Posted on: May 2, 2011 12:11 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The longest offseason in recent Ohio State memory just got a tiniest bit longer.
According to 247Sports affiliate Bucknuts, redshirt sophomore linebacker Dorian Bell has been suspended for the duration of the 2011 season "for a third violation of the same team rule." Bell had already missed last year's Sugar Bowl victory through suspension and would have missed the season opener against Akron, but will now join head coach Jim Tressel and the "Buckeye Five" on the sidelines for the both the first five games of 2011 and longer.
Bell's suspension won't be quite as damaging as those to Tressel or Terrelle Pryor -- he has nine career total tackles -- but it's not exactly like losing the second-string waterboy, either. Bell had enjoyed a strong spring, putting himself into the mix to potentially start at one outside linebacker position and all-but sealing himself a spot in the regular playing rotation. A former five-star recruit out of Monroeville (Pa.), Bell seemed like a strong candidate to have a breakout season.
That breakout would have been a huge help to his team, too, who saw multi-year linebacker starters Brian Rolle and Ross Homan both drafted Saturday; the unit could use both the depth and star potential Bell represented.
But unless Bell is reinstated, it looks like that Depth and potential will have to wait until 2012 at the earliest.
Posted on: May 1, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: May 1, 2011 4:56 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Let's be honest, it's been a while since Michigan has been able to get the best of Ohio State on the football field. Which means that Michigan fans haven't had much to hang over the heads of their hated rivals to the south. Combine all that with the overall failures of Michigan football in recent years, and Rich Rodriguez's failed tenure and run-ins with the NCAA, and life hasn't been great.
Which is why the trouble that Ohio State and Jim Tressel are currently in with the NCAA is the greatest thing that has happened to Wolverines fans in a long time. So you can't be surprised if they want to have some fun with it, even if that fun costs money. Which is something billboards tend to do.
Yes, that billboard can be seen on I-94 in Michigan, taunting Tressel not only for his lies of omission, but his penchant for wearing sweatervests as well. You know the old saying, if you can't beat them, may as well kick them while they're down.
Via Kegs N' Eggs
Posted on: April 28, 2011 2:34 pm
By Eye on College Football Bloggers
Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:
With a few scattered exceptions, spring practice is in the books. As we enter summer and start looking at the 2011 season in earnest, let's start that looking at the top: who deserves to be the preseason No. 1?
Tom Fornelli: If I were forced to choose a number one team at gunpoint like I am now, I would have to agree with most people and go with Oklahoma.
The Big 12 just got a little easier to navigate now that Nebraska is gone and there's no longer a conference championship game to get through. Texas is coming off of a down year, and while I think they'll be improved in 2011, I think last year showed that the Longhorns aren't ready to compete for a national title again right away.
Which leaves Oklahoma, returning both Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles on offense, without much resistance in the Big 12. Yes, there's Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, but I don't see Oklahoma State making a key defensive stop when it needs one against the Sooners. As for the Aggies, I just don't trust Mike Sherman yet. So I don't think it's insane to believe that the Sooners are going to get through the season without a loss in 2011. That's enough to make them my extremely premature preseason No. 1.
Adam Jacobi: I agree with Tom. OU doesn't have everybody back, but they have enough to navigate a pretty lackluster Big 12 Which Is Now Actually 10. Look out for Alabama too, because Trent Richardson is going to have an absolutely monster year. But we'll need to see how the quarterback situation shakes out before tossing out terms like "top-ranked" to describe that team.Bryan Fischer: I think it's easy to peg Oklahoma as the pre-season No. 1, but that doesn't mean I'd pencil - and I do mean pencil - them in at the top. The Sooners do return their quarterback in Jones, a dynamic threat at receiver in Broyles and a great defensive leader in linebacker Travis Lewis. Their schedule does set up well for them, outside of a dangerous trip to Tallahassee to take on a Florida State team they beat 47-17 last year.
That said, I have to go with Alabama. Let's face it: the champion at the end of the year usually comes from the SEC, so that's a good place to start. The Crimson Tide have to break in a new quarterback but I think the schedule will allow them to ease into things, with the big road game at Penn State teaching them to handle a hostile crowd. Plus, either guy gets to hand off to the best running back in the country in Richardson. The defense should be great again and they get both LSU and Arkansas at home.
AJ: I suppose this necessitates the question of by "No. 1," whether we're choosing the best team in Week 1 or the most likely team to run the table. Because I'm feeling OU more for the former and UA for the latter. But it's a good philosophical question regardless. Thoughts?
Chip Patterson: I think that this far out from the regular season, you have to define "No. 1" as the team most prepared to win the title right now. In my eyes, that is Oklahoma.
Jerry Hinnen: Adam's question is one that it would be nice for the mainstream polls to answer for us with some kind of stated policy, as opposed to their current "Do What You Feel" preseason approach. My take is that it's more fair to start the season with (as Chip says) the best team at the top regardless of schedule, then adjust as the season results pour in. But it's much more fun to try and predict who'll wind up standing atop the mountain when all is said and done.
So that's what I'll do, and I'll also predict "Alabama." I don't expect the Tide to run the table against the strongest single division in college football (even with Auburn taking a step back, there's still LSU, underrated Arkansas and ever-improving Mississippi State plus an Iron Bowl on the road), but after two years with a BCS national title game matching up undefeated opponents, we're overdue for at least one one-loss team to make the championship tilt. And once an SEC team gets that far, it's been the safest of bets -- to-date -- to take that final step to the crystal football.
Two final points to wrap things up:
1. At the very least, we've got a consensus on who the top two teams are. Our colleague Dennis Dodd named LSU his early-early No. 1, but after seeing Jordan Jefferson continue to flail in the Tigers' spring game, it's hard to see them coming out of Tuscaloosa with a win. And behind those three, is there anyone else we'd feel comfortable naming as a contender? Oregon has suffered major defensive losses; Ohio State could face the entire season without Jim Tressel; Stanford and Oklahoma State and Nebraska have all undergone substantial offensive coaching overhauls; and at the mid-major level, TCU and Boise State were (probably) both better a year ago.
In fact, it might be Florida State that's better positioned to make a run than any of those teams. Which brings me to my next point:
2. Even if the overall nonconference slate is more cupcake-laden than ever, we have not one but two games in September -- LSU hosting Oregon and the aforementioned Sooners-Seminoles clash -- matching up legitimate top-10 teams with national title aspirations. That's two more than most years, so you won't hear any complaints about 2011's non-league scheduling from me.
Tags: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, BCS, Big 12, Boise State, Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Florida State, Jim Tressel, Jordan Jefferson, Landry Jones, LSU, Mike Sherman, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, Ryan Broyles, SEC, South Carolina, Stanford, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Travis Lewis, Trent Richardson
Posted on: April 27, 2011 12:15 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's only natural, really, that people would start speculating that if Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel were to be fired thanks to everything going on at Ohio State, that Urban Meyer might be the man to replace him. After all, Meyer isn't coaching anywhere at the moment, and while he may want to spend some time with his family, nobody thinks that he's retired from coaching. There's also the fact that Meyer is from Ohio and he had his first coaching job at Ohio State, which is where he also met his wife.
Meyer and his wife Shelley, who is also from Ohio, then went on to produce three children. One of whom is getting really sick and tired of people asking her about whether or not her father will be taking the Ohio State job.
There. That should put an end to all the speculation, right?
Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: April 27, 2011 10:25 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Ever since the release of the NCAA's Notice of Allegations to Ohio State, much of the focus of Tattoogate has shifted from the program and directly on head coach Jim Tressel. The NCAA said Tressel "failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics" when he did not notify school officials of the possible violations associated with the tattoo parlor.
The heat on Tressel has raised a question of whether he might be fired, or resign because of these new developments. According to the Dayton Business Journal, Tressel getting fired or resigning could cost him $3.7 million a year. Tressel is contracted at that salary through 2014, but the termination-for-cause provisions in his contract would release Ohio State from that financial responsibility.
According to a copy of his contract obtained by the Journal, one of the termination-for-cause provisions is "fraud or dishonesty in preparing, falsifying, submitting or altering documents or records of Ohio State, NCAA or the Big Ten."
After receiving information regarding possible violations and the tattoo parlor (not to mention forwarding the emails), Tressel knowingly signed a routine compliance form stating he was not aware of any possible violations. If Ohio State is looking for a reason to get Tressel out, the "fraud or dishonesty" clause might be a good place to start.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 10:19 am
Edited on: April 25, 2011 4:17 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As Ohio State prepares for an eventual ruling from the NCAA regarding knowledge of players receiving improper benefits, college football's governing body issued the school an official "Notice of Allegations" letter on Monday. The document detailed the potential violations committed both by the football program and individually by head coach Jim Tressel. The Columbus Dispatch, which also received a copy of the letter, reported that Ohio State could face "the most severe NCAA penalties to its storied football program."
The official wording in the letter was that the Buckeyes, and Tressel in particular, faced charges that are being considered "potential major violations." The 13-page document also points a very stern finger at the iconic head coach, claiming Tressel "permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible" and declaring that he "failed to deport himself ... (with) honesty and integrity". That last "honesty" part is where things get particularly difficult for Tressel, who signed and dated a compliance form last September that acknowledged he was unaware any possible NCAA violations.
As more details continue to be released from the NCAA investigation as well as efforts by the local media, that "honesty" bit gets tougher for Tressel. Earlier Monday the Dispatch reported the findings from an email request that reveal much more contact between the head coach and other people involved in the accusations. University president Gordon Gee, athletic director Gene Smith, and most importantly Ohio State's compliance office, were not included in the series of phone calls and emails around the time of Tressel receiving the tip.
The trouble began for the Buckeyes' head coach when he received an email from a former Ohio State player and current Columbus lawyer, Christopher Cicero. Cicero informed Tressel that a Federal raid of a local tattoo parlor turned up several thousands of dollars worth of Ohio State memorabillia. Tressel responded to the lawyer that he would "get on it ASAP," and then proceeded to contact Ted Sarniak - a local Pennsylvania businessman and advisor/mentor to Terrelle Pryor.
The notice from the NCAA did say the case is closed against the five players who exchanged memorabillia for cash, free/discounted tattoos, and discounts/loans towards the purchase of a used vehicle. The NCAA has said that the players (Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Jordan Whiting) will not face further punishment. They have been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. However, the program could still receive punishment for fielding ineligible players, and obviously Tressel faces much more serious charges invidually.
Another thing that the letter included was a notice that Ohio State could be treated as a repeat-offender by the NCAA because of violations stemming from Troy Smith and former basketball coach Jim O'Brien. Both instances involved improper benefits as well, however neither was damning enough to warrant severe punishment by itself. If the Buckeyes' program is treated as a repeat offender, they could be looking at the possibility of a postseason ban or the loss of scholarships.
The one piece of good news for Ohio State fans fearful of the future is the lack of the phrase "institutional control." Those phrases, which normally lead to violations with the harshest penalties, are designed for programs which have insufficient compliance offices. For a program like Ohio State to get hit with such a violations would rock the college football world, but thankfully for their fans and alumni it looks like they will dodge that bullet.
READ MORE: CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd asks "What's next for Ohio State?"
Click here for the full "Notice of Allegations" from the NCAA to Ohio State President Gordon Gee [via Columbus Dispatch]
Keep it here at CBSSports.com and the Eye on College Football for more on the Ohio State investigation as it develops.
Posted on: April 23, 2011 8:30 pm
Edited on: April 23, 2011 8:31 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Nebraska will be making the move to the Big Ten in 2011, and it looks like head coach Bo Pelini will be making the move with a brand new contract. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Pelini is now working under a new deal that begain on March 1. While the new contract only adds one year to the deal Pelini had been coaching under it also sees Pelini getting a bump in pay.
In fact, with the new raise, Pelini will now be the third-highest paid head coach in the Big Ten, trailing only Ohio State's Jim Tressel and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz.
Under terms of a deal that became effective March 1, the fourth-year Nebraska head coach's annual base salary increased to $2.775 million, a raise of $425,000 from his 2010 contract. Under the new five-year deal, Pelini's base salary will escalate $100,000 annually, reaching $3.175 million in 2015.
Pelini also had a clause removed from his former contract that would have seen him receive a $500,000 bonus should he still be coaching the team in 2015. Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne pointed out that due to a new law, schools can no longer give head coaches bonuses based on a team's academic performance. So Osborne said that the new deal makes up for the income lost there, and that Nebraska also just wanted to reward Pelini for the job he's done since taking over the program.
Pelini can also earn performance bonuses for winning the Legends Division without appearing in the Big 10 title game ($100,000), reaching the Big 10 Championship Game ($200,000), or winning the title game ($350,000). Should Nebraska reach the BCS title game, Pelini would get a $350,000 bonus, but that would go up to $650,000 if Nebraska won the BCS title game.
If that's not enough, Pelini also gets use of a private jet for 16 hours a year for personal travel.
If Pelini is fired before the contract ends, he'll get $1.8 million annually for the remainder of the deal.
Posted on: April 23, 2011 8:14 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Ohio State Buckeyes held their spring game today, and even though the offense "scored" plenty of points in its 59-27 victory over the defense, it was clear that the passing game was far from perfect.
With starter Terrelle Pryor sidelined as he recovers from foot surgery, OSU coach Jim Tressel (at right, looking every bit as unusual in camouflage as you'd expect) made use of four backup quarterbacks in today's scrimmage, with each throwing at least nine passes. Taylor Graham made use of a picture-perfect 69-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Williams to lead all passers with 91 yards, but he was only 4-9 on the day. All in all, the four quarterbacks combined to complete just 20 of 43 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns -- one by each quarterback.
"We’re all battling hard to make strides," said senior quarterback and putative starter Joe Bauserman, who went 4-11 for 42 yards. "We made some mistakes and there were some good plays and some bad plays."
Kenny Guiton went 5-11 for 43 yards, and Braxton Miller added 73 yards on 7-for-12 passing.
Although the offense had 59 points on the scoreboard, only 40 were points in the traditional sense; the other 19 were rewarded for first downs and plays of 20+ yards. Moreover, those 40 points came against a secondary stretched thin by injuries, as 10 defensive backs (nine on scholarship) were forced to miss the spring game.
The question of quarterback play isn't exactly moot without Pryor around, either; even though he's likely to fully recover long before the opening of the season, he's one of five Buckeyes suspended for the first five games of the season, as is DeVier Posey, the senior leader of an otherwise inexperienced WR corps. Still, fortunately for the Buckeyes, those younger wideouts performed well today.
"We have young guys at receiver and they really came along this spring," said Tressel. "They are starting to understand. First, they have to know where to line up. Then they have to understand what to do. Then they have to figure out how to it against the best guys."
"They’re just out there practicing hard," added Posey. "It’s difficult since they haven’t even been here for an entire academic year yet. The older guys are getting them to understand how everything works here and just leading by example. I felt like a proud dad today seeing three of them score touchdowns."
All in all, there's a difference between "inconsistent" and just plain "bad," and what the Ohio State Buckeyes got from their passing game was inconsistent play. Four touchdowns and no interceptions is nothing to scoff at, after all, even against a depleted secondary. The quarterback battle is still going to take months to resolve itself, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for the Buckeyes as long as those quarterbacks are getting as much practice time as possible.
In fact, the substandard performance may be something of a blessing in disguise if Tressel can use it as an impetus for a strong QB battle through summer and fall practice. Any coach can say a player needs to improve, but when he's got the stats to back up such a statement, there's some extra motivation, and that's the situation Ohio State's in now. Today wasn't a disaster for the Buckeyes, but hopefully it wa a reminder to the quarterbacks that there's a lot of work to be done between now and September.