Michigan football spring game quick thoughts

The public’s first chance to see Jim Harbaugh coach Michigan football came Saturday in Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines held the first Big Ten spring game of 2015. It was about as exciting as the 7-0 final score would reveal, but there were a few things worth seeing…  Continue reading Michigan football spring game quick thoughts

This Week in the Big Ten wants better basketball

Welcome to the first week of the year college basketball gets dramatic enough a large portion of the population can stomach watching a whole game in one sitting!

OK, maybe that was a little over-the-top, but I am somewhat amused at the growing sentiment that college basketball has a big problem as far as entertainment value. Where have y’all been? Do you not watch the NBA at all, because it’s practically a different sport when guys can, you know, make shots on a consistent basis.

A representation of Ohio State's game plan last week
The state of basketball play in college

It’s been going this way for a long time, and the one-and-down thing ain’t the biggest problem. It’s just the extreme example of the larger issue that not enough guys stick around long enough for teams to learn how to play together or become recognizable and marketable. Going to two-and-done would only be a slight improvement for this overall. I’d trace the decline back to when guys like Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury started making skipping more than one year of college more the norm.

I don’t blame guys for going pro when they can. They’ve got to do what’s best for them — or at least what they think is best, which sometimes turns out to be not the case. But the fact teams are harder to get to know makes following the sport more difficult. That’s generally a bad business prospect, but the decline of the product’s watchability has larger implications.

And based on a lot of what I’ve been reading lately, I’m not sure there’s much reason to expect it to get better.

Exhibit A would be a piece from Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated that presents two critical issues as “myths” then goes on to provide more evidence for their veracity than anything else.  Continue reading This Week in the Big Ten wants better basketball

Ohio State quarterbacks take center stage in spring football

Day two of Ohio State spring football featured chats between reporters and the Buckeye quarterbacks. Well, at least some of them.

Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett

As you probably heard by now, only J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones took the opportunity to spend time with the media. A school spokesperson said Braxton Miller was offered the same but declined.

What does that mean? Probably nothing. Miller has never been great in the interview room nor a real fan of the process (which I think any of us in the media can admit is fairly flawed). My general theory on why the former is true is because at his core Miller still sees himself as just a normal guy who happens to be really talented when it comes to football. I asked him if this was the case two years ago at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago and he agreed.

So to me, if Miller doesn’t give great answers in interviews it is because he hasn’t put a lot of thought into what he might say, and that is because he still isn’t convinced any of us should really care. Nothing wrong with that.

As a member of the media, I want guys to come out and talk, but only if they’re really interested in doing so. We waste a lot of time with questions that don’t mean much and get a lot of answers that aren’t really sincere — either because that’s the fastest way to get the interview over with or it just sounds good. And nowadays everything is a soundbite waiting to happen, sometimes in and sometimes out of context.  Continue reading Ohio State quarterbacks take center stage in spring football

First impressions from Ohio State spring football 2015

Reporters were allowed to watch an hour of practice on the first day of Ohio State spring football, and then we spoke with Urban Meyer, Joshua Perry and Taylor Decker. There was not a whole lot to learn, but a few interesting things did pop up….

The issue of motivation becomes a cliched one, but Meyer and both players had some interesting things to say about the topic.

Ohio State football spring practice at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center
Ohio State football spring practice at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center

Well, Meyer actually said he’s not worried about it right now, which came as a surprise because I was under the impression he is ALWAYS worried about motivation and other various psychological issues surrounding his team. The coach said right now he just wants everyone in the mood to work hard, but I guess I would think that’s a matter of motivation, too.

Then I have to admit Perry and Decker both made fairly strong cases about how the Buckeyes — you know, the defending national champions who return 14 starters, including a whole bunch of guys who were really young and figure only to get better as more members of their recruiting classes move into starting roles — could actually be doubted.

Continue reading First impressions from Ohio State spring football 2015

Ohio State football facility has some new decorations

The Buckeyes began work on defending their national title today.

Look for plenty of info on that in the days to come, but first here’s a peak at some of the new banners in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Continue reading Ohio State football facility has some new decorations

This Week in the Big Ten is agreeing with The Vest

Some weeks figuring out the biggest story is hard. This was not one of those weeks.

Jim Tressel did something last Monday he almost never did when he was head coach of the Buckeyes: Create headlines with a substantive speech.

Not only did the former Ohio State head coach stir up the rivalry between his old employer and Michigan by declaring the Wolverines are “a ways away from being at the level where there’s going to be a 10-Year War,” he also shared one of the secrets of their decline over the past decade or so: problems recruiting Ohio.  Continue reading This Week in the Big Ten is agreeing with The Vest