Archive for the ‘Buckeyes’ Category

On Civility, The Internet, Et Cetera

Monday, March 24th, 2014

NOTE – Apologies if we’ve written this post before. It sure feels like we have.

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

Everyone on the internet, all the time.

Every time Ohio State loses or plays badly, there are a few people who feel the need to make asses of themselves on Twitter or Facebook or CompuServe or MySpace or whatever the kids are using nowadays. They say terrible things to current players, coaches, media folks, and pretty much anyone who will listen expressing their unhappiness with the current situation. Assuming they’re posting from these United States, that’s their right and they won’t get jailed for it*. Is this what we would consider “good behavior”? Absolutely not. Do we spend much time correcting such behavior? Absolutely not. Do we spend ANY time correcting such behavior? Probably not.

* – Exceptions apply. Consult a lawyer if you’re not sure.

Our stance – by which we mean the editorial policy of The Buckeye Ninja and buckeyeninja.com is as follows:

  1. Each individual is responsible for his or her own decision-making and behavior.
  2. The great majority of people are assholes, ourselves included.
  3. In any group of people, there are going to be people who don’t strive to control or contain their innate qualities that make them assholes.
  4. Because of (1), anyone who fits the description in (3) is responsible for his or her own dickish behavior.
  5. Because of (4) and (1) one can’t make reasonable judgments about a group of people based on the actions of a few individuals.
  6. If people decide to behave like assholes, that is their right and any consequences that happen as a result of their behavior should fall on them alone, even they’re in groups we cohabit. In other words, having a few assholes in your fan base does not mean the entire fan base is made up of assholes.
  7. Because of (6) and (1), we feel no need or responsibility to correct the behavior of a tiny minority of people because their asshole qualities do not reflect upon us. Also…
  8. Because of (2) and (3) even if we try and succeed to change one person’s or ten people’s behavior, there will always be more assholes whose behavior we have now committed ourselves to trying to change.
  9. We have kids, man. We don’t have time for (8).

 

Anecdote: A few years ago Reds pitcher Mat Latos was having a little bit of a rough game and we saw several people bemoaning that some dick Reds fans were saying rude things to Latos’ wife on Twitter. Our first instinct was to mention her and say something like “Don’t worry, we’re not all assholes like that” since they were new to the Reds and all but first we decided to check her mentions.

Literally 99.99% of her mentions were people saying “Don’t worry, we’re not all assholes like that” or berating the two people who had made snarky remarks about Latos messing up their fantasy teams. Seriously, there were two “bad apples” (and what they had said to her wasn’t even really all that bad, considering – no vulgarity or anything) and several hundred people collectively losing their shit as a result.

So we didn’t say anything, because what really needed to be said?

It happens all the time, especially on Twitter. Everyone feels the need to correct other people’s behavior because they think for some reason it reflects on them.

“Aha!” you say. “You’re trying to correct the behavior of the people who are trying to correct other people’s behavior!”

First off, who says a-ha anymore unless they’re referring to “Take On Me“? Second, in a way you’re correct except that our goal isn’t to correct any behavior. We’re just pointing out that correcting behavior is a futile journey that will only end in disappointment and misanthropy.

Take a look at Best Fans St. Louis. Do you think we would suddenly say “Cardinals fans are really great people!” if their collective behavior matched the mythology? Hell no we wouldn’t. They cheer for the enemy so they’re the enemy, no matter if they’re all gooey nice or not (and of course based on our editorial policy we have already established that they aren’t – not all of them anyway.)

We promise the following: we will always talk about TTUN fans being terrible, terrible people. Because if they weren’t, why would they root for TTUN? But we also won’t dwell on the dickish words and behaviors of people who root for our teams. Keep your aim downrange, kids.

We advise you to remember that no one made you the civility police; you don’t have a badge, and you don’t have a gun. Just relax. Or don’t. Whatever, it’s your life.

The end.

BBN Livechat – Tournament Basketball

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Join us while the basketball Buckeyes play tournament basketball. And hopefully win a lot of games.

(more…)

Housekeeping

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

housekeepingYes, yes. We haven’t really posted much. To be fair, 2014 has been a pretty awful year to be a Buckeye fan. There was the Orange bowl debacle, the almost blowout, almost comeback heartbreaker loss to Sparty in basketball. There was the whole month of January really for basketball. Then there was last night’s embarrassing loss to TTUN in basketball for the first time in Columbus since 2003. That was awful but the pain was lessened for us because, you know, it’s basketball.

On the bright side, the Spring Game isn’t that far away, and we always look forward to seeing performances that have hardly any bearing on the upcoming football season.

Seriously, has Mike Thomas testified against the mob yet or is he still in witness protection?

There’s recruiting news and apparently Urban the First and his staff pulled in a pretty nice haul. Like the Spring Game though, it’s tough for us to get too invested in recruiting news because so much of it is guesswork. It makes the NFL Draft look like real science – the same NFL Draft where more than half of all first round picks become busts.

Oh yeah, the NFL Draft is coming up. We believe we can speak for all Bengals fans when we say “eh, whatever.” Fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.

There’s baseball, where pitchers and catchers have begun reporting for Spring Training. Of course, we’re Reds fans which means we have the Skip Schumaker signing to get excited about. And…nope that’s about it.

So please to forgive for not posting much lately. Once March Madness kicks in we’ll be running another contest that hopefully we do a little better in than Bowl Mania. And hopefully we’ll be rolling out a bit of new content once a week or so until the bread and butter of our site starts again in August.

In the meantime, you can follow us on the Twitters. GOGOGO!

Recruiting Biz

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

I am not a recruiting expert.  I am barely a recruiting novice.  There are many writers out there who are more competent.  But for our reader I just wanted to provide a little update for this week’s activity.

Ohio State landed two big recruits this week from the 2014 class.  Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, FL, espn #39 overall, and #4 receiver) chose the Buckeyes over Alabama and Miami.  Miami would have been a likely choice, as his hometown team.  It’s tough to turn down an Alabama offer too.  It makes me especially happy that he picked the Buckeyes since Alabama already has a receiving commitment from Cincinnati’s Derek Kief (LaSalle HS, espn #204 overall).  Apparently he liked the prospect of playing in Urban Meyer’s offense.

The commitment of Dixon came a day after Ohio State received news that Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, GA, espn #12 overall, and #1 linebacker) picked the Buckeyes over Alabama, Auburn, and Clemson.  Urban Meyer has had quite a bit of success recruiting in the South, of course he knows the area well.  McMillan is the fourth linebacker to pick Ohio State from the top 50 linebackers in the 2014 class.  The other three are from Ohio.

According to espn, this week’s activity bumped our recruiting class up three places to number eight, overtaking Auburn, Texas, and TTUN.  Scout.com has our rectruiting class at #7, Rivals.com has us listed at #3, and 247sports.com moved us up to #2.  There are still quite a few big names for whom Ohio State is in the hunt.  With only 19 recruits so far, we also have some more room in the class than some of the teams above us – not that certain southern teams care about oversigning.  Most of the remaining names on our wish list are from outside of Ohio, but there are a couple of players from Cleveland Glenville that we might still sign.

I will do my best (which is very little) to keep you apprised of the situation.

Retro Champions/Carroll Widdoes Was Robbed

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

There once was a Buckeye football coach named Carroll Widdoes.  He was born in 1903 in, like Manny Pacquiao, Corazon Aquino, Efren Reyes, and Tim Tebow, the Philippines.  He went to Otterbein College, then he became an assistant coach to a young man named Paul Brown at Massillon Washington High School and later at The Ohio State University.  When Brown joined the Navy in 1944, Widdoes became the Buckeyes’ head coach.  His team went undefeated in his first year (9-0), and went 7-2 in his second year.  Then he left and eventually became the coach and athletic director at Ohio University (which will confuse Brady Hoke to no end).

Here’s the thing.  Widdoes’ 1944 Buckeye team went undefeated.  They beat three teams in the top 20, two in the top 6.  They had on their team the pride of Parma Senior High School, Les Horvath, the Heisman Trophy winner that year.  They had some of the same players who won the 1942 national championship, including Les Horvath.  They also were playing at the same time as Army’s dominant team (which included future Heisman winners Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis), with whom they were retroactively given a share of the title.  But Ohio State doesn’t officially claim it.

Well I think we should.  Maybe it’s the disappointment of losing the Big Ten Championship this year.  Maybe I’m just trying to grasp at something positive.  But I think we should claim it.  We were undefeated and beat three top teams.  The only decent way to compare the teams is not great for us, but it’s not damning.  We both played Pittsburgh that year.  Army won 69-7, while OSU won 54-19.  Plus there’s a little bit of a conspiracy involved.  Ohio State’s All-Americans from the 1942 title team Lin Houston and Gene Fekete (and probably others) joined the army and did not play for the Buckeyes in 1944.  Now I’m not saying that the Army Black Knights football team started World War II to better their chances in the football world, but…..

There are precedents for claiming retroactively applied titles.  All polls and rankings before Frank Dickinson named Stanford champion in 1926 (with the brief exception of Caspar Whitney’s rankings from 1905-1907, each of which crowned Yale champion) were retroactively applied.  Here is a list of cases where schools only had retroactively applied titles and they officially claim them:

1926 – Alabama:  BR, CFRA, HAF, NCF & PS

1926 – Navy:  BS & HS

1927 – Texas A&M:  SR

1927 – Georgia:  BS & PS

1930 – Alabama:  CFRA & SR

1944??? – Ohio State:  NCF & SR

1950 – Kentucky:  SR

(Polls and systems used in abbreviations above:  Billingsley Report, Boand System, College Football Researchers Association, Helms Athletic Foundation, Houlgate System, National Championship Foundation, Poling System, and Sagarin Ratings.)

 

From 1953 to today, no one has claimed a title when it was only given by retroactively applied polls or rankings.  But some SEC schools claim their retroactive titles.  Why can’t we?

The Buckeye Ninja’s Annual Bowl Pick-em Contest

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Once upon a time we gave away an autographed baseball to the winner of this contest. This year we may, as has been our recent habit, give away nothing. Can you afford to take that chance?

If, like the smart reader we are sure you are, you say “no” to this prospect, we challenge you to test your might and picking talent against our stable of talented writers. And me.

Just click here and sign up. It’s easy. And if it’s not you’re probably doing it wrong. No offense.

The Buckeye Ninja’s Top 15: Who-Gives-An-Eff Edition

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Top 15

@BuckeyeEmpire @TheBuckeyeNinja Its the only legit poll in the nation bro…

— Marshall (@marshallsheldon) October 27, 2013

Yeah, so none of us really gave a crap for some reason. Strangely there weren’t any ties this week.

Dropped out: Northern Illinois, Duke, Arizona State

 

  Team Last Change
1 Florida State (3) 1 0
2 Sparty 7 +5
3 Auburn 3 0
4 GOBAMAROLLTIDE 5 +2
5 Baylor 8 +3
6 Buckeyes 2 -4
7 Missouri 4 -3
8 Stanford 9 +1
9 Oklahoma N/R +7
10 Oklahoma State 6 -4
11 Oregon 11 0
12 South Carolina 13 +1
13 Clemson 14 +1
14 UCF 15 +1
15 LSU N/R +1

Also receiving one vote: Arizona State, Louisville

Discuss among yourselves. Or don’t. Whatever

Why We’ll Beat Sparty: The Numbers

Friday, December 6th, 2013

What hasn’t been said already about Sparty’s defense? It leads the nation in total defense and rush defense (238 and 65 YPG, respectively). They’ve blown up offensive lines and blocking schemes all year, also leading the nation in negative yard plays. While yards per game matter, they perhaps aren’t the most useful measure of a defense, because they don’t list them on the scoreboard. That said, Sparty is third in the nation in points allowed, metering opponents to a stingy 11.8 PPG.

But the raw statistics may be misleading. Sparty’s defense has looked good primarily because it’s faced some atrocious offenses. The strongest offense they faced all year was Indiana (no, really), who put up 28 points on them. It’s well known that the biggest strength of the Sparty D is against the run, but the average rank of the rushing offenses they’ve faced is 54th. And that doesn’t include week 3 opponent Youngstown State, who isn’t even an FBS school. When they have been up against strong offenses, as against Indiana and Nebraska, they’ve shown some vulnerability. The Hoosiers put up 351 yards and 4 touchdowns against the vaunted East Lansing D, while the Cornhuskers tallied 392 for 4 scores, including 182 yards on the ground.

And they’ve never played against a running attack like the twin spears of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller, not to mention Jordan Hall and Dontre Wilson, who round out the nation’s 2nd best rushing offense.

On the other side of the ball, playing against strong defenses is nothing new for the Buckeyes. Let’s not forget that Ohio State has already dispatched Iowa and Wisconsin, who have the 11th and 6th best defenses in the country. We put up 31 against Wisconsin and 34 against Iowa. We think the question is not “can OSU score against Sparty’s defense,” but “can Sparty run with OSU’s offense.” Sparty averages just 29.4 PPG to Ohio State’s 48.2. The one area that OSU hasn’t struggled on defense is against the run, where they’ve only allowed 100 YPG, 86 less than MSU’s offense produces.

Simply put, OSU has played successfully against strong defenses, while Sparty has only played one decent offense, two mediocre ones, and a whole lot of terrible ones.

While it’s true that we looked shaky last week, never underestimate the power of a wakeup call. The Buckeyes were heavily favorited against TTUN, and they went up there and had their eyes opened, courtesy of the enemy playing the game of their lives, at home. Any time Devin Gardner is completing leaping, back-foot passes across his body, you know somebody’s hit the code for God Mode. Fortunately, we still pulled out the win, and the difficulty with which the victory was achieved will serve to focus and galvanize Ohio State on both sides of the ball tomorrow.

By contrast, everybody (we included) thinks tomorrow will be a hotly contested affair. Actually, that’s putting it too nicely. We’re sure it’ll be a dogfight from end to end, and some of the most interesting battles will happen on the sidelines, as coaches and coordinators try to counter each others’ schemes and find weaknesses. If one side succeeds, the intensity of the fight may not show up on the scoreboard.

The fewest points the Buckeyes have scored all year is 31. The most points Sparty’s defense has allowed is 28. Something’s got to give. We forecast that Sparty’s offense will sputter when their running game fails to produce, and their defense will tire of getting run over by Carlos Hyde, and run past by Braxton Miller. If all of that happens, we’re looking for a Buckeye victory, 35-24.

Big Ten Championship and Stuff

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

There is too much talk right now about which teams should be playing for the national championship.  Many wise folks, Urban F. Meyer among them, are focusing on the task at hand:  Winning the Big Ten Championship Game.  As can be seen in a perusal of Ye Olde Buckeye’s previous posts, we like to look back at history and the record books when writing about football.  This is no exception, except that the history of the Big Ten Championship Game only goes back to 2011.  The previous two Championship Games (comprising the entirety of the Championship Game’s history) have been won by Wisconsin.  This has been extremely annoying, considering the seasons we’ve had the past ten years or so.  It’s not The Game (and nothing else is), but we still want our names all over that list of Big Ten Championship Game winners.  Here is our chance to get the ball rolling.

As for our illustrious opponents, we do have some hatred stored up for them.  Again, this will never be in the same realm as The Game, but there is some hatred.  Switching over to the personal memoires:

I was a student at The Ohio State University (established in 1870) in 1995.  I was at home in Dayton watching in horror as T8-3TUN spoiled our perfect season.

I was a student at The Ohio State University (established in 1870) in 1996.  I was in Haverfield House watching alone with building rage as T7-3TUN spoiled our perfect season.

I was a student at The Ohio State University (established in 1870) in 1997.  I was in the Big Shit House watching David Boston tussle with the traitor Charles Woodson, hoping that we would take our turn at spoiling a perfect season for them.  Hatred was cemented.

But I was also a student at The Ohio State University (established in 1870) in 1998.  I was in East Lansing for a volleyball tournament while our football team’s perfect season was spoiled by Sparty down in Columbus.  Our team and Michigan State’s team (along with some random Notre Dame players) went to a room with a tv in their athletic facility between our volleyball games.  We were mocked the rest of that terrible day.  Even when we stopped at Subway on the way home, we were still wearing our Ohio State warm-up gear and were made fun of by some very unprofessional sandwich artists.

So, it’s nowhere near the history, hatred, and intensity of The Game, but we do have some recent history with Sparty playing the spoiler.  This game is huge.  And we want our names on that Stagg Championship Trophy.  Go Bucks!

Fights, Salutes, and Speculation

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The 110th edition of The Game was one for the ages. It had everything, from flashy offense, to clutch defense, to nervous tension, to flaring tempers. It ended with a one point margin, defied everyone’s expectations, and thrilled fans of all persuasions. But in the wake of such a game, the grousing from “fans” of TTUN has reared its predictable, ugly head.

I spent part of the game in the den of the enemy, courtesy of a holiday trip to see my in-laws in Virginia Beach. They’re all (supposedly) fans of TTUN, but when it came time for The Game to start, they were making pancakes. Pancakes. At kickoff. They paused The Game and went about their business making brunch, leaving time suspended on the television for nearly an hour. The only conclusion I could draw is that they aren’t really fans out of devoted passion, but out of disgusting habit, something I’m finding to be typical of their ilk.

But The Game is not a sitcom, to be DVR’d and watched at your convenience. It is the culmination of a season of work, an annual ritual more sacred than any other secular event, and it is not to be ignored while it is happening. Certainly not for pancakes and mimosas, anyway. I did what I could do in the face of such a travesty, pulling up a live stream on my laptop and watching, as quietly as I could, as an all-out gridiron war ensued.

Halfway through the second quarter, after the teams had exchanged blows both on the scoreboard and on the field, they finally sat down to watch, from the beginning. I knew what I was in for… Endless replays of the fight, finger pointing, jeering and baseless accusations regarding the conduct of my beloved Buckeyes, all while the game marched on in real time, ahead of where we could ever catch up. So I did the reasonable thing, and when The Game went to commercial, I gathered my wife and left, heading over to the local BW3 to watch the remainder in relative peace, and preserve whatever familial harmony might be left.

There were a respectable number of Buckeye fans at the bar, and when the game ended as it did, the place erupted in pandemonium. I was high fiving strangers, hugging our waitress (who hailed from Akron), jumping and yelling and dancing… And so was everybody else, save the two token Michigan fans at the table behind us. The agony of The Game was relieved by the ecstasy of a narrow, last-minute victory. We would have hung around for the Iron Bowl, had not the table next to us been filled with apparently illiterate GOBAMAROLLTIDE fans, who tried chanting S-E-C through tobacco-stuffed lips, over the roar of the Buckeye faithful after the win. They would be more insufferable, I thought, than returning to my in-laws, so we went home.

Of course, given how that game ended, we should have stuck around just for the comedic value.

I digress. By the time we arrived back home to Ohio last evening, my timelines were full of petty grumbles and meaningless recriminations, almost exclusively from demoralized followers of Ann Arbor’s Abomination. Say what you want about Ohio State fans; that we are grumpy, obnoxious, pessimistic, hatred-filled jerkfaces. But when we lose, we own it. TTUN, on the other hand, loves to play the victim, and so do their fans. Let’s wade into some of their whining, shall we?

The fight was “sad” and Marcus Hall’s twin salute upon being ejected was “classless.” As a senior (at the ripe age of 22, mind) he should have the maturity to control his emotions.

Or maybe the thuggish behavior of a classless Michigan team precipitated exactly the reality they wanted. Maybe the coaching staff in Ann Arbor has failed to instill respect and discipline in their own team, things you should display at all times, especially in front of your home crowd.

Maybe a senior in college, playing in one of the most important games of his career, against his team’s arch rival, in their stadium, reacted to being tossed for a fight he didn’t start by being upset. Crazy, right? And maybe while exiting the stadium, amid the raucous booing and hurled expletives from tens of thousands of (classy?) opposing fans, he decided to vent his emotion the best way he knew how.

Maybe I’d have done the same thing. Maybe, just maybe, you would have too.

The Buckeyes’ narrow victory should be cause for doubt as to their strength, and assuming they both win their respective conferences, Auburn is the rightful entry to the national title game.

Or maybe it’s harder than one might think to walk into one of the loudest home fields in the country, against a rival that you’ve played 109 times, who has ruined your season more times than anyone cares to remember, and pull out a victory. Maybe an honest assessment of The Game and its history by a rational observer would say that any team who walks out with a victory earned it, especially stealing it on their opponent’s home soil.

Maybe an honest assessment of the performance of ESPN’s favorite conference (the SEC, in case you hadn’t noticed) this year would show that they’re just as mediocre as everybody else. That Alabama lost because, well, they just aren’t that great this season, and Auburn has won twice now on blind luck and their opponents’ mistakes. Maybe we should call conferences beating up on their own parity, or mediocrity, but be consistent with whichever label across all conferences.

Or maybe people just conveniently forgot that Auburn lost to a very middle-of-the-road LSU team this season, and Ohio State hasn’t lost in 24 games.

Ohio State’s win streak is mostly down to its relatively weak schedule, again due to the Big 10 being just this side of a high school league in terms of talent.

Or maybe almost nobody in the top 25 has a schedule that’s worth a damn this year. Maybe, when evaluated statistically, a bunch of the top schools, including Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State aren’t even in the top 50 in strength of schedule. Winning programs play to win, and that includes when they sit down to write their schedules. Even after the 1-point win on Saturday, the Buckeyes’ average margin of victory is nearly 28 points– that’s 4 touchdowns, for those of you in Ann Arbor– second only to the Florida State juggernaut (whose rank of schedule is a whopping 66th, 5 places behind the Buckeyes) and Baylor, who is busy falling on their own sword.

 

The facts are these: A bunch of blue-and-yellow thugs surrounded a tackled Ohio State player with the expressed intent of intimidating him. That precipitated a shoving match in what was already a very charged atmosphere. Hard to blame Dontre Wilson for that. Then someone ripped his helmet off and threw it, and someone else headbutted him. So the threw a punch. In his shoes, if you say you’d do different, you’re a dirty liar (and probably a Michigan fan). Also, if you’ve never wanted to walk out of your job after a rough day doing a Marcus Hall impersonation, you’re a dirty liar (and probably a Michigan fan).

Ohio State’s defense had its worst game of the season in Ann Arbor, and TTUN’s offense had its best by far. These sort of things will happen in The Game. And we still won. Alabama lost, like they’ve been trying to do all season. With all respect to a resurgent and exciting Auburn team, they’ve been riding on some very thin luck for two games in a row, and when Lady Luck didn’t show up earlier this season, they lost to LSU.

Next week may or may not lend clarity to the national title debate, as the Buckeyes will face Sparty’s rowdy defense, the Seminoles will probably clobber the Blue Devils, and Auburn may just get punched in the mouth by a ruthless Missouri team. But whatever the outcomes, nothing will remove the joy from the hearts of the Buckeye faithful from stealing one in Ann Arbor. Roll on, Indianapolis.