It’s a relatively quiet week for Ohio State sports (*knocks on wood*); coaches are recruiting, hoops is preparing for an attempt to sweep That State Up North, and all the students are above average. So, let’s dig around the ol’ interwebs and see what we can find to chat about today, shall we? Oh, and I’m enjoying this at the moment.
Hope you’re not too hungover from Homecoming… Not that there’d be anything wrong with that. This weeks’ TWTW is being composed with this concert in the background- say goodbye to your Pandora station for the next hour and 45 minutes.
This has been identified as the first “Shakedown Saturday” of the season, and we knew early on that this would be a heck of a week for college football. While #1 Alabama sat idle, the rest of the top 10 was involved in contests amongst themselves… where commentators chose to ignore the fact that this was destined to happen when you put all the teams in one conference in the top ten because they’re in that conference. But I digress..
Let’s start with the state of Florida, which went 1-2 on the weekend, and saw two “they’re back!!!” programs fall by the wayside. The exception to this, of course, are those poor souls in Gainesville, which were gutted and pillaged by the Evil Urban Meyer on his way to the greener pastures in Columbus. A miracle, then, that they managed to host the number four team in the nation and managed to pull together a 14-6 win, in spite of the fact that LSU is one of the greatest teams of all time and forever (note, applies to SEC teams but especially ones from the SEC West). It seems as if the Mad Hatter finally had the injuries that have plagued his team catch up with them… although, like many people, I wasn’t sure that they were ranked properly with a number of “close” calls and a “quality” win over Washington bolstering their resume. Hear me correctly- I think Coach Muschamp is doing solid things at Florida, in spite of the fact that Urban burned down every building and shot all the coaching staff on his way out… I just am not all that impressed with a win over an LSU team that might have more issues than their SECW status would allow anyone to talk about. Ah well.
In Chicago, we were given the chance to witness a game that would have been really interesting in the late 80′s… although, this version had a bit of intrigue as well. A resurgent Notre Dame team chose to play in Soldier Field in front of it’s biggest alumni base and revisit the good times that were the “Catholics -vs- Criminals” matchups that created must see TV when I was in high school and college. Even though it was a neutral site game, you’ve got to know that Miami felt daunted playing a) this far north and b) in front of more fans than they’d seen all season (and that’s just on the Loop driving into the game). The 41-3 Irish win came in spite of the fact that Notre Dame’s quarterback began the game on the bench for a violation of “team rules”. Huh. Perhaps he was found to be responsible for the horrible helmet design that they chose to wear this week. Again, I think that Coach Golden is doing good things in Coral Gables, and haven’t yet figured out how Urban Meyer is at fault for his struggles. But I will persevere on the case… be assured the truth is out there.
In our biggest upset of the week, third ranked Florida State (anointed by this very author as a solid candidate to play for the pretend championship) fell to a North Carolina State team that’s struggled to get out of their own way for the most part of this season, and who lost to ‘Da U just last week. It took a late touchdown to achieve the glorious victory for the Wolfpack, but it certainly was exciting enough that this young person chose to disregard what his parents taught him and rejoice in the moment.
While Notre Dame’s “wardrobe malfunctions” were the highlight of the week, no conversation about crazy outfits is complete without mention of the latest in the “Duck You” line from the good folks in Eugene. This week, in the blowout win against Washington, we saw a return of their “John Deer” look- a throwback of sorts to their green and yellow heritage, with a twist. In addition to the mirrored ball helmet wings that we’ve seen before, they decided to add a yellow and chrome facemask to the the ensemble, giving them sort of a “Bane Of The Northwest” appearance. As always, the Ducks are rolling up huge chunks of yardage and points, but have yet to face a defense with the size and speed up front to disrupt their schemes… and, looking across the PAC12, I don’t see that kind of challenge coming anytime soon. Read More
Monday’s melange of morning mayhem looks back at an amazing weekend of college football… Just promise to wait until the end of the article to rush the field, OK? Given the news on Campus from Sunday Night, here’s your soundtrack for our special time together.
It was a great weekend to be an Angry Bird, particularly if you were a Cardinal. Let’s start in Palo Alto.
In what’s become an annual tradition, a highly ranked Southern Cal team derped a game that many expected them to win. While it seemed to have always been the Beavers of Oregon State under the previous administration, the past four years have found a Cardinal thorn in the Trojans’ armor… as unbelievable as it is, September Heisman candidate Matt Barkley has never beaten Stanford in his career. The nice thing, though, is that Chad Henne and Mike Hart have a great support group that will welcome him with open arms.
Saturday we saw the real “teeth” of the NCAA’s sanctions for all things Reggie Bush-esque: While the Bowl Ban was significant in terms of financial benefits and being able to compete for make believe championships and other post-season swag, the real kick of what the folks in Indianapolis handed to Southern Cal as a parting gift is the inability to field a full squad of 85 for the coming several seasons- which creates issues at depth when the offensive line gets banged up (as it did in Palo Alto). Granted, Barkley still is incredibly talented and has amazing weapons- however, without the time to find them it’s essentially a moot point. And once he’s gone, well… we may just get to see how good of a coach the man is, as a number of folks could be successful with the talent depth that they experienced over the past decade. Read More
No. False. Starts. Mali continues to jinx the right tackle spot. That’s probably the ghost of JB Shugarts occupying the position now.
Special Forces. Special teams were reasonably good, including Bradley Roby tearing away a poorly snapped football in the endzone.
Quick Cals. There are still some kinks to be worked out here. Only half the students made it, and the PA system blaring AC/DC through the event was less than ideal. We’ll see if they fix some of the bugs down the line.
The “UN-Caged Tiger.” 161 yards running, 207 yards passing, and 3 total touchdowns. An uncaged tiger indeed.
JUICE. Other than Sabino’s first penalized lick on a player, the first quarter was severely lacking in Juice. After that? I think you got your wish.
Noah Spence. Picking up his first career sack (its counted in the stat sheet despite the intentional grounding) was a great way to start.
No. False. Starts. Oklahoma State was flagged for this for the first time during the 7th game of the 2011 season. The reason? No huddle offense. Also a reason? JB Shugarts didn’t play for the Cowboys. Guess what? He doesn’t play for Ohio State anymore either. <hugs, JB>
Special Forces. A point of emphasis for Coach Meyer, and there’s been a lot of talk about “The Freak Show” punt return/block unit. Let’s see them make magic happen. Also? I’m perfectly fine with no field goals all game.
Quick Cals. Will students even be on time, given the change to semesters forcing them to be up late studying and doing research…. OK, let’s be honest- Will they be too drunk to pull it off? It’s the pre-season, but they’ve been on notice since April of 2012.
The “UN-Caged Tiger.” Urban has referred to Braxton Miller as a “caged tiger” because he hasn’t been allowed to run or be hit in practice. I want to see what he can do when he’s “uncaged” after having actually had some coaching this off-season from Meyer and Company.
JUICE. Etienne Sabino went over this concept last Saturday night at the Buckeye Kickoff. I want all of the fans and students to make sure they have the #JUICE when they walk into the ‘Shoe on Saturday. Let’s get it rocking and show the world that the Buckeye Nation train is rolling, full speed ahead.
Noah Spence. Noah and I are both from Harrisburg, PA, and even though he went to one of my high school’s rivals, now that’s he’s a Buckeye like I am, I can look past that. He should get some playing time this week against the Redhawks, and I’m excited to see how well he does. Rep the 717 for us, Noah.
A bit of a damper on the July 4th celebration, as Andy Griffith passed away on Tuesday. Since he represented a slice of America for so many folks, it only makes sense that he’d leave us this close to America’s birthday.
Today, we join with racing fans in mourning the loss of Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon. As such, this week’s soundtrack has a bit of a somber tone. We give ESPN/ABC a lot of criticism, but they got this one right- Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.
This week was very very special across the college sports landscape, as special teams highlights and gaffes were the order of the day across the nation. First, the “Woah! Did that just happen?” moments…
When Clemson and Maryland met, the undefeated Tigers should have known that something was swirling that could have put a blemish on their dream season. For starters, the Terrapins chose a uniform that didn’t look like a condiment tray this week, choosing instead the “Fancy Hot Sauce” look. Maryland opened up an eighteen point lead in the second quarter on the Tigers, and nothing in the Michelle Obama playbook was working at all. Then, Sammy Watkins happened, all 345 total yards of his offense, including a special teams play that turned the tide for good.
However amazing his individual performance was for the night, the special teams highlights for the day happened in the “Battle Of The Oil Money”, where T. Boone Pickens University traveled to Austin and found themselves in a shootout with the Longhorns. It was one of those games where you were certain that the last team with a series of possession would win… unless there was time for a kickoff or two: Read More
Time for the stroll through the week’s absurdity in college football… this week’s soundtrack is inspired by a conversation with a colleague and the Stomping in the ‘Shoe- Enjoy the Stone Foxes.
The big game of the week, according to the folks at the four letter network, was Saturday Night’s matchup between LSU and West By God Virginia. When the smoke had cleared (not from burning couches, ironically), all we knew was how good the Tigers are, particularly on defense. That’s not a commentary on their O- it’s great to see Princeton HS star Spencer Ware excel- but the fact of the matter is that the LSU defense is the best in college football. In today’s poll has Les Miles’ team at the top, and given their victories over ranked teams (Oregon, Mississippi State, WVa), I can’t say that I disagree. You want to be the man? Beat the man… and LSU has done just that.
Those who might be wondering how LSU manages to both recruit top athletes AND to keep them motivated may have found an answer on Saturday night- I’m pretty sure that’s a benefit, although I will withhold judgement on if it’s improper (mostly ’cause I’m jealous). Read More