We had a couple of interesting pieces to publish today, so the countdown had to wait until the street lights went on….thanks for your patience!
There’s only ten days left until the Ohio State Buckeyes take the field for the opening game of the 2009 season. Now is the time that you begin to literally taste the excitement. You can begin to smell the air in Ohio turning crisp, that genuine aroma of fall that you don’t truly recognize if you’re not from the midwest. To me, that is the actual essence of college football.
Day #10 could have had so many great athletes recognized here at The BBC.
Or we could just go with the guy that still thrills us all here in Ohio and still gives them nightmares in that state up north.
Yeah, let’s go with Troy Smith.
Ohio State football has long been a force, and no single man can be credited with being the savior of the game (well, maybe Woody). But earlier this decade things did not look so good for us until Troy Smith returned the Buckeyes to greatness.
Justin Zwick was our quarterback in 2004, and we struggled a lot with him at the helm early on. It actually took a 55-yard FG at the buzzer to beat lowly Marshall. More than half of Zwick’s passes ended up incomplete or in the hands of our opponents.
Then the losses started coming. An OT loss to Northwestern showed just how bad things were about to get. The murmurs about removing Zwick for Smith began to turn into screams. The next week, a loss at home to Wisconsin started Buckeye fans into panic mode. Tressel felt the heat to make a switch at QB.
Against Iowa, with the Buckeyes trailing 17-0, Zwick fumbled the ball deep in his own territory, and the change was made. Troy Smith took over during Ohio State’s worst slump in over a decade and the weight was now on his shoulders.
Smith won 5 of the remaining 6 Buckeye games in 2004, turning a 3-3 Zwick team into an 8-4 Alamo Bowl champion….and a complete destruction over #7 Michigan, 37-21.
In 2005, his starting record was 9-1, which included a come-from-behind win at Michigan 25-21 and a 34-20 Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.
Then came the dream season of 2006, in which the Buckeyes ended up 12-1. Smith’s final home game was known as the “Game Of The Century” between #1 Ohio State and #2 Michigan. Guess who won?
Wanna know just how much we love Troy Smith in northeast Ohio? We actually didn’t mind that he got drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.
But none of those stats are as pretty as it is to actually watch the man in action. Thank God for YouTube….
“The Catch” against Michigan, 2005;
The play that won him the Heisman against Penn State;
The entire day against Notre Dame;
And then there’s this collection of dominance over Michigan….Troy’s in WAY too many of these clips;
Troy Smith, thank you for all you did for us. This day is for you.
10 days left!
Yup, we’ve reached day fifteen of our “Countdown to Kickoff”!
Today, AJ Trapasso drives us into the stratosphere on our way to the final two weeks of…
(No kickers this time? Are you kidding? Do you know how much research I’ve put into Gilman industries? Ah, well…)
Like our day 19 honoree, he stepped into big shoes, following Art Schlichter’s assault on the passing record book at Ohio State. And yet, when he graduated, he was second only to his predecessor in many of the same categories; in spite of helping his tailback set his own record for most rushes in a season in 1984.
1983 saw Tomczak and the Buckeyes travel to Norman Oklahoma to battle the then #2 ranked Sooners. As this video from OHD shows, Oklahoma couldn’t win that big game either.
As that season came to an end in Tempe, Tomczak showed amazing poise in leading the winning drive against the Pitt Panthers with 2:39 on the clock. Here’s all 89 yards of glory:
What a throw to Jemison. And what is it with tOSU and Tempe?
During his senior year, he ended his career as all Buckeye players should (and most have, lately), with a victory over MACh1gAAn:
This resulted in a New Year’s trip for Ohio State to Pasadena, a trip they have made only one more time. As someone who lives within 10 minutes of the Rose Bowl, I’m looking forward to this trend changing ASAFP. Otherwise, I’m moving to Arizona.
Back to Mike.
His NFL tenure was mostly as a backup, although he did have the opportunity to exhibit his guitar skills on the way to New Orleans. His career ended with the Lions practice squad, but he’s best known as the reliable counterpoint to “Slash” during his seven year stint with the Steelers.
Mike, you done good. Thanks for bringing us one step closer to kickoff.
When compiling a list of the best linebackers ever to play at Ohio State, the list is long. Spielman, Cousineau, Hawk, Laurinaitis, Gradishar, Pepper Johnson, etc etc etc.
While he rarely shows up on the list of all-time best LB, Matt Wilhelm is one of my favorites. And on his next-to-last play of his career, he saved a National Championship for us.
In the Fiesta Bowl in 2003, Miami was facing third down and goal from the Ohio State 1 yard line. The Buckeyes led 31-24 in the second overtime, and the Hurricanes had to score a touchdown or lose the game.
QB Ken Dorsey turned and handed the ball on an off-tackle run to Quadtraine Hill. He was hit at the line of scrimmage by Wilhelm, but kept his legs moving. Hill’s momentum kept him moving forward to the 1-foot line, and Wilhelm used his upper body strength to force the ball carrier backwards. He stayed on top of Hill and rode him to the ground, keeping him just shy of the end zone. Miami would fail on fourth down when LB Cie Grant forced a bad throw from Dorsey into the end zone and the title was ours.
Matt Wilhelm, you are our guest of honor today!
35 days until kickoff!
With 41 days left before the kickoff to Ohio State football 2009, there was only one way to promote the day. We found the greatest player ever to wear the jersey at that number, Keith Byars.
In 1984, Byars rushed for over 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns. In one game against Illinois, he set the single-game record by carving up 274 and five touchdowns. And yes, the legend is true….he scored one of those touchdowns with only one shoe on. The other came flying off halfway down the field.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to locate that video online anywhere (OHD is slacking off), so please enjoy the 99-yard TD by Byars in the 1984 Fiesta Bowl;
Wanna see something really wicked? Here’s Byars as a pro, completely destroying Pepper Johnson. Hardest hit I’ve ever seen….
41 days until kickoff!
Brandon Schnittker wasn’t widely known outside of the diehard Buckeye circles. He was a great blocker and when you’re lined up in the same backfield as a freshman RB who has 1,300 yards on the season, you just KNOW you’re not getting the ball very much. So his stats are not going to dominate the world.
But one glorious day, he had an amazing catch that began the most important drive Ohio State may have ever known.
November 23rd, 2002. Ohio State is 12-0 and with only 8:40 to play in the season, the Buckeyes are trailing Michigan 9-7. Tensions are high because the Buckeyes have had a season filled with late victories pulled out of thin air….will this be the one time that we can’t will ourselves to the win column? Also, this was still in the days when we would ALWAYS seem to lose our National Championship hopes to that state up north.
Ohio State took over on their own 37-yard-line. With Mike Nugent as our kicker, we were looking to get inside the 25 of Michigan to win this game and get to the Fiesta Bowl.
On the first snap from center, QB Craig Krenzel stepped back and fired a pass to our top WR Michael Jenkins. But the pass never reached Jenkins’ sticky fingers. Schnittker, who had been running a pattern to try and draw coverage away from Jenkins and Chris Vance, found himself in the path of the ball. He snagged it and used his strong legs to power himself further up the field, into Michigan territory at their 43-yard-line.
The roar of the crowd as Schnittker rumbled upfield was intense, and the drive would not be in vain. Krenzel’s legs, a brilliant pass to He Who Shall Not Be Named, and a 3-yard scamper by Maurice Hall broke the goal line and Ohio State took a late lead 14-9. That lead held up and Ohio State went on to win the National Championship.
Thanks to Tom, here’s the video of the drive….
That’s my biggest memory of Schnittker. He intercepted a pass intended for his own teammate. And I love the guy for it.
43 days until kickoff!
This is a stat I have been admiring for a long time, and it just keeps growing….
Despite what some will say about our beloved Buckeyes, there is one factor which still makes us the best team in the NCAA.
We do NOT lose to teams we should beat. Period. There is no Appalachian State in our loss column.
Take a look at our last four seasons. Ohio State is 43-8. That number 43 stands out loud and clear….but even more impressive is the 8. Take a look at those 8 losses, look at who defeated us, and you’ll see what I mean.
2005 – lost to Texas. Texas went on to win the National Championship
2005 – lost to Penn State. Penn State went to the BCS and beat Florida State
2006 – lost to Florida. Florida won the National Championship
2007 – lost to Illinois. Illinois went to the BCS, in the Rose Bowl
2007 – lost to LSU. LSU won the National Championship
2008 – lost to USC. USC went to the BCS and beat Penn State in the Rose Bowl
2008 – lost to Penn State. PSU went to the BCS, in the Rose Bowl
2008 – lost to Texas. Texas was a BCS team that year, winning the Fiesta Bowl
All 8 losses were to BCS-Bowl teams that year, and three of them won it all.
So yes, we’ve lost some high-profile games. But ask yourselves this, fans of lesser schools….have YOU lost to a team you should have defeated in the last 4 seasons?
Ohio State hasn’t. That’s what makes us elite.
By now you’ve seen it several hundred times. LeBron James burying a buzzer-beating three-point shot to win Game 2 and save the Cavaliers season.
The BBC and many others have quickly labeled it as “The Greatest Moment In Cleveland Sports History”. But is it truly? I’ve spent 36 hours, since the shot went through the rim, debating that very topic. Frankly, I can’t find another moment that would top it.
Yes, I do believe that Cie Grant wrapping his arms around Ken Dorsey and forcing an incomplete pass to win the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (and the National Championship) for Ohio State to be the best moment I have ever experienced in sports….but that’s not Cleveland sports. It’s Ohio State, and many Clevelanders adopt OSU as their second home, yet that moment is not a Cleveland moment.
So, can you find a better moment in Cleveland history? Here’s a few of my personal favorites;
All of these moments are legendary in Cleveland. But do any of them really top what we saw two nights ago?
To be truthful, that hasn’t fully been determined yet. If the Cavs go on to win the series and the Finals, yes. Without a doubt. But as was the case with most great moments, they were wiped away when the corresponding Cleveland team failed in the goal to win a title.
If LeBron James wants his moment to live forever the way it should, he needs 7 more wins to do it.
Tonight, Mr. James, you can defend your moment. Beat the Magic and continue that goal.
OK, so we’ve all seen the “teh Big Ten suuuucks” comments all over the place, and we know that nobody outside of this glorious state isn’t giving the Buckeyes a chance in hell tomorrow night. But let’s take a step back from the bash-fest and discuss what I think will happen in Arizona.
Ohio State will win tomorrow night’s Fiesta Bowl.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that. Everyone’s too busy reminding us that we’re 0-for the SEC and lost two bowls in a row. But we are a perfect 5-0 against the Big 12 in bowls, knocking off top 10 schools twice in the last 10 years.
- The Fiesta Bowl is where we beat Miami to win the title after the 2002 season.
- The Fiesta Bowl is where we beat Kansas State after the 2003 season
- The Fiesta Bowl is where we beat Notre Dame after the 2005 season
And before anybody says anything about the Florida game, that wasn’t the Fiesta Bowl, it was the BCS National Championship game. Boise State beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta that year, we just played in the same stadium a week later.
The stats of Big 12 schools are loaded with high-powered passing games, and as a result the defenses are built to stop the pass. They (Texas especially) are not set up for success against the run. In what should be Beanie Wells’ final game as a Buckeye, expect him to put out a bruising performance. Also, expect them to keep handing him the ball, unlike his last two bowl games when we abandoned the run for some reason.
The facts are right there….the Big 12 may have been the most overrated conference this year, based on how crappy they look outside of their comfort zone.
It’s also worth pointing out that EVERY Big 12 school was favored, sometimes heavily, and played poorly time and time again. This all bodes well for the Buckeyes, who might be facing the 2nd-best team in a conference overrated all year.
And if Ohio State puts the beating on Texas, the Big 12 should be terrified. And you should go put the house on Florida against Oklahoma.
When Ohio State was selected to play in the Fiesta Bowl, it slid every other team in the conference up a notch. For example, the 4th-best team in the conference was now playing in the #3 team’s bowl slot. This led to almost all of our teams playing against teams that were better than they are.
Had the Buckeyes stayed in their “#2 Big Ten team” slot, the bowl matchups would have been more in line. Here’s what we would have seen….
As you can see, the success that Ohio State had ultimately led to the overmatching of the rest of the conference. We would have likely gone 5-2 or 4-3 instead of the maximum two-win bowl season.
Will all this be enough to knock down a Texas team that feels slighted by the BCS system?
Ohio State 27