from the top), but it still seemed pretty loud overall – especially at the end.
Line dominance. Boy, the way they were blocking for Carlos Hyde on offense, you’d think Michigan wasn’t even there. Hyde busted run after long run and seemed nigh close to unstoppable – give the hog-mollies some of the credit for that.
Feed Carlos. 26 carries, 146 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad day of work.
The Reckoning. Carlos Hyde made Denard Robinson “eat” that gesture by mimicking it himself.
Against our better judgement, we invited Yost from MZone back to our clubhouse for a little give and take. We also provided a translator so he could understand the big words we asked him, and still can’t figure out how he managed to write to us in crayon and nail polish in an email.
Thanks for having me on this week to talk about The Game – although I was cursing you with the intensity of a thousand suns as I stayed up until the wee hours finishing this after being doped up on turkey and eating whatever-the-hell the ass-awful side dish was that my Aunt Karen made for Thanksgiving (don’t worry, it’s cool: I don’t think she reads The BBC or really gets the Internet. Hopefully, if she is online, she’s on a f*cking cooking site).
Anyway, due to the late hour and my above-mentioned turkey coma, please excuse any typos or general “what the hell is he talking about?” stuff.
Here we go:
Topic Du Jour- Expansion. If you had five minutes with Jim Delany what would you tell him about the additions of Maryland and Rutgers? Any thoughts on future additions to the conference?
If I had 5 minutes, I’d probably spend the first four smacking the crap out of him. For Delany and the others involved (I’m looking at you, Dave Brandon and Gene Smith) to say this has anything to do with academics, or that Maryland and Rutgers are a good “football fit,” is shameful. This is about adding BTN to the basic cable package in the major markets of Baltimore/D.C. and New York. Period. It’s a horrendous, stupid, asinine, dumb, idiotic, whore-ish, awful, terrible, dreadful, atrocious, abominable move by Delany and the conference.
And to announce this during the week of The Game is mind boggling. Bo and Woody must be rolling over in their graves. I wish they were still around and had 5 minutes with Delany. This would never have happened on their watch.
As for future additions, after the clusterf*ck this week, it really doesn’t matter. Because it has nothing to do with football anymore. Hell, if Delany thought cable systems in England and France would add the BTN, he’d consider colleges in London and Paris then worry about teaching them American football. Yes, I do believe what he did this week was that crass.
But other than those minor qualms, I think it was an absolutely awesome move.
Continuing that theme: It’s been speculated that the recent moves would also mean a recalibration of the divisions. Any preferences there? What if a divisional shift meant moving The Game away from the last Saturday in November… thoughts?
If you want The Game to continue to be The Game, you have to have M*chigan and Ohio State in the same division and it must always be the last Saturday in November. Must, must, must. The mere chance that, due to being in different divisions, Michigan and Ohio State could play twice a season should appall both our fan bases as it dilutes the rivalry.
During the last realignment, our AD, Dave Brandon said that if M*chigan vs Ohio State once a year was great, twice would be even better.
He’s out of his mind.
There should never, ever be a chance for a mulligan when M*chigan and Ohio State play. You either win and celebrate for a year, or lose and have to wait a year for your shot at redemption. That is what makes The Game…The Game! It’s not The GameS, fergodssake! You think The Ten Year War would have been the same if it was just the The Ten Year Warm-Up Act or The Ten Year Practice Run? Read More
Oh, college football… How I love you!!
Well, that happened.
While a lot of people were saying that Alabama was ripe for a loss against a Texas A&M team that’s been playing really well over the past few weeks, most of this felt like lip service. You know, the kind of things that ESPN makes one person say on the Gameday set in order to appear unbiased.
And then- “Johnny Football”.
There are a lot of reasons why Alabama lost- coming off of an emotional win on the road in Death Valley, LSU’s offense showed a lot of people the issues that the Tide have in their secondary, Saban’s fear of the high speed offense is based on his knowledge of his team’s weaknesses; but the fact of the matter is that the Aggies outplayed Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, in several key areas of the game.
The Crimson Tide defensive front was stifled, for the most part, by the aTm offensive tackles. Combined with concerns about a quarterback’s mobility, the Tide were not able to mount the type of disruptive pressure that they are so used to.
Alabama’s offense made key mistakes and turnovers, and seemed out of rhythm all night long. The three turnovers didn’t help, particularly when the Tide defense couldn’t get any of their own… and the mental errors were even more egregious. On the final interception, it seems to me that the receiver on the end of the line of scrimmage did a poor job getting depth in the end zone, making it easy for defenders to cover both him and the primary target. In addition, with Bama’s defense stiffening and forcing a punt, to have a member of their punt return/block team create a neutral zone infraction for an automatic first down is an aggressive penalty, but one that is terrible to have happen in that circumstance. Again, the intensity was there for the student in question, but the lack of focus eventually cost them a final chance at victory.
But we can’t miss the point here- this game was won by Johnny Manziel’s continual ability to make plays and put the Tide defense on their heels.
After the third week in a row with this type of performance (Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State), the redshirt freshman has lifted himself into Heisman candidacy- and for good reason. Given the lack of a clear “star” this year, given Matt Barkley’s struggles, the game this weekend was his “Flutie to Phelan” moment; outstanding performance in high profile opportunity. I’ll leave the debate to others, but will certainly enjoy watching the electricity that all of these candidates provide.
Even if he doesn’t win this year, you’ve got to think that next year’s Heisman race is going to be something spectacular- Braxton Miller, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Everett Gholston, Tahj Boyd, DeAnthony Thomas… and those are just the ones I’ve got off the top of my head.
(And since I’m on the topic, I think that Marquis Lee needs to be included in this year’s debate. But that’s just me).
Does this loss end the run of SEC titles in the final year of the BCS? Well, not exactly… more on this in a bit.