As great as our podcast opportunities have been, we here at the Buckeye Battlecry are to the point where we’re really REALLY ready to talk some football (instead of rumor an innuendo and so forth). So, we’ve been tossing around a couple of questions that we find interesting, and wanted to let you in on the conversation. If you’ve got questions you’d like our for our band of experts to pontificate on, feel free to leave them in the comments.
What will be “The” game for Ohio State this year? Why? Which games do the Buckeyes lose this season, if any?
Joe D: I think the real test to see what to expect this season will be right out of the gates in the first game of the season against the Michigan State Spartans. If the Buckeyes can play their style of football against a very tough, clock running offense like the Spartans, then it will prove well heading into the following week against Nebraska. If the Buckeyes cant answer with a solid running game, or not be able to answer back quickly with the big play, then it could be the start of a downspin with Nebraska, Illinois, and Wisconsin on the schedule after the Spartans. Like the Badgers, the Spartans play an offense that can off-set a young offense.
With that being said, I don’t see Wisconsin coming into Columbus and stealing a win like they were able to last year on the road. So many variables play into the second half of the season, but I see the Ohio State finishing the season in the top two of the leaders division. If they can pull out big wins over Wisconsin and Michigan State, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the championship game in a rematch of their regular season match up with Nebraska.
Final Record: 10-2 ( 6-2 Big Ten)
Fourth installment of our Q&A regarding the recent happenings in Columbus- today’s question was also put to our team before all of the events of this week, and should be viewed as such:
Question- Why do you think this story has gotten more media coverage and “energy” than the ones at Auburn, Oregon, or earlier scandals?
Jay- Because it’s “sexy.” This isn’t just recruiting violations. This is about tattoos (originally), and cars, and trophies. But more than any of that stuff, this is big because (sadly) it involves Tressel and his well-known reputation. Ohio State will always get attention when things happen, but Tressel has been such a figure for the school and college football. The story has shock value because of him.
Joe- Easy, We are the Ohio State University. We have a ton of alumni all over the country, it is something that everyone from the huge sports fan to the average Joe has an opinion on.
We are disliked by many because we have been successful for the past decade, and it seems that people like to bring down teams that are on top and preach the squeaky clean, “always do the right thing” way- think about if Tim Tebow or Duke basketball were to get in trouble; there’d be big time stories based on the persona that the two put out there.
Everyone feels like Auburn is dirty, but the articles if this were ever proven would probably read “it was just a matter of time”.
Robby- There’s a couple different circumstances that contributed to the more media coverage and energy devoted to this story. For one, ESPN is the Worldwide ‘Never stop talking about the same story over and over again’ Leader in Sports and that’s everyone’s source of sports news now a day. They fed the Ohio State scandal frenzy in the beginning, and kept it going on and on. That was a big factor, and the other centers around Ohio State being at the epicenter of that media scrutiny. Being in the Big Ten, the Midwest, and having a high profile name like THE Ohio State University, everyone wants to see the Buckeyes crumble. When it happened, everyone couldn’t get enough of it. The Cam Newton story at Auburn was pretty significant, but you never saw that story or the allegations at Oregon take off because of what ESPN can do to a story.
Part two of our week long attempt to reach catharsis. Today’s topic: After reading the Sports Illustrated article, what did you think? Is there a larger problem at Ohio State?
Jim- I thought that I had just read over two pages of fluff with about two paragraphs of actual new information that was worth digesting. With the families Storm Klein and John Simon apparently preparing to fight the allegations leveled against them in the article, it now seems that of those two paragraphs of actual news, only a part of it was (possibly) factual.
Who would have guessed that basing your entire article on hearsay from employees who worked for a drug trafficker would result in a less than accurate final product?
I think SI cashed in on the negative national reputation of Ohio State and the article will certainly add to the negative reputation and have people up in arms for Brutus’ head on a pike, facts and common sense be damned.
People hate Ohio State based on articles like the one SI wrote. People accept articles like the one SI wrote without thinking twice about it because they hate Ohio State. It is a vicious cycle, and I absolutely hate this saying, but… haters gonna hate.
For the more skeptical among us, I think it can be viewed as a fluff piece with little or no hard evidence to support any of its claims.
The truth, as always, is likely somewhere in the middle.
Eric- I’m going to preface this by saying that what follows is based off what we thought when the article came out. I’m going to neglect the comments that have come out recently from Larry James and the football players’ families.
To be honest, I haven’t read it the whole way through in one sitting. I’ve read bits and pieces, and collected whatever I missed from the chatter on the interwebs. There’s just a point where I can’t stand reading horrifically negative tripe – and that’s exactly what that article is. I was never able to read the USC scandal stuff all the way through either; it just makes me physically ill – both that someone would write it, and that people could do these things without a thought for what they signed up for.
After reading the article I had one very clear thought about the current situation, which has borne out strongly over the last several days.
There is not a larger problem at Ohio State.
If anything, I believed that this was a problem that simply escaped the notice of compliance and Jim Tressel. Six compliance staffers and the head coach are not a lot of people to keep track of the goings-on in a football program larger than 85 players strong (scholarship + walkons). That’s particularly true when the compliance guys are being forced to watch 30+ athletic programs. There’s only so much that they’re going to be able to pick up on. We’ve seen that very fact bear out in the Terrelle Pryor car saga. While it’s been demonstrated that nothing was done that violated NCAA rules, clearly Compliance did not know every single detail of what was going on.
That fact is already being remedied, as compliance is hiring 2 new positions. Granted 8 is not a lot better than 6, but it’s an improvement.
The reason I can be so certain that there is not a larger problem at Ohio State is simple. While Jim Tressel lied (and he did, there’s no question about that) his actions were his alone, and not perpetrated by anyone else. What was done with the tattoo parlor was a fairly isolated set of incidences, even if 28 former and current players were involved!
It is clear, even from the audit done in November of the compliance department, that compliance works very very hard to run a clean ship. While they weren’t tracking down every single lead, they still investigated the car situation and (correctly) gave it approval. That is nothing more than a sign that OSU is doing things right overall.
As for the raffle business, I’ll wait to see some hard evidence before I believe it. I cannot believe that Tressel has it in his character to do that. Hurting kids, even if it does gain him a recruiting advantage? Has Tressel ever hurt anyone in his life? Seriously?
We neither know the identity of the person who made that claim, nor do we have any proof that it was done. Until that time, I will take the information with a grain of salt.
Which brings up one last point – I find Dohrman’s choice of interview subjects to be fairly suspect. The best you can do is a guy in prison? Seriously? That sure makes me trust the integrity of what he says.
Robby- I thought it was poor journalism and left a lot of doors open without closing them. Way too many anonymous sources and allegations without concrete evidence. Way too much ‘he said, she said’ quoting and interviewing for a Sports Illustrated investigative piece.
But there definitely is a larger problem that could open up a massive Pandora’s box at Ohio State. Since The Ohio State University is all about football, that affects EVERYTHING in Columbus. If it hurts the football team, it hurts the school and everything around it. That makes it a larger problem for the University.
Last week, when the floor fell out from under Buckeye Nation your humble correspondents were left looking for answers just like the rest of you. Via email and text message and phone calls, we discussed the events of the day and speculated “where do we go from here?”
As the day progressed, we decided to give folks an insight into our thought processes as the week went on. Initially, this was supposed to be a podcast, but some of us decided that it may be better to go with the Q&A route (I’m guessing it’s was because a few of us were “coping” with some liquid assistance).
Every afternoon this week, we’ll be taking about one part of this story, and how it’s impacted us thus far. Today- How did you find out that Jim Tressel had resigned, and what was your immediate reaction?
Jim- I received a text message from a friend Monday morning that said: “Who should we hire?” My response was: “Tressel fired?”
My immediate reaction was relief that Tressel had been allowed to “resign” and go out somewhat on his own terms. My next reaction, and a more direct response to my friend’s question, was: “Fickell, Hazell, or Meyer,”, but that is a topic for another post.
Overall, I was not surprised that Tressel had resigned. I was hopeful that it was the beginning of the next chapter in Ohio State football, the first step towards putting all of the off-field turmoil in the rearview mirror.
Sadness about the way in which Tressel went down came shortly after, which is the emotion that I think will stick with me long term. As more and more distance is put between Buckeye Nation and the last several months, I think the appreciation for Tressel will grow to legendary status, or at least that is my hope.
Robbie Donoho- I actually found out by my sister texting me and waking me up at 9AM (yes I sleep in) and didn’t find out through ESPN or other news outlets on the Internet.
My immediate reaction wasn’t shock or awe but more so a ‘Well what happened now?’ seeing as how I hadn’t heard anything about any new Tressel allegations. I was definitely severely disappointed by his resignation.
Eric- I found out on Monday morning when I crawled out of bed on a (supposedly) glorious day off work to check my email. So much for that.
My immediate reaction was confused and two-fold. I distinctly remember the thought “finally” roll through my head, while I simultaneously felt my heart sink into the pit of my stomach. I rationally understood the decision (whether he left willing, or was forced out, was still an open question at that time – either seemed reasonable) given the hounding the media had given him. That didn’t make me feel any less like we had lost one of the best men in the history of college football. Tressel touched all of us in profoundly significant ways – whether you met him in person or not. This absolutely shouldn’t have been the way for him to go out.
While I agree that Woody was an extraordinarily honest person and would never have done what Tressel did, but in the same breath, Tressel never would have done what Woody did either. This doesn’t change the fact that they both were men of fantastic character and deeply impacted the lives of those they coached and taught.
After a couple of hours of laying the blame on the media’s doorstep (which I haven’t stopped doing, by the way – this was a witchhunt, plain and simple) I managed to collect myself enough to focus on supporting Fickell and the players.