Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tomorrow's game

It's the night before a game. Guess what I am having trouble with???

Yep. I can't sleep.

Oh, well. It's a night game. I'll sleep during the Akron/Kent State game....just like all the fans of the Golden Flashes.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Iowa's biggest weakness

Jim Tressel and company does not need me to tell them what Iowa's weaknesses are. They already know. But since I did the research, I'd better spread the knowledge, because who knows....maybe one of my readers has no idea what that weakness might be.

It's their run defense. Iowa is not capable of slowing down a running game, and Ohio State will exploit that weakness ALL day. So expect to see a LOT of Antonio Pittman. We will be using the run to set up the pass on Saturday night. As soon as Iowa starts to panic and draw their defense in to stop Pittman, Smith will go over their heads. Count on it.

Now, that's the type of prognostication that you can read on any troll-filled message board, which NEVER supplies any type of proof. It's just written as fact, and no background on WHY it's true is ever needed.

Not in MY House, Buckeye's how I know that Iowa's run defense is their biggest weakness.

Last week, Illinois rushed for 121 yards against Iowa. Prior to that, the Illini rushed for only 97 yards against lowly Syracuse and a mere 66 yards against up-and-coming Rutgers.

The week before that, Iowa State pounded out 171 yards on the ground against the Hawkeyes. That was the Cyclones' best rushing game of the season, after compiling 137 yards against UNLV, but only managing 21 yards on the ground against Texas.

I wouldn't dare say that Iowa State or Illinois have anything NEAR a decent rushing attack....and they both had better games on the ground against Iowa than they did against teams like UNLV, Syracuse and Rutgers. ISU showed that when they face a good defense, they can't run (21 yards against Texas???), but ran like wildfire all over the Hawkeyes.

There it is....that's your key. They have a young, small defensive line. Pound on it early and often. Wear them down as HARD as you can. Force Ferentz to bring 8 men into the box to stop Pittman and the Wells' boys. Then let GinnZoBiskie go to town.

By the way, I just put a copyright on the term "GinnZoBiskie". Any descriptions or accounts without the expressed written consent on the BBC is strictly prohibited.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big Ten rankings, four weeks in

Personally, I LOVE looking over statistics, doing a little analyzing, and seeing what comes as a pleasant surprise. Since I've had a little extra time this week, I looked over the Big Ten rankings and found a few facts about where the Buckeyes stand through 4 games against the rest of the conference.

Things that WON'T surprise you;
- Ohio State is ranked #1 in passing efficency
- Ohio State is ranked #2 in passing offense
- Ohio State is ranked #2 in net punting
- Ohio State is ranked #1 in scoring defense

Things that WILL surprise you;
- Ohio State is ranked 10th in rushing offense
- Ohio State is ranked 5th in scoring offense
- Ohio State is ranked 6th in both punt/kick returns

The punt returns and kick returns will get better. But that had better start happening soon, because we need that stage of the game to be a force. The scoring offense will go up, because we will continue to grab 32+ points per game, while teams who have feasted on lesser opponents will have a hard time keeping pace in the B10.

Most everybody expected our offense to be in high gear throughout 2006, and it has so far....but 10th in the Big Ten in rushing offense? I know it's not Pittman's fault, because he is the 11th-ranked rusher in the NCAA.

So where do I place the fault at having such a low Big Ten ranking in the ground game???

Jim Tressel.

Jimmy, please....LET TROY USE HIS FEET! I'm hoping that you have been saving such a weapon while we fine-tune the rest of the game, and that you'll open it up against Iowa. Iowa's got a weak front-four on defense and it should get softened up by Pittman, leaving the option play wide open in the second half. And I know that Tress has been pushing Troy to stay with his passing game. But we are a MUCH bigger threat when teams don't know whether or not he'll take off or pass. ask Michigan or Notre Dame. But right now, they KNOW he's only looking to run. Confuse them. Make them play on their heels. Now is the time.


But if you don't heed my advice, I'll understand. After all, between me and Jim Tressel, only one of us averages 10 wins a season and has a National Championship ring for each day of the work week.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Meeting my quota

While I will strive to NOT post boring stuff just for the sake of posting, I want to make a solid effort to blog on a daily basis. I realize that i have very few readers right now, but that is no excuse for a matter of fact, it's a GREAT way to build a following. I'll probably also tweak the template a few times in the near future, to see if I can get a near-perfect look to The BBC. Of course, is free, so I realize I can't be too picky. Still, I like what I see so far.

Anyway, let's get into discussing the Iowa game this weekend. Everybody knows how huge this game is. Before the season started, I pointed towards three games that I felt could trip up the Buckeyes....Texas, Iowa, and TTUN (That Team Up North, for fans new to the terminology). ESPN is sending GameDay to Iowa City (where Corso will probably pick the Hawkeyes just to get fans there to cheer for him). ABC has made it their nationally-televised Saturday Night College Football Game. Translation - EVERYBODY knows how huge this game is.

Still, some Iowa fans seem to think that Ohio State is overlooking the Hawkeyes and this will lead directly to our demise. Whatever gets you through the night, Herky.

Now, I am NOT underestimating Iowa when I say this....but I just don't see anything that has impressed me in the 2006 season. I'm not sure Iowa has shown why they are capable of upsetting the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes.

We've heard about how great Iowa's offense is supposed to be, behind QB Drew Tate. Yet, they've got the 40th ranked offense in the NCAA. By contrast, Northern Illinois has the 17th best offense and Texas has the 23rd best offense. Even Penn State is barely behind Iowa, ranked at 44th in the NCAA. We stifled all three of those offenses.

The Iowa defense? Not too bad....ranked 26th in the NCAA. But let's be serious here...they got that lofty ranking by playing against the offenses of Iowa State (60th-ranked offense), Illinois (63rd-ranked offense), Syracuse (99th-ranked offense) and Montana (Dision 1-AA school). They're not going to be facing a weak offense like that this Saturday.

Now, these are just the numbers as they appear on know the cliche' about the game not being played on paper, but those stats say a lot.

From what I see, if both teams play like they have been playing all year, this one's a blowout. But I won't dare predict that, because I think Iowa will be looking for the respect they badly need. The Buckeyes better be ready....but then again, I have faith in Tressel.

The best single-sentence summary I can find

As I browse the sports section looking for commetary on the Ohio State victory over Penn State (or any other victory), I like to look for little nuggets of wisdom. With the defense clicking and the offense finding the magic when needed, everyone has a lot to say about our beloved boys in scarlet.

But when Troy Smith threw his only TD on Saturday to Brian Robiskie, my first thought was "Heisman Trophy". I immediately commented to my friends that this was the play that would be shown over and over again on sports shows when promoting Smith's Heisman chances. Many people only recall one TD that Doug Flutie threw when he won the trophy. That's what it's going to be like for Troy Smith.

However, one person I found came up with the perfect comment. It describes perfectly what that touchdown was like, and it only took one sentence.

Troy Smith's touchdown pass to Brian Robiskie was like something straight out of NCAA 2007.

That came from JD Arney over at Around The Oval. On face value, it's a very basic sentence. But it is a perfect summary, because we all know EXACTLY the type of play he means. Something so incredible, it could only be perfomed on a X-Box or a PlayStation. But for those of us who got to witness it as it happened, it was magic.

JD's got some great insight and has started himself a nice blog. Give him some love and visit him as often as you can.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This is going to be a long, difficult season

With all the hype over Ohio State's quest for a National Championship in 2006, I spent some time today thinking about how it all relates to the 2002 season. And I've gotta tell you, there is very little comparison.

Sure, there's the obvious similarities. But most of the time, we've gotta actually LOOK for the similarities. But you've really got to take a serious look back, and then you'll understand that this year is NOTHING like '02.

For example, we are actually EXPECTED to play for the title this year. Sure, there's the naysayers and the pundits on ESPN who don't give us much credit and desperately want to find moments of weakness. But in 2002, we were not at all expected to contend. As a matter of fact, we weren't even ranked in the Top 10 at the start of the season. With each win, we did manage to creep up the charts, but it was more due to other teams losing and us climbing the rankings by default. By the time we knocked off Purdue, many voters had no choice but to put us in teh Top 2, especially because that was the same day Oklahoma finally lost, leaving only 2 unbeatens.

This year, there was a target on our backs from the first minute of the first game. In '02, nobody outside of Ohio thought we'd keep winning, and everybody just assumed that some team would trip us up and they wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.

Craig Krenzel wasn't a Heisman front-runner. Maurice Clarett was just a freshman with no quality wins under his belt. Michael Jenkins' luck would run out on the long TDs. Jim Tressel was in over his head, having gone 7-5 in his first season at Division 1.

They didn't give us the credit. They paid the price for that.

But this year, it's different. we EXPECT to be highlighted on ESPN at the top of the hour. Defenses are geared towards stopping Ginn, and they know the penalty if they let Gonzo go unnoticed. How many guys named Smith can get recognized WITHOUT using their first name? Ours can. Tressel's got legendary status in the Big Ten now. They point towards Ohio State when they want to prove that "reload, not rebuild" is not just an empty slogan.

To summarize, we ain't sneakin' up on nobody this year.

So expect a season FULL of games like the Penn State contest. Hard-fought early on, and it'll take a big play or two to pull away. Fortunately, we have a lineup FULL of guys who can make the big play. But outside of a home contest against BGSU and a visit to Illinois later on, there isn't going to be an easy one the rest of the way.

I'm sure Tressel knows this. I'm sure Smith and Company know this. But it's time we start realizing it as well.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Buckeyes finish "Revenge Tour '06"

OK, I'll admit it. It was scary for a while there. Not seeing our beloved Buckeyes score for the first two quarters scared the hell out of me. At halftime, I thought "Damn, I wonder when the last time we went back-to-back quarters without scoring".

The answer to that question was the third and fourth quarters of last year's game against.....Penn State. I gulped a little harder when I thought about what that meant.

But then the Buckeyes turned it on. Both offensively and defensively. No, Smith didn't have Heisman-esque stats for the game. But he did have one play that will go on his Heisman reel, and that was enough to seal the deal for the Scarlet and Gray.

You can read all the game recaps and stat sheets you want, but here's the one stat that stands out in LARGE fashion to me....

Ohio State's defense has allowed three touchdowns this year.
Ohio State's defense has scored two touchdowns this year.

When you've got that going for you, you're on the road to greatness. Nobody can deny that this defense has outplayed EVERYONE expectations.

- Surrendering 8 points per game.
- Allowing only 167 yards passing per game
- Allowing only 115 yards rushing per game

Did ANYBODY expect this defense to be this strong so early??? I know I didn't.

One final thought. We can make all the references to the 2002 winning the close ones and keeping us on the edge of our seats, and they do translate well to 2006. But I swore I saw the ghost of Chris Gamble when Jenkins took that ball through traffic down the sideline.

The inaugural BBC post

The night before a big Ohio State game, I find it difficult to fall asleep. When I do finally drift off, it's a hard sleep, but it never lasts very long. I often will wake up at 5am and have trouble getting to sleep again. This is my curse, and I am living it again at this very moment.

It's 6:50 am (and Michigan still sucks), and I have read about everything I can read about the Ohio State/Penn State game that will begin in about 8 and a half hours. So there's only one thing left to do....create my own Buckeye blog and write my own damn articles.

Welcome to Buckeye Battle Cry.

A little name is Jeff, I am 37 years old, I live in Canton, Ohio, and I am an Ohio State football fanatic. For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of the scarlet and gray. When I was a little boy, my dad and I used to watch games together every Saturday. Back then, the games would be re-broadcast at 1030pm, and I'd stay up late to watch the Bucks all over again. Dad took me to my first game on September 8th, 1984. We beat Oregon State 22-14 that day.

A few years later, I stepped onto campus as a freshman at The Ohio State University. My first game as a student was a 24-3 victory over West Virginia. Later that year, I traveled with Block O to the Michigan game, which turned out to be Earle Bruce's final game as the Buckeyes Head Coach. Of course, we won 23-20.

I spent the next 10 years going to every Ohio State/Michigan game, whether it was in Ann Arbor or Columbus. I repaid my father by taking him to see the 1989 game up north. We lost 28-18. Yes, I was there when Desmond Howard struck the Heisman pose. I thought my luck was bad when I looked at my record of attending OSU/UM games and saw it at 2-7-1. Now I know it wasn't my fault. It was John Cooper's.

My favorite Buckeye player is a man who I never saw play, not even on tape. Quarterback John Borton (1952-1954) was the father of a very special friend of mine. In the early 90s, I wrote an article about him for the Massillon Independent. He invited me into his home and we spoke about every Buckeye detail we could think of. I was enthralled by the stories he had to share, and the article just wrote itself. A few weeks later, Borton asked me to represent him at halftime of the 1994 Purdue game, where the 1954 National Chapionship team would be honored (along with other NC teams). His health was failing him and he couldn't make it to Columbus. I happily stood alongside Buckeye legends on the sideline, sending best wishes from Borton to his old teammates, but refused to step on the field with such great men. Despite representing one of the players, I never wore the uniform. Anne Hayes offered me a solution, and she insisted I ride with her in her golf cart to the center of the field. I could have died a happy man that day.

John Borton passed away four years ago, but left behind a loving family who honors his accomplishments to this day. And I firmly believe he had a role from up above, as a few short months after he passed away, the Buckeyes gave us a 14-0 season and their first National Championship in my lifetime.

His ashes have since been spread on the field at Ohio Stadium.

I'll keep this blog updated as frequently as I can. If nothing else, I know I'll have time every Saturday morning at 6am to work on it.