Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

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

The Buckeye Ninja’s Bottom 5 Poll

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

This is a very special moment. Now that the regular season is over, most of the worst teams in college football are finished with their seasons, mercifully for their fans. Still, with all the talk of “Conference A is better than Conference B” and “Team A would have lost three more games if they’d played Team B’s schedule” there’s not a lot of talk about who is really horrible.

Our contributors voted on this very matter and what follows are the results of this, the first annual Buckeye Ninja’s Bottom Five Poll.

#5 - Virginia (ACC) 2-10 (0-8)

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#4 – Kentucky (SEC) 2-10 (0-8)

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#3 – California (Pac-12) 1-11 (0-9)

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#2 – Purdue (B1G) 1-11 (0-8)

Purdue_helmet

 

 

 

 

And the worst team in college football this year is…

(more…)

The Buckeye Ninja’s Top 15: Week 14

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Top 15

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

— Marshall (@marshallsheldon) October 27, 2013

That was some week, eh?

Clemson dropped big and three Pac-12 schools jumped up. Not really because we collectively think they’re better but because seriously what the hell this season?

Dropped out: Fresno State, Wisconsin

 

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

Also receiving one vote: Oklahoma

Discuss among yourselves.

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.

The Moral Imperative

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

The last Saturday of the regular season in college football is known around the world for one game. Sure, it’s Rivalry Week in general, but the rivalry universally acknowledged as the fiercest, toughest and best is always between The Ohio State University and Michigan. Enough has been said about the history and tradition embodied in The Game, but what has been interesting this year are the personal accounts of what it means to each Buckeye fan.

If you haven’t been in our shoes, maybe you can’t know what this game means to us. If you haven’t lived through the pain and humiliation of the John Cooper era, had your dreams crushed and watched talent wasted through your childhood, maybe you can’t understand how deep the hatred of That Team Up North can run.

I have never attended a single class at The Oho State University. But that hasn’t dampened my affection for my beloved Buckeyes. There is not a time I can remember when I wasn’t an Ohio State fan. It may have happened at birth, when I breathed that first breath of sweet Ohio air. It may have happened when I was a boy, when the only thing that broke up the drudgery of school starting in the fall was Ohio State football on Saturdays.

Saturdays in the fall meant football to me, but they meant the last chance for house work, to my parents. Our little house in Fairborn had wood slat siding that required painting every few years. The shed out back needed a new roof. I was an able body, and so I was expected to work, football or no football. But I had a little pocket AM radio, and while I scraped and primed and painted and nailed, I listened to the games, entranced by the pace and emotion of the broadcasters. Sometimes when the game was over, I’d look back and have no recollection of the last 3 rows of shingles.

I learned in those years to respect the stronger Big Ten teams when they came up on the schedule. The Iowas, the Wisconsins could never be trifled with. But I feared Michigan. They were the lurking shadow waiting at the end of every season, and with Cooper at the helm, our odds were never good. To make things worse, my parents had inexplicably become sympathizers for the enemy. And when we lost, which we often did when I was young, it left a lingering bitterness in my mouth that lasted until the following August.

Losing to the skunk weasels represents every childhood disappointment, every broken promise, every gloomy, rainy day. It is the scoop falling off the ice cream cone onto the filthy pavement. Beating them is a surprise trip to DisneyLand on a private jet to ride jet skis on a school day. It means that everything is right with the world for the next 9 months, no matter what happens in any other sport. To the Buckeye Faithful, it is the only game that really matters all year.

The struggle between The Men of the Olentangy and the whores of Ann Arbor is the struggle of good against evil. Winning is a moral imperative. Beating Michigan should be done without remorse. Evil deserves no mercy, and so Buckeye fans want blowouts. We want to walk into their house and humiliate them. We want 1000 yards of offense for the good guys, and negative yards for the enemy. We want domination.

This year carries even more weight. We’re on the nation’s longest winning streak, but still underdogs to the expectations of the national media. We face tough postseason prospects against Michigan State and (probably) a Rose Bowl opponent, and we have to win today to make it there. But none of that matters today. Today, we must beat Michigan, and ensure all remains right with the world.

What do you want to see tomorrow?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Just this.