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Ohio State Buckeyes are in a different kind of touble

Oh how I love my Ohio State Buckeyes football. Yesterday ended one of the most surprising endings to college football. A team that was all but counted out, on every count, came back to stun the world.

As the now infamous shirt says, it really was Ohio against the World.

Ohio Against the World (OTAW)

Ohio Against the World (OTAW)

Nobody gave Ohio State football a chance after an embarrassing loss at home in the Horseshoe to Virginia Tech. And to be honest, my hopes sunk then too. But the Bucks played on and literally clawed their way to the top against ALL odds, ALL naysayers, and ALL talking-head pundits.

Here is a rundown on some of the successes, to include some of the betting lines.

  • OSU vs Michigan State Spartans: +4.
    • The original betting line was +10 after the VT loss.
    • Pundits refused to believe that a J.T. Barrett could orchestrate a win against the 2013 3rd ranked Spartans.
    • Final score of 49-37 (-12)
  • OSU vs Wisconsin Badgers: +4
    • The original betting line at the end of the regular season and the loss of QB J.T. Barrett was a +14.
    • Melvin Gordon shut down
    • Stout Badger defense stood up.
    • Final score of 59-0 (-59)
  • OSU vs Alabama Crimson Tide: +7.5
    • Original betting line at +17.7.
    • Amari Cooper held in check
    • Infamous Nick Saban not prepared
    • Alabama top ranked run defense stomped on.
    • Final score of 42-35
  • OSU vs Oregon Ducks: +6
    • Original betting line at +9
    • Uptempo Ducks kept in check
    • Destroyed 3rd down conversions by Ducks
    • Mariota not allowed to scramble for large yards
    • Final score of 42-20

Ohio State Buckeyes versus Heisman finalists:

  • OSU vs Tevin Coleman (Ind.):
    • Season totals: 270 carries for 2,036 yards for 15 TD
    • Season average: 22 carries for 164 yards (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 27 carries for 228 yards for 3 TD
  • OSU vs Melvin Gordon (Wisc.):
    • Season totals: 343 carries for 2,587 yards for 29 TD
    • Season average: 24 carries for 193 yards (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 26 carries for 76 yards for 0 TD
  • OSU vs Amari Cooper (Ala.):
    • Season totals: 124 catches for 1,727 yards for 16 TD
    • Season average: 9 catches for 127 yards (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 9 catches for 71 yards for 2 TD
  • OSU vs Marcus Mariota (Ore.): *Heisman winner
    • Season totals: 304/445 for 4,454 yards for 42 TD and 4 INT, 770 yards rushing
    • Season average: 20/29 for 294 yards for 3 TD, 52 yards rushing (per game)
    • Against the Bucks: 24/37 for 333 yards for 2 TD and 0 INT, 39 yards rushing

Everyone said we didn’t have a chance after losing the B1G player of the year Braxton Miller – then two more QBs stepped up who were Heisman watched themselves (Barrett was a finalist, Jones would have been if he wasn’t tossed into the spotlight at the end of the season). Everyone said that Ohio State didn’t have any speed, at least nothing to match the SEC – then we out ran the B1G, the SEC, and then the PAC12. Everyone said that our offensive line was too young (remember, the starting lineup wasn’t even final until after the final week) – but we held up to Penn State, Michigan State, Alabama, and then Oregon. Everyone said that our secondary was suspect, especially after last year – but we held most receivers in check.

Is this the decline of the SEC (specifically the SEC-West) and the rebirth of the B1G (specifically the B1G-East)?

SEC-East (5-0):
Missouri: W, 33-17 over Minnesota
Georgia: W, 37-14 over Louisville
Florida: W, 28-20 over E. Carolina
Tennessee: W, 45-28 over Iowa
South Carolina: W, 24-21 over Miami FL
Kentucky: No Bowl
Vanderbilt: No Bowl

SEC-West (2-5):
Alabama: L, 42-35 by Ohio State
Mississippi State: L, 49-34 by Georgia Tech
Ole Miss: L, 42-3 by TCU
Auburn: L, 34-31 by Wisconsin
LSU: L, 31-28 by Notre Dame
Texas A&M: W, 45-37 over West Virginia
Arkansas: W, 31-7 over Texas

B1G-East (4-1, or 5-1 including championship):
OSU: W, 42-35 over Alabama
Michigan State: W, 42-41 over Baylor
Maryland: L, 45-21 by Standford
Rutgers: W, 40-21 over North Carolina
Michigan: No Bowl
Penn State: W, 31-30 over Boston College
Indiana: No Bowl
East: 4-1 (+1 for Championship game)

B1G-West (1-4):
Wisconsin: W, 34-31 over Auburn
Minnesota: L, 33-17 by Missouri
Nebraska: L, 45-42 by USC
Iowa: L, 45-28 by Tennessee
Illinois: L, 35-18 by Louisiana Tech
NW: No Bowl
Purdue: No Bowl
West: 1-4

2015 will be an interesting year for the Bucks. They are a young team and most players are returning. The Bucks have 3 stellar quarterbacks in Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, and Cardale Jones. They also have a new 4-star commit dual-threat quarterback named Torrance Gibson. Who is to say if they all stay (my guess is no) but if that is the biggest problem the Bucks have going into the 2015, then that is a heck of a deal.

Ohio State also has a pretty young team and a lot of opportunity to return a lot of players.

2014 OSU Depth Chart

2014 OSU Depth Chart

By my count there is 1 redshirt senior, 6 seniors, 3 juniors, 3 redshirt sophomores, 3 sophomores, 4 redshirt freshmen, and 0 freshmen on the team (not counting special teams). The only “Buckeye” that I know of that has officially declared is DE Noah Spence who was ruled to be permanently ineligible for all intercollegiate athletics competition in the B1G for the 2014 season. I guess we will have to wait and see what everyone does in terms of the draft.

We will also have to see what Braxton Miller decides – will he stay and fight for the position at quarterback or will he use his last eligible year to play guaranteed at another college per NCAA rules? I know if I was in their position I’d be heartbroken – I don’t think that Ohio State Football is one that you simply walk away from and never look back. We probably have one of the best, if not the best, fan bases in the world. We are high-caliber and are coming off a championship year. The lure of staying and playing for a championship may be too much for guys to leave for the NFL even though I’m sure the NFL is their ultimate dream.

With all that said, I feel bad for Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett this year. Braxton was the talk of the city and on a fast track to even more recognition for the 2014 season. Then his season ended before it began and he stood on the sideline while he healed, silently, all the while other quarterbacks shined as bright, if not more brightly than he did. I fee bad for Barrett because he got thrown into the season with little notice after hiding behind a Heisman favorite in the off-season. He was pivotal in getting Ohio State to a position where Cardale Jones could come in and finish it up after Barrett was injured in the last game of the regular season.

Inversely, I am pretty happy for Cardale Jones. He sat in the shadows for 3 years and was happy with that. He came from a checkered past and at one point even moved in with someone to keep himself on track and out of trouble. He watched and cheered as his team rolled to the end of the season – then suddenly he himself was thrust into the spotlight. Then, suddenly he as the champion not for one game… but three of the three biggest games Ohio had this year. And he did well, very well. Enough that people are urging him to enter the draft early. Part of me says, go for it. Another part of me says, stay, not for football, but for his degree. The NFL can always cut him or give him no playing time but nobody can take his degree from him.

Good luck to Tom Herman in Houston. Thanks for all your play calling. It looks like you are inherting an energetic group of players down there. Good luck to Urban in sorting out the depth chart for 2015.


Goodbye, BCS Football

florida_state_champions_wallpaper_by_ronan_ncy-d71c2hqThe Bowl Championship Series (BCS) football is over for college football. It went out in style last night as the Florida State Seminoles beat out the Auburn Tigers, which is probably in the top five championship games played during the BCS era (Ohio state over Miami in 2002, Texas over USC in 2005 are my favorites).

Already the pundits are already talking about what the 2014-2015 preseason rankings are going to be as well as who is going to make it to the 2014-2015 championship game, which I find to be a pity. For the most part we don’t even know who will be playing on each team due to some players still holding out on whether to commit to the draft and the second contingency of what will happen on the NCAA Signing Day for new recruits. I personally have a problem with preseason rankings because I think they hold entirely too much weight on the entire season. Take Alabama for example – they are a good team but they were ranked #1 all season despite showing “talent points” and close wins against teams that they should have smashed only to lose their last two games against Auburn and then Oklahoma (for granted, Alabama was a victim in the Auburn Miracle experiment). In my opinion if Alabama was judged the same the way the rest of the fleet then they wouldn’t have been the reigning #1 for most of the season.

The Bowl Series was on par with how it always has been in college ball – crazy, unexpected, and full of upsets. Alabama fell to Oklahoma, Stanford lost to Michigan State, Baylor lost to UCF, Arizona State got smashed by Texas Tech, NIU dropped the ball against Utah, and Ball State lost to Arkansas. To me all this simply shows how fickle and biased rankings can be – how can the big bad Alabama lose to Oklahoma? This is why NCAA football is so much better than the NFL to me – anyone can win any game. It just depends on who wants it more paired with field conditions, home-field advantage, injuries, depth of roster, and coaching. You generally don’t get that with the NFL as all players are top notch as are their backups.

I’d like to share with you the results of the Bowl games. First off how the Big Ten (B1G) faired.

27DEC13: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Syracuse Orange (ACC)… (17-21)
28DEC13: Michigan Wolverines vs Kansas State Wildcats (Big-12)… (14-31)
01JAN14: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Georgia Bulldogs (SEC)… (24-19)
01JAN14: Iowa Hawkeyes vs LSU Tigers (SEC)… (14-21)
01JAN14: Wisconsin Badgers vs South Carolina Gamecocks (SEC)… (24-34)
01JAN14: Michigan State Spartans vs Stanford Cardinals (PAC-12)… (24-20)
03JAN14: Ohio State Buckeyes vs Clemson Tigers (ACC)… (35-40)

B1G vs SEC (3): 1-2
B1G vs ACC (2): 0-2
B1G vs Big-12 (1): 0-1
B1G vs PAC-12 (1): 1-0

The gripe all season from many was that Ohio State was not deserving of its ranking. The main complaint was that the conference play in the B1G was weak. And to that, I largely agree. To go 2-5 in postseason and claim that you are still a power conference is a tough sell to voters and pundits. However, I don’t think the B1G is dead. Every team has up and down years as do conferences – this is possibly no more true than in NCAA football. Go back a few decades and the B1G was the conference to beat – Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State were consistently some of the toughest teams to beat. With all this said I’m sad that the B1G didn’t fare too well this year and I hope that we come back next year and earn our respect back.

Here is how other conferences came out of the post-season.

2-0, 1.000: SUN BELT (2)
7-3, 0.700: SEC (10)
6-3, 0.667: PAC-12 (9)
2-1, 0.667: FBS INDEPENDENTS (3)
3-3, 0.500: BIG12 (6)
3-3, 0.500: MW (6)
3-3, 0.500: C-USA (6)
5-6, 0.455: ACC (11)
2-3, 0.400: AAC (5)
2-5, 0.286: B1G (7)
0-5. 0.000: MAC (5)

Even with a BCS Championship the ACC didn’t fare well either which gives some sort of creedance to the fact that even if a team has a weak conference they can still be a good team… or the Champions. I was actually one of those detractors saying that FSU may not be as good as their undefeated record shows because of their conference but in the end they pulled out a Champinship victory. I give props to the SEC and the PAC-12 in their victories as there is no doubt that these are conferences that have a lot going for them. To the B1G, my beloved B1G, all I have to say is that it is time to step up their game. Specifically I’d like to say congratuations to the Michigan Spartans on their win – they deserve their B1G Title and their Rose Bowl win!

ohio_state_potty_training_by_buckeyekes-d4rmb5cSo what will 2014 bring by Buckeyes? On our offensive line we will be losing Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell, Corey Linsey, and Marcus Hall. Also on offense we will be losing Carlos Hyde, Jordan Hall, Corey Philly-Brown, and Kenny Guiton. On defense we will be losing Corey Brown, C.J. Barnett, Bradley Roby (draft), and Ryan Shazier (draft). So as it seems our high-powered offense will be under full renovation and much of our defense will be left to work out their kinks. In the world of recruits Ohio State has been ranked second – we are expected to see Raekwon McMillan (ILB), Johnnie Dixon (WR), Kyle Trout (OT), Stephen Collier (QB), Sean Nuernberger (K), Marshon Lattimore (CB), Damon Webb (CB), Dante Booker (OLB), Curtis Samuel (ATH), Jamarco Jones (OT), Jalyn Holmes (WDE), Demetrius Knox (OG), Parris Campbell (WR), Erick Smith (S), Kyle Berger (OLB), Noah Brown (ATH), Sam Hubbard (ATH), Terry McLaurin (WR), Marcelys Jones (OG), Malik Hooker (ATH), and Dylan Thompson (SDE) all come into the mix.

I’m most excited to see what Damon Webb and Marshon Lattimore do to our pass defense as Ohio State’s pass defense was dismal this year – not to mention I didn’t think that Roby was all that he was cracked up to be. Roby seemed more interested in using Ohio State as a stopgap measure before he went into the NFL draft than someone that was a proud Buckeye through-and-through. I’m super sad to see Carlos Hyde and Ryan Shazier leave but at the same time excited to see how far Joey Bosa comes as he did a great job as a freshman.

I will also be looking forward to beating the Michigan Wolverines again.


"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth... For my part, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst; and to provide for it." - Patrick Henry

"Politicians and diapers both need to be changed, and for the same reason." - Anonymous

"Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it." - William Penn

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country" - Hermann Goering

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do this I keep on doing." - Romans 7:18-19

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain