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.

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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: 11.23.13

Written November 25th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Happy Thanksgiving week! Here’s a little music to get you ready for Thursday… and another ditty to prep you for Saturday.

Yowzers

One Of Those Days

You know what’s interesting about college sports? Call it “the circle of life”, call it “karma” (j/k, don’t do that) call it “Brent Musberger’s Vegas Connections”, but the fact is that things just seem to work themselves out.

In spite of efforts to create story lines and “narrative”, teams win and teams lose and everyone gets to play in a bowl. Well, almost everyone.

It’s like I’ve been saying all season- “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Play well, win the game you’re in, and let the chips fall where they may.

Sure, it’s great that you’re averaging a metric bucketload of points every week, but when you don’t hit that target what will you do? Case in point: Texas A&M, Oregon, and Baylor combined for 41 points in their three losses. yesterday. That’s less than Oregon and Baylor were each averaging per game.

As the prophet said, “Everyone’s got a plan until they get hit in the mouth”.

The Ducks went down in spectacular fashion, giving Rich Rodriguez a home upset of a nationally ranked team that will surely a) earn him an extension and b) give Michi1gAAn fans eternal heartburn. Not only did Mariotti throw his first interception of the year in the game as a result of that great play you see above, but he then tossed his second on the way to a 42-16 loss in Tuscon. It’s not that the Ducks were without flash and sizzle… it’s just that they never found a rhythm and were unable to play Stanford football.

That Kind Of Night

One Of Those Nights

Baylor came into Stillwater not having won there in forever… and left the same way. The nation’s top offensive team was unable to deal with the different looks that TBPU gave them, and struggled to get their high octane offense going.

In addition, their vaunted defensive front didn’t create any consistent pressure or stop Oklahoma State’s bigger specialists from making play after play.  I guess the Lord helps those who help their Chelf.

Helmet sticker goes to the “turf monster”, though, who seemed to be the leading tackler for both teams.  He also made a big play by interfering with a Baylor snap late in the game to solidify the win for the up and coming Cowboy team.

As for Johnny Freaking Football, he and the Aggies continued their trend of underperforming against top competition. As our friend @FightOnTwist pointed out earlier in November, Manziel is an amazing quarterback, but his interceptions often lead to opposing teams’ scores; and other than the win in Tuscaloosa, he’s been pretty pedestrian versus teams that are nationally ranked.

Against LSU on Saturday, his one TD pass was coupled with only 1g completions and two interceptions as the Aggies fell again to LSU by a 34-10 score. I guess you could say he got beaten like a… well… yeah. Read More

Poll Position: Cowboy Up

Written November 20th, 2013 by Patrick

Help Your Chelf

If the pundits and voters would only listen to us, they’d understand that the B1G is due some respect.

With three teams in the latest tBBC Top Ten, the Legendary Leaders put one more than the ACC, PAC, B12, and SEC.

(Not that we’re biased or anything)

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

The biggest mover is the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who leap up to the eight spot right before they host Baylor on Saturday. Mike Gundy’s team worked Texas over on Saturday in preparation of facing the undefeated Bears.

Wisconsin also joins the Top 1o for the first time this season, tied with their two loss brothers who forgot to play Stanford Football again on Saturday.

Missouri and South Carolina also received votes this week.

Are we on the money or off base? In the comments, let us know what you think…

 

The Week That Were: 9.7.13

Written September 9th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Given the rain delay in the BYU /UT game this week and the deluge of rushing that befell the Longhorns after kickoff, there’s only one option for this week’s soundtrack.

See, this is why there should be no polls before the first weekend in October.

Hook’em

Once again, we see a number of teams that got votes due to their “name recognition” shown up early in the season, and others who are rising to the occasion still find themselves with a long way to go until November.

Cases in point: Texas, Notre Dame, Florida, and Southern Cal; all of whom lost on the same Saturday for the first time since September 11, 1976.

For the Longhorns, it’s been a slide into mediocrity for a while now. I’m not sure that people really understand the significance of the Mack Brown era… As the flagship school in of the top three recruiting hotbeds in the country, Brown’s teams have historically underwhelmed with the exception of two “lightening in a bottle” moments- Vince Young and Colt McCoy. Outside of their leadership behind center, the program has struggled; and it can be argued that some of this is due to poor coaching (see the Major Applewhite -vs- Chris Sims debacle) or poor recruiting (Texas recruited the last two Heisman winners as defensive backs, and didn’t reach out to Jamies Winston- this year’s new hotness).

While those things may be true, Mack seems to think that the issue is defense; as evidenced by the 550 yards rushing that they gave up to BYU on Saturday, the majority of which happened in the first three quarters. In response, Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz was fired on Sunday. Before you get excited, Austinites- his replacement is none other than Greg “GERG” Robinson, who’s amazing Michigan defenses gave up over 100 points in two games against Illinois.  I’m sure he’ll get the team motivated to return to the lofty status that UT should assume.

But you’ve also got to think that this is merely shuffling chairs on the Titanic- when your team plays so poorly that Shaggy Bevo’s servers go down as they did on Sunday, then you’ve got yourself a problem. Read More

Silver Bullet Points Was Told There’d Be Cake

Written July 10th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Hey! It’s Urban Meyer’s Birthday today… and Thad Matta’s tomorrow!  Those are national holidays, right? {Takes off pants at work} {Is escorted Leaves work for the day}. So, today’s soundtracks will… uh… help set the mood for a “special celebration

Much better, and more realistic

Buckeye 411

2013 March Madness Bracketology: Midwestern Region

Written March 18th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Over the next two days, your favorite miscreants here at tBBC will be taking a deeper look at the path that leads to Atlanta, because people from Ohio know all about getting to Atlanta.

Hopefully, this will help you as you fill out your brackets in this year’s Tournament Challenge- the game locks on Thursday, so sign up now!

Midwestern Road To Atlanta

Midwestern Road To Atlanta

Regional Favorite- I’m not really going out on a limb here by saying that Louisville is the team to beat in this region. They’re the overall #1 seed, they’ll be playing in front of home fans that choose to make the trip up I-65, and are firing on all cylinders at this point in the season, as is typical of Pitino teams. Their athleticism, full court press, and having a coach that’s been there before makes them huge favorites not only to come out of Indy, but to win the whole thing. In addition, I’m not sold on Duke or Michigan State being able to make deep runs this year, particularly after what we saw in the ACC/B1G tournaments.  St. Louis looks threatening, but I believe that this one is the Cardinals’ to lose.

Which they can do if they find themselves not mentally in the game. As unlikely as that is, Louisville has seen it’s share of moments where it seems to be taking it’s time figuring out what its game plan is. While the story of the Big East final was certainly the enormous run that they went on to blow the doors off of Syracuse, the fact that they found themselves in a hole to begin with can’t be overlooked. The problem, as I see it, is that they won’t face teams able to take advantage of that until they’re already in Indianapolis for the Sweet 16.

Cinderella- For the purposes of this exercise, we’re picking an eight seed or lower that will make a deep run in the tournament. In the Midwest, that’s got to be the Oregon Ducks. Read More

The Mess Beyond Miami

Written February 20th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

The offseason brings us another variation from the format of your midweek news and notes, as a couple of big stories have dominated the college sports landscape. That being said, it’s not like I’m going to deprive you of your Wednesday motivational tunes.

Might As Well Get Comfy

Lack Of Institutional Control

For those of you waiting for the other shoe to drop in the Hurricane Situation, you can breathe a bit now.  Kinda.

On Tuesday, the NCAA finally sent their Notice of Allegations to the Hurricanes, after a week  that saw the folks from Indianapolis as the well focused center of national ridicule. We’d be wondering what was taking so long in this process, given that the NCAA had been “involved” in the investigation for over two years- turns out that the time in question had been spent violating the NCAA’s own principals and going against the advice of their legal counsel in their conversations with Nevin Shapiro.

In addition to paying the attorney who was questioning Shapiro as a part of his financial issues, the folks at the NCAA also provided him with a “burner” cell phone to contact them and financial resources to his prison account. Again, not the best idea for an organization who prides themselves on holding people accountable because the “should have known” what to do and dings them for not doing it.

The fallout was immediate- NCAA folks terminated or “resigned”, and folks calling for NCAA president Mark Emmert’s head, which, given the recent friends that he’s made across the nation, completely seems within reason.

The news of the “injustice” done by the NCAA to the fine folks in Miami ended up finding many fans in an interesting place- turning to Da’ U as their white knight in the fight against the evils of Emmert’s staff. Tuesday’s official response by University President Donna Shalala continued to create the dissonance- she is right that the NCAA has overstepped themselves extensively, but seems to forget that the University’s representatives were involved things that led them to receiving what many say is the “lack of institutional control” label in their Notice. Read More

The Day That Were- B1G Style

Written January 2nd, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Slight variation in schedule… think of this as TWTW meets Wednesday’s regular SBP.  Here’s the tunes behind the guy behind the guy.

Pride?

2013 started almost the same way that every other year has started since I can remember… with a slate of B1G Ten games, highlighting how many people who live in the midwest want to flee to warmer climes for some semblance of a vacation.  I still haven’t figured out how the scheduling geniuses who have an entire slate of games and “bowl week” to work with decide to run four of them at semi-simultaneous time times, though.

You’ll note that I said “almost”… one of the major differences this year was the lack of Buckeye football; in case you hadn’t heard, they had a one year vacation from the post-season. What’s intriguing about that fact is that we seemingly had it shoved down our throats throughout the regular season by the good folks at the four letter network, and yet I can count on one hand the times I heard the words “Ohio State” or “Buckeyes” thus far in the bowl season.  Penn State, too, although you’d think that one of the things that would be covered would be how teams playing got their losses this year; the Rose Bowl’s discussion included the review of their overtime losses, but didn’t mention by name two of the teams that handed those to them.

I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised, though… you want the games to be celebrations of the teams that are playing, and it’d be a shame to see anything hamper the narrative of next Monday’s “Championship” game; reminding folks of another undefeated team might cast a pall on that sacred moment.  However, I don’t seem to remember Southern Cal being erased from the post season even when they were ineligible- their 10-2 record last year was certainly a topic of commentary.

Anywho… Ohio State hasn’t lost a game in over a year, and that can’t be taken away from them or their fans.

So let’s dive into the spectacle that was B1G Tuesday, taking a look at all of the outcomes and then reflecting on what this might “mean” for the conference and college football as a whole. Remember, the results you witnessed might have been different should the two outsider programs be in the mix this season… B1G fans, how are those “you’ve got no bowl game” taunts holding up for you these days?

Oh, and just so you’re forwarned, I’m not going to talk about the Orange Bowl… especially given the craptacular legacy of this “event”, and that fact that (almost) no one wanted it.

Northwestern/Mississippi State

What a great win for the Wildcats… their first since 1949, which resulted in SBN’s “Sippin’ On Purple” summarizing the festivities thusly: Read More