Tag Archives: College football

Rutgers and Maryland limping into Big Ten football

Per Scout.com’s Signing Day Primer we learn Rutgers and Maryland are all set to continue the Big Ten’s recent tradition of recruiting poorly:

Another sidelight to the 2014 class was the decimation of Rutgers’ class, which at one time was in the Top 30 but suffered through 12 decommitments.

The Scarlet Knights’ top in-state player is No. 10 Kevin Wilkins, and they only have two of the top 20 players in the state staying home. In fact, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Miami each have as many commitments from New Jersey’s Top 20 as the Scarlet Knights.

Maryland didn’t have much in-state success either as only one of the top 25 players in the state opted to remain home, although the state’s No. 1 player, four-star offensive tackle Damian Prince of Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara, has the Terps among his finalists heading into signing day.

(via Scout.com: Signing Day Primer: Storylines to Watch.)

With National Signing Day one day away, Ohio State (at No. 4) is the only Big Ten team in the top 10 classes nationally while Wisconsin checks in at No. 19, Penn State is 21st. and Michigan is 24th.  Continue reading

Turn out the lights: Final thoughts on Ohio State football 2013

This is admittedly a couple of weeks late, but you know time doesn’t stop anymore for the end of football season. Of course I like to let things breathe a little before picking them apart anyway…

Ohio Stadium from the north tunnel after the 2013 season finale.

Ohio Stadium from the north tunnel after the 2013 season finale.

What we learned this season: The 2013 Ohio State football team did not have enough mature talent to compete for a national championship.

That really is the long and the short of it. There might be enough good players on the roster to compete with the best of the best if the recruiting rankings are correct (and they usually are), but not enough of those youngsters contributed this season.

Interestingly enough, one could say the same thing about Michigan, which would show the stark difference in the state of the programs Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke respectively took over considering the respective 2013 records, but maybe that’s a topic for another day. It’s also worth pointing out both teams forced at least a couple of youngsters into the fire with widely divergent degrees of success (i.e., the OSU defensive line and the UM offensive line). Continue reading

Ohio well represented in Scout Top 300 | FOX Sports on MSN

The final 2014 Scout 300 had 17 Ohio State verbal commitments and 19 players from Ohio.

There are 21 four-star prospects in Ohio, and those Buckeye Staters who aren’t going to be Buckeyes are going to the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and – believe it or not – the Ivy League.

Read on: Ohio well-represented in Scout Top 300 | FOX Sports on MSN.

Ohio State Football Week 12: The Only One

Who better to rock us into Michigan week than Ohio’s Black Keys? We thought of a song of their most recent good album while looking at where the Buckeyes are and where they could be after another edition of the greatest rivalry in all of sports.

What we learned last week: Maybe there is something to be said simply for going undefeated in and of itself.

I had not really believed that before, but I’m inclined to reconsider after the Buckeyes pulled out another close one at Wisconsin and the rest of the top five endured another week of upheaval.

No, that does not mean I am going to make the case for them as Associated Press national champions, at least not yet. (Certainly not before Notre Dame loses as it seems to me from here the Fighting Irish have played a tougher schedule, but there will be plenty of time to examine that in December.)

But where does gettin’ er done rank in terms of valuing a sports team?

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Urban Meyer’s Evolving Playoff Position

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s name was all over Twitter yesterday after he publicly questioned the practicality of adding another game to the ledger for teams in the national championship hunt.

Urban Meyer talks about the 2012 class

As Spencer Hall pointed out, Meyer was for a playoff before he was against it. That sent me back to the BCS Championship conference call in December 2006.

The head coach of Florida at the time, Meyer was a beneficiary that year of the backwards way the BCS works. His Gators were awarded a spot in the national championship game for lack of a better alternative, (and of course we know that eventually worked out pretty well for them and their coach*) but he still sounded like someone looking for a better way.

“I believe there’s an imperfect system,” he said then. “Everybody believes that. That’s just the way it is. It’s going to be imperfect again next year until at some point we figure out a way to determine it on the field.”

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The Last Night The Regular Season Mattered

College football 2011: The year the regular season died, taking with it the last remotely defendable aspect of the current system for selecting a national champion.

The patient had been sick for quite a while, but not everyone noticed at first. It began exhibiting symptoms 20 years ago when a conference in the South decided to hold a championship game. The prognosis worsened with the creation of the Bowl Alliance and then the BCS, nods to the growing belief the regular season no longer was adequate for selecting a proper champion. By the time the last two holdovers took the plunge into the BCS then joined the CCG movement, the time for reading of the last rites became imminent. Pollsters signed the death warrant in December with the choice of a rematch between Alabama and LSU, and the Crimson Tide finished the job Monday night.

Someone voted LSU No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll, and I applaud that person. I would have done the same thing despite the Tigers’ lifeless loss to Alabama in the New Orleans. The dominating fashion in which the Crimson Tide won the game would give me some pause, but the overall body of work favors LSU.

Why does that matter? Because the only argument BCS defenders have against a playoff that had not been completely debunked is the suggestions it would reduce the meaning of the regular season.

Though I disagreed with that premise to begin with, I was willing to respect it and give it a little bit of credence until this year. No more. In 2011, we saw the entire season’s hype boil down to one game in early November. Then the result of that game was thrown out the window, so tell me why we should buy into the buildup of the next game of the century?

LSU has a better resume by far, having beaten seven teams that were ranked at the time they played, including two on the road and another at a neutral site. Alabama beat four, including two on the road. That is not counting the two games they played against each other since they were a wash, but I’m hard-pressed to say Alabama’s win was better than LSU’s considering one took place on the other team’s home field and the other did not. Yet such splitting of hairs is exactly what the BCS demands, thus leaving us no choice to conclude that the current system that claims to protect the integrity of the regular season actually gives more weight to a postseason game, and that turns everything the BCS defenders say inside out.

We’re told we have this sacred three-month period from the end of August to the first month of December that means more than anything else in sports, but when all is said and done what happens at that time is taken less into consideration than what happens when two teams play in the second week of January after a month off to heal and reconfigure themselves. And, for that matter, what happens at the end of the season often carries more weight than the beginning, another fact that complicates everything.

BCS defenders use much the same thing as a critique of tournaments while ignoring that somehow everyone came to the agreement some time ago that a playoff is the preferable way to determine a champion in every other sport at every other level of competition within the NCAA and just about everywhere else, yet now their system has undone everything that happened in the most recent regular season.

Does a postseason tournament guarantee the best team becomes the champion? No. Neither does what we have at the highest level of college football. That’s an impossible standard to set, but it remains a straw man of playoff opponents.

The bottom line is college football already has a postseason. The regular season already is devalued from the pre-BCS era because it created a half-assed championship chase that seems more tangible than the old one even though it’s really not much different at all. That has given fans something else to focus on as opposed to their traditional conference races and rivalry games.

If we’re going to have any type of postseason, it needs to come closer to including every team that has a legitimate claim to being No. 1. That does not mean it needs to reward nearly everyone who had a good season, as the NCAA basketball tournament does, but rather the champions of the top leagues and perhaps a wildcard from a lesser conference or the runner-up from another power league. We already did the latter this season, so it’s not as if that would set a precedent.

I like an eight- or 16-team playoff, but a plus-one with four teams would be considerable progress. Going undefeated in the regular season would still be the top way to guarantee a spot in the field, and even one loss would still create considerable jeopardy for anyone else, whether that means being left out altogether or having to go on the road in an early round or rounds.

Regular season games are already selectively significant, and the fact is most of the ones that end up costing teams are upsets that no one appreciated before they happened anyway. This would not really change if we expanded the postseason modestly, and such a move would also do little to hurt the bowls that already mean nothing anyway. The onus to have the bowls – for municipalities and TV networks to make money off of schools – would remain and likely provide motivation to keep the playoff small because so many people would still have somewhere to go even after losing more than one game in the regular season.

The time has come to get this done because the fantasy is over.

The regular season is dead.

Overheard at Ohio State Football: Wisconsin Week

Another week of preparation for a football game has come and gone at Ohio State. Here’s a recap of what the Buckeye players and coaches had to say leading up to the Wisconsin game in case you need a reminder or you missed anything. 

FICKELLISMS

(For personnel updates, check out the BuckeyeSports.com story)

Ohio State’s head coach said he did not see the end of the Wisconsin-Michigan State game live because he had been in bed for an hour or so, but he saw many replays. He does not expect Wisconsin to be extra down because of the way the Badgers lost. A loss is a loss, no matter if it is close or not.

The Buckeyes have to worry more about taking care of their own business. He was asked about some of the guys celebrating on Twitter and said if that helps them believe in themselves a little more or feel a little more motivation, that’s good.

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