Beat The Heat With Silver Bullet Points

Written July 17th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye

Now that the rain has subsided, maybe the Buckeye State can enjoy the summer sunshine and higher temperatures… or as we call it in Los Angeles, “Wednesday”. Today’s soundtrack hearkens back to the halcyon days of the 80′s, before I had to actually pay for air conditioning. Back then, I thought that a Power Station meant something completely different…

ice-bullet-1

Refreshing

Buckeye 411

  • Watching The Watched, Men- Following up from last week, we’ve got a few more Buckeyes on “watch lists” this week. Two thirds of the secondary is on the Thorpe Award list- Roby, Barnett, Bryant; while Corey Brown and Devin Smith were named to the counterpart Biletnikoff list. Ryan Shazier doubled dipped this week, being targeted for the Butkis and Lombardi lists; he joins Andrew Norwell on the latter.
  • Thoughts And Prayers- Go out to the family of Buckeye legend Jim Jackson, who lost his father this weekend.
  • “I ain’t drunk… I’m just drinkin’” I’m pretty sure that Marcus Baugh is not familiar with the work of Albert Collins; just as I’m sure that Mr. Baugh is going to be intimately familiar with the work of strength coach Mickey Mariotti following the news from this past weekend. If you hadn’t heard, Marcus was arrested for underaged consumption and use of another person’s identification- it sounds like a double dose of trouble, to be honest. If you believe message boards and whatnot, Baugh was brought back to his dorm when initially confronted by police; he chose to return to the party and use another student’s ID when confronted a second time. We’ll continue to monitor this as it develops.
  • Urban’s Fault? With everyone jumping on the bandwagon to blame Coach Meyer for global warming housing bubble crash assassination of Archduke Firdinand the Aaron Hernandez situation, it was interesting to read an account of the Meyer legacy from someone who was actually there. You know, in stead of someone who’s digging for pageviews and interviewing disgruntled former players.
  • Your Killing Me, Small(s)- MotSaG with the latest in this trainwreck.
  • The Game, Junior- Since Pennsylvania backed out of their annual High School All Star game against Ohio’s best (I guess they couldn’t handle the annual loss, in spite of the shady officiating), That State Up North has stepped up the the challenge. As the OZone’s Tony Gerdeman notes, this event will see the best from Michigan and the best from Ohio play for bragging rights, beginning next year. Several of our twitter friends pointed out that this matchup will feature TTUN and OSU players against MAC Conference players- unless, that is, Ohio’s roster gives players to Michigan to make the game interesting. You know, just like in November.
  • Buckeyes Grow On Money Trees- Kyle Rowland from 11Warriors with a great article Tuesday morning about the spending habits in college athletics.  Guess what? The teams that spend more are more successful.
  • Lineup- From Sammy Silverman, the front wall of the B1G’s best offense: Read More

The Week That Were: 11.17.12

Written November 19th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

We’re going to do things just a little bit differently this week, given all of the amazing news and events that happened this past weekend. So, this will be part Silver Bullet Points, part Monday Morning Commentary, and the usual chunk of random observations from Saturday’s events in the world of college football.  Here’s something to listen to while you’re fighting the urge to tl;dr- we’ve certainly got a lot to be Thankful for.

Prepping for Kiffy?

In this year’s edition of the Battle For Los Angeles, the upstart UCLA Bruins jumped out to a quick lead and held on to “upset” the Trojans by ten points on a gray day in Pasadena.  While the Bruins obviously have been playing much better football this year, you’ve also got to wonder if the trajectories of the programs have now crossed, particularly given some of the issues that continue to swirl at Southern Cal.

As the team that was picked by many to contend for the national title, the frustration for many SC fans has been swirling since the loss to what we now know is a pretty good Stanford team. That game highlighted the Trojans’ issues with depth; injuries since then have continued to create problems and have certainly didn’t help in their back to back losses to Arizona and Oregon. The defeat by the Ducks made things even more problematic, since SC’s defense was a point of strength for them under current coordinator Monte Kiffin; their being gashed turned up the heat on the current coaching administration. And now, to lose to “little brother” has many wondering if it’s not time to make a change.

Coach Kiffin’s actions certainly haven’t helped this season- cutting media opportunities short, banning reporters outright… it certainly makes sense that he’d not want to leave the Rose Bowl via the obvious entrance on Saturday night.  Other controversy swirls around Lane as well; while possibly not related, it’s definitely not helping matters at all.  You may remember “inflation-gate” and the termination of a student manager following the revelation that game balls for kickers were under-inflated against Oregon. For those not infatuated with special teams- a “flatter” pigskin has a much larger “sweet spot”; as a great Buckeye Planet poster pointed out, the Trojan’s kicking game has not been anywhere near as efficient ever since they were penalized for this “mistake”.

In addition, earlier this week Tennessee was dinged for recruiting issues that occurred under Kiffin’s one year tenure in Knoxville- issues that involved Chip Kelly’s favorite videographer, Willie Lyles.  Given the length of the investigation into Oregon’s program and this new decision at UT involving Lyles, you’ve got to think that there’s more than a few million good reasons for Kelly to take the Pete Carroll route and jump to the NFL ASAP.

What does this mean for Kiffin? At this time, it’s difficult to say, but losing Matt Barkley for the matchup against Notre Dame this weekend, combined with the continuing scholarship losses for the next couple of years would certainly be reason to wonder how warm his office chair will be getting this winter.

Sentient?

Interestingly enough, the other two programs involved in “affair du Lyles” also had difficult weekends. Derek Dooley’s Volunteers lost to cross-state foe Vanderbilt, and it wasn’t even close. The win ensures that UT will have a losing season for the third time in as many years, and was only the second victory for the Commodores in 35 years.  Following the game, the inevitable happened… Dooley was fired, effective immediately.  If you’re an Ohio State fan, you’ve got to wonder if this might have an impact on current recruits looking at both programs… Vonn Bell is the name that pops up, but there may be others in the 2014 class. This year’s season ending clash between the Vols and ‘Kats will feature both coaches in either interim or lame duck status… it’s going to be a fun coaching carousel for the SEC this season.

Lyle’s third “partner” in all of this felt the sting of their first loss on Saturday, at home, to a Stanford team that should be in the conversation about the top programs in the nation.  Remember, they’re a botched call from extending overtime in South Bend and possibly ending the Irish Nightmare that we are currently facing.  I was most impressed with The Cardinal’s defense on Saturday- disciplined, aggressive, and never seemed to give up the big play to an offense that most often looks like throwing kerosene on a bonfire… one blink, and it’s over. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Ahem.

Does Nike gear wick away tears?

The loss can easily be attributed to a lot of things- Oregon being too confident, and this being the Duck’s annual brain fart game; Questionable officiating, A “trap” game, with the resurgent Beavers looming Thanksgiving week… But all of these would not do a service to the great work that the coaches at Stanford, starting with Jim Harbaugh, have done in building a program that can certainly play with anyone in the country. It’s also why I think that Alabama, if given the usual bowl prep to face Oregon, would beat them- I believe that the Tide’s defense is more athletic and much more disruptive than Stanford’s… and the template we’ve seen in the Ducks’ losses over the past four years is now pretty well known. You just need to have the horses to pull it off; Stanford did on Saturday, and now control their PAC12 destiny. They’ll need to beat UCLA twice in two weeks to do so, but doing so may have the Oregon Ducks on the outside of the BCS championship game AND the automatic Rose Bowl berth… along with USC.  It’s been that kind of year.

Oh, and on Saturday Northwestern, Stanford, and Vanderbilt all won.  Nerds, y’all.

Commentary: Polls and Playoffs Read More

Silver Bullet Points Hears The Whispers

Written May 16th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

All The Better To Hear You With

Buckeye 411

  • Shower Ends Sweat- This “Duh!” headline actually points to an interesting story Tuesday about why former Buckeye Andrew Sweat chose to end his bid at a professional career. According to the Dispatch, Sweat slipped in the shower the morning that mini-camp was to start and experienced concussive-like symptoms similar to what he wrestled with during his time in Columbus. After they lingered longer than he’d expected, he sat down and talked with his family; I’m sure the recent news about health issues in the NFL had to be at the back of his mind (OK, maybe not the best choice of phrase there). Given that he’s also been accepted to several law programs, it does make sense to look at the bigger picture- heck, even Michigan fans think so. Godspeed and best wishes, Mr. Sweat!
  • Hall Of Fame? More Like Hall O’ Lame, AmIRite?-  The College Football Hall of Fame announced their incoming class, and somehow Orlando Pace was not amongst the nominees in spite of the fact that he was a potential candidate. Seriously- the best offensive tackle in the history of Ohio State sports, a two time Lombardi trophy winner and one of two people to win either the Lombardi/Outland three times.  Pace was also a Heisman (!) finalist, and should have been a cake walk into the CHoF.  Doubt me? Watch this video…  Pace wasn’t the only snubbed choice, as Nebraska’s Tommie Frazier also missed the cut. You remember Frazier; three time National Championship Game MVP, Heisman runner up to Eddie George, and dude I met last fall. Video evidence hereabouts.  You know who did get in? Ty Detmer, the guy who brought us such memorable moments as this.
  • Rocketman-  JD Weatherspoon announced today what we’d expected for a while- he’s transferring to Toledo to finish his college career. Best of luck, ‘Spoon!
  • Justice, Of Sorts- The man who shot former Buckeye recruit Jamel Turner was found guilty on all charges today. The shooting took the life of another Youngstown native.
  • Your Weekly Dose Of Swoon- Double shot this week: Craft the pitcher and meeting the governor.
  • A Hairy Situation- Nick Mangold getting his chest waxed? Nick Mangold getting his chest waxed.
  • Meet The New Boss- Tuesday was the Urban Meyer Town Hall for students at OSU; it was pretty much what you’d expect (huge thanks to @KristinPantoni), except for this bit of brilliance: Read More

More Know Your Neighbor: Nebraska

Written June 14th, 2010 by MaliBuckeye

With the exciting news that the Big T1e1n has extended an offer to the University of Nebraska, I thought it would make sense to use my “connections” to give Buckeye fans a little bit of insight from the other side of this announcement.

Not a mugshot

With that, here’s the second installation of “Ask A Husker” (be sure to check out the first). Last time, we got the fan perspective, hearing from a UNL alum. Today, we kick it up a notch, and chat with former Cornhusker Aaron Terpening. A graduate of North Salem high school in Salem Oregon, Terp lettered with the Huskers for four years, and was three time Big 12 academic all conference. His role on special teams and as a Rover (free safety) for Nebraska was an important part of their team from 1999-2002; he played for Frank Solich and just missed the first Pelini era. He also graduate from UNL with a Masters in Architecture, and currently works as an architect in his home town of Salem Oregon.

Here we go:

Welcome to the Big T1e1n! Do you get the sense that Nebraska is a good “fit” for the conference? What are your feelings about this move? What are your former teammates saying about the move?

Thanks for the warm welcome.  From what I’ve heard and read, the Big Ten Fans have been very gracious and welcoming.  That makes a big difference.  Joining another conference could be intimidating and awkward, but I think the Big Ten is going to make this transition feel natural.  I heard Delany wore a “N” lapel pin on recent visit.  That is a small thing that makes a big impact.

I’m excited and a little sad.  It’s hard to think that over a hundred of years of consistent opposition is going by the wayside.  But, I think it’s important to remember that before the Big 12 it was the Big 8 and before that the Big 6.  The Big 6 had teams like Drake and Grinnell.  So, conferences and opponents change over time.  To move to another conference is nothing new.  When the Big 12 formed and the yearly match with Oklahoma was thrown out, to me, that diminished the importance of continued rivalries for us.

If you read/listen to folks from Austin, Nebraska is the reason that the Big 12 is dissolving, At the press conferences. Dr. Osborne and others were pretty frustrated by this line of thought. As a former player, was there anything that surprised you in the way that it happened?

Look! A coach from Ohio!

I know from my experience with Tom Osborne and Frank Solich for that matter, emotion was never a huge part of the equation.  There was a time and a place for it, for sure.  And that time was about ten minutes before kick-off.  Otherwise, decisions on Nebraska’s part under TO’s leadership have always been consistent, thought through, and fair.  Nebraska as an institution would never act in a disingenuous manner toward the other institutions within the Big 12.  I don’t mind the idea that we were “at fault’ for the crumbling of the Big 12.  Who cares?

The fact is, the conference was a mess and there are/were a couple schools willing to do something about it.  I sincerely think Nebraska tried to make it work, but they were apparently unable to get any concessions by other members.  From the day the conference was formed and they made the headquarters Irving, Texas and moved it from Kansas City, things have been tilted south.  I am a bit surprised that the Big 12 didn’t do more to keep itself together.  I don’t know who’s fault that is.

Are there specific ways that you see this transition helping the Huskers? Recruiting, television, other sports?

Recruiting is something I am a bit concerned about.  I have no idea how that will go.  Not playing teams from Texas, Kansas, Missouri(maybe), and Oklahoma every year may make it more difficult to pull players from those states.  I just don’t know how that will go.

Basketball may be one sport that Nebraska could really see improvement in due to the realignment.  Husker fans have been waiting patiently for years expecting that the basketball program would follow the football programs success somehow.  Maybe this move will finally make that a possibility.

The academic part of it seems to be a great opportunity for the University of Nebraska.   I don’t know much about it, but the CIC (assuming Nebraska gets to be part of it) will be a good affiliation for the schools. This together with the athletic and monetary parts of the deal will be Tom Osborne’s legacy.  This may be bigger than his championships.  However, this might not have happened except for the trophies.

What are going to be the challenges for Nebraska in this new conference?

300+ consecutive sold out games

Nebraska will have to get used to larger crowds and different styles of coaching.  The Big 10 at the moment has some very conservative styles of football.  I think this is why Nebraska is a good fit.  But, it’ll be a challenge because their opponents may be strong in some of the same areas Nebraska is strong. When i say ‘conservative’, I mean good defense, a strong work ethic, sportsmanship, and respect for opponents.  These are all things Nebraska has excelled at and the Big 10 is known for.

You were a part of Nebraska’s historic “walk on” program- What was that like for you? How did you choose to go that route rather than accepting a full scholarship at another institution?

Being a walk-on was a dream-come-true for me.  My family were always huge Nebraska fans.  Growing up watching players like Calvin Jones and Baron Miles inspired me.  They played so hard every play, they were strong and relentless.  I wanted to be a part of that.  I modeled how I played after that.  So, to get the opportunity to make it happen was an amazing feeling.  I enjoyed it from the day I got there.  I loved practice, I loved the conditioning, I loved the humid summers and freezing windy winters.  It was all part of Nebraska football.  I miss feeling like I was going to die from lack of oxygen in 98 degrees with 98 percent humidity at five o’clock on a summer night with the other defensive backs hunched over together.  That was why I went there, to be somewhere that valued that work ethic.

Read More

Know Your Neighbor- Nebraska Edition

Written June 11th, 2010 by MaliBuckeye

With the exciting news that the Big T1e1n has extended an offer to the University of Nebraska, I thought it would make sense to use my “connections” to give Buckeye fans a little bit of insight from the other side of this announcement.

So, in the spirit of great internet memes, here’s the first installation of “Ask A Husker“. Today’s guest is my brother in law, a 2000 graduate from Nebraska, and the grandson of  team doctor during the Devaney and Osborne years (who is also member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame). My bro-in-law is also the one that got me interested in recruiting, keeping me informed during the head to head battle for the services of Mike D’Andrea.

Here we go:

What are you excited about for this season? Even if Nebraska stays in the Big 12, what things are the Husker faithful looking forward to in 2010?

Certainly as a collective fan base we are looking forward to proving that we are back, and putting a beat down on Texas when they come to Lincoln on October 16th. Don’t look for the refs to add an extra second back on the clock. Uh, uh, not in our house.

Blackshirt tradition

Since our string of bad seasons in the post Option Football era, I am always looking to see some sort of progress being made. We went from being one of the worst statistical defenses in the nation in 2007 to the nation’s leader in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense in 2009. A true Blackshirt defense is back and we are excited about that.  This year will be interesting to see what we can do wit out the big fella in the middle (Suh). But with preseason all American Jared Crick manning the trenches and a potential stellar defensive backfield led by Prince Amukamara, Alfonzo Dennard and Eric Hagg, we are looking for them to pick up right where they left off last season.  Living up to Pelini’s prediction that they will be better than last year may be a tall order, but Husker Nation is pumped about the potential we see in them.

Conversely, what makes you the most nervous? Are there areas that are still question marks?

Our Offense is still a mystery. It was all but nonexistent at times last year, especially during Big 12 play. Whether that was lack of experience, injuries, or playing to our defensive strength by keeping the opposing teams offense off the field, who knows? Our offensive coordinator has shown a consistency for putting decent squads together wherever he’s been, so I’m guessing it was a one-year fluke.

The biggest issue is who’s going to be our leader at quarterback?  Senior and returning starter Zack Lee will be coming off injury, after missing spring practice with shoulder surgery. Athletic and exciting youngsters in Cody Green and Taylor Martinez are chomping at the bit for a chance to take the reins, but will their lack of experience cause more headaches much like our 8 turnover performance loss at the hands of lowly Iowa State do us in again?

With improved depth and health at quarterback and along the offensive line, and the backfield returning Senior Roy Helu and super Sophmore Rex Burkhead, we are looking for a dramatically improved offense. We lost 3 out of 4 games by two points or less in 2009. Should Nebraska find an offensive game plan and another consistent Blackshirts squad show up, it should be enough to launch us into the conference title game. Either way, we are expecting big things and to be playing in a BCS game in January.

Welcome to the Big T1e1n! Do you get the sense that Nebraska is a good “fit” for the conference? What are your feelings about this move? Anything surprise you in the way that it happened?

Coming soon to a stadium near you

Still so weird to think how all this has happened. Big 10…strange. Never would have thought it in a million years.

Looking at the potential divisional opponents in this new conference, I like our “fit”. A lot of bordering type of states, all within 9 hours drive of Lincoln. Not close, but certainly a reasonable weekend traveling distance wise.

That being said, the biggest thing that irks me about the move is potential disruptions that traveling to play eastern division schools, specifically Penn St. and other new potential expansion teams from the East Coast.

I also am sad for the loss of the long standing tradition of playing schools from the old Big Eight. Our tradition with Kansas is one of the oldest in the nation. Beginning in 1892 and has been played 116 times, consecutively since 1906! What a sad day this will be when it comes to an end.

It’s still too early to say I’m excited about playing in the Big 10, too many years of following my conference. No offense to the Big 10, it is a great conference and we will be happy to be here once everyone is settled in and conference play begins. But with the end of an era and the destruction of so much tradition, this whole thing is really quite sad.

Are there specific ways that you see this transition helping the Huskers? Recruiting, television, other sports?

The biggest impact that moving to the Big10 will have on Nebraska will not be in the athletic department, but on the academic front. The credibility of belonging to the Big10 conference and their outstanding institutions is far and away more prestigious than the Big 12. This should undoubtedly help the University of Nebraska in focusing on becoming a better university, not just an extra $10 million a season in television revenue.  I was reading what a difference it made for Penn State in research dollars once they joined the conference. Puts the measly TV contract to shame. I suspect this was a bigger selling point to our University Regents and Administration than we are lead to believe.

What are going to be the challenges for Nebraska in this new conference?

First off, this is an excellent football conference that has taken a bad rap the last few years. We will need to adjust our defense to a different style of play from the spread-heavy offenses of the Big 12.

My concern is on the recruiting front. Being able to maintain a presence in Texas and California. Without our ties to Texas and the promise of playing close by to some of these kids, it may be more difficult to get them to seriously consider signing with us.

Then again, Texas hasn’t always been where Nebraska goes after talent. The Osborne years were highlighted by players hailing from all over the country. Times they are a changin’…we’ll adapt to our surroundings and in this case do what we do best regardless of where the talent comes from, and that’s win.

The Big Ten was often called “The Big Two and little eight”; when Penn State joined, it became “The Big Three and little eight”. Historically, there’s been a lot of consistency at the top of the conference standings, with a surprise program rising up every now and again (Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin). Where do you see Nebraska fitting in? Do they come in as one of the top programs from day one, or will it be something that may take some time?

Depending on the alignment of the new Big10, Nebraska will most likely be sitting in a favorable side of the conference, competition wise. Much like they have been in the Big 12 North, I see the potential for Nebraska being one of the teams to beat.

Having fallen on hard times during the Callahan era, we are now gaining momentum and may be on the verge of successful run.  Mind you, all this is football talk…I haven’t even begun to think about the implications or the match-ups within other sports.

Indiana wishes their stadium was this red

When the Big 8 transmogrified into the Big 12, the Huskers lost their great rivalry with Oklahoma. Now that you’re moving into a new configuration, the Thanksgiving game with Colorado goes to the wayside. Who do you see as the new “rival” for Nebraska?

I for one will not miss the “rivalry” with Colorado, who has one of the worst fan bases in the country (ed. Wait ’till you go to Happy Valley). But we’ll miss the end of the tradition and long standing partnership with the likes of Kansans and the Oklahomans. That’s what I’m most bummed about, but at the same time we are looking forward to playing Iowa every year. Iowa State never really counted as a rivalry, yet there’s always been this tension between the two states. I predict this will be the biggest of our new rivals, and hopefully will replace Colorado on the day after Thanksgiving game. (ed- I’ve heard that this game may be referred to as “Farmageddon”.)

There are rumblings that this may not be the end of expansion, that the Big Whatever We’re Calling It Now may add a couple more teams to expand their footprint to the east coast. Are there any programs you’d like to see invited to join the party?

All I know is, this whole massive conference realignments that are happening is unfortunate. In the day and age where we need to be more concerned with our carbon footprint (ed. Did I mention he lives in Oregon?), shouldn’t we be curtailing unnecessary travel. By adding teams west and East and broadening the scope of the conference on the map, we are making matters worse. The impact they ultimately have on other sports and the affect they have on the student athletes juggling between school and sports midweek between parts of the country can be harmful and downright shameful thing that occurs.

As far as teams: Who doesn’t want Notre Dame to finally be forced to join the Big 10? It’s about time it happens!!

Other than that, as long as Nebraska is not in the same conference as Texas, I’m good. They think they can have their cake and eat it too. They have now ruined the Big 12, after ruining the Big 8 and the SWC and are to blame for this fallout. If all the conferences start realigning and College Football is forever changed, don’t blame Nebraska for being the catalyst, blame Texas for causing us to leave.

In responding to the rumors that Texas may try and back in to the Big 10 after all: Not too thrilled, but if it happens they must relinquish control. You guys have been around long enough and Delany has enough of a spine to stand up to their demands. And that would mean their hopes for a Texas TV network would have to die as well. Too many factors are in play that I don’t see this happening, but if it does at least it keeps the doors open to the fertile Texas recruiting grounds. And without a doubt they would bring a great academic reputation, a huge endowment and one of the biggest and most successful athletic departments in the country to the Big 10. Plus this may finally get Notre Lame on board.

Important question: Thoughts on Mich1gAAn?

Not a fan. I’ve come to pledge allegiance to The Ohio State University having a brother in law as a die hard Buckeye…so now that we both get to play them at least I’ll know what it’s like to truly despise Michigan. Unfortunately the realignment ultimately may end my relationship with a best bud who’s a Wolverine through and through. Oh well.

Coming home

What do you think it will be like for Bo and Carl Pelini to stand on the visitors sidelines of the Horseshoe, especially since Bo was a team captain for the Buckeyes?

The Pelinis seem to be locked and loaded on game day and as serious as it gets on the sidelines. I don’t think it will affect them outwardly, but who wouldn’t stop and stand in awe in that moment you come back to your Alma Mater and lifelong favorite school.

Final question- What suggestions do you have to keep the peace in our family when the Huskers and Buckeyes finally play?  Am I gonna’ be allowed to go to grandma’s house for Christmas, or am I now officially banned? Is there still any chance I’d get to use the family tickets when Ohio State comes to Lincoln?

Ha! I wouldn’t worry about the family issue.  Being on opposite sides of the conference, we won’t play each other every year in football. This is what doomed our rivalry with Oklahoma to the point of having this almost healthy respect for each other. I have come to root for the Sooners as it was better for our conference if we were both doing well.  I see this as inevitably my take on Ohio State. A rivalry sure, in some form or fashion, but a respect that says ‘hey, we’re the Big Whatever Conference, don’t mess with us!’ Plus we both wear ‘Scarlet‘/Red, so that’s cool.

I look forward to years of healthy family rivalry, but good luck on getting Grandma’s Husker tickets!

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