Link – Ohio State football: Nothing wrong with Denzel Ward’s decision to skip Cotton Bowl

I agree, getting hurt in a bowl game could cost a kid millions of dollars. All to play in a game that really doesn’t mean anything. What is the real-world difference between Ohio State or USC winning this game?

It’s not nothing, but it’s not a whole lot either. We should let these guys who’ve made a ton of money for their programs decide for themselves if it’s worth the risk.


Link – Dabo Swinney says talking Urban Meyer uncertainty may have helped recruit Jackson Carman

So at the end of the day even dear, sweet, Mr. “Aww shucks” himself will get down in the mud and play dirty if it means getting a prized recruit.

“Dabo Swinney said he may have discussed Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s future with five-star recruit Jackson Carman as part of the recruiting process, and Carman said the suggestion that Meyer might not stay with the Buckeyes much longer was a factor in his decision to sign with the Tigers on Wednesday.”

Major college football is a dirty business, there aren’t any innocents.

Photo by Ken Lund


Link – Winning the Big Ten Championship Doesn’t Resonate Like It Once Did – And That’s a Shame

From Urban Meyer’s press conference Sunday afternoon:

“A sign of the times, it wasn’t until the eighth of ninth question of the session that Meyer was asked specifically about winning a Big Ten championship roughly 15 hours earlier. “

Now, the article goes on to talk about the significance of winning the conference championship, and that’s interesting, but I want to talk about the larger point here, and that is that college football has changed. The public is obsessed with the playoff. The entire season is now about who is going to get in, and once we’ve got that done, the rest of it didn’t, and doesn’t matter.

Football attendance at non Power-5 conferences is down. Bowl ratings and attendance for non-playoff games are down, the media in Columbus is asking draft eligible players if they’ll even bother to play the in Cotton Bowl. From what I hear, the Buckeyes are having trouble selling tickets to the game, all because at the end of the day, it’s nothing but a glorified exhibition game. Sure, USC and Ohio State should be a good game. It’s a game that pits two storied programs against each other, being played in Texas on national TV.

It’s also, due to the ridiculous bowl scheduling we now have, being played on a Friday night. Not on New Year’s Day, not on a weekend, but on a day most of us have to work. It’s no wonder they’re having trouble drumming up a lot of interest.

It’s also no wonder so many decent coaches are being fired. If you’re not in playoff contention, what’s the point?

The NCAA did this to itself. By creating the media frenzy that is the playoff, they’ve relegated everything else about Division 1-A college football to second-class status. College football fans aren’t going to fork out money and attention for second-class teams and games. It’ll only get worse from here.


Thad Matta Out At Ohio State

That’s the news this afternoon. Seems extremely odd for a school to fire their basketball coach in June. If they were unhappy with the results why not right at the end of the season when everyone else did it and starting hiring new coaches? 

What are we missing? What does Athletic Director Gene Smith have up his sleeve for the program? 

I guess we’ll see. Matta had a lot of success in his OSU career, but the results over the last couple of seasons have been lackluster, and the roster really hasn’t had the talent fans had gotten used to either. Is that due to  kids leaving early and Matta not being prepared for it, misses in recruiting or coaching? Who knows, but at the end of the day that all falls under Matta. You have to get all of that right to stay competitive year after year in the NCAA. 

It’s a tough job. 

Best of luck Coach. 

Link – Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott named NFL Rookie of the Year by PFWA

GreatnessWonder how often Ohio State will be sending this to recruits? 😉

“Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott took Offensive Rookie of the Year, while Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa won the defensive honor. Elliott had the second-best rushing performance by a rookie in NFL history with his 1,631 yards, falling just short of Eric Dickerson’s 1,808. The Cowboys back also added 15 touchdowns on the ground, and one receiving.

On the other side of the ball, Bosa was an easy choice with his 10.5 sacks in 12 games. Bosa missed the start of the season due to a contract dispute and a minor hamstring injury, but was worth the wait. “

Link – Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby wants clarity as non-league champion Ohio State Buckeyes, Washington Huskies make playoff

The Ramp

“”Obviously I acknowledge the difficulty of the task, but I’m not sure what I advise my members right now, because we’ve been telling them that nonconference schedules matter, and one of the four has an exceedingly weak nonconference schedule,” he said, referring to No. 4 Washington, which notched wins over Rutgers, Idaho and FCS Portland State. “And we’ve been telling them the 13th data point matters, and we added a conference championship game because of that. We’ve always heard that conference championships matter and division championships matter, and now it’s confusing.””

To be fair, this isn’t just sour grapes. He also acknowledges that the Big 12 didn’t really have a shot at getting a team in this year, but he would like to know what the “rules” are going to be. The Big 12 made a lot of changes to increase strength of schedule and to add a championship game next season because of how important those things were in keeping them out of the 2014 playoff, and this season they appear to not be as important.

Truthfully, there isn’t much he can do. The committee has been charged with making completely subjective decisions and those decisions are going to be driven by a lot of factors, not all of which play out on the field. Washington played a terrible schedule, but won all of those games very impressively, so they “look” like a top 4 team. Ohio State has as much talent as anyone in the country, so they “look” like a top 4 team, with only a fluky loss to Penn State on their resume.

On the other hand, Penn State beat OSU head to head and won their conference. Yes there’s that blowout loss to Michigan, and the upset by Pitt, but Clemson was upset by Pitt too, and Michigan is a top 10 team.

I realize this opinion may not be popular with my fellow Ohio State fans, but I don’t think they deserved to be in the playoff. It was true when Alabama and LSU played a rematch for the National Championship under the BCS and it’s true now, if you don’t even win your division and play in the conference championship game, you can’t possibly have proven yourself on the field to be one of the best teams on the country.

I would have put the winner of the Penn State- Wisconsin game in, Ohio State out. I would have had to leave Washington in, not because I’m a big fan of their schedule, or the strength of the PAC 12 overall, I’m not, but because no other conference champ really made for a compelling alternative to them. The Big 12 did not have a champion that stood out as being very good either, so SOS be damned, Washington is in s the 4th conference champ.

This all, however, makes for good argument fodder, which is what the NCAA really wants. They need interest in the games to increase if they expect to get better ratings than last year with the semi-finals being played on New Years Eve again. What better way than to give over half the country someone to root against like Ohio State?

Bring it. Despite my opinion, I’ll still be rooting for the Buckeyes to repeat what they did in 2014 and roll through the playoffs!

Playoff Chaos Again, But Will Ohio State Lose Out?

Field View from Press BoxAfter yesterdays losses by 3 of the top 4 teams in the College Football Playoff rankings, things are pretty much a mess. As it stands right now, we have unbeaten Alabama, and everyone else.

Which, is kind of what we thought we had, but with 3 other Big 5 conference teams also undefeated, the playoff picture seemed pretty simple. Now, it’s really not.

Given Ohio State’s 5th place ranking before yesterday, I’ve seen a lot of Buckeye fans celebrating, but I wouldn’t be so sure. Yes, this week OSU should get into the top 4, but can they stay there?

First, obviously, they have to beat Michigan State and Michigan.

Then, things get interesting. Unless Penn State somehow loses to either Rutgers or Michigan State, they will win the Eastern Division. They will go on to play in the Big ten Championship game, while Ohio State sits around waiting to see what happens.

Here’s the challenge. There has not yet been a team in the final four that did not win it’s conference, and for Ohio State to become the first, they need to be clearly better than two of the conference champs, and every other one-loss team.

That could be a problem.

  • Let’s assume one spot goes to Alabama.
  • Let’s also assume a one-loss Clemson wins the ACC and gets a spot.
  • Out West, if Washington wins the PAC12 with one loss? I think they’re golden.
  • In the Big 12, any of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (2 losees each), or West Virginia (1 loss) could win it.
  • In the Big 10, Penn State may wind up playing 2 loss Wisconsin for the title.
  • Louisville could also be sitting out there with one loss.

Are you so sure the committee will still see Ohio State as one of the top four?

If Penn State wins the conference, I think they get in over OSU, they won the conference and beat them head to head. In that case, I think 11-2 beats 11-1. Wisconsin would be a tougher call, does the committee value winning the conference, or OSU’s OT win over Wisconsin? Either way, I’m not feeling super confident that OSU gets in over the winner of their own conference.

That means OSU has to be clearly better than the PAC12 and Big12 winners, and hope the committee values their SOS more than Louisville, who may only have a close loss to another playoff team on it’s resume, just like Ohio State would if PSU wins the conference and gets into the playoff.

If you’re a Buckeye fan, here’s what you’re rooting for:

  • A Louisville loss to Houston, or a Clemson loss in the ACC championship.
  • Washington State or USC to win the PAC12. Preferably as a 3 loss team!
  • Oklahoma to win the Big!2 – That early, dominate, win in Norman would be hard for the committee to ignore.

See how much simpler the path to the playoff was before Michigan lost? We can’t ever count on them… 😉

Do you think OSU gets in? How do you think this will play out over the next three weeks?


Link – ‘I’m Not the Lone Wolf’ – Urban Meyer on Mental Health

Chasing Ambien with beer to sleep. Forty-pound weight loss. Chest pains. To stay in football, Urban Meyer had to address his mental health. Now, to help America tackle the issue, Ohio State’s head coach opens up in a B/R Mag exclusive.

This article is absolutely fascinating on many levels, and not just because I’m an Ohio State fan.

Let’s start with the obvious. We tend to look at the dedication and drive of people involved in sports, whether it be coaches like Meyer, or players, and think that the level of absolute dedication to their sport is the way we should live our lives to be as successful in whatever endeavor that we choose. But here’s one of the most successful college coaches in the country completely contradicting that.

Here is Meyer saying that yes being dedicated and chasing your goals is important, but you have to take the steps necessary to take care of yourself too, and losing site of that is going to cost you much more than that goal was ever worth.

Think about what he’s talking about in sharing his story. Sure, he was as successful as you could be at Florida, but what he was doing was hurting his physical and mental health, and ruining his relationship with his family. When we look at the athletes we admire for their dedication, and single-minded focus, do we stop to consider just what kind of human being they are off the field?

For that matter, do we stop to think about the successful entrepreneurs, the Steve Jobs of the world, and whether emulating them is always a good idea? Sure they may be successful in business, or in sports, but are they just shitty people? Do they leave behind a wake of crappy relationships and interactions? Is that what I want when I’m reading the “10 habits of the best athletes that you should follow to be successful”?

What if those habits include things like watching game film until 4AM, not sleeping, not interacting with my family, taking drugs to get through the workload, dealing with anxiety and stress levels that make chest pains a regular thing? In what world is that something we should emulate?

Good for Coach Meyer for taking the time to, as he says:

“To help that man or woman who’s going through some s–t right now, and struggling,” he says. He rattles off one profession after another that isn’t College Football Coach but is demanding all the same—teachers, police officers, firefighters, doctors, parents, soldiers and more. “These people that are in consuming jobs—you forget to do one thing,” Urban says. “And that’s to take care of yourself.”

Absolute truth right there, and my respect for being willing to say it. Even more for the lessons he is passing on to his players about taking care of themselves. It’s impressive to see how much time he puts into that kind of stuff with his players as well.

One Week Down

Field View from Press BoxSo, after Ohio State thrashed Bowling Green by 67 on Saturday, I had occasion to be out and about over the weekend in my Buckeye t-shirt. A person passing by us along the coast made a comment to the effect of “they really whaled this week, eh?”.

My response was the only response you can have when you’re a college football fan. “One week down”. Because, as good as Ohio State looked against BG, it was just one week. Next week you have to do it all over again against Tulsa, and then you have a trip to Oklahoma and then the Big Ten season, and on and on.

If this week taught us anything about college football, it’s that week one is exactly that, week one. A lot of teams aren’t playing as smoothly as they will later in the season, a couple paid a pretty big price for it, but it’s only one week. Even Oklahoma, LSU and Notre Dame aren’t dead yet, but they might want to get it turned around quickly. One loss might not end playoff hopes, but two early ones are going to be near impossible to overcome.

One thing that week one definitely tells us, as it does nearly every year, is that no one knows anything going into that first preseason poll. What, exactly did voters base those votes on? Week one sure didn’t play out the way the polls had it, did it? Why do we even bother?

After one week, my way too early playoff prediction? Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Houston but there’s a lot of football to be played before we figure out who the best 4 teams truly are.