Tag Archives: Big Ten

This week in the Big Ten extolls nuance

So the intention is intended to be a weekender type thing, but sometimes life or other jobs get in the way, so here you go a little late…  

We start with one championship-winning football coach from northeast Ohio passing some heavy praise on to another as Jon Gruden called Urban Meyer’s 2014 “the greatest coaching job of all time.”

I can admit I was a doubter prior to the Wisconsin game, and I declared Meyer should be the unanimous national coach of the year if the Buckeyes won that game, so I am inclined to agree with Gruden here. But more interesting than his declarative about what Meyer did as far as a coach is what Gruden said about Meyer’s recruiting.

“I think what happened at Florida, he won the national titles, and then he wanted to be the No. 1 recruiting coach in the league and probably signed some players that didn’t fit the Urban Meyer profile. 

“When he went to Ohio State, I think he learned a little bit from that. He’s looking for guys that fit a certain profile, and he’s going to build his team around those guys. That’s clearly what he’s doing.”

This could be interpreted as a type of talent, but I think it’s more about personality. Meyer was so obsessed with putting together all-star teams at Florida, he ended up with a roster he couldn’t control. Now, every roster is going to have some questionable characters, in part because coaches are almost always willing to take a chance on a guy with talent and also because sometimes people just change — especially between the ages of 17 and 22. The best kid in high school could still turn into a problem in college when he gets away from his home and vice versa. That goes for those who grow up in Upper Arlington or South Florida, but the Ohio State players from Florida I’ve talked to over the years took pride in the chippiness and attitude their state is known for.

Meyer has to spread his recruiting over a larger geographic area, but he might find it easier to put together a more balanced roster at Ohio State than at Florida. This was something I’ve been curious about since the day Meyer took over in Columbus

Further discussing the silly freshman ineligibility discussion with some interesting spins last week were Stewart Mandel of FOX Sports and Matt Hayes of Sporting News. Mandel wondered about the real motivation regarding starting discussion about something that won’t happen while Hayes suggested it’s just the first shot over the bow in an effort to overhaul things.

Essentially the idea is administrators are going to start paying players more but feel that means they also have to emphasize the student part in student-athlete more, whether that is for the good of the game, the good of their business or the good of the players. It’s probably all of the above.

The business goes kaput if they have to go to an open market because too many schools would be priced out and too many fans would lose interest if they began believing all that was going on was minor league football or basketball. Some fans would still watch because they like the sports and the competition, but the golden goose would be dead.

FWIW, I do think the administrators truly care about academics. They want there to be a balance. Like anything, there are pros and cons to the arrangement that has evolved over the decades since college sports went from pastime to big business. I even think the vast majority of coaches care about academics to a significant degree, though under the auspices that winning is not optional of course.  And players care about academics, at least as much if not more than the average student…

Outside the sports world, the ever-changing fate of journalism and writing as a whole generally fascinates me, and Newsweek provided a moment that was even more ironic than it probably realized or intended over the weekend.

The magazine republished a column from 1995 titled, “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana” that as you might expect contained a bunch of amusing predictions about the Internet that turned out to be false and are thus hilarious to look back at 20 years later.

The writer mocked the idea of telecommuting, growth of virtual communities and the rise of online shopping and e-books. He was wrong to question the usefulness of making government data and documents available online (eventually), but I’m not too sure the Internet has improved democracy overall. It’s just made cheating a little harder to get away with (not to mention having a civil discussion about politics, but I digress…).

Most ironically he declared “no online database will replace your daily newspaper,” although I’m pretty sure magazines like Newsweek are in even worse shape, and it’s probably remarkable newspapers have held on for 20 years hence if we’re being honest.

Computers have enhanced the educational experience, but I think most would agree a good teacher still trumps learning from a computer as much as it does getting everything out of a book.

A “network chat line” beats being alone, but it is in fact “a limp substitute for meeting friends over coffee.”

So like most things, this story had plenty of bad but plenty of good as well. A piece by piece examination could be rather fascinating, but i guess the person who runs the Newsweek Twitter feed didn’t agree.

I guess nuance is just not something we do on the Internet in 2015. Did Clifford Stoll predict that?

Ohio State football: The new narrative

Of course when something like “winning a national championship” happens, everyone has something to say.

The theme of my reaction column at BuckeyeSports.com was simple: Ohio State not only won a fancy gold trophy on Monday night, it also wiped out every narrative people have used against the Buckeyes — sometimes more correctly than others — since that stunning night in the desert in January 2007.

Need proof? After the jump, find a sampling of the new narrative from around the web, including writers who cover Ohio State and others more national in scope.  Continue reading Ohio State football: The new narrative

Some overdue Ohio State Big Ten championship thoughts

So, it’s been a week since Ohio State throttled Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.

In an effort to cover that for Buckeye Sports Bulletin and then get back into some semblance of what passes for a normal life during the 36 or so weeks of the year that are not college football season, I haven’t taken the time to get down much about what I thought about that whole thing. I don’t mind giving things some time to sink in, anyway, so I can’t say I went out of my way to sort things out. Because a lot has happened both with Ohio State and some of the programs that are of interest to Ohio State in one way or another.
Continue reading Some overdue Ohio State Big Ten championship thoughts

Ohio State-Minnesota football week in review

With another week of football season in the books, here’s a roundup of the marks I left on the Internet as Ohio State and Minnesota got ready for a big November football game.

Of course we spent a lot of time looking back at the Buckeyes’ big win at Michigan State, including what that taught us about both programs, but the Golden Gophers deserve some respect after already winning seven games this season, including a spanking of Iowa last season.

There was also time for a little fun from the world of Major League Baseball.

Enjoy!

At BuckeyeSports.com:

OSU Football: Scouting Minnesota – We take a look at the Buckeyes’ next opponent on the gridiron

OSU Football Second Thoughts: Michigan State – The Buckeyes made use of their various talent advantages

Cus Words: Better Not Look Down – The Buckeyes are back on top of the Big Ten, but they can’t afford to overlook Minnesota

OSU Assistants: Warinner and Ash – Buckeye coaches talk win at MSU, look ahead to Minnesota

At FOXSportsOhio.com:

Buckeyes bring in another top 10 class

Adorable daddy-daughter moment highlights reaction to Kluber’s Cy Young

Buckeyes turn sights to Minnesota

Buckeyes lose Wilson to foot injury

Scouting OSU-MSU and taking a stab at program perceptions

The most obvious question, one that has been asked a few times this week as Ohio State gets ready to travel to East Lansing on Saturday night, is whether or not this Michigan State team is as good as the one that beat the Buckeyes and won the Big Ten last year.

This game figures to go a long way toward telling that tale, but for now I am inclined to say no… And neither is Ohio State.  Continue reading Scouting OSU-MSU and taking a stab at program perceptions

Buckeyes look back at Penn State, ahead to Illinois

Ohio State’s preparation for its eighth game of the season began Monday with the typical press conferences at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center.

Coach Urban Meyer was asked about the release of the first College Football Playoff standings (to be released Tuesday night) and said he felt style points will count the same now as they did in the BCS (video).

There are bigger concerns after an undermanned Penn State squad pushed the Buckeyes to the brink of their first conference loss before Ohio State prevailed in double overtime, 31-24.

Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton
Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton

Meyer hopes that adversity — coming on the heels of four straight blowouts — will help his young Ohio State squad improve as the middle of the season turns into the stretch run.

“You just were in a street fight, and you’re winning,” Meyer said. “You started getting your tail kicked and you came back and won. That builds toughness.” (Read more)

Meanwhile, assistant coaches Stan Drayton and Kerry Coombs talked about their takeaways from the game after Meyer was finished. Drayton and Coombs both agreed they were proud of the way the Buckeyes responded to adversity in overtime, but Drayton admitted issues with execution were a factor in the struggles of the offense in the second half. For a full rundown of what they had to say, click here.

The Best Is Yet To Come

The future is bright for Ohio State, but how long will it take to get here?

That’s the question in my weekly football column for BuckeyeSports.com.

Marshall

So far we have seen a young team flummoxed by a unique scheme look bad one night this season but bounce back with three straight wins over opponents that were overmatched to varying degrees.

There was a lot to like about the win in Maryland, including growth into the scheme on both sides of the ball.

Click here for more: Cus Words: The Best Is Yet To Come – Ohiostate – Scout.

An intriguing name for Michigan’s next head coach

This Bill Connelly piece on a potential (now inevitable?) Michigan head coach search in the near future is interesting for a lot of reasons, but the one that caught my eye most was the inclusion of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen.

As a student of the history of the game and of course the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, this possibility (if it’s even real, which may or may not be) is truly fascinating.

Why? Because it would almost perfectly recreate the dynamic of the most intense period The Game has ever seen: The 10-Year War.  Continue reading An intriguing name for Michigan’s next head coach

Ohio State suffering a power outage?

For all the talk about the added speed on this Ohio State roster, a power outage may be more to blame for the loss to Virginia Tech.

After finishing my video review Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech, I filed my usual report with BuckeyeSports.com. The conclusion was that Virginia Tech had a good plan considering all the factors going into the game, both from their personnel standpoint and Ohio State’s. For the Hokies, that relates to speed. For the Buckeyes, it is youth.

As Urban Meyer said this week, the defense Virginia Tech used has been used against them before but not regularly and not since his first year at Ohio State. One thing about the spread” It’s supposed to prevent teams from loading up the line of scrimmage against you. I guess when they scout you and decide to do it anyway, that should probably be a sign of a pretty big problem.

Meyer prides himself on still playing power football despite the formation, but there are times I wonder if he and offensive coordinator Tom Herman are a little bit too rigid in their philosophy as far as how they line up. This shouldn’t be taken to mean I have major overall questions with what they do, it’s obviously a pretty effective most of the time, but I do wonder if they have limited themselves more than they need to.   Continue reading Ohio State suffering a power outage?

Ohio State football 2014: Potential pitfalls

I wrote for FOXSports.com after the Braxton Miller news became official that his absence need not mean all of Ohio State’s hopes for the season go down the drain, and I do believe that. But it would be foolish to ignore the fact that plenty of the questions facing this team, both before and after Miller got hurt, could go either way. That was true with or without him.

Ohio State Marching Band closes its famous video game show during halftime against Nebraska
Ohio State could be in trouble if a few things break wrong.

So, what could go wrong?

Well, the offensive line might not be able to protect new starter J.T. Barrett. Right tackle in particular is a question mark until we see Darryl Baldwin in action.

Running back is well-stocked with a variety of body types and talents, but will anyone be able to create as many yards as Carlos Hyde did after contact? And, by the way, the new starter at running back is likely to face contact sooner than Hyde did, so this issue becomes even greater.

Will the receivers step up as expected? That’s another big if considering Devin Smith has had a tendency to drift in and out of games and fellow senior Evan Spencer is coming off a nasty injury in the Orange Bowl. We’ve seen glimpses of what Dontre Wilson can do, but he will certainly need to be more dynamic than he was in games last season to be a major factor this year, especially if defenses pay any extra attention to stopping him. Everyone else, for all their potential, has never done anything in a college game.  Continue reading Ohio State football 2014: Potential pitfalls