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Tag:Jim Tressel
Posted on: December 27, 2010 12:42 pm
 

OSU seniors consider benching suspended players

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's been a bit of confusion and anger over the NCAA's decision to suspend six Ohio State players for five games next season for selling memorabilia and accepting discounted tattoos, but not to suspend them for the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.  Well, it seems there's still a chance that none of the suspended players will play in the Sugar Bowl, though it's not the NCAA's decision.

The team met for the first time since the suspension was announced on Sunday, and according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the suspended players apologized to their teammates at the meeting.  According to the same report, the Ohio State seniors also got together to discuss whether or not they wanted the players suspended by the team for the bowl game as well.
According to sources, the suspended players are scheduled to travel with the team to New Orleans, but the final decision on what happens to quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, left tackle Mike Adams, backup defensive end Solomon Thomas and backup linebacker Jordan Whiting obviously lies with Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. One source said one scenario could include the sanctioned Buckeyes playing in the Sugar Bowl, but perhaps not starting.

If I had to guess, I don't think Tressel will sit any of the players for the Sugar Bowl.  If anything, he'll choose the option to not start them, though I don't even expect that to be the case.  Personally, while I understand why people are angry that none of the players were suspended for the bowl game, I tend to feel that suspending them for five games next season hurts Ohio State more than forcing them to sit out the Sugar Bowl would.

Let's be real, here, while the Sugar Bowl is a big deal, it doesn't actually mean anything in the big picture.  It's not like the winner of the game has a chance to be the national champion.  The only thing on the line in the game is Ohio State's pride as they face another SEC team in a BCS bowl game.

Suspending the players for next season, however, likely costs the Buckeyes a shot at a national title in 2011 and possibly a Big Ten title as well.  Even if players like Terrelle Pryor decide to leave school early rather than sit out nearly half the season, that still means the Buckeyes won't have them next year, which will have an impact on the team's performance.

Though, had the NCAA just decided to suspend the players for six games, including the bowl game, that would have kept everybody off its back, but since when does the NCAA ever do anything in which it doesn't leave itself open to criticism?
Posted on: December 20, 2010 9:25 am
 

Kent State to hire Ohio State's Hazell

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As the old saying goes: if you can't beat 'em, hire 'em away.

So with the rest of Ohio now 0-for-the-last-89-years against the neighborhood bully in Columbus, it's no surprise that Kent State (out of Kent, Ohio, natch) has looked to the staff of Ohio State for their next head coach, Buckeye receivers coach and assistant head coach Darrell Hazell. Hazell is due to be announced as the new coach of the Golden Flashes at a press conference set for 3 p.m. EST later today, having won the job over co-finalists Curt Cignetti, the Alabama wide receivers coach, and Bobby Kennedy, the Texas receivers coach. (One way or another, safe to say the Golden Flashes were going to get some high-quality receiving coaching next year.)

With Hazell installed at Kent, Pete Lembo at Ball State, and Dave Doeren at Northern Illinois, only Temple and Miami (OH) are still looking for coaches following what might be called the Great MAC Coaching Upheaval of 2010.

Hazell comes to Kent having been with Jim Tressel's Buckeyes since 2004 and with experience as the assistant head coach at both Ohio State and his previous stop at Rutgers. But the likely decisive factor in his hire is his knowledge of the rich Ohio recruiting scene, honed not only from his years under Tressel but his three-year stint as the Oberlin College offensive coordinator from 1989-1991.

And what team just-so-happens to be that last Ohio team to beat Ohio State? Oberlin, by a 7-6 score back in 1921 . If Hazell can reproduce anything remotely like that kind of magic, he won't be at Kent for long.

Posted on: November 28, 2010 12:02 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov 27)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Wisconsin would run over its own mother if she got in the way.  Not because Wisconsin doesn't like its mother, but because it just doesn't know how to stop.  For the third time this season the Badgers put up at least 70 points, this time against Northwestern.  Though it does seem like Bret Bielema at least learned how to slow his boys down a little bit, as they had 70 at the end of the third quarter and decided not to go for 100.  Which is very considerate of the Badgers.  Of course, most importantly, the win means that Wisconsin should be going to the Rose Bowl.

2. At least I think it does.  Nobody will be sure until Sunday night which Big Ten team is going to the Rose Bowl.  Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State are all tied for first in the conference, and the BCS rankings will decide which team gets to go to Pasadena.  Well, Wisconsin has been the highest ranked of the three for weeks, and it's hard to think that either Ohio State or Michigan State will pass the Badgers after a game in which they just hung 70 points on the board again.  Then again, who knows?

3. Rich Rodriguez is in trouble. What? You think that a coach with a team that's gone 7-5 is safe?  How'd that work out for Randy Shannon this season? Exactly, and Shannon didn't have people calling for his head since the second his name was announced as the new head coach as Rodriguez has.  Getting to 7-5 and going to a bowl game for the first time since coming to Ann Arbor is nice, but beating Ohio State once in a while would be nicer.  Here's a nice little stat for you to consider.  During his three years at Michigan, Rodriguez has won three conference games in the Big House.  Three.  During Jim Tressel's career at Ohio State, he's won four games inside the Big House.  He only gets to play there once every two years.

4. Ohio State is the best program in the Big Ten.  I didn't say they were the best team this season, as I think that title belongs to Wisconsin, but the best program in the Big Ten is clearly Ohio State.  The Buckeyes clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the sixth consecutive season, which is hard to do in any conference, let alone the Big Ten.  The last school to win six straight Big Ten titles?  Ohio State of course, from 1972-77.

5. Iowa must be a huge Walking Dead fan.  It's the only explanation for the way they walked through the last month of the season like a bunch of brain dead zombies.  The day before Halloween the Hawkeyes pasted Michigan State 37-6 to improve to 4-1 in the Big Ten and remain in the Rose Bowl hunt.  They then went 1-3 in November, with that one win coming against Indiana, and that game saw Damarlo Belcher drop a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds.  The Hawkeyes then followed that narrow escape with losses to Northwestern, Ohio State, and Minnesota.  What happened?
Posted on: November 12, 2010 6:37 pm
 

Insane Predictions, Week 11

Posted by College Football Blog staff

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that TCU would drop a 47-7 bomb on Utah last week? We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Somewhat Plausible

San Diego State plays the role of BCS spoiler by upsetting TCU in Fort Worth, 27-24. Andy Dalton struggles against an aggressive defense, and SDSU takes advantage of numerous turnovers to crack the TCU defensive wall. While Boise State fans squeal with glee at their new life in the BCS Championship Game race, the win solidifies Brady Hoke as the hottest coaching prospect in America. By Monday morning, Hoke has job offers from Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas. Yep: Texas. --Adam Jacobi

Highly Unlikely

In Columbus, the Ohio State Buckeyes take on Penn State with their Big Ten title hopes still alive. Though PSU walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin has been somewhat impressive over the last few games, he hasn't faced a defense near the quality of Ohio State's -- and the Buckeyes know it. As a result, they're a bit over confident and are completely blindsided when McGloin explodes for 500 yards passing and six touchdowns as the Nittany Lions embarrass Ohio State 45-3. In a state of shock after the game, Jim Tressel completely breaks character and alleges that when Matt McGloin tried to walk on at Ohio State, he told the coaches he wouldn't play without a scholarship for less than $200,000.  Ohio State refused, and then McGloin walked on at Penn State.  "Do the math," says Tressel, and a media firestorm then ensues, leading to weeks of unnamed sources saying that McGloin might have taken or asked for money, but he also might not have.  Nobody really knows, and no evidence is ever found, and McGloin and Penn State are never punished.  Then the heads of all the BCS conferences meet in their secret lair and pat each other on the back for creating yet another diversion to keep everyone from talking about a playoff or bashing the BCS. --Tom Fornelli

Severely Unlikely

Facing a Cal defense already torn to ribbons by the other funky, explosive rushing attack the Bears have faced this season (i.e, Nevada 's), LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, and the rest of Chip Kelly 's Oregon offense spend most of the first quarter in the highest gear imaginable, running with impunity and snapping the ball only seconds after it's set by the official. As the Bears wear down and offer even less resistance, the Ducks get faster and faster, quicker and quicker, until late in the second quarter (with the score already 51-3) the Ducks appear to violate one of the fundamental laws of the college football space-time continuum by snapping the ball before it's even been set. As Thomas is hauled down for a 32-yard gain on the ensuing play, fans notice that the Ducks' usual eye-searing uniforms are ... changing? Changing, into something even more eye-searing: they've gone plaid. In green-and-yellow, nonetheless.

Although the new look is panned by virtually every fan and pundit watching, recruits in attendance reportedly "love it" and say it will "definitely" aid the Ducks' effort to land their signatures. --Jerry Hinnen

Downright Ridiculous

The Cam Newton saga takes an incredible turn on Friday evening before the Tigers host Georgia.  The NCAA informs Auburn that it is not Newton, but the rest of the offense which must sit out against the Bulldogs.  Staring down less than 24 hours to replace an entire offense, head coach Gene Chizik is clueless.  But not Newton.  Cecil Newton finds a loophole in the NCAA rules (of course he does ), that allows his son to take the field with 10 members of the U12 Louisiana Blitz, a club soccer team from New Orleans.  In the most bizarre Heisman moment in history, Newton and the middle schoolers put up 49 points on Georgia's defense.  Newton throws for 200 yards, rushes for 200 yards, and catches a touchdown from the starting goalie just to prove a point.  At the end of the game, Newton picks up a guitar and leads the entire stadium in a rendition of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler." Because, as Newton says, "That's funny to Cam." --Chip Patterson

Posted on: November 3, 2010 8:03 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2010 11:12 pm
 

Big Ten Rose Bowl update, Week 10

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Week 9 has come and gone, and with Iowa's utter pantsing of Michigan State, the Rose Bowl picture is even murkier now than it was seven days ago. As mentioned before, with MSU's loss, there are now zero teams in the Big Ten that control their own destiny; every one of the four one-loss teams needs at least one of the others to lose (or, in one instance, win out) in order to reach the Rose Bowl. Let's go down the list.

Wisconsin can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • Wisconsin wins out AND Ohio State wins out;
  • Wisconsin wins out AND Michigan State loses once.

If the season ended today, Jim Delany would probably be fired. I stole that joke from somewhere. But more to the point, Wisconsin would be the Big Ten's representative in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers are buoyed by wins over Iowa and Ohio State, but the Hawkeyes' loss to Arizona in the non-conference schedule may doom Wisconsin's Rose Bowl hopes. Huh? Here's the relevant portion of the Big Ten tiebreaker:

If three teams are still tied, and one of the three teams is eliminated through the percentage basis of all games played, the remaining two teams shall revert to the two-team tie procedure.

That two-team procedure goes head-to-head, overall record, BCS rating. So even though Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State split their three-team series and Wisconsin's got the highest BCS rating of the three, Iowa's 10-2 record eliminates it from consideration. That means only Wisconsin and MSU would be up for the Rose Bowl bid, and MSU won that meeting. Hence, Michigan State would go to Pasadena. Of course, that assumes Michigan State wins out; one more Spartan loss, and nobody can stop Wisconsin if the Badgers win out.

Ohio State can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • OSU wins out AND Wisconsin loses once;
  • OSU wins out AND MSU wins out AND OSU's BCS rating climbs higher than Wisconsin's.

It's tough to overestimate just how much of a power position Ohio State is in relative to Michigan State. Since the two teams don't play and their non-conference records are equal, by rule, the team with the higher BCS ranking will get the nod. Observe:

If there is a tie for the championship, the winner of the game between these two teams shall represent the conference.
If there is still a tie, or if the tied teams did not play each other, the representative shall be determined on the percentage basis of all games played.
If there is still a tie, the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings shall be the representative.

MSU can't beat the Buckeyes in any of those three categories, but the Buckeyes can't beat Wisconsin in any of them either unless a win over Iowa vaults OSU over Wisconsin in the BCS standings. That might happen -- the Buckeyes are only two spots back -- but the gap in poll position between the two teams is pretty substantial, largely because OSU's schedule is actually pretty weak so far. Again, that'll change, but there's no telling by how much yet. Thus, everyone in Columbus would feel a lot easier if Wisconsin would just go ahead and drop another game.

Of course, if OSU wins out and passes a 7-1 Wisconsin in the BCS, that itself isn't enough; the key here is to get MSU involved in the tiebreaker, since its presence would cancel out Wisconsin's win over OSU as a disqualifying factor for the Rose Bowl berth (see the bolded part of the second rule above). Needless to say, there are plenty of Spartan fans in Columbus these days.

Michigan State can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • MSU wins out AND Wisconsin wins out AND Ohio State loses once;
  • MSU wins out AND Iowa and Ohio State both lose once.

Make no mistake about it, Michigan State's 37-6 loss at Iowa dealt a major hit to the Spartans' Rose Bowl chances, but they're far from out of this race. The key for Michigan State is its win over Wisconsin, to the point that Michigan State basically can't win a tiebreaker for the conference title if Wisconsin's not involved.

The good news is that Wisconsin probably will end up at 7-1; the Badgers' last four games are against unranked opponents, and the toughest of the bunch is probably Northwestern -- a game that's in Madison. But the key here is Ohio State, whom Michigan State just can't catch if the Buckeyes finish at 11-1, as mentioned before. If OSU's in the mix, MSU's not. It seems incredibly counter-intuitive that Michigan State would rather be in a three-way tie with Iowam, a team that it lost to, rather than OSU, a team that it didn't play at all , but that's the nature of the Big Ten tiebreaker rules.

Iowa can go to the Rose Bowl if...

  • Iowa wins out AND Wisconsin loses once.

This is the same scenario as last week, and on its face, it seems to be the simplest of the four. No ANDs or ORs here -- if Iowa wins out and Wisconsin loses, the only other team that can finish at 7-1 is Michigan State. Advantage: Iowa.

Of course, for Iowa to win out, it'll have to beat Ohio State AND Northwestern in Evanston. Iowa hasn't beaten an Ohio State team that ended the season with at least nine wins since 1983, and unless all hell breaks loose in Columbus in November (under Jim Tressel, that seems exceedingly unlikely), this OSU team will qualify with ease. Moreover, Iowa robbed Northwestern of a Rose Bowl berth in 2000 with a 27-17 win, and the Wildcats have been exacting their revenge on the Hawkeyes since, winning four of their last five against Iowa. So, yeah. Not a whole lot of history on the Hawkeyes' side on this one.

And lastly, we can't mention Northwestern -- the Big Ten's Loki -- without noting that it's lurking once again this season, waiting to unleash its special brand of discord on the conference title race. Northwestern has four wins over 9-win conference foes in just the last five seasons, and can completely blow this conference race to smithereens by winning out and getting a little help. Sure, the Wildcats have lost to Purdue, blew a 17-point lead to MSU, and have no rushing attack. You underestimate them at your own peril. So without further ado...

NORTHWESTERN CAN GO TO THE ROSE BOWL IF...

  • Northwestern wins out AND Iowa wins out AND Ohio State loses another game on top of the Iowa loss AND Michigan State loses at least once and probably twice.

The crazy thing about Northwestern is that it really only has two plausible nemeses standing in its way in this race: Michigan State, who defeated the Wildcats two weeks ago, and Ohio State (one of Northwestern's byes). The Wildcats still have yet to play Iowa and Wisconsin; if they win those two games, they can be in the clubhouse at 6-2.

The problem is, though, there isn't much chance of Northwestern getting past either MSU or OSU in any tiebreaker scenario. The Wildcats' BCS rating is currently nonexistent, and even wins over Iowa and Wisconsin probably aren't going to be enough to push them past even a two-loss Ohio State. Heck, it's not even certain to get the Wildcats past a two-loss MSU, although that would at least seem a little more plausible. Still, this is quite clearly a longshot, and ony the most mischievous of football gods would set a plan like this into motion. And that only happens in the ACC.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 11:33 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:44 pm
 

Ohio State's Ross Homan out with foot injury

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Jim Tressel announced at his news conference today that Ohio State has lost its most important linebacker for a good chunk of the rest of the season. Ross Homan, a senior three-year starter from Coldwater, Ohio, suffered a foot injury in the Buckeyes' game against Wisconsin. According to Tressel, that'll put Homan out for "a couple weeks."

How much this matters to Ohio State depends largely on how long the injury lingers. Assuming "couple" means at least "multiple," Homan's going to miss this week's game against Purdue and next week's trip to Minnesota. Not to assume victory for OSU or anything, but ... yes, OK, we're assuming exactly that. A bye week awaits after that, then the Buckeyes host Penn State. Even if Homan can't go for PSU, that's four weeks to recover, which certainly seems reasonable, and Ohio State shouldn't miss Homan very much in those three games against relatively toothless offenses.

However, if Homan's foot injury lingers (as foot injuries too often do), a fifth week missed might be a problem: that's when the Buckeyes travel to Iowa. Homan was clutch in Ohio State's win over the Hawkeyes last season, when he registered eight tackles and an interception. That was good enough for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, and Ohio State could surely use a similar performance this year.

At the very least, though, if Homan's foot problems leave him out long enough to miss the Iowa game or the Michigan game the week afterwards, the retooled Ohio State linebacking corps should be up to full speed with that amount of time to adjust. If the Wisconsin game is any indication, strongside linebacker Andrew Sweat will move to Homan's spot, while sophomore Jon Newsome will replace Sweat.

So, no: Ohio State's season is not automatically ruined, and it's not terribly likely that the Buckeyes' win-loss record will be adversely affected by the loss of Homan either.

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Posted on: October 2, 2010 3:11 pm
 

Ohio State beats Illinois 24-13

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State left its A-game back in Columbus this weekend, but the Buckeyes were still able to leave Champaign with a 24-13 victory.  It wasn't pretty, nor was it all that efficient, but Illinois just couldn't deal with the talent advantage the Buckeyes have over them.  For most of the game it looked as if Ohio State was just sleepwalking its way to victory, as Terrelle Pryor was the only member of the Buckeyes who seemed to care at times.

Pryor didn't get much done through the air, completing 9-of-16 passes for 76 yards.  When his team needed yards, though, he did it with his legs, picking up 104 yards on the ground.  Pryor also had to leave the game early in the third quarter when he strained his left quad muscle.  After heading to the locker room for a spell he would return to the game, but Jim Tressel went ultra conservative with his quarterback.

Which nearly proved costly for the Buckeyes.  The Illini had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter when they were inside the Ohio State 20-yard line.  That's when Ron Zook made a questionable decision to kick a field goal on a fourth down with four minutes left in the game.  While I understand the desire to put points on the board and cut into the deficit, I don't comprehend why Zook gave Ohio State a chance to just run out the clock.

Jim Tressel loves to run out the clock.  If you asked him if he'd rather see his team score on one 75-yard play or run ten minutes off the clock without scoring, he'd probably choose the latter. 

Tressel and the Buckeyes would do just that, as the Illini were then presented with a heavy dose of Dan Herron, Dan Herron, and then a little more Dan Herron.  Herron carried the ball six times -- every play -- on Ohio State's final drive, picking up 53 yards before finally reaching the end zone and putting the game out of reach.
Posted on: October 2, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 1:30 pm
 

Buckeyes struggling with the Illini

Posted by Tom Fornelli

I'm not sure what it is with Illinois that always proves so problematic for Ohio State, but the struggles are continuing today.  The Buckeyes are up 14-10 at the half, but for the first time this season they allowed their opponent to score first when Illinois forced a three and out from Ohio State to start the game, and then put together a nine-play drive that resulted in a touchdown.

The Buckeyes didn't waste time tying the game up when a 66-yard run by Terrelle Pryor set up an easy 8-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Saine.   Still, Illinois would take the lead back with a field goal -- the Illini also missed another field goal attempt -- and it wasn't until the final minute of the half that Pryor found Dane Sanzenbacher for a touchdown to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game.

It wouldn't be fair to say it's been a sloppy game from the Buckeyes, though they have had some issues on the offensive line, as Pryor has been sacked a few times and hurried into other throws.  To me, though, Ohio State looked more like a team that was just expecting to show up in Champaign and beat Illinois.  As if the Buckeyes thought that by simply being the better team they were going to win.

Which is a very dangerous attitude to have, and not one I'd expect from a team coached by Jim Tressel.   If the Buckeyes don't wake up and start taking Illinois seriously in the second half then, crazy as it sounds, they might not leave Champaign undefeated today.

It happened last year at Purdue, it could happen again.

 
 
 
 
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