Tag:Ohio State
Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:07 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 12:10 pm

Sugar, Sun Bowls sell out

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The economic slump has taken its toll on ticket sales and attendance figures for any number of bowls over the past couple of seasons -- no, John Q. College Football Fan does not want to spend his hard-earned cash visiting Detroit at the end of December to watch the Little Caesar's Bowl -- but that doesn't mean that with the right matchup in the right setting, fans still won't flock to their team's postseason destination.

Exhibit A: the Sugar Bowl has already sold out . It's the Sugar Bowl, sure, but getting to New Orleans from Columbus isn't the easiest of hikes, and while no one will accuse Arkansas fans of being any less fervent in their devotion to their football team than fans at their fellow SEC schools, they also simply don't have the numbers of an Alabama, Florida, or LSU. If it's taken less than 48 hours or so to sell out the Superdome, that's not bad.

But, yes, it is still the Sugar Bowl. And yes, it's the Hogs' first trip there in ages and the Buckeyes have one of the nation's largest followings. It's not bad, but it's not impressive. What might be, though, is Exhibit B: the Sun Bowl, in El Paso, Texas, has also sold out . It's even done so in record time, exhausting its ticket supply in less than 24 hours to break last year's mark by nearly nine days, and that's despite El Paso's less-than-desirable proximity to crime-ridden Juarez hampering its image as a tourist destination. (If you can't make it in person, remember that you can always watch the Sun Bowl at 2 p.m. EST Dec. 31, exclusively on ... wait for it ... CBS!)

That's what having two name-brand teams in Miami and Notre Dame set to renew the most famous and consequential rivalry of the late 1980s will get you, we suppose. (That the Irish declined to play a bowl game of any kind last season probably helps, too.) What happens if you're not pairing the 'Canes and Irish? What happens if you're pairing, say, a 6-6 Pac-10 mediocrity with a Big 12 opponent that 1. just crushed its legions of fans with a devastating championship game defeat 2. played in that same bowl game last year 3. obliterated that same Pac-10 team in that team's stadium earlier this season?

What happens is you have the Holiday Bowl and its Nebraska-Washington matchup, and you are also not going to see all that many Husker fans there :
The Nebraska athletic ticket office still has about 5,000 tickets for sale to the public, something that probably wouldn't have been the case had the Huskers made it to another bowl against another team.

"Last year we had two planes full within our first four days," [travel agent Vicki] Grieser said. "There's not the same interest, and we think it's mainly because of the opponent ... When I first heard Holiday Bowl I said, 'Oh, that's not so bad. People love San Diego.' But when it was against Washington people are thinking twice about it."
In many cases, yes, the economy will be to blame for bowl struggles. But as the Holiday is proving, there's often a lot more to it than that.

HT on Holiday story: DocSat .

Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:36 pm

Former Buckeyes want a college football playoff

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's no surprise that Ohio State has been one of the NCAA's largest benefactors of the BCS system. The Buckeyes have made three title games in the BCS's short history, and considering the shellacking two of those teams received, it's not unfair to think those teams wouldn't have reached the championship game in a playoff system. The same could even be argued (fairly or not) of OSU's 2002-03 title-winning squad, who did take the BCS Championship but was a massive underdog to Miami and likely would have been so against other contenders that year.

Meanwhile, Ohio State has made several BCS bowls (Rose and otherwise) without qualifying for the title game, but not between the BCS' first iteration in 1998 until this year, when the No. 6 Buckeyes were invited to the Sugar Bowl at 11-1, did Ohio State ever make a BCS bowl with only one loss on its record; in all of the other seasons, the Buckeyes had two regular-season losses but were granted a BCS bowl bid anyway because, c'mon, it's Ohio State. In other words, never in the last 12 years have the Buckeyes been eligible for an and-one playoff bid but haven't made the title game.

It would make sense, then, that the OSU players from those teams wouldn't exactly be clamoring for a move to a playoff system, when such a playoff would have never benefited the Buckeyes and their title hopes. And yet, ask several former Buckeyes about what the best postseason system would be, and their answer is the same: playoffs.

[Former Ohio State fullback Tyler Whaley ] and former Ohio State quarterbacks Todd Boeckman and Craig Krenzel , who are fairly certain they speak for their teammates, said the choice between determining a national champion through the BCS or by playoff is no contest. Bring on the playoffs.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't like getting the bowl gifts, the Xbox and shirts and watches and DVD players," Whaley said. "If you put in a playoff system, unless you get a corporate sponsor, you're not going to get that. Plus, you're out at the bowl site for a week. With a playoff, you probably wouldn't be."

Still, the goodie bags and steak dinners provided by bowls were not enough to change Whaley's mind.

"A playoff means more," he said. "Plus, let's take a player from Boise State. You're telling me he's not going to pick the playoffs?"

Krenzel cut even closer to the chase.

"If you're telling me a player would rather get an iPad than take a run at a national title (via a playoff), my answer to that is 'Get the heck off my team,'" he said.

The entire article is full of solid arguments from the players and, curiously, a particularly weak one by the author, Rob Oller. Oller argues that the former Buckeyes' statements and the 62% of polled players who support a playoff carry extra weight, because the players' opinions are "the most important" in the sport. This is only true if one ignores basically the entire history of the NCAA and its guidelines, which are almost uniformly crafted without expressly consulting its student-athletes.

That fact isn't necessarily as nefarious as it sounds, mainly because it's logistically impossible to gather the opinions of so many hundreds of thousands of constituents and cull a meaningful consensus on a consistent basis. And even if the NCAA were to start balloting its athletes on major issues, there's no guarantee that the entire exercise doesn't devolve into mere majoritarianism.

If only there were some way, then, to organize these athletes into a body that represents them and only them and speaks on their behalf with a unified voice. Something like a ... yes, a union. The NCAA's athletes should form a union, so we can avoid disparities in athlete opinion and NCAA rule like this in the future. $urely, there'$ no rea$on why any of the NCAA'$ $chool$ would oppo$e $uch organization effort$.

Posted on: December 2, 2010 12:07 pm

Gordon Gee is done talking football

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State president Gordon Gee drew a lot of attention to himself last week when he made some comments about the BCS and schools like Boise State and TCU.  Essentially, Gee said that he prefers the BCS to a playoff system, and then talked about how the Big Ten and SEC were better than schools like Boise and TCU because they don't play a "Little Sisters of the Poor" schedule.

Gee then lit his cigar with a hundred dollar bill and went for a swim in his pool full of gold coins.*

Well, after taking some heat for his comments -- and deservedly so -- it seems Gee has taken some time to reflect and decided that, in the future, he should just keep his mouth shut when it comes to talking about college football.

"I'm very blessed to have the best athletic director and best football coach in the country," Gee told The Columbus Dispatch. "They run the athletic program and I run the university, and I should have stayed out of there. What I should do is go over to the surgical suites and get my foot extricated from my mouth.

"What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football."

Which was pretty obvious from the start considering the school Gee oversees, and the one he claims doesn't play a "Little Sisters of the Poor" schedule played Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan this season.  Not to mention that the Buckeyes don't have a single victory over any team ranked in the BCS -- that system he loves so much -- at the moment.

Still, the fact that he was big enough to admit his mistake is good enough for me to get off of his case.

*That may have been Scrooge McDuck
Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:53 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 11:22 am

All-Big Ten Teams Announced, Pryor unhappy

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Big Ten released their all-conference teams on Monday, and clearly both the coaches and media value the play of the individual at each position.  The conference has seen an amazing collection of quarterback performances this season, making the narrowing process difficult for the voters.  But when the ballots were counted, Wisconsin's Scott TolzienMichigan's Denard Robinson and Northwestern's Dan Persa made the first and second teams, with Persa making both lists. 

One quarterback not too happy with the results was Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  Who, in the same fashion as so many brilliant athletes before him, took to Twitter to say something that will likely be misunderstood and blown out of proportion.  

Obviously Pryor is not going to quit football anytime soon.  But his frustration is somewhat understood.  Pryor is still thought by some to be a longshot Heisman candidate and plays on a team that tied for the regular season title, so conventional wisdom would likely place him atop his other Big Ten counterparts.  But this was not a conventional season at quarterback in the Big Ten.  

Plus Pryor could have possibly won some of the "career honor" type votes if he wasn't so adamant about coming back next season.  Come on Terrelle, work the system baby, work the system. 

Below are the full media and coaches' All-Big Ten squads as reported by the conference.

Click here to enlarge media list
Click here to enlarge coaches' list

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 27, 2010 4:36 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 4:38 pm

Wisconsin smells roses

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With wins by both Ohio State and Michigan State on Saturday morning, Wisconsin came in to its regular season finale against Northwestern needing a win to grab a share of the Big Ten title and possibly punch its ticket to Pasadena.  So far, things are going according to plan.

The game is still early in the second quarter, but the Badgers aren't having any trouble with the Dan Persa-less Wildcats.  Montee Ball has three touchdowns in the first 18 minutes of action, as Wisconsin has jumped out to a 21-3 lead.  Not helping Northwestern's case are the three turnovers that it has already committed.

Illinois gashed Northwestern for over 500 yards on the ground last week at Wrigley Field, and it looks like Wisconsin may be able to top that.

This win is huge for Wisconsin not just because of the Big Ten title, but because if the Badgers do win, they'll likely be bound for Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.  With a three-way tie atop the conference, the BCS standings will be used to determine which team gets to go to the Rose Bowl.  Up until this week Wisconsin has been ahead of both Ohio State and Michigan State, and that's not likely to change considering the way things are currently going in Madison.

Update: As I hit publish on this post, Scott Tolzien hit David Gilreath for an 18-yard touchdown pass.  It's now 28-3 Wisconsin.
Posted on: November 27, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 2:56 pm

The Rich Rodriguez Watch begins now

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Let the Rich Rodriguez is getting fired rumors begin.  Well, okay, continue.  No, that's not right either.  Let's just pour some more gasoline on the raging inferno that has been Rich Rodriguez getting fired rumors.

Yes, the Wolverines have improved in each season under Rodriguez since his first year in Ann Arbor after taking over for Lloyd Carr.  They've even reached bowl eligibility this season.

Still, improvement is nice, but not getting destroyed by Ohio State is better when you're the head coach at Michigan, and so far Rodriguez just hasn't proven himself capable of that. Through three seasons, Rodriguez is yet to pick up a victory against either of Michigan's two rivals, Ohio State or Michigan State

It's one thing to get beaten by Ohio State, it's another to do so while seeing Michigan State earn a share of the Big Ten title.

So I don't think it would surprise anyone if Rodriguez is let go after the season, if not before whatever bowl game the Wolverines end up in.  Dave Brandon may be the athletic director at Michigan right now, but he's not the one who hired Rodriguez.

Rich isn't his coach, and you have to think the man Brandon would have his eye on is out west in Palo Alto, California.  That's where former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh has built one of the best programs in the country with Stanford, and has done so while having to recruit the smart kids, not just the talented ones.

What's odd in this situation is that the Michigan fans may want Rodriguez gone, and even Brandon may want Rodriguez gone, but I'm not sure they have that much say in the matter.  No, I think it'll all come down to what Jim Harbaugh wants to do.

I have no doubt that Michigan will reach out to Harbaugh somehow, though it won't be publicly.  If Harbaugh gives the indication that he'll leave Stanford and come home to Ann Arbor, then Rodriguez will be kicked out the door quicker than a Greg Robinson defense can give up a touchdown.

If Harbaugh says no, then I think Michigan sticks by Rodriguez for one more year.  And waits to see if Harbaugh changes his mind.

Posted on: November 27, 2010 1:43 pm

Ohio State having no trouble with Michigan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

This game basically started out in the best way imaginable for Michigan.  On defense, the much-maligned Wolverines held the Buckeyes to two three-and-outs on Ohio State's first two drives of the game.  On offense, Michigan put together two quality drives.

The problem is that after those two drives the score was still 0-0.  That's what happens when you have a coach who has absolutely no faith in his kicker and has to go for it on fourth down, which Michigan did on its opening drive and failed.  The second drive ended with a Denard Robinson fumble that Ohio State recovered at it's own 10-yard line.

Terrelle Pryor led Ohio State to a field goal on the ensuing drive, and it's been all Pryor and the Buckeyes since.  Michigan got itself back in the game with a Vincent Smith touchdown halfway through the second quarter, but Jordan Hall returned the ensuing kickoff back 85 yards for a touchdown, and the Buckeyes had a 10-point lead right back.

A few minutes later Pryor was hitting Devier Posey for a 33-yard touchdown to stretch the lead to 17-point lead, which is where the lead now sits at halftime.

It also turns the heat on Rich Rodriguez's seat up that much higher.  Bowl eligible or not, don't think for a second that if Michigan gets destroyed by the Buckeyes again that Rodriguez's job won't be in danger.  Particularly with Michigan alum Jim Harbaugh leading Stanford to heights unknown out west.
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