Sunday, September 30, 2007

Michigan facing forfeit of win over PSU

Late last night, some strange news hit the airwaves...I heard it, but didn't want to say anything for fear of pushing uncorroborated rumor. It's confirmed now.

Michigan used an ineligible player in their first four games, and may be forced to forfeit their win against Penn State.

Courtesy M-Live, the Big Ten is investigating, and Michigan AD Bill Martin has confirmed the illegal use of freshman Artis Chambers. The Big Ten will announce later this week their findings.

Use of Chambers violated Big Ten procedure, but not NCAA. So no matter what the Big Ten does, Michigan's win against Notre Dame will stand. Chambers did not play against Northwestern, and Chambers is no longer on the team.

Martin refused to identify the rule violation.

Damn, it sucks to be a Wolverine.

But it also sucks to be this this loser freak out over Florida's loss....

Say hello to the 4th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes!

Ohio State started the season ranked #11 in the AP poll, #10 in the Coaches Poll. Those days are over.

Say hello to the #4 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

Since that pre-season poll, teams above us have failed to hold their poll position. Michigan failed. Virginia Tech failed. Louisville failed (again and again). Wisconsin hasn't played well and lost their #7 ranking.

Today, the college football world was rocked. #3 Oklahoma was shocked by unranked Colorado. #4 Florida fell to unranked Auburn....again. #7 Texas was embarrassed by unranked Kansas State.....again. Add to that #5 West Virginia failing to win Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have won consistently, with no opponent coming within 18 points. Quietly, Ohio State has climbed the polls, and they will most likely show up tomorrow morning at #4.

Wisconsin was #9, just behind OSU. Looking closely at the polls, there's no likelihood they will leapfrog Ohio State. They were 163 poll points behind OSU in the AP, and 66 poll points back in the Coaches Poll. They should, however, show up at #5.

Keep winning, Buckeyes. This season is unfolding better than we could have possibly expected thus far.

By the way, #1 USC and likely-#3 California......they play each other November 10th, so one of them will have to lose.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In praise of me

Rick at Halftime Adjustments did a little profile on The BBC, and they have a great site over there.,

So that's two reasons to go there. Do it now.

Minnesota preview - Thank God for Jim Tressel

I'm not going to pretend about this weekend's game. Ohio State is worthy of their #8 ranking, and Minnesota is not a good football team. This game is not going to be pretty for Golden Gopher fans. Here's the relevant stats;

- Minnesota is ranked 119th in the NCAA in total defense. Yes, the worst team in Division 1.
- Their rushing defense is actually 51st, giving up 135 yards per game.
- The passing defense....holy crap, it's awful. Worst in the NCAA, giving up 408 yards PER GAME.

Offensively, Minnesota is ranked much higher. But upon further review, the Gopher offense seems to be getting a lot of their yards and points in the 4th quarter, often playing catch-up against prevent defenses. Minnesota has scored a total of 62 points in the first three quarters, and 80 points after.

This is also a team that lost to both Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic.

Finally, Ohio State has the second-best defense in the NCAA, while Minnesota leads the nation in turnovers.

Like I said. It won't be pretty.

But Minnesota does have a future. New head coach Tim Brewster knows he is rebuilding his team, and he's the right guy for the job. His recruiting efforts already far outweigh anything Minnesota has seen in years, and Gopher fans can look forward to a brand new team in a brand new campus-based stadium very soon. Brewster and MSU coach Mark Dantonio will be battling the rest of the legendary list of Big Ten coaches for a long time, as they both bring their teams back from the dead. Chin up,'ve got a future.

During the 2000 season, both Minnesota and Ohio State were playing below their potential. Ohio State realized it and dumped John Cooper during the offseason. One of the names brought up frequently for Cooper's replacement was Glen Mason, Minnesota's leader. Mason played football at Ohio State, and was an assistant coach under Woody Hayes. He was widely touted as the next coach, before the job was given to Tressel.

As good as it has been for Buckeye fans since that day, that's how bad it got for Minnesota fans under Mason. Read this post by Gopher Nation, and see how great of a recruiter Mason was for this guy didn't get driven out of town sooner is a mystery to me, especially when he's been heard to say things like this;
"I used to say at Minnesota all the time, if you ever see us in the top 10 in USA Today recruiting we're cheating."

"There's no palm trees there, there are no mountains, there's not an ocean and it's cold during the winter."
A special thanks to Mason for being that bad at recruitment, especially when one notes that James Laurinaitis comes from the Land Of Lakes.....

Ohio State 42
Minnesota 14

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Semi-insane superstitions, anyone?

Rick at Halftime Adjustments and I were talking today, when we shared stories from 2002. It got us thinking, and we decided to run with it.....

Here's my story. I want to hear yours too, and we're going to compile a little be as detailed as you like.

I'm superstitious about my sports teams, especially Ohio State. If they're winning, I'll wear the same jersey again and again (yes, I wash it...shut up). But my most intense day of superstition came on November 23, 2002.

Ohio State was 12-0 and playing Michigan at home. A win gets them into the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl for a shot at the National Championship. I'm watching the game alone at home (because we won every time my wife left the house for an Ohio State-Michigan game, and we lost every time she out she went for the day).

I had bought two bags of Tostitos chips, and sat on the couch to watch the game. After EVERY play, I would get up from my seat, walk around the house, and return to the couch. Once I sat down, I would eat one chip. Even better, my ass had to be in the exact same spot as it was the play before. Dammit, these guys were going to win, and I was going to help get them there. How could i live with myself if I broke rank and the Buckeyes lost?

Ohio State won 14-9, and went on to win the National Championship over Miami 31-24 in double OT. Can you argue with those results?

Give me your superstitions...what do you do for your team to assure victory?

While you were sleeping....

...the Indians won in 12 innings, 4-3 over Seattle. The Tribe holds their lead over Boston for the best record in baseball by a half-game. If we want to finish with the #1 seed and home-field advantage, the Magic Numbers are now;

over Boston - 6
over Los Angeles - 4
over New York - 3

With 6 games to play, it's going to be a tight race. But looking at the matchups, I like our chances.

It's a doubleheader today. At 7pm, we have Fausto Carmona (18-8, 3.03 ERA) going against Ryan Feierabend (1-5, 7.33 ERA). The second game is a bit troublesome, as we have Jeremy Souers (1-6, 6.93 ERA) up against Jarrod Washburn (10-15, 4.36 ERA).

Fifteen pitchers were used last night (7 Tribe, 8 Mariners), so the team who has to go to the bullpen early today is in trouble. We need 6 or 7 innings out of Carmona in his final start of the regular season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The hardest hit EVER

Just goofing off online, and came across this....


Mid day wrapup

Lots to talk about again;

Ohio State football

God dammit, Antonio Henton. What the hell were you thinking?

I've stayed out of the ever-changing headlines on this story, because there were too many conflicting reports early. No, the charges didn't disappear, and the story behind what happened isn't exactly clear. One story says he straight-up solicited a prostitute, another story says he and a group of buddies heckled a hooker and Henton waved a 100-dollar bill at her. That would actually be soliciting, but it would be gray-area stuff.

Either way, Henton's suspended from the team (which is EXACTLY what should happen to the kid) and won't travel to Minnesota this weekend, or Purdue next weekend.

Special thanks go out to the following, for keeping Henton out of the news cycle today;

- LSU linebacker Derrick Odom, for getting arrested while trying to beat up a car. Yeah, you heard me. By the way, it's Odom's second arrest in a month, and he's still on the team.
- Jack Bauer, for getting a DUI
- Most of the Texas Longhorns, for getting a rap sheet that makes the Cincinnati Bengals seem like angels.


Ohio State is currently ranked #8 in both the AP and Coaches' Poll. They are within range to do a little run towards a title, but it'll take a big run plus a little help.

Texas is ranked #7, ahead of OSU 1,196 to 1,193, a razor-thin margin. They've been gaining weekly on the struggling Longhorns, and another blowout win over Minnesota could put them at #7. Plus, Texas is scheduled to lose against Oklahoma in 2 weeks anyway.


ESPN also sees our value right now. They have Ohio State ranked #7 in the Power Rankings.


Hat tip to MotSaG for finding this video - seriously, "The Worm"? Doesn't this guy know he lost to Appy State and Oregon? Have some class, douchebag.

Cleveland Indians

The Tribe now has their playoff spot, and are closing in on the best record in baseball. Finishing the regular season with the best record means two things for us;

1) We get home-field-advantage throughout the postseason, including the World Series.
2) We get to pick the schedule for the first round. If they choose Schedule B, they get 8 days to play a 5-game series. Imagine being able to pitch C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona twice each in a best-of-5. It'd be sending a guy with an 18-7 record and a 3.10 ERA to the hill four times in five games. Me likey.

As of this posting, the Indians Magic Number to win the American League's best record are;

over Boston - 7
over Los Angeles - 6
over New York - 5

We start tonight at 10pm against Seattle. If we can go 5-2 or 6-1 in our final 7 games, it should get us what we need.


Cleveland Cavaliers

Yeah, you heard me.

Preseason games start in 14 days. Hell, yeah!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Big Ten Blogger Roundtable - Week 5

Honors go out to Lake The Posts this week for putting together the roundtable questions. Let's all give LTP credit for getting up off the floor after the beatdown his team suffered this weekend at the hands of our Buckeyes. Here's the questions to ponder this week;

1. Michigan turned to Russell Crowe (successfully). ND went with Regis (unsuccessfully). Imagine your team is in desperate need of a pregame pep talk (no imagination needed at NU). You can bring in anyone in the world. Who do you turn to and why?

Oh, that's easy. The one, the only, Woody Hayes. Woody was the master at getting his boys motivated for any game. He ate, drank, and breathed Ohio State football, and he could whip those senseless little bastards into winning the game!

Plus, the sight of reanimated flesh would scare the piss out of anyone, and they'll do anything to not have to go back into the lockerroom for more of that scary, scary pep talk.

2. What perception about your program is perpetuated to the point where it is your pet peeve? Why does it bother you so much (no, the answer does not have to be an alliteration)?

Again, I think you'll find the same answers from most of my Buckeye brethren. The perception that Ohio State is a criminal organization bothers me to no end. I will be the first one to admit that we had a lot of issues with the law, and I will be the first to admit that Maurice Clarett was a huge black eye for us. But the perception that Jim Tressel allows this sort of behavior aggravates me. Tressel doles out the punishment as harshly as I've seen any coach in college football. Clarett is the perfect example. At the start of the 2003 season, there were only rumors about Clarett's problems, and Tressel sat him for the season-opening Washington game. Soon after, the rumors were confirmed, and Clarett was gone.

Tressel will give the punishment necessary, and if the deed is serious enough, you're gone.

Ask Steve Bellisari, who was benched for the Michigan game in his senior season for a DUI two weeks prior.

Ask Louis Irizarry. He now plays 1-AA ball after an assault.

Ask Troy Smith how it felt to miss his first bowl game and the following year's opener for taking 500 bucks as a gift from a booster.

These are young kids. Tressel does his best to guide them through a very formidable stage of their lives. If they mess up, he handles it properly. If they mess up big, he handles it with an ax.

We recruit football players. If they come to play football, they can stay and play every day. If they go astray, they can keep on straying somewhere else. That's what I like.

3. It is only week 5 of the season, but you've been asked to create your team's highlight reel for the season. You get to choose one song. What is it and why?

It's as if you wrote the question just for me. Here's the two best songs I have for two of my best videos. Enjoy.

Do I really have to explain why those two songs? I think you already know the answers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy birthday to the BBC

One year ago today, I started this blog. I didn't expect much...frankly, I loved reading other OSU blogs, and I wanted an outlet of my own. I hoped (at the time) that maybe the guys who write for MotSaG or Buckeye Commentary, or Around The Oval would see it. Those were the big dogs on the block (they still are), and just having them read my work would have been a huge success to me.

I mean, let's face it...I'm just a jackass who likes to hear himself think. Who would ever think that other people would give a damn?

Later that day, The BBC got it's first comment. It was a spambot telling me I could make extra cash. Not the way I wanted to start out, but what the hell, right? My reports were showing me I got about 15 pageviews a day.

Once I figured out how to embed videos, my Buckeye highlight reels were given the exposure I wanted (outside of YouTube, at least). MotSaG started giving us links, as did Eleven Warriors and AtO. I just wanted to write and create, and now I had the best in the blogging community reading my stuff and showing it to their own readers. That was, and still is, the best compliment I could have been given.

I only wanted to write about Ohio State when I began a year ago. But the kudos of respected bloggers gave me license to continue into pro sports, and I now write year-round for this site.

Today, I am a proud member of the Big Ten Bloggers, a group which circles the entire conference. We share ideas, readers, and links. Our teams do battle on the field, and yet we all find friendship amongst each other. Our circle of bloggers now compares pick-ems, answers roundtable questions, and swaps out writers. There is plenty of room to grow, and I see great things in the future for The BBC and beyond.

As of this moment, I have had 38,365 pageviews. Also, my videos have been seen a total of 855,000 times.

So on this 1st birthday, I thank my readers for returning daily. I thank the people who have e-mailed my videos to each other and commented on them. But most especially, I thank my fellow bloggers for allowing me a place on their sites. Without the exposure you have lent me, I would have no readers at all. Without your encouragement and support, The BBC would not be what it is today.

Cleveland Indians, 2007 Central Division Champions

The Indians wrapped it up today, beating Oakland 6-2. Jake Westbrook's pitches had amazing control, and DAMN that ball was breaking on him a lot. He looked his best today, and we need him in the playoffs.

With that win, the Indians become the first team in the Majors to clinch their own division.

There are 7 games left in the regular season. We have two more things to do as a team before the playoffs begin;

1) Set the starting rotation so we can roll into the postseason with the right amount of rest.
2) Win home field advantage so we can set the postseason schedule.

Boston lost today, so we will hold sole possession of the American League lead by day's end. The Magic Number to win home field advantage is as follows;

Over Boston - 7
Over Los Angeles - 7
Over New York - 6

Freakin' Sweet stat of the day - In the last 12 series the Indians have played, we've won 11 of them. The other series was a 2-2 split at L.A. No Series losses since August 12th. Freakin' sweet!

Ohio State/Northwestern recap - "I blinked, and it was over"

How much can you say about a game that was a blowout halfway into the first quarter? The Buckeyes looked dominant from the start of the game and got to call off the dogs early.

Two plays into the game, Ray Small put the ball on the ground. Most people forgot about that, because seconds after we recovered the fumble, Todddddddd Boeckman hit Brian Robiskie for 42 yards and a TD. From there, it only got worse if you were a Wildcats fan.

Several vicious hits by the defense, coupled with the Buckeyes taking advantage of nearly every opportunity, led to a 58-7 final score. Some of the key stats for the day;

- The defense didn't give up a touchdown (NW scored on special teams)
- Northwestern rushed the ball 33 times for a total of no yards
- Robiskie caught three passes all day. All three were touchdowns
- 9 different Buckeyes caught passes on the day
- Beanie Wells only carried the ball 12 times, yet still got his century mark of 100 yards
- A.J. Trapasso only had to punt once. This kid gets to go to college for free for that.
- Boeckman only had two of his passes hit the ground. 14 pass attempts, 11 Buckeyes caught them (one Wildcat INT) and 4 touchdowns.

I know that Northwestern was not a good team coming in, but nobody expected this. Most people were picking the Buckeyes to win, but how many of you would have taken the Wildcats plus 50 and a half points?

I certainly would have.


Jim Tressel is not a malicious guy, and certainly doesn't hold grudges. But when Northwestern beat his Buckeyes in 2004, it was a black eye. Since that day, Ohio State has played NW three times. We've outscored them by a combined total of 160 to 24.


In 2006, Ohio State had one of the most prolific offenses the University has ever seen. They sent several players to the NFL, and the word around the street was how the Buckeyes were done. "No way can they compete with this many new players on offense"....oh, really?

Through 4 games, 2007 - 37 points per game
Through 4 games, 2006 - 31 points per game

We don't rebuild. We reload.


In my opinion, Antonio Henton is the #2 QB on this squad. But he does need work. He's got great running skills, and a QB with mobility got us far in the previous 2.5 years. Boeckman is the man for this team (and next year), but when the road clears for Henton's junior year, I hope he's had plenty of experience under his belt so he can step onto the field as our leader.


Last week, I claimed Ohio State to be "clearly" the best team in the Big Ten. I was making a bit of a bold statement, especially considering we still had two more top-10 teams in Wisconsin and Penn State. But after a 51-point win, I was ready to pound my chest a bit.

Then Penn State got beat by Michigan...heck, they didn't even cross the goal line against THAT defense? Embarrassing. You let those guys get their confidence back, and your Big Ten hopes are swallowed up because you choked. I should have seen it coming when Buffalo passed for over 300 yards, but you put every weakness on display for the rest of the Big Ten to see.

Then Wisconsin reminded everybody why they shouldn't be in the Top 10 anymore. Iowa, who couldn't beat Iowa State (the Cyclones, whom Kent State DID manage to beat), had them on the ropes all night Camp Randall Stadium, no less. Wisky ended up winning 17-13, but they had to struggle against a team with no passing game (seriously, no passing game - Iowa QB Jake Christensen is so awful, the only picture of him on ESPN's player profile is of him on his back. Go look for yourself). Wisconsin has struggled in all four games this year, and no team on their schedule thus far is anything a Top 10 team should have any difficulty with.

Is it weakness in the Big Ten? Is it "parity", like they say it is in the SEC whenever an Ole Miss nearly knocks off a Florida? I'm not sure what it is, but the Buckeyes have the pole position and are playing the best football in the conference.


I have to take a moment to laugh at Michigan again. They whined and cried when Jim Harbaugh called them out for letting players on the squad who are "less than model citizens" and "less than academic scholars". You should have seen the explosion of outrage.

Yesterday, Harbaugh's Stanford team took it to Oregon for the first half, before the Ducks pulled away. Stanford scored 31 in the first half, which is 24 points more than Michigan scored the entire Oregon game. It would have been nice to see Harbaugh win that game.....


Today is the one-year anniversary of the Buckeye Battle Cry. Where's my present?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's game day!

I've run over the stats already, and the internets are chock full of no more of that. Time for a little more opinion-based coverage.

- Brandon Saine won't be playing today. The Columbus Dispatch reported this morning that Saine underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday. He's out for the Minnesota game also, but could be back by Purdue. "The procedure was considered minor" is the key phrase, and as a matter of fact, Saine practiced with the injury and didn't even know it. Sounds to me like a small tear was repaired before it became a bigger tear. It's unsettling that Saine will be out, but at least it's for Northwestern and Minnesota. Kudos to the OSU trainers and medical staff for picking up the injury and handling it immediately.

- In another "why the hell would you do that" comparison moment, Saine's injury is slightly reminiscent of the 2002 championship season with another freshman running back (He Who Shall Not Be Named). People tend to forget that HWSNBN was injured a lot in 2002 and missed more than a couple of games that year.

- Today is the 500th game played in the Shoe. Hat tip - The Buckeye Blog. Game 1 was played against Ohio Wesleyan on October 7th, 1922, the same day as Joe Paterno's 25th-year high school reunion.

- Today's a 3:30pm kickoff, and I like those....based entirely on results. The Buckeyes in 2006 always seemed to have trouble with Noon starts, and it often took them way too long to get motoring. I think it was too early in the day, and our players weren't yet awake. Just a theory. That trend has continued this year, as the Bucks have not started any game on all four cylinders, and we've had all three games with early kickoffs (I know, Washington kicked off at 330, but it was west coast time, so it felt like 1230 to the boys in the unis). Let's see if my theory is just a theory, or if there's something to it.....

- Beanie Wells will obviously get more carries now, but I was expecting to see him dominate today anyway. Northwestern has a below-average run defense, and Wells is playing against his old Akron rival, Tyrell Sutton. Wells seems to bring his A game in the bigger contests, and for him...this is that day.

- In baseball news, today the Cleveland Indians could clinch the American League Central Division. With a win over Oakland, they clinch at least a tie...and if Detroit loses to KC, it's official. Both games start at 7pm. I kinda hope the Tribe win takes about 10 minutes longer than the Detroit loss, so the sold-out house at the Jake can go nuts with the final out.

Also, the Indians go into today with the best record in baseball. No ties. they're in sole possession of that baby at 91-62. The Red Sox and the Angels are each a half-game back, at 91-63. So what the hell, let's do this....the Magic Number to get the #1 seed is 9 (for both Boston and L.A.).

From the Northwest to Northwestern

Last week, we were up in the Northwestern corner of the United States. This week, we're home to face Northwestern.

Ooooooh, spooooooky.........

That's all. I'm going to bed.

Ohio State 38
Northwestern 10

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Big Ten Bloggers Rountable, Week 4

Here's the answers I promised you......

1. Time to break out the crystal ball. I want to know what happens at the END of the season. Give me your offensive and defensive Players of the Year in the Big Ten along with Coach of the Year and why.

This should be fun to look back at. Let's give it a try.

Offensive POY - Mike Hart, Michigan. I can't stand the guy, mainly because of his arrogance and inability to properly deal with a loss. Either way, the kid can flat-out run the ball. Say what you will about the Appalachian State game, Hart's 50+-yard run to give Michigan the lead was incredible, and he nearly won that game for the Wolverines single-handedly. His downfall are injuries, which have started to spring up again. If he stays healthy, he's hands-down the best offensive player in the Big Ten

Defensive POY - James Laurinaitis, Ohio State. I still can't understand how some consider Little Animal to be overrated. He won the Nagurski Award, was a finalist for the Butkus Award, and was an a SOPHOMORE! Now in his junior season, he's eating up opposition. His two interceptions of Jake Locker last week played no small part in the Buckeyes dominant win. Time and time again, Laurinaitis has been the stopper Ohio State needs for victory, and I see him continuing that trend.

Coach Of The Year - Joe Tiller, Purdue. Purdue's excellence on offense has opened a lot of eyes around the nation. 50 points per game is a nice start, no matter the competition. That should stay the same with Minnesota and Notre Dame up next. Then comes the Big Ten's best defense, Ohio State. But by then, Purdue will be ranked and moving up. If Tiller can knock off just one Big Ten powerhouse this year, Tiller will be hailed as a hero and win the coach of the year.

2. With the upsets, close games, and head scratchers so far, every game we thought was going to be important has changed. Michigan State is 3-0, for Pete's sake, and they look good doing it. Pick the three games on the Big Ten Schedule that will determine the Big Ten Champion. Bonus Points for not picking three games on your own schedule.

1) Penn State at Michigan - If Penn State wins, they get the boost they need in the Big Ten, finally slaying the nemesis. If Michigan wins, they get to claim they're 1-0 in conference play, and they can ride a wave of success with a Top 10 victory. Penn State, if you let these chumps up off the mat, a pox on all you and all your ancestors.

2) Wisconsin at Penn State - Both teams should be unbeaten by this point, and if they are, it'll be a war. The winner gets the inside track to the title, and the loser has to hope for help in order to get the automatic BCS bid.

3) Ohio State at Michigan - Screw the bonus points, "The Game" determines the Big Ten Championship EVERY YEAR.

3. How many games, this season, have you been to? How many games have you tailgated at? If you have tailgated, name your beverage of choice. If you answered no to the previous questions, hang your head in shame, or at least give a good story about watching the game in enemy territory and giving the bouncer the finger when he asked you to quiet down.

I haven't yet been to any games this paying gig requires me to work on Saturdays. The good news is that my Saturday job is running the entertainment at a sports bar. I get to watch the games, keep the crowd fired up, and I get paid to do it.

OK, for my cool story. 1987, Ann Arbor. Earle Bruce has been fired four days before the Michigan game, and I head up with 'Block O' to see the game. Our seats are in the end zone, front row.....Chris Spielman had a look in his eye and you could see what was going to happen. Buckeyes overpower a better Michigan team and win 23-20. We rush the field after the game, and on the way back to the bus, we swipe a maize-colored barricade horse. I still have my share of that, with the date and the score carved into it.

4. As the Big Ten Season kicks off, the Conference is in somewhat of a difficult position nationally. Needing some momentum after a horrid BCS performance, the Conference needed some momentum early in the season. It hasn't gotten it. The first three weeks have been abysmal. Is this just a down year for the Big Ten, is there a change Nationally that the Big Ten just hasn't picked up on, is there some truth to the "Big Ten Style of Play" that everyone harps on, or has college football simply caught up? What so you think and why? I may be beating a dead horse, but no one looks good this year and I'm at a loss as to why.

Frankly, I'm not that worried about it. Last year's BCS Bowls were awful for us, but I can't possibly begin to denigrate the whole conference based on two losses to teams that were ranked #1 at the end of last year and the beginning of this one. As for this year, the conference's bad tidings are overblown.

Maybe I'm a Big Ten homer, but we'll still be sending two teams to the BCS this year...and every year.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nighttime roundup

Big Ten Bloggers

Starting soon, the Big Ten Bloggers will be trading writers with other sites. The host site will allow a writer from another Big ten site to post (but the host picks the question). The trade-offs will always coincide with that weekend's game. For example - this week, Northwestern blog Lake The Posts would swap writers with a Buckeye site, Penn State would trade with a Michigan site, etc.

Next week, I'll be inviting one of our Minnesota bloggers to post here. But I'd like some ideas...what question should I pose to them (be nice, now)?


Tomorrow, I'm posting my answers to the Big Ten Blogger Roundtable questions of the week. Here's the questions;

1. Time to break out the crystal ball. I want to know what happens at the END of the season. Give me your offensive and defensive Players of the Year in the Big Ten along with Coach of the Year and why.

2. With the upsets, close games, and head scratchers so far, every game we thought was going to be important has changed. Michigan State is 3-0, for Pete's sake, and they look good doing it. Pick the three games on the Big Ten Schedule that will determine the Big Ten Champion. Bonus Points for not picking three games on your own schedule.

3. How many games, this season, have you been to? How many games have you tailgated at? If you have tailgated, name your beverage of choice. If you answered no to the previous questions, hang your head in shame, or at least give a good story about watching the game in enemy territory and giving the bouncer the finger when he asked you to quiet down.

4. As the Big Ten Season kicks off, the Conference is in somewhat of a difficult position nationally. Needing some momentum after a horrid BCS performance, the Conference needed some momentum early in the season. It hasn't gotten it. The first three weeks have been abysmal. Is this just a down year for the Big Ten, is there a change Nationally that the Big Ten just hasn't picked up on, is there some truth to the "Big Ten Style of Play" that everyone harps on, or has college football simply caught up? What so you think and why? I may be beating a dead horse, but no one looks good this year and I'm at a loss as to why.

I'm still thinking about my answers.

Cleveland Indians

Another outstanding pitching performance and more clutch hitting today, as CC Sabathia got his 18th win of the year, 4-2 over Detroit. With that win, we sweep the Tigers and all but clinch the AL Central. A 12-6 record over Detroit for the year was the key to this division. Beating up on the defending American League Champions was fun, too.

The Indians have 10 games left, and they only need to win three to make the playoffs. But there's something bigger at stake now.

The Indians have the best record in baseball, after the Red Sox continued their collapse. They got swept tonight in Toronto, and their record fell to 90-63, one-half game behind the Tribe. Actually, Boston has the third-best record, because L.A. is tied with Cleveland at 90-62.

Leading the division by 7.5 with 10 games to go usually means resting the starters a bit. Not now. We need to get that #1 seed, so we can pick the playoff schedule. With that honor comes the ability to schedule the series to allow us a 4-man rotation and still give all our starting pitchers ample time to rest their arms. Tremendous, having home field advantage throughout the playoffs and World Series is no small bonus.

Thursday is a day off. Oakland is in town Friday for a 3-game set.

Freakin Sweet stat of the day - The Indians are 25-8 since August 15th. A .756 win percentage when it counts the most? Freakin' sweet!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One of the most fun nights I've had

I went up with three friends to see the Indians beat the Tigers tonight. It was more fun than I could possibly describe (but I'll try anyway).

Using the last of my Indians free-ticket and buy-one-get-one coupons that I bought in April, the four of us went for a COMBINED 7 dollars and sat up in the corner in section 521. It was also dollar-dog night, so we went for a pretty low cost (by the way, they sold over 67,000 hot dogs in one night). Sold-out crowd, and about 39,000 of the 40,000 in attendance were Tribe fans (the Tigers fans got the royal treatment, too....more on that later).

Justin Verlander on the mound for Detroit, and he was spotted a 4-1 looked like we were in trouble. And then the September Magic kicked in.

Verlander walked Sizemore and Cabrera, seemingly losing control for a bit. Then he found the ability to throw strikes again, but it was right in Travis Hafner's zone. A 3-run blast that went 420 feet later, and the game was tied. The Indians never looked back, and used clutch hitting to pick up their 89th win of the season.

The Tigers' season is all but over now. They're 6.5 games out of the AL Central, and 4.5 games out of the Wild Card. Kiss it all goodbye, Tigers fans. Ohio still owns you.

The Magic Number is now 5. Win at Noon tomorrow with CC Sabathia on the mound, and the number goes down to three. We can win this division in the confines of Jacobs' Field this weekend.

The atmosphere? It was as close to being at an Ohio State-Michigan game as you can get, with the exception of the real thing.

Enormously loud chants of "Detroit Sucks", and "App-a-la-chian" rang out, supplemented with "O-H-I-O"s. The Tigers fans near us couldn't do anything but hang their heads. Some of them left in the 6th and 7th innings to loud boos and laughter. One Tiger girl got really upset and freaked out with middle fingers raised to Cleveland fans. She got the loudest "Detroit Sucks" chants of the night, and I'm sure she heard it as she walked the ramps downward. It was comical to say the least.

When Joe Borowski took the mound in the 9th, the noise was deafening. Every pitch raised the roof, and it felt like it was 1995 in that building. Magglio Ordonez struck out looking and slowly walked back to the dugout with his season ruined. Guillen shot a grounder to Ryan Garko, and the second out strained the vocal chords of the crowd even further. When Jhonny Peralta threw out Ivan Rodriguez to end the game, it was an explosion of noise. Hugs all around the crowd, and celebration in the bowels of the stadium began. Most of us stuck around to see Jensen Lewis get the celebratory pie in the face. Cheers and chants continued for at least an hour after the final pitch, and the horns sounded on East 9th Street, reminiscent of the Cavaliers defeat of the Pistons in Game 6.

We had these tickets for a couple of weeks, and I really wanted to clinch the division on this night...but I can't imagine it being more fun even if we had clinched it tonight (and practically speaking....we did).

Oh, and one more piece of good news. Boston lost. The Indians are 0.5 games out of having the best record in baseball.

Freakin' Sweet stat of the night - They say you win your division within your division. The Indians are now 45-23 in the AL Central (.662 win percentage). Freakin' Sweet!

Forget the curve ball Ricky. Throw him the heater

Short post today. I've got to get to work, and immediately after, I have tickets to see the Indians/Tigers game tonight!

The Tribe all but clinched the AL Central last night. The Magic Number is 7. But that's not where the magic ends, not even in the postseason.

Currently, the Indians are only 1.5 games behind Boston for the best record in baseball. Catch them and we get home field advantage in the entire postseason (AL hosts the World Series, too!). So while we can stop scoreboard-watching for Tigers losses, we can start up again for Red Sox defeats!

Oh, and also...we're tied with the Angels for the second-best record, but we currently hold the tiebreaker. We're still in a race, and we wanna take this one all the way to November!

Monday, September 17, 2007

BOOM! Casey Blake is clutch!

The Indians just won a huge game against Detroit. Casey Blake blasted a pitch into the left field bleachers to win it 6-5. This comes after a furious 3-run rally in the 8th inning off Zumaya.

I've gotta tell you, we were hurting. Rough defense, no clutch hitting, and Kenny Rogers was dominating us. Then we just snapped to attention in the 8th inning, and our bullpen did a tremendous job holding on until the offense got the victory.

With the win, the Indians Magic Number is now 7.

In better news, Boston lost. Cleveland is actually 1.5 games back from having the best record in baseball!

Monday afternoon roundup

On Sunday, The BBC will celebrate it's first anniversary. I started the blog in the middle of the night prior to the Penn State game, and have never regretted it. I'll write up an in-depth entry and post it on Sunday.

Let's start off with the professional sports, shall we?

Cleveland Indians

I didn't want this series to be quite so important to Tigers fans, but you've gotta hand it to them. They have refused to surrender, and the Kitties have put together a nice run recently. Heading into the game at The Jake tonight, Cleveland leads the division by 4.5 games. This series is MUCH more important to Detroit than it is to us, but we HAVE to take it seriously.

By the end of the series, we're still going to lead the AL Central. We get swept, we're up 1.5 games. Win only one game, we lead by 3.5. Win two games or sweep the Tigers, and wrap up the title for us. 5.5 or 7.5 game leads with 10 games to play is too much to over come.

The story is the same as it was a couple of weeks ago....if we win or split every series we have the rest of the way, we're in. It's now a mathematical certainty.

Freakin' Sweet stat of the day - In the Indians last 11 series, they are unbeaten. They won 9, split two, lost none. Freakin' sweet!

Cleveland Browns

Holy crap wow! I am SO thrilled about yesterday's offensive explosion, and I am truly amazed at how quickly the Browns turned it around.

I had the day off yesterday, so I decided to drive to Columbus to visit my daughter for a few hours. She's 8 and hasn't seen her daddy in a couple of weeks (Girl Scouts, softball tryouts have eaten up my weekends with her). So I leave at 1pm and listen to the game on the drive down. I arrive at halftime and send out an alert to my family and friends to NOT inform me of the game's results, as I will be placing myself in a bubble temporarily. No sports news so I can concentrate on having fun with Munchkin.

She takes me to see her elementary school, and wants to show me a vintage shop just off OSU campus. Silly me, I didn't think that driving through campus, I'd end up at a stoplight next to Buffalo Wild Wings, where I'd see a bunch of Browns fans celebrating and people in Bengals uniforms with angry expressions.

Dammit. Now I'm too curious. Had to turn the game on the radio. "The Bubble" burst, but we listened to the last 3 minutes of the game, and I watched the entire thing when I got home late last night. Total time lost by asking Charlotte to read in the back seat while I made sure the Browns won - 15 minutes. I think it was worth it, and I'm the one paying her future therapy bills anyway. But before you get all upset with me, the kid loves college football...and here's where I took her later in the day....

I got in the building cause I know the guy behind the guy behind the guy......

Anyway, analysis of the game - whatever deity you subscribe to, I'd like to thank them. I'm a fan of getting Brady Quinn in there at the right time, but I don't want to rush the kid. Let's not ruin him. And to achieve that goal, I know we might have to eat a lot of losses while we prepare Quinn for the field of play.

Yesterday, Derek Andersen made it possible to delay Quinn's first start. I do NOT expect Andersen to play that well every week (or ever again, for that matter), but he did it, and the team has more confidence now to carry on. We don't have to play the waiting game, we can go out and win NOW. And when Quinn gets his shot, we'll be an even better team for it. By the way, I'm still setting my sights on giving the kid a shot in Week 8 at St. Louis (right after the bye week), or Week 9 at home against Seattle. Plenty of time to get settled in, and just in time to go after the Steelers in Week 10.

College football (much to discuss)

As I posted yesterday, Ohio State is ranked 8th and 9th by the two most widely known polls (AP and Coaches).

The following is NOT an endorsement of Ohio State's National-Championship possibilities for 2007.

In 2002, the Buckeyes started the season ranked at #13/#12 (AP/Coaches). After three weeks, they were up to #6/#8. They needed other teams in front of them to lose to climb the charts that year, and they'll need that help again in 2007. But they are getting that assistance so far (Kentucky over Louisville, LSU over Virginia Tech, everybody over Michigan), so it's starting off similar.

I'm just sayin'.....


One other similarity to 2002 is the way the Buckeyes have played down (or up) to the level of their opponent. Akron and YSU will not be confused with upper-level squads, and we struggled with them at times, scaring thousands of fans. But when facing a challenge on the road, they stepped up and made the key plays..James Laurinaitis' two INTs were huge, as were Brian Hartline's several key 3rd-down receptions.

Now comes an easy opponent at home. Northwestern looked like they had something going for themselves, until they lost at home to Duke. It can't do much for the Wildcats' confidence.

It gets worse for Northwestern.

- They have the 50th-ranked defense against the run, giving up more yards per game than Washington (and we ran for 218 against UW).
- They have the 79th-ranked defense against the pass, surrendering just under 250 yards per game.
- Their rushing attack is ranked 48th in the NCAA (OSU's run defense is ranked 16th, giving up only 76 yards per game)
- Their offensive power is the passing game, throwing for 283 yards per game, 27th best in Division 1-A. Alas, Ohio State is 9th against the pass, allowing only 120 per game.

It ain't pretty for Wildcat fans. Expect the Buckeyes to win 35-6.


Big Ten Blogger Pick-em wasn't as good to me last weekend. I led the pack for two weeks, and now I'm one win back.

The Big Ten season starts now, so there's only six games to select this week (you get 3 points for picking a conference game correctly, though). My picks are in bold for Saturday's matchups;

Penn State at Michigan
Northwestern at Ohio State
Illinois at Indiana
Michigan State at Notre Dame
Iowa at Wisconsin
Purdue at Minnesota

It's kind of strange to think that the toughest game to pick is Indiana-Illinois.

I think Michigan will expose the weaknesses in Penn State that haven't been seen yet....who would have thought that FIU, Buffalo, and Notre Dame (three of EPSN's worst ten teams) would roll over so easily? Penn State will win the game, but it'll be costly after the rest of the Big Ten discovers how to attack the Lions.

Purdue's 6th-ranked offense against Minnesota's 116th-ranked defense? I'm not sure the Boilermakers are worried, and I'll bet they close the playbook so as not to give Ohio State any game film to look at. Still, the basic plays will amount to about 45-50 points.

Iowa-Wisconsin (sigh)......two teams that have a bevy of talented players, none of which have shown that they want to win.

Expect to see Michigan State plant their green flag in the middle of Notre Dame's field. Both Irish fans still in attendance at that point will be outraged by it.


If you get the chance tomorrow morning, turn on the Big Ten Network. At 10am, they're showing the replay of 1990's Ohio State game at Iowa. It's got the best ending to any Ohio State game I can recall (2002 season not included).


West Virginia players managed to accidentally say what the rest of the nation thinks about them....

The Ballad of Leon Hall

Prior to last year's Ohio State-Michigan game, I heard a lot of stories about how Leon Hall can "shut down an offense". I had never watched a Michigan game with my focus on Hall, so I had no counter-argument to that claim. My only response was "never heard of him", and I blew off all praise of the defensive back.

I have now had my focus on him in two games. And I have a question for those who sing his praises.

"Are you freaking kidding me?"

I watched him as he allowed receiver after receiver in the Ohio State game get past him. Brian Robiskie shed Hall's tackle and got a 40-yard reception off him. Ted Ginn Jr. blew by him for a 37-yard TD. The list goes on and on from that day, as Ohio State scored 42 points off Hall's defense.

Then yesterday I focused on Hall's defense against the Cleveland Browns. If you want to call it "defense". Braylon Edwards left him in the dirt twice on TD receptions, and the second one was comical. Hall WATCHED his safety sneak into blitz protection BEFORE the ball was snapped, and still released Edwards on a route, KNOWING that the safety wasn't behind him anymore. Edwards didn't have a man within 15 yards of him, and he skidded into the end zone for an easy TD. I have no idea how many more yards and receptions he allowed, but I'll watch that game again today.

My point is - as much fun as it was watching the Browns destroy a defense yesterday, it was even more enjoyable knowing that Leon Hall was on that D.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ohio State #8 in AP Poll, #9 in Coaches Poll

The AP agrees with my assessment, that Ohio State is the best Big Ten team....we jumped over Wisconsin and moved up to #8.

1. USC (46) 2-0 1,605
2. LSU (19) 3-0 1,577
3. Florida 3-0 1,437
4. Oklahoma 3-0 1,434
5. West Virginia 3-0 1,388
6. California 3-0 1,232
7. Texas 3-0 1,169
8. Ohio State 3-0 1,142
9. Wisconsin 3-0 1,111
10. Penn State 3-0 1,041

The Coaches Poll - We moved up one, and we are dangerously close to #6.

1. USC
2. LSU
3. Florida
4. Oklahoma
5. West Virginia
6. Texas - 1,103 points
7. Wisconsin - 1,098 points
8. California - 1,093 points
9. Ohio State - 1, 062 points
10. Penn State

You can see there is VERY little separation between Texas at 6 and OSU at 9.

Things should get interesting next week.....could be major movement in 7 days.....

November 13th, 2004

I must admit, I was concerned yesterday. Washington looked (on paper) like they could knock us down and beat us badly. All the hype surrounding Jake Locker was a bit intimidating.

In the end, it was only hype. Locker is a good player, but he still was starting for only the third time in his career. He was no match for the Ohio State defense, not even in the confines of his own home.

This morning, I was reflecting on the game, and how I was perhaps overly-concerned about Washington. Then I remembered November 13th, 2004.

On that day, Purdue beat Ohio State 24-17. We played horrible football that day. Purdue had 26 more offensive plays than we did. We turned the ball over 4 times. But yet we had the game tied at 17 with less than 4 minutes to play. But we let the Boilermakers go 80 yards in 8 plays to win the game with 2 minutes left.

But we learned a lesson.

Since that day, Ohio State is 27-3. In addition, we simply will not let substandard opponents defeat us.

The following week, we embarrassed 7th-ranked Michigan 37-21 and haven't looked back since.

The three losses since November 13, 2004?

- Penn State in 2005. They won the Big Ten the same year, going 11-1.
- Texas in 2005. They went 13-0 that year, won the Big 12 and the National Championship.
- Florida in 2006. They went 13-1 that year, won the SEC and the National Championship.

Translation - if you're going to play Ohio State, you'd better come at us with a lot. You'd better be championship-quality. If you're not, you'll be disappointed.

Ohio State is clearly the best team in the Big Ten

Yeah, I said it. They proved it to me today. They went into a very hostile environment against a fired-up opponent, and shut them down. What I saw today against Washington was a great performance by a young team. 481 yards and 33 points in a PAC-10 building is nothing to be ashamed of. Add into that a big fat zero in the turnover column, and I'm a happy man.

Ohio State today played like the best team in the Big Ten, and in my biased but honest opinion, are now the frontrunners for the Rose Bowl.

Beating Washington 33-14 (and it could have been SO much wider of a margin) gives us a clear route for a while, especially with a series of lower-echelon teams coming up on the schedule. I feel that Ohio State is the best Big Ten squad not only because they are playing excellent football....but the rest of the league is not as impressive.

Here's the only other Big Ten schools who haven't lost yet......

Wisconsin - I've gotta knock them down a peg after letting The Citadel stay tied with the Badgers at 21 midway through the 3rd quarter. Last week's stuggle against UNLV was apparently not an abberation.

Penn State - They've played three games, all against teams ranked in the ESPN "Bottom 10". And one of them was BEATING the Nittany Lions after one quarter today. I'm not impressed yet.

Purdue - Hell of an offense, but not yet ready for prime-time. They've beat Toledo, Eastern Illinois, and Central Michigan. They'll be 5-0 because they play Minnesota and Notre Dame next, but then comes Ohio State. The dream will crash down that day, just like it did for 5-0 Iowa last year.

Michigan State - You're kidding, right?

Indiana - Terry Hoeppner is looking down from Heaven and he's proud. Use it all to build, Hoosiers. But don't get too used to the first-place tie.

That's my rationale, and I'm sticking to it.


In other news, Michigan officially declared Notre Dame as the new member of the Big Ten, and is attempting to schedule them 9 more times in 2007.

Duke is protesting the move, because they desperately want to see what a 2-win season is like.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Late-night bevy of stuff that I'm thinking about

College Football

I know that the country is kicking the Big Ten all over the place (thanks, Michigan), but why isn't there any Big 12-bashing? Kent State beat Iowa State in Week 1, which should be embarrassing enough....but now Troy is kicking the ever-loving shit out of Oklahoma State (34-10 early in the 3rd). Add in a near-upset of Texas by Arkansas State and Wake Forest pushing Nebraska to the limits, and you have the makings of a weak conference. But hey, why point out that when you can pick on the Big Ten? (FYI, the Big Ten is 18-4 overall)


Tomorrow's Ohio State game does strike fear into my heart. Washington has shown signs of life and will be fired up for the big upset. But I do think that this game will be like Iowa was last year. We need to take the crowd out early, and the defense can do that.

In case you forgot what the Iowa game was like last year......

There's some hot chicks in Iowa. They look sad, but DAAAAAAAAAAAMN!

Cleveland Indians

Casey Blake just showed a little September magic. He blasted the first pitch of the 9th inning into the bleachers and the Indians won 5-4 over Kansas City. The win drops Cleveland's Magic Number down to 10.

The Tribe clearly controls their own destiny. If they win or split every remaining series, they're in the playoffs. And if they win every series after that......

Meanwhile, the Angels are losing late in their game. If that 5-2 score holds up, the Indians will be tied for the 2nd-best record in baseball. And they hold the tiebreaker with Los Angeles.....

Freakin' Sweet Stat Of The Day - In their last 10 series, the Indians have won 8, split 2 and lost none. That's freakin' sweet.

Cleveland Browns

As I reported earlier this week, Cincinnati Bengals dickhead (oops, I mean wideout) Chad Johnson claimed he would jump into the Dawg Pound if he catches a touchdown pass. Frankly, if he does it, it won't be pretty.

Chad Johnson, by making this claim, is costing the NFL and the city of Cleveland thousands of dollars, because they now have to provide extra security in the part of the stadium. Not to mention what kind of legal nightmares will happen after he pulls an asinine stunt. Should a fan get arrested if they hit a player who willfully enters the stands of an opponent, after taunting them for years?

Well, yeah they should. But it'd be a fun court case if Chad Johnson gets badly hurt and tries to sue the fans.....

What I think is going to happen....Roger Goodell calls Johnson and tells him that if he does it, he's suspended. Johnson catches the TD, doesn't dive in, and is forever branded a pussy. I'd like to see that play out, too.

But I do think that if he does it, he's suspended. After all, the NBA didn't suspend Ron Artest for throwing a punch. They suspended him for entering the stands at all......

Thursday, September 13, 2007

8 words that will always get me to watch TV

I'm sitting at my desk, with the computer monitor to my right and my TV screen to my left. The West Virginia-Maryland game is on the TV, but I'm really not watching it. Every once in a while I glance at it, but it just can't seem to keep my attention.

But I found the 8 words that will ALWAYS snap my head to the left when I hear Chris Fowler speak them.....

"Erin Andrews, what do you have for us?"

Ah, you vixen of the sidelines. I just can't quit you.

Please God. Let Chad Johnson do this. Please.

This just in from the NFL. Chad Johnson is still a jackass.

But this time, it might get him the worst beatdown in a looooong time.
Johnson said on Wednesday that if he scores a touchdown against the Browns Sunday in Cleveland he plans on jumping into the Dawg Pound, a la the "Lambeau Leap" tradition in Green Bay. Johnson was talking to reporters about how much he enjoys playing in the atmosphere of Cleveland's stadium when he decided upon this week's would-be scoring celebration.
I'm not a big fan of violence in sports. But every once in a while, you get a player who just needs a smack or two. Or fifty. Chad Johnson is one of those players.

If he jumps into the Dawg Pound, he'll get that beating. Count on it.

And if anybody has Dawg Pound tickets that they'd like to give to me so I can help administer that beating, let me know.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable - Week 3

In case you're new to The BBC, we're proud members of the Big Ten Bloggers, a tight-knit group of bsome of the most intelligent and comedic college football fans you'll find. We share links, we promote each other, and we challenge each other.

One of the weekly discussions we engage in is called "Bloggers Roundtable". One of us proposes three questions, and we all give our separate answers. This week, the Michigan Sports Center gives us the trio of questions. Here they are, with my answers;

1. Now that two weeks of play are behind us, what is one encouraging surprise and one downing disappointment from your team? (Easy answer to the latter part of the question for Michigan bloggers)

If you're here, you already know my team is Ohio State. I'd like to say that the entire defense has been the encouraging surprise....but to me it hasn't been that much of a surprise that we haven't allowed a TD. So I'm going to have to go with the hands of Brian Robiskie. We expected Robo to step up and become the #1 WR on the team, but I never dreamed that he'd have such soft hands. He has the ability to catch the ball with his hands and THEN pull it into his body. Most college WRs need to make the catch against their chest and cradle it in. His numbers show the difference, too. He's on pace to catch 78 passes for 1,410 yards. That's pretty impressive, and as Brian Hartline and Dane Sanzenbacher get more action, Robo will find more one-on-one defenses. Just think how he'll be when Ray Small gets back on the field.....

My biggest disappointment would have to be the running game. Yes, Beanie Wells is on pace for 1,200 yards...but so far the running game has not been "three yards and a cloud of dust", like I expected. It's either been "one yard and a pileup, or "40 yards and how-the-hell-did-he-spin-away-from-that?" Too much inconsistency for my taste.

2. A look at the current Big Ten standings shows things dead-locked record-wise for the most part. Once conference play actually begins, which two or three teams pull away from the rest of the pack?

Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State

Right now, Penn State looks the most impressive, but I can't truly judge them because they haven't played anybody yet. Florida International is actually the 199th best team in Division 1-A, and Notre Dame may be fielding their worst team in decades. This week they have Buffalo, and then a severely damaged (and Henne-less) Michigan squad. They'll pull away, but it might be more due to substandard opposition.

Wisconsin has struggled in their first two games against opponents they should have buried, but I think they're just getting their engines revved up. Senior QB Tyler Donovan is showing flashes and RB P.J. Hill could be the best back in the Big Ten...but they're still gelling as a team. By the time they get to Happy Valley on October 13th, they should be in mid-season form. Fitting, isn't it...since that technically IS mid-season.

Ohio State will also pull away from the pack for both of the reasons listed above. One, they're starting to learn the system and play together within it. By the time the Big Ten season is four weeks in, they'll be clicking better. Plus, they don't have the opposition on their schedule until Week 9 with Penn State (save for a troublesome matchup this weekend in Washington, and a potential upset bid at Purdue)

Pre-season, my being a homer was the only thing keeping me from saying that Michigan would be running away from the rest of the Big Ten. But now I think there are problems that run SO much deeper than any of us know. I'll stop just short of saying that they might not make a bowl game this year.

3. Has your team ever played in a game that was just downright boring and impossible to watch? I ask this because going into the Michigan-Notre Dame game, looking at it on paper, it is shaping up to be one of the ugliest we may see all year.

The pre-season hype was there for UCLA vs. Ohio State at the Rose Bowl in Jim Tressel's first season. It should have been a MONSTER of a game.

But 11 days before the game, terrorists hijacked four planes, and you the rest of what happened on that day.

College football was cancelled for the games of September 15th, and Ohio state traveled to UCLA on the 22nd. Neither team looked like they were ready to play, and nobody could blame them for it.

-Ohio State had 45 yards passing and two interceptions
-UCLA fumbled seven times (lost four of them)
-UCLA's leading rushed had 66 yards. The rest of team rushed for minus-5 yards.
-The offenses combined for one touchdown
-Ohio State missed an extra-point kick

It was awful. I think the Notre Dame-Michigan game on Saturday could be God-awful, but I don't think it'll be as bad as that day was.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The secret weapon

Eleven Warriors and Buckeye Commentary seem to be the blogs most on top of this player*, but I've been formulating a little conspiracy in my head and I want to share my thoughts with you now.

For those of you who don't know anything about Buckeyes WR Ray Small....he's fast. Fastest we've had in a long time, with the possible exception of Ted Ginn Jr. The speculation on him is endless, but there's very little game film on him.

Small was supposed to return to action last week against Akron, but didn't see the field. I was looking forward to seeing him, and kept watching for #4 to line up and get something thrown his way. Alas, nothing.

Now, we all know that Jim Tressel is a VERY good coach, and that does not exclude the ability to show teams what he wants them to see and what he doesn't want them to see. I think that Small was held out of the Akron game intentionally, to provide one more secret weapon to open up on a big say, this weekend in Washington.

If we try a few routes to Small in a meaningless game against Akron, it gives the Huskies a chance to prepare for him. So why use him?

Thoughts on that? Am I getting too deep?

* = not in the same way that MotSaG is on top of Vernon Gholston. Not that there's anything wrong with that......

Mid-to-late afternoon wrapup

This is my favorite time of warming up and baseball getting tense. Plus, we're exactly 4 weeks from the first Cleveland Cavaliers pre-season game!

Ohio State Buckeyes

Now comes the first real test! We head west to take on Washington this Saturday at 330pm, and the Big Ten waits to see if Ohio State is worthy of their #10 ranking, or do they join the other member of the Big Two?

My take on this game will be detailed later in the week, but I can tell you one will all depend on how we run the ball. Yes, Beanie Wells ended up with a great game on Saturday against Akron, but it took a long time, and we can't wait that long to get the engines running this weekend.

A lot of people are picking against Ohio State, and it's due to the lack of offense they got used to seeing in 2006. Frankly, I look at the last two times Ohio State made the national championship game, and I see the difference...the year we won, it was thanks to an incredble defense. Not saying we're BCS-bowl worthy yet, but defense does win championships.

Cleveland Browns

Now that the news has spread around Cleveland, there's more to discuss about the Charlie Frye trade.

Derek Andersen will start on Sunday against Cincinnati, and Brady Quinn will be the backup. Quinn will also see more first-team reps during team practices.

I think this move was made to try and quiet the critics of the Browns' front-office. The "hurry-up-and-start-Brady" cries were getting pretty loud while both Frye and Andersen were struggling so poorly over the past five weeks, and this will stem the tide for a short period. But I guarantee one thing....if Andersen struggles this week, things are gonna get ugly.

For the record, I don't think Quinn should start yet. He needs time, and rushing it could damage his progress. Because I'm a Browns fan, I hope Andersen wins this weekend...but I really want him to Quinn has more time to grow, before he takes over.

Cleveland Indians

The Detroit Tigers lost today, 13-6 to Texas. It drops the Tribe's Magic Number down to 12, and I think it has sunk the Tigers for good.

They looked lethargic, until half the team got to sit the bench for pinch-hitters...and those are the guys who scored the 6 late runs for Detroit.

They've thrown in the towel.

Now it's time to start getting ready for the playoffs, and we have a decent shot at home field advantage. We're 2.5 games back of Boston to win that honor.

Charlie Frye traded - One step closer to Quinn starting

About 15 minutes ago, Cleveland Browns quarterback Charlie Frye was traded to Seattle for a sixth-round pick.

To fill the roster spot, Ken Dorsey was brought back to the team after being released last week.

The early speculation is that Derek Anderson will get the nod to start this week against Cincinnati, and that Quinn will be getting more snaps in practice, getting him ready for his inevitable starting job.

Quick Babseball update

The Indians came back in a downpour past night and knocked around the White Sox bullpen (no shock there) to win 6-2. Carmona picked up his 16th win.

The Indians Magic Number to win the AL Central is now 13. Any combination of Indians wins and Tigers losses that add up to 13 gets us in. There are 18 games to play for each team.

The Tigers play a DH today against Texas at 105 and 705. Paul Byrd(14-6, 4.34 ERA) takes the hill tonight for Cleveland against Chicago's John Danks (6-13, 5.41 ERA).

Meanwhile, in the other race in the American League, Boston lost last night, and the Indians now trail the Red Sox by 1.5 games for best record in the American League. I don't expect to secure that spot, but home field throughout the playoffs would be nice.......

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday morning reacharound.....I mean, wrapup

Too much to report on, no time at all.....

College football

The main two polls are out, and Ohio State is ranked #10 in both. Other significant points....Oklahoma jumped to #3 in the AP....Wisconsin fell in both polls....Auburn, TCU, and Boise State dropped out of both....South Florida is just on the outskirts of being ranked.

Rumors of Lloyd Carr being fired today were untrue. Frankly, I think it'd be a HUGE mistake for Michigan to let him go. Ohio State had a great coach named Earle Bruce. Bruce went 9-2 every year, with the occasional 10-1, and the less-occasional 8-3. The guy was a winner. Then he had a bad season in 1987. A few bad breaks, a few awful games. They fired him five days before the Michigan game (which he WON). That ended the Earle Bruce era and we began the John Cooper era.

So be careful what you wish for, Michigan. You just might get it.

NFL football

I think the Browns played yesterday. They were scheduled to play, but as of 4pm Sunday, nobody was sure if they actually showed up.

Seriously, how pissed off am I that the only player who seemed to give a damn yesterday was "The Soldier", Kellen Winslow Jr? Charlie Frye doesn't know how to throw the ball away on a sack, Derek Anderson doesn't know how to throw the ball to his own teammates, and....oh, fuck it. They just plain sucked. By the way, on Saturday, Akron got three first downs....on Sunday, former Akron QB Charlie Frye got two first downs.

On a better note, my fantasy team is on the verge of winning their first game. I have 99 points (and no players left to play), my opponent has 64 points with Mark Clayton and TJ Housewhatsshisface left to take the field.

Cleveland Indians

The playoffs are two steps closer. Yesterday, the Tribe split the road series with Los Angeles, and the Tigers got spanked by Seattle. Indians lead the AL Central by 6 games with 19 to play. The Tribe's Magic Number is down to 14.

Carmona takes the hill tonight against Floyd (1-2, 6.70 ERA). Detroit plays a one-game series tonight against Toronto.

My dream scenario for clinching this one....Over the next 7 days, the Tribe goes 6-1 and the Tigers go 2-5. Then the Indians beat the Tigers next Monday, and they clinch it with a win over Detroit on Tuesday....when I have tickets to see them!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

NOW have Michigan fans suffered enough?

Last week I wrote that I didn't think Michigan fans had suffered enough, based on the fact that message boards and blogs had multiple claims that Michigan would "run the table", and guaranteed an "easy win against Oregon". I believed that until Michigan fans suffered more, they would continue with the dangerous levels of hubris that leads to additional embarrassments.

I now withdraw that claim. Michigan fans have now indeed suffered enough.

A quick scan of the blogs and message boards show that UM fans are now drawn back to reality. Even a weakened foe like Notre Dame is not inspiring any guarantees from the maize and blue faithful. Yes, there's optimism (which there should be), and there's fear (which there should be PLENTY of), but there doesn't appear to be any signs of arrogance.

Of course, piling on is prevalent throughout the internets, but that's to be expected.

As I stated last week, the only way to approach EVERY game in college football is to be anxious and excited. As soon as you sit back and put a game in the win column before the teams take the field, you're exposing yourself to a big letdown.

Of course, I realize that the attitude of the fans has no effect on how the players execute...but perhaps too many Michigan players began to believe their own press.

So now I am ready to say that Michigan has suffered enough. Their arrogance is gone, and they have the proper attitude to begin winning again.

Oh, wait. Never mind. Mike Hart just guaranteed a win against Notre Dame. What a jackass.

Let the bloodbath continue. They deserve it.

Week 2 Pick 'em results

OK, it's not that hard to pick out-of-conference Big Ten games, but I'm still pretty happy with my results so far.

Picks I got right - Picks I got wrong

Ohio State 20, Akron 2
Northwestern 36, Nevada 31
Michigan State 28, Bowling Green 17

Minnesota 41, Miami (OH) 35 (3 OT)
Purdue 52, Eastern Illinois 6
Oregon 39, Michigan 7
Penn State 31, Notre Dame 10
Illinois 21, Western Illinois 0
Indiana 37, Western Michigan 27
Iowa 35, Syracuse 0
Wisconsin 20, UNLV 13

I went 10-1, losing only a triple-overtime game...and Miami missed a 33-yard FG that would have won it at the end of the second OT. So far this season, my record is 20-2.

The Big Ten also went 10-1. Every team except Michigan won.

The entire conference is 18-4 now.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Breaking news - Mike Hart declares for NFL draft, makes decision retroactive to February

(AP) Ann Arbor, Michigan - Earlier this afternoon, University of Michigan Senior running back Mike Hart declared his intention to turn pro and enter the NFL draft. Hart also declared that his decision is retroactive to February of 2007 and demanded that the NFL draft be recreated so he can begin his professional career on Sunday.

Hart made the hasty announcement shortly after the Wolverines lost their fourth straight game, 39-7 against the Oregon Ducks. Early speculation is that Hart is angry with his team, which was expected to contend for the National Championship a mere 8 days ago.

"Like most Michigan fans, Mike Hart wants to just forget that the first two games of the season ever happened," said Hart. "And since those games never happened for Mike Hart, then Mike Hart is going to turn pro before his senior season begins."

Hart made the decision to stay at Michigan following last year's back-to-back defeats to Ohio State and USC, and he claimed he wanted to bring a national title to Ann Arbor. Staying at Michigan along with Hart were senior quarterback Chad Henne and senior lineman Jake Long, and many experts believed that the highly-touted trio would make a strong run for college football's championship.

Those same experts are now baffled by Hart's refusal to accept reality.

"No matter how bad Michigan players and fans feel right now, there's simply no precedent to enter an NFL draft that took place four months in the past," said Mitch Albom, widely recognized as the state of Michigan's finest sportswriter. "It's actually asinine to even suggest that the National Football League would have a do-over to appease one disgruntled college player. It actually kind of scares me about Hart's mental state if he believes that the entire NFL could be re-adjusted just for him."

However, the idea was not out-of-bounds for every expert. Detroit Lions President and CEO Matt Millen has already invited Hart to what he calls "Training Camp 2.0". Millen has already begun informing his players that if the Lions draft Hart, he will start camp all over again, and that the Lions will "immediately be in contention for the Super Bowl." Shortly after Millen's comments, six additional websites devoted to firing Millen sprung up on the internet.

Michigan's first two games, despite ending up in the loss column, were exemplary for Hart. The senior rushed for a combined 313 yards and three touchdowns, putting him near the top for early Heisman Trophy voting. However, the lack of defense and a potentially serious injury to Henne have given Hart pause to what was supposed to be a season of glory. Hart does not appear to be as devoted to Michigan as he was just two weeks ago.

"It's time to recognize," said Hart. "H-2-0 is going to go H-2-pro."

With or without Hart, Michigan hosts Notre Dame on Saturday at 330pm.

I'm a cold-hearted bastard

Friday, September 07, 2007

Best quote from last week

"We're gonna catch the best they've got. The way they would play against Ohio State, Notre Dame, in the Rose Bowl."

-Jerry Moore, Head Coach, Appalachian State

Little did Moore know...he did catch EXACTLY the way Mich1gAAn plays against Ohio State and in the Rose Bowl.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What the hell has happened to the NFL?

Like most sports fans, I get excited about Opening Day. So naturally, I'm ready for the kickoff of the NFL season. Joined my Fantasy League, and I'm jazzed about tonight.

So I turn on the pre-game for the Saints-Colts game....and they have fucking Faith Hill singing "This Kiss"? What the fuck?

Dammit, this is FOOTBALL! When did the professional version of this sport turn into a bubblegum-pop-music-let's-all-sing-inane-songs-and-smile cavalcade of misery?

Anybody else remember the Simpsons episode where it was halftime of the Thanksgiving game, and "Hooray For Everything", a group of clean-cut youngsters, sang "Get Dancin" to "the dancinest hemisphere of all, the Western hemisphere"?

Christ on a crutch, this just takes all the manliness out of football......

Buckeye recap/preview

Lost in all the "did you see what happened to Michigan" frenzy was any recognition that Ohio State also played a football game last weekend. Of course, I'm just as guilty as the next blogger because I jumped all over the Appy State bandwagon, to the detriment of my scheduled Buckeye recap.

Time to rectify that oversight.

I just got done watching the Ohio State/Youngstown State game, and I've gotta's exactly what I expected (channeling Dennis Green - "The Buckeyes are exactly who we thought they were").

With that many new players not yet battle-tested, I expected us to be rusty and searching for an identity. And that's exactly what I saw. Yes, there were a few surprises, but the basic look of the Buckeyes were that they were learning a lot about each other on the field. They were impressive at times, not so much at others.

First, the impressive - Todd Boeckman solidified his role as the starting QB. He has a nice arm, especially throwing deep downfield. Only six of his passes hit the ground, and he picked up 225 yards and 2 TDs in his first career start.

However, more of Boeckman's passes would have touched turf if not for the amazing hands of Brian Robiskie. Robo's fingers are like magic, and you'd swear he had stick'em on all day long. He has a great ability to catch the ball with his arms extended and pull it into his chest. Most players need their body to make a smooth catch...not Robo. I can't put into words how good his receiving was on Saturday.

Also getting positive reviews on offense was Antonio Henton and Brandon Saine. Neither player started, but both will for these Buckeyes someday. Saine has insane speed (not the first time you've heard that pun, certainly not the last) and makes cuts that are just plain sick. He's got so many positives, and I'm confident that Tressel will bring the best out in him. Same goes for Henton. I would presume that his feet will remind a lot of people of Troy Smith, and he's got a much better arm than #10 did at this point in his career. Hang on, he's no Troy...but he has the capability. Give him time.

Dane Sanzenbach also showed promise in his first ever game. I'm going to reserve judgment on him for a while, but he's got the best name since Wes Siegenthaler graced the field at Ohio Stadium.

The downsides of the game?

Beanie Wells was uninspiring, save for one run where he made two spin moves. But take away that 20-yard run and Wells only got 26 yards on 15 carries. Not good.

Rob Schoenhoft had his stock diminish by completing only 3 of 6 passes for 8 yards. One yard per attempt is not getting you anywhere, Rob. Gotta work on it fast.


Preview of the Akron game

Akron may have won their first game, but they're in a world of trouble come Saturday.

The Zips only went 5-7 last year, and lost 6 starters on offense, including QB Luke Getsy. Akron will counter in this weekend's game with platooning QBs Chris Jacquemain and Carlton Jackson. Neither have had enough experience to give a proper assessment yet, and I don't expect much out of them this weekend either.

The rushing game is supposed to be a strength for Akron, with Dennis Kennedy returning from a 900+ yard season in 2006. But Kennedy only picked up 72 yards against Army, who finished 2006 with the 115th-worst run defense in the NCAA. I'm going to expect a few nice runs out of Kennedy, but nothing worthy of an upset.

Defensively, the entire linebacking core returns for the Zips, and will be their biggest strength. The only problem with that is that they lost half their defensive line and half their secondary. The linebackers are going to have to cover a LOT of ground on Saturday to make up for the rest of the defensive weaknesses.

I know, I know....I'm being a total homer. But I am not concerned very much about this game. Appalachian State may have changed how the Davids approach their games against Goliath, but if your Goliath has a good head coach, they're better prepared for what David brings to the battle. Jim Tressel is a good coach, and I know that he won't allow his Buckeyes to fall victim like Lloyd Carr did to his Wolverines.

Ohio State 41
Akron 10

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Big Ten Blogger Roundtable - Week 2

Every week, a member of the Big Ten Bloggers poses three questions, and the rest of us get to provide our answers. Of course, it's not limited to just us...I would personally love to hear what your thoughts are on each of these questions;

This week's questions come from JB and his Penn State blog "There Is No Name On My Jersey";

1. Clearly, Week 1 was a huge week for upsets with Appalachian St. beating Michigan and Clemson beating FSU (though if that really shocked anyone I’d be surprised). What are your upset games for Week 2 and why?

I have three upsets to watch out for this weekend;

Miami over Oklahoma - Two of my least favorite teams of all time. Despite the heated rivalry, I don't hate Michigan...I mock them, but I still respect them. But I HATE Miami and Oklahoma. So I'll be happy when one of these two teams loses on Saturday.

My rationale for calling this upset is simple...Miami's underrated, and Oklahoma's overrated. It's that simple. I think Bob Stoops is going to get the biggest surprise he's had since....well, since two games ago when Boise State did it.

TCU over Texas - TCU is high on life right now, seeing a continuance of the winning ways of 2005 (11-1) and 2006 (11-2). This is a team filled with guys who know how to they are ready to take that next step, and this is the week to do it. Big upsets on the road is exactly the way to take that big step....just ask TCU. They beat Oklahoma on the road to start their 2005 season, and it propelled them to the winning they are now used to seeing. Another big win at Texas is exactly what they need. And they know it.

Texas, meanwhile, is not yet worthy of their lofty #7 ranking. They stumbled around the field against Arkansas State, and when you add in their injury report and the police blotter in Austin, you get an overrated team ripe for a big upset.

Oregon over Michigan - I'm not so sure how much of an upset this would be, considering last week's Michigan game. But the Vegas line still has the Wolverines winning, so it's an upset in their eyes.

Oregon plays an offense similar to Appalachian State, and the Maize and Blue didn't do much to stop it. Plus, Oregon does have better athletes than Appy. ASU gave Oregon some decent game film to study, and I expect the Ducks to exploit the weaknesses they will see in the film.

Two more reasons Oregon will win, and we can call them "the intangibles". One, Michigan is still trying to recover from what happened last week...I can't see their practices being very smooth all week long, and it'll show on the field. Two, nobody who knows college football gives Lloyd Carr a chance in hell at actually coaching these boys into a rebound worthy of Michigan University football. Lloyd's on his farewell tour, and he's not about to become a good coach now.

2. What do you think about the BTN? How’d it look? How were the announcers? Did the first weekend change your opinion of the BTN?

The only problem I can think of had me terrified prior to kickoff....the Ohio State game was on one of their alternate channels, and that channel was completely black until the game began. No logo announcing the game was coming up, no pre-game feed from the main BTN channel, until the clock struck Noon, I had no clue if the game was actually going to make it on the air.

I was worried that the first week would be filled with problems, and other than the above issue, it really wasn't, so I'm pleased.

The picture was really sharp, so at least they get an A for being technically adept.

The announcers were no different than the B-list stuff I'm used to hearing when I see an opening-week against against a cupcake. You expect the best play-by-play when the games are bigger, and you expect the weaker commentary otherwise. So I got what I expected.

3. Now that we’re a game into the Season evaluate the Big Ten’s strength.

It's too early to make that assessment. The Michigan loss embarrassed the conference, so that's bad. But the rest of the league didn't really play the caliber of opponents to give a proper evaluation of the league in general. After Week 3, it'll be easier to judge the Big Ten. But I can't do it yet.