tBBC Preview: Rose Bowl – Michigan State vs. Stanford

Written December 31st, 2013 by Jason

Yeah… we’re wistful. But still, here’s the rundown

TOR_2014_100TH_RBG_LOGO_CMYK_COLOR_PRINTMichigan State (11-1, 9-0 B1G) vs Stanford (11-2, 7-2 PAC12)

January 1st, 2014  5:00 PM EST ESPN

It’s the 100th Rose Bowl game and this years rendition of the classic features two similar teams that play an old fashioned “defense and run” style of game. Can the Cardinal move the ball on the ground as they like to do against the Spartan defense? Will the Spartans be able to move the ball at all against the Cardinal defense? We’ll find out in what should be a classic.

Oh, and you can’t have a Rose Bowl without Buckeyes- Orlando Pace will be enshrined in the Rose Hall Of Fame on Wednesday, and Archie Griffin was named Rose Bowl “All Century” player for his successes in four straight games.

Michigan State: The Spartans roll into Pasadena for the first time since 1988 when they defeated USC 20-17. Head coach Mark Dantonio has his team believing after knocking off second ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. However, beating Stanford will be no easy task and an off-field issue has made it even more daunting.

Max Bullough is undoubtedly defensive heart and soul. Due to an off-field issue that we won’t speculate on, he has violated team rules and will not be participating in the game. To put in perspective, though he’s not as good of a player, this would be like the Buckeyes losing Ryan Shazier for the Orange Bowl.

The Spartan defense does still has Darqueze Dennard and he is looking to go out with a bang in his last game in Spartan green. I also am a believer in teams, especially when it’s a key player on an already outstanding defense, being able to rise above the loss of a star player. Sparty may be just fine when the Cardinal have the ball. Read More

The Week That Were: 2013 Championship Weekend

Written December 9th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Look, I know it’s the holiday season and all that, but I’m not feeling it just yet. Here’s some Ella if you’re in a similar mood this Monday.

And so it ends… not with a bang, but a whimper. Not for everyone, but for fanbases who entered Saturday with significant postseason aspirations, the doors gently shut on both those dreams and on their season.

ku-xlarge

We Know The Feeling

While TWTW is usually reserved for Saturday’s festivities, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Northern Illinois started the slide on Friday; poised for a shot at another possible BCS bid, the Huskies fell for the first time all season in the MAC championship. And not just “fell”, but were beaten by 2o points by Bowling Green in a game that cost the Falcons (and the other non-qualifying schools) some pretty major cash.

Saturday’s early slate started with some Bedlam, a game where anything can happen and often does- this year in the form of an earthquake during a field goal attempt.

As a rivalry game, you throw the records and season results out the window, as any Ohio State or Michigan fan can tell you. And while TBPU looked to be the easy favorite, icy conditions and the passion of their cross state rivals kept this from being an easy match.

While both teams struggled to score early on, Oklahoma tied things up in the third following a fake field goal that may or may not have happened before the play clock expired. No call, though, so on we went.

Much like last week’s game in Ann Arbor, OkSU drove down the field with relative ease at the end of the game, and scored with time left on the clock in spite of our warnings. And, you can guess what happened- Oklahoma managed a length of the field drive to score which left only enough time for the Northwestern-esque “throw the ball around and hope for the best” play, and like NU, Oklahoma State’s efforts were interrupted and scored upon.

Nice Aim

Nice Aim

Check out the gif on the left there; this is after the spread-covering score, and you can see both a Cowboy cheerleader attempt to trip a jubilant Sooner and also notice that some happy fan has decided to huck a snowball at the field toward the end of the clip.

That’s what it means to be in a rivalry game… it’s bigger than just a regular loss, particularly when you fall at home and fall out of the BCS.  I’m sure that excitement and emotion were behind the Sooner player’s decision to go full Marcus Hall on the Cowboy fan, and am certainly looking forward to them being benched for the entirety of their next game, the way that Hall was. And, media folks, feel free to spend hours discussing how classless this play was and what Stoops should do.  You’ve obviously got nothing else to talk about.

With the Cowboys’ falling in Stillwater, the late afternoon game between Texas and Baylor became the defacto Big12-2 Championship matchup. Let that roll around in your head for a minute- Mack Brown, who may be on his way out after yet another disappointing season, was one game away from a Conference Title and a BCS bid.

WEIRD-BAYLOR-FAN

Filled With The Spirit?

And yet, it was not to be… after a close first half, Baylor made the plays that it’s executed so well all season and pulled away from Texas to win their first conference title in forever. Given that they’re opening a new stadium next year and just signed their coach to a sizable extension, it’s quite possible that we haven’t heard the end of celebrations in Waco.

And their reward? A trip to Phoenix to face the University of Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl… the same UCF that held off SMU to win on Saturday. That game ain’t going to be pretty, folks.

By now, Buckeye fans know all to well that Auburn will be playing in the National Title game against Florida State. Poised in the computers to leap Ohio State with a blowout win against Missouri, the resurgent Tigers (no, the other ones) handled the B12-2′s SEC East’s finest handily in Atlanta on Saturday, in a game that seemed to be played with an understanding that each team was required to ration their tackles (perhaps the same memo OSU got?).

Best Tackle All Day. Seriously.

Best Tackle All Game. Seriously.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t any controversy on the way to the SEC crown. One of Missouri’s early scores was on a long pass that clearly was not fully possessed by the receiver- I have no idea how that wasn’t overturned. Later, an Auburn player pushed Missouri’s Josey out of bounds after the running back had another long scamper, and the shove caused Josey to hit a nearby cart and miss the remainder of the game.

Auburn’s win meant that, should one of the top two teams fall, they would be in. Florida State started first in their epic clash against the Duke Blue Devils, and managed to go the entire first quarter without a score.

That was about it, though- the Seminoles managed to roll up a 45-7 win and punch their tickets to Pasadena, while Winston possibly scheduled a trip to New York to pick up some hardware. It’ll be interesting to see if we get a 2006 repeat- an undefeated team with a Heisman Trophy QB against a one-loss SEC program who “backed in” to the title game.  That’s all I remember about the 2006 game… and I’m not listening if you try to give me any further facts.

No Roses For You

Roses? Not so fast…

Which brings us to Indianapolis. As if Ohio State fans didn’t have enough reasons to hate Sports Illustrated, this week’s decision to put Braxton on a regional cover added the Buckeyes to the list of Oregon, Alabama, and Baylor as teams who lost the week following their cover appearance.  Splendid.

Look, my thoughts on the game are probably the same as the rest of Buckeye Nation:

  • Hats off to Michigan State, whose defense played the way that Ohio State defenses used to play. Wonder why that is… What I wouldn’t give to have one of their DBs in the scarlet and gray.
  • Hats off to Sparty, too, for offensively game planning a perfect scheme to attack Ohio State’s weaknesses in the secondary, and to Connor Cook for the poise that he showed in the passing game. Enjoy California, Dino and folks… remember, it’s not too far of a drive for your offensive line coach to visit some family.
  • I’m as confused as the rest of you are about the Ohio State gameplan, particularly when it looked like our bread and butter were working. I understand the idea of getting Carlos into space against MSU’s secondary, but when every empty set led to a QB draw/counter, then it takes away the mystery. And mid-range passing? Does everything have to be a bomb?
  • “Frustrated” only partially covers my thoughts on the secondary’s play this past year… I’m not smart enough to figure out if it’s a scheme thing or a personnel issue or coaching, and I’ve read all three from the “experts” that make up Ohio State bulletin boards. I know that linebacker is something that Urban has identified as a “need”, so I’m just going to trust that this will improve overall in the coming season.

Again, no disrespect to Ben Affleck or to Michigan State, but it feels more like Ohio State let this one get away from them than the Spartans “took” it. While I’d prefer that it was the Buckeyes in Pasadena, I’m still excited to see Michigan State play Stanford in the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl.

Stanford won their rematch with Arizona State in a walk in front of less than stellar crowds. While some blame the “rematch” factor for poor attendance, I believe that it’s due to these being hosted on campus… as nice as that is for the home team, this time of year the trend is to allow fans the chance to travel to somewhere new. I’m conflicted on this, since I believe that any future Championship Expansion should consider home stadiums, but I also understand that there’s a huge money factor involved from tourism and so forth.

RICE1

The “Bowl-Bloat” Culprit

And that’s the heart of the silly season that we’re getting ready to enter- schools will pay lots of money for the “privileged” of making cash for television networks and tax exempt “bowl committees”; and only one game will “matter”, other than the contrived “Bowl Challenge” that the four letter network has created without consideration of even-matchups. When there are so many bowls that more than 50% of FBS teams get to go, is it really an honor?

That being said, this year should be a pretty good one for the B1G- in looking across the Bowl Landscape, there are only a few games that don’t feel like solid contests.  See what you think:

  • Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. BCS/Pac-12): Michigan State vs. Stanford
  • Orange Bowl, Jan. 3: (ACC vs. BCS): Ohio State vs. Clemson
  • Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
  • Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Iowa vs. LSU
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Dec. 28 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Michigan vs. Kansas State
  • Gator Bowl, Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC): Nebraska vs. Georgia
  • Texas Bowl, Dec. 27 (Big Ten vs. Big 12): Minnesota vs. Syracuse

The BCS games, then, would be Florida State/Auburn, Michigan State/Stanford, Ohio State/Clemson, Oklahoma/Alabama, and (bleh) Central Florida/Baylor.

All in all, a great set of excuses to gather friends and family for the holidays and then ignore them to watch TV. We’ll have breakdowns of each of these matchups in the coming days, as well as full coverage of Ohio State’s trip to Miami in an attempt to exorcise Charlie Bauman’s specter.

But with that… The Week That Were draws to a close for yet another season. Thanks for playing along with us all fall, and for being a part of tBBC Family. We’ll close with a bit of nostalgia to get you ready for Miami:

The Week That Were: 11.16.13

Written November 18th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

In a week full of surprises, this is a pretty good soundtrack for your Monday morning reading.

Sometimes life gives you some unexpected gifts.  You’re set up on a date to be a wingman for a friend who’s girl has a cousin in town, and you end up in an amazing marriage together. You open a book and find an old letter from a friend that you’d forgotten about. A seldom worn jacket has cash in the pocket.  Mowing the grass reveals a dog you’d forgotten you had. You let a friend borrow your truck and he has it detailed while he’s got it.

Emptying A Small Lake

Emptying A Small Lake

On second thought, that last one probably means that he used it to transport a body or something.  Let’s move on.

This week in college football was like that- on paper, there weren’t any marquee “games of the century”. But, as we know, games aren’t played on paper- instead the tiny men who square off in our TV sets gave us some fantastic finishes and an incredible weekend of sports.

Let’s start in the B12… We give Charlie Weis and the Jayhawk program a lot of well deserved grief hereabouts, so I’ll be among the first to celebrate their win over the couch fire that has become the West Virginia program. It’s hard to say that Coach Holgorsen might be in a bit of a rebuilding year, but it’s certainly difficult to see the Mountaineer program fall so quickly from the tops of the conference.

That’s not to take anything away from Kansas- great win, gang. However, let’s not get all carried away, shall we?

Ohio State fans are certainly well aware of the Baylor Bears, who now are poised to jump the Buckeyes in the “we’re still totally making this up as we go” BCS standings. Baylor continued their undefeated season with a big win over Texas Tech on Saturday, a Raiders team that was a media darling following a soft early season schedule, but has now dropped four straight games.  What the #narrative won’t tell you as they tout Baylor’s 63-34 win is that the Bears were trailing 20-7 in the first quarter.  But hey… shiny!

With all the firepower that the Bears bring to the table one of the surprises is that it was Tech that gave us our first “catch of the week” nominee. For another angle,  check this out:

O-WOW

Interestingly enough, the B12 also brings us the hit of the week, which was 100% targeting. It’s a Vine, but check out the shot that this trooper puts on this fan who decides that he wants to be a part of the action… If only Stoops’ team had tackled that well against Baylor. Read More

Poll Position: Ducking Out Of The Top Spot

Written November 12th, 2013 by Patrick

As everyone has told Buckeye fans all season long, “let the games play themselves out” and that they are. Another top unbeaten team has fallen and this time it was a biggie.

Duck And Cover

Oregon was dominated for 54 minutes by Stanford last Thursday and have fallen out of the top spot. Not a lot else really went on this past weekend of note, as Alabama rolled over LSU as did FSU over Wake. The Buckeyes enjoyed their second bye week of the year and prepare to take on the final 3 regular season games.

Pos. Team (1st Votes) LW
1 Florida State (6) 2
2 Alabama (3) 3
3 Ohio State (1) 4
4 Baylor 5
5 Stanford 6
6 Oregon 1
7 Auburn 8
7 Missori 10
9 Clemson 9
10 Michigan State NR

Others receiving votes: Texas A&M, South Carolina, Illinois (hey, we need all the help we can get)

Florida St takes over the top spot with a .2 margin over Alabama. Florida St will enjoy a week off while Alabama will travel to Mississippi St.

The only battle of ranked opponents this week is Georgia and Auburn. This is a big game for Auburn as they point towards their battle with the Crimson Tide on November 30th. As for the Buckeyes, they travel to Champaign to battle for the Illibuck trophy.

Stop back next week and see all the comings and goings of the Buckeye Battle Cry’s top ten!!

The Week That Were: 11.09.13

Written November 11th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Today’s soundtrack thanks our Veterans for all that they’ve done

Ok, class… time for a quiz.  What did we learn this week?

Ducked

Cathartic, I’m Sure

We learned that the template for beating Oregon has not changed. Control the ball and the clock with power running, Don’t turn the ball over, Take advantage of turnovers, and Hold on for dear life.

While this would seem to be the obvious solution to beating any team, Stanford has certainly shown that it’s a template for stopping one of the most powerful offenses in the country. By continuing to do so on Thursday night, the Cardinal looked like Ohio State and Auburn and LSU… and the Duck Dynasty were bumped off the path to the National Title game.

If that wasn’t enough, on Saturday the Head Duck even showed his newest uniform… and this one will probably not be welcomed with open arms in Eugene.

We also learned something that we should have already known; sometimes these are the most difficult of lessons.  Even here at tBBC we’ve highlighted again and again that “Big Game Bob” is a myth, that other than a BCS game against UConn (not a difficult thing, no matter what Michigan fans will tell you) and some wins over Texas during their programmatic slide, the Sooners have not managed to win the big one at anywhere near a dominant success rate.

We're Disappointed Too

We’re Disappointed Too

Even this year they were embarrassed by a Texas Team that was searching for it’s identity, and have a “quality win” over a Texas Tech team who’s now dropped three in a row. We should have known better than to expect wonders from the team from Norman, but there Buckeye fans were, hoping that they’d handle a Baylor team that’s been setting scoreboards on fire.

We forgot that they have no downfield passing game, and their running game is predicated on a fullback at quarterback. And so, even though it looked close at the outset, we couldn’t be too surprised when Oklahoma collapsed in a heap of it’s own making.

And Baylor? Well, Baylor continues to look absolutely fabulous. With contests against TTU, TBPU and Texas upcoming in their season, the Bears are by no means shoo-ins for the conference title, but the path is pretty clear.

To be fair to the Longhorns, they’ve turned the season around and remained undefeated after their overtime win in the first Texas trip to Morgantown as a part of the new conference configuration. Judging by the responses on Shaggy Bevo, fans are somewhat torn by this turn of events- Winning is good, but how can they fire Mack if he manages to bring home a B12 Title this year? Read More

Weekend Wonderings

Written November 10th, 2013 by Ken

thinking chimp

Welcome to the latest edition of Weekend Wonderings. Take a minute, grab whatever you drink on a Sunday afternoon/evening and let’s carry on. This will be a nice break from yard work for you. Besides, the Browns and the Buckeyes are off this weekend, so what else would you have planned?

The James/Wexner, Cleveland Clinic

As expected, we have a couple items this week.

First up, researchers at The James have determined, through whole-genome sequencing, that the human papillomavirus (HPV) can directly damage genes and chromosomes, thus contributing to cancer.

Published in the journal Genome Research, this laboratory study used whole-genome sequencing to investigate the relationship between the HPV and host genomes in human cancers.

“Our sequencing data showed in vivid detail that HPV can damage host-cell genes and chromosomes at sites of viral insertion,” says co-senior author David Symer, MD, PhD, assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics at the OSUCCC – James.

“HPV can act like a tornado hitting the genome, disrupting and rearranging nearby host-cell genes,” Symer explains. “This can lead to overexpression of cancer-causing genes in some cases, or it can disrupt protective tumor-suppressor genes in others. Both kinds of damage likely promote the development of cancer.”

“HPV can act like a tornado hitting the genome, disrupting and rearranging nearby host-cell genes,” Symer explains. “This can lead to overexpression of cancer-causing genes in some cases, or it can disrupt protective tumor-suppressor genes in others. Both kinds of damage likely promote the development of cancer.”

Read More

Poll Position: Two Atop tBBC Top Ten

Written October 29th, 2013 by Patrick

Another week, another shake up in tBBC top ten. In a week that saw undefeated Missouri and Texas Tech drop from the ranks of the unbeaten, and Miami and Stanford survive “scares” from Wake Forest and Oregon State, the top four teams just continued on their merry way towards a date with a crystal ball.

Florida State garnished enough votes this week to tie Oregon for top spot in our poll this week while Alabama actually led all teams with 4 first place votes…..and dropped a spot. Auburn makes its first appearance in the top 10 while Missouri clings to its top 10 life.

Pos. Team (1st Votes) LW
1 Oregon (3) 1
1 Florida State (3) 3
3 Alabama (4) 2
4 Ohio State 4
5 Baylor 6
6 Stanford 7
7 Miami 8
8 Auburn NR
9 Clemson 9
10 Missouri 5

Dropped out – Texas Tech

Others recieving votes – Oklahoma, Texas A&M

Only one matchup of top ten teams this coming week as ‘Da U travels to Tallahassee to take on the top ranked Seminoles.

Barring any major upsets, it shapes up for a great week of football in two weeks that will include 3 matchups that will go a long way to determine the national championship game participants (LSU/Alabama, Oregon/Stanford, Oklahoma/Baylor).

While the Buckeyes were spectacular on the field this past Saturday, but it was not enough to impress tBBC voters.

Stop back next week to see who climbs and who drops!

The Week That Were: 10.19.13

Written October 21st, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Happy Monday- if you’re not suspended from work for doing your job the way it’s supposed to be done, then you’ll probably enjoy today’s soundtrack.

Breakfast Of Champions

Who Needs Logic?

You’ve got two choices for this week’s narrative as you talk college sports around the old coffeemaker at the office this morning.

Option one: “Wow, 5 top 25 SEC teams were beaten on Saturday… four in upsets! Is that conference over-rated or what?”

Option two: “Wow, four SEC team upset top 25 teams this weekend!!! What an incredibly deep league… let’s just crown their champion now!”

I’ll let you guess which one will be the talking points of most people… This is, as you may know, the phenomenon of “circular logic“, and when you play games on the field but championships in the polls, it’s something will make a difference for some team.

But, as we said, the games were played on the field, and this week saw 6 of the top 11 upset and two other undefeated teams threatened. We started with a come from behind loss by Team Papa John against UCF on Friday Night. If you’re Louisville, playing anytime anywhere means both that you can build your program AND that you’ve got a national audience when you fall apart late in the game.

Previously, undefeated Miami needed a late score to hold off North Carolina. ACC, y’all.

Saturday’s surprises didn’t include UCLA getting its first loss at Stanford… only because many folks still feel that Stanford is one of the top two teams in the PAC12, and would serve as UCLA’s first test.  Their next text? Oregon.  Have fun, Bruin-bros.  The Stanford Game also brought us what may be the reception of the year… it’s certainly the best catch we saw all week: Read More