Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

This time next week...

It's not often the "big uglies" up front (a la Keith Jackson) get a flattering spread in SI.

Kirk Barton has been campaigning for his fifteen minutes of fame since he got to OSU and has finally stepped onto the national scene with his pal Alex Boone in a brief pre-game feature from last week's Sports Illustrated. It helps that Barton is highly quotable (as noted in the article) and coming off an All America season (as noted in the article).

Austin Murphy thinks the battle between the Buckeyes and the Tigers will be won in the trenches and that OSU has the advantage up front thanks to "the finest pair of tackles in the nation." And Barton says everyone hates him...

The article also recalls darker times when Boone, Barton's scruffy dopplegan
ger, was arrested for drunk driving and apparently downing "30 to 40 beers per day." An unidentified brother in OSU's prestigious Phi Tau fraternity was quick to dismiss Boone as a "lightweight."

  • Let's hope Barton and Boone are as good as advertised, because it sounds like Tressel is going to run it at the Tigers any way he can. Suffice it to say that a surprise appearance by Antonio Henton behind center in the biggest game of the year would be gutsy. Boeckman may not have looked like himself towards the end of the season, but Henton is green, sooo green. Past stating the obvious, a dual QB look from both teams certainly adds an extra layer of intrigue to the game.
  • The Dispatch reviews the year in sports, attempts to generate interest in professional hockey
  • I'm not sure how long this has been around, but shame on you if you haven't started spending at least an hour each day reading about the game.

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Weekend Read

Three down, five to go

The great thing about bowl season is, in th
ese remaining contests, five teams can take a huge step towards re-solidifying the Big Ten as a respectable, if not top conference in the increasingly level college football landscape. And they ("they" including me) say the college football post-season is meaningless.

Consider that Purdue and Penn State have already done their part and once-hapless Michigan State was a Brian Hoyer interception away from a major upset of Boston College.

Already played:

*T5= Tied for 5th

Motor City Bowl
Purdue 51, Central Michigan 48
(Big Ten #T5 v. MAC #1)
Not to dwell on the negatives, but the saddest part about Purdue blowing a huge lead and nearly embarrassing the Big Ten out of the gate is that Joe Tiller would still have a job if his team lost. As his spread offense become less and less of a novelty, one wonders how many 5 loss seasons Joe Till can afford.

Champs Sports Bowl
#14 Boston College 24, MSU 21
(ACC #T2 v. Big Ten #T5)
This would have been the bowl season’s first big upset and, realistically, the first interesting game unless you honestly enjoyed that Boise St. Eastern Carolina nail-biter. Sparty deserves some serious recognition for nearly beating the one-time BCS prize horse from the Big East. On the other hand, almost-wins still fall in the L column and no one in East Lansing can be happy about falling short in another big game.

Alamo Bowl
PSU 24, Texas A&M 17
(Big Ten #T4 v. Big 12 South #T3)
The win would have been better if it was against a Big 12 team that wasn’t scrutinized four underachieving all year. An Indiana victory over Oklahoma State on Dec. 31 would compliment this one nicely.

As you begin to see, it’s not a stretch to imagine the lowly Big Ten winning ESPN’s conference bowl trophy pseudo-award statuette-like object. Obviously an Ohio St. win by itself would throw a huge monkey off the back of the entire conference but a majority of the leg work is being done by the Big Ten’s enigmatic chewy middle (four teams with 3 wins, two with 4 wins.)

The remaining games:

Insight Bowl, Dec. 31
Indiana v. Oklahoma St.
(Big Ten #T5 v. Big 12 South #T3)
Despsite being Indiana, the Hoosiers seem to have the edge here. Playing in that coveted 13th game that eluded Terry Hoeppner, IU should be riding high on emotion and will look no further for motivation. Okie State, on the other hand, might be so fed up with these second-tier bowl cameo’s that Crazy Mike Gundy can harness their energy and turn it into the first complete game the Cowboys have played since beating Kansas State in October.
Prediction: Indiana in a close one

Outback Bowl, Jan. 1
#18 Wisconsin v. #16 Tennessee
(Big Ten #3 v. SEC East #1)
Two teams that failed to live up to expectations this year but certainly didn’t keel over and die midway through the season. If you believe that LSU is the best team in the country then Tennessee should be somewhere in the top ten after playing the Tigers close for three quarters in the SEC Championship game. Although, using that logic, which most people do, three loss Florida, four loss Alabama and Arkansas and five loss Kentucky should all be at the top of everyone’s ballot as well. Returning to Wisconsin though, who actually does well against SEC teams in bowl games. The Badgers are more physical and a better coached team who has a talented young defense, all of which adds up to:
Prediction: Wisconsin, also close. Tyler Donovan is, in my opinion, one of the worst quarterbacks in the Big Ten whose final outing was a horrendous 6/13 passing day against Minnesota.

Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1
Michigan v. #12 Florida
(Big Ten #T2 v. SEC East #2)
This could get ugly. Though it’s taken a year longer than most, I’m beginning to believe Tim Tebow is as good as advertised, which is like saying I think the iPhone is really as sexy as those commercials make it look. And believe me, it is. Like Indiana, Michigan will be playing for their coach and only for their coach because all that “returning to beat Ohio State and win a National Championship” fodder went to shit in September. At the same time, The Weasels are a talented group of veterans who are playing a Florida team that doesn’t really have a lot more to prove after a comparatively mediocre season.
Prediction: SEC faithful are dismissing Florida as the “3rd or 4th” best team in their conference, and until playing OSU, Michigan was in line to be the Big Ten’s BCS rep. Considering each team’s perceived position in their respective conferences, this is a must-win for the Big Ten. Unfortunately, a victory is unlikely. Florida, let’s say 34-17.

Rose Bowl, Jan. 1
#13 Illinois v. #7 USC
(Big Ten #T2 v. Pac Ten #1)
USC scheduled to tear off about 400 rushing yards and 48 points on J. Leman and Illinois. And, despite a few glaring flaws with USC predictions this season, I can’t imagine a scenario where Illinois pulls off the upset. Prove me wrong.
Prediction: USC pulls away in the second half. At some point in the fourth quarter Brent Musberger will wistfully reflect on someone’s career while mispronouncing the player’s last name.

Better days-- Little Animal knocks a younger, less slippery Juice Williams out of the 2006 game. You can bet USC has studied and learned from OSU's recent mistakes against Williams' Illini.

BCS National Championship, Jan. 7
#1 OSU v. #2 LSU
(Big Ten #1 v. SEC #1)
See this ('Buckeyes get motivation').
Prediction: OSU. Trev Alberts agrees.
Splitting the games won’t prove anything and hoping for perfection is not only unrealistic, it's now mathematically impossible. But, if the conference can pull together and come away with a 6-2 bowl record, there’s going to be a lot of media head-scratching accompanied by a sizable shift in perceived power going into next season.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

'Eye Candy

"Now let us never speak of it again"

Says a battle-tested Marge Simpson after her
family's dangerously eventful trip to Itchy and Scratchy Land (which included a stop at 'Adult Island' and T.G.I. McScratchy's Fundrinkery.) Little did she know she was speaking on behalf of Ohio sports fans in the year 2007--or as it's referred to by ThePalestra.com: "The Year Ohio Came in 2nd."

Taking a cue from ThePalestra.com, this edition of 'Eye Candy is catered to all you masochists out there who'd like to unlock suppressed memories from the year that wasn't.

Now, let us never...

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

ESPN finds clever new interpretation of SEC acronym

Not much to be said here. Tressel actually gives a comment that could be translated as *gasp* self-promoting and B-Hart continues to illustrate why he'd be much more intimidating if he didn't talk or remove his helmet and pads.

  • Terrelle Pyror on Rivals Radio: TP sounds like he really phoned this one in, so to speak. It's fairly short and fun to see if u can discern any kind of tonal variation in Pryor's voice when speaking of Ohio St. A couple items of note:
    • He has an official visit scheduled at Michigan.
    • He claims to be legitimately considering Duke. The interviewer, in a feeble attempt to translate Terrelle's monosyllabic mumbles, brazenly states this is merely a "courtesy visit."
    • Basketball is "not that important."
    • He doesn't have to play immediately.
  • Corso and Herbie talkin' shop, title game. Towards the end Corso evidently begins reading off of/ stealing from Kirk's teleprompter, though I assume this is protocol by this point in the season:

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

A time to count our blessings (loot)

With Christmas now a thing of the past and before the good bowl games start, it's time to inventory OSU's haul:

  1. No NCAA sanctions for the "violation" reported in this recycled story that had ESPN drooling for a day or so.
  2. Josh Jenkins officially de-commits from WVU. Swallow the left-overs for this one: if Jenkins joins the Brew-Crew group of '08, he would punctuate a class with four 5-star O-line commits.
  3. And this guy is on board for 2009
  4. Ohio St. beats Florida!!!
  5. Rich- Rod decides he can't bare to loose Michigan's running backs coach, perhaps ensuring Michelle Hart will be back for an unprecedented 5th straight loss to the Buckeyes.
Another year at Michigan or taking that offer as Tiki Barber's understudy on The Today Show...

Not too shabby, but is it too late to ask for some kind of closure to this Donald Washington drama?

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Weekend Read

The "Evil Empire:" Perhaps in a galaxy not so far, far away

My dad sent me this link. Interesting, if
not unsubstantiated comparison by Melissa Hoppert of the Times.

Have the Ohio State Buckeyes become the next Yankees, a successful team that has failed miserably recently in the postseason?

...But just like for the Yankees, after winning the big game merely making it there, for some, is no longer enough. The 41-14 drubbing by Florida in last season’s title game remains fresh in most people’s minds. (Not to mention the 84-75 loss to the Gators in the N.C.A.A. title game in basketball. Or even the Ohio State soccer team’s 2-1 loss to Wake Forest in the College Cup championship last Sunday.)
Out of context, Hoppert's more-of-the-same droning about underdogs, personal challenges and layoffs sounds like a rough outline for Michael Moore's next documentary. However, it is interesting to entertain her likening of our beloved Buckeyes to the always-polarizing Bronx Bombers...

Yankee Stadium =
Ohio Stadium
Like Yankee Stadium, The Horseshoe is a nationally recognized monument that represents all that is great and wrong about sports. Opened in 1923 and 1922 respectively, both venues welcomed crowds far greater than ever expected. The grounds that the Bucks and Yanks call home are draped in historical mystique and considered a mecca to any true fan. Unfortunately, both have or soon will trade unmatched traditional beauty for renovations/demolition catered to big spenders and sponsorship opportunities. Unlike Yankee Stadium, Ohio Stadium is “dry” so patrons must resort to consumption of smuggled liquor throughout the game as opposed to rationing the contraband until the final innings.

George Steinbrenner
= E. Gordon Gee
Like The Boss, Gordon Gee is quirky and always impeccably dressed. I would even go as far as to recommend Larry David to play the part of Gee in his biopic. Unlike Steinbrenner, Gee seems to have, at the very least, some kind of emotional hardwiring that allows him to discern right from wrong. Gee also appears to genuinely enjoy basic human interaction.

rian Cashman = Gene Smith
Like the Yankees GM, Smith is the man directly behind the coach/manager. Both have budgets far, far above the average program in their respective league of play. It’s not always a glamour job, as both Cashman and Smith are readily vilified when anything goes awry. Unlike Ca$hman, Smith, to my knowledge, has never put a price on a player’s soul.

oe Torre = Jim Tressel
Like the current Dodgers skipper, Tressel is a former-player turned coach, turned living legend. Both are reliable, generally reserved and respected by their peers. These men thrive(d) under the pressure created by the high expectations for these historic powerhouses. Unlike Torre, Tress has yet to be disrespected by his longtime boss in a pubic forum resulting in a blemish on his otherwise esteemed career.

Babe Ruth = Chick Harley

Like The Babe, Chick “built” his team’s “house.” These legends played the game at a different level and were cut from a special cloth. The grizzled old sage in the upper deck will tell you that Babe and Chick would still run circles (figuratively when speaking of Ruth) around today’s “athletes.” It’s easy to forgive these lads for their off-field eccentricities. Model Americans. Unlike Babe Ruth and despite his historical significance, Chick Harley’s name is rarely, if ever, mentioned in any conversation outside of Columbus.

Stump Merrill = Earle Bruce
Like Stump, Earle is old, portly and had a less-than-stellar coaching career in the limelight followed by a demotion to an equally tasteless stint heading a lackluster squad in Columbus (though it should be noted that Merrill won the Governor’s Cup with the Clippers while Bruce only managed a 6-10 record in his one season the Destroyers.) Both followed their backslides with much more fruitful vocations hanging around their old programs and providing sound bites to local media when asked. Unlike Merrill, who was cold-cocked on national TV by then Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, Bruce has yet to provoke a swift ass kicking at the hand of Michigan player some 50 years his junior.

Derek Jeter =

...no one associated with The Ohio State University. He publicly endorses Michigan, even after having the foresight to pass on their scholarship offer. As far as I'm concerned, this is far and away his greatest personal achievement.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

Donald's back! (maybe)

...and it feels like he never left. The sophomore CB's ears must have been burning all day while the local media fumbled over reports slowly leaking from the OSU Athletic Dept. Here is the final word at time of publishing. Unfortunately, Eugene Clifford seems to have secured himself a spot at B-Dubs on High St. for the biggest game of his short career.

One would assume that, despite the early reports of Washington's suspension, he is in the clear--whether or not he broke any rules. I simply can't imagine that Gene Smith and Jim Tressel would want to draw this out anymore by making a separate announcement that Washington is also suspended. But still, why did the starting CB's name come up at all? And it still doesn't ex
plain how Old Man McConnell was making those spooky noises if he was down at the boat docks the whole time! Either way, this whole thing seems pretty dubious to me.

The only thing that's for certain is how sorely D-Wash (as he is called over at Eleven Warriors) would/ will be missed. I distinctly remember midway through this season when he left a game with a tweaked ankle and a combination of Jamario O'Neal, Andre Amos and a hot dog vendor's stray shadow failed to accomplish anything in the defensive backfield. Washington is great stopping the run and probably the most underrated player on either side of the ball.

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'Eye Candy

Unofficial recruiting video

As much as I enjoyed watching Denzel Washington turn this unlikely bunch into a group of winners, I'd sooner brush my teeth with broken glass than sit through this Great Debaters monstrosity

With only a few scholarships remaining and a couple prize catches still floating around, no harm in sending out some complementary Remember The Titans DVDs to Pyror and West Virginia commit Josh Jenkins.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

Sweeney Todd

Johnny Depp he is not, but this season Todd Boeckman earned a reputation as a quiet force and looked damn smooth in doing so.

Until the last two games, that is. Amassing 4 INTS and only 20 completions in 8 quarters of play, Boecks looked more like the bumbling Ed Wood than the swashbuckling Jack Sparrow. Pat Forde goes so far as to cite Boeckman's recent slide as a potential scapegoat if things turn sour in New Orleans.

Don't point fingers just yet though, Tressel and QB #1 have been doing some tape study and if Boeckman can harness the deep ball again, the Demon Arm of Bourbon St. will be open for business come Jan. 7.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

"Don't start with B-Hart"

If SI's Austin Murphy likes anything better than his Nordic track jackets, it's rhyming with bogus nicknames. Even without the slightly effeminate boy band moniker slapped on Hartline, these kinds of articles have to make OSU fans a bit nauseous. You can’t blame the players and coaches for defending their talent, but in print and out of context, their interviews make for decent locker room material.

These “LSU Tiger Drills” sound promising though a Woody Hayes inspired silenzio stampa would say the most, the loudest in these final weeks before the game.

  • If you're like me and believe a season can come down to one play, don't read this about this ref's (of Illinois game infamy) seedy past. On the other hand, if you're a realist who thinks the outcome of a game can be more than partly attributed to a painful 4th quater drive consisting only of several variations of the same play who also happens to have a flare for life stories mirroring the plot of a Scorsese film...

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Spend the big Buck$ on...

A piece of the future, only $5!

In what can only be called a shameless attempt to separate a fool from his money,
The Dispatch is doing its best to handicap the Buckeyes. While we all are very familiar with the emblematic post-Miami victory front page, even that has its notable flaws (an undeniable reminder that Maurice Clarette did in fact play a huge role in that huge game).

Pre-ordering the front page of the local newspaper before the game has happened is truly a gambler’s sport. Part of me wants to give my full approval for such a bold move, particularly if you could somehow enlarge the receipt to hold up at the game.

Nonetheless, nothing short of Kirk Barton guaranteeing a win in New Orleans would jinx OSU more than a few thousand fans shelling out five bucks for something that is typically free--depending on how early you wake up and proximity to your neighbor's front porch.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Weekend Read

The right "man" for the job

Sure, the nearly month long (if you don’t include the three months between the Appy St. and Ohio St. games) search for Michigan’s next head coach has ended, but don’t fret, the bleeding continues. Both CFN and Mitch Albom are less than ecstatic about the hire. Expectations are understandably high and the consensus seems to be that Rodriguez, while a proven leader and exciting coach, is walking into this one blindfolded, pants down.

Say what you will about LLLLLoyd, but he was a “Michigan man,” dammit. And, whatever a “Michigan man” is, they sure seem to like them
up in Ann Arbor even though the two coaches who preceded Carr were Ohio-born. Rodriguez is a Mountaineer, through and through. And, if not for the advent of his spread-option offense and big-time talent in the backfield, Rodriguez would have probably remained a Mountaineer for the rest of his life--and been very successful. So you can empathize with the delayed applause from up north when the coaching search ended with a clandestine buy-out deal in Toledo.

From the start, everyone knew this would end with a young coach leaving a relatively high profile program for what is, for some reason, widely regarded as the premier college coaching job (on par with Notre Dame football and UNC and Duke basketball). Things got more interesting, however, when it wasn’t the young
coach from the high profile program that everyone expected. Before the second Saturday of the season, the media had prepared more than enough excuses/reasons for Miles to leave LSU. His first press conference as the Michigan head coach was practically written for him by ESPN.

But when it (slowly) became clear that Miles wasn’t interested, it seemed the sketch of a “Michigan man” would have to undergo some revisions. Foremost, this new commander of the leaders and the best is certainly getting the best money Bill Martin can give. Martin made an ass of himself when he supposedly low-balled Miles, so one imagines that whatever sum (undisclosed as of yet) he offered Rodriguez couldn’t be ignored. We can also assume that the new UM prototype has fickle allegiances. Afte
r informally accepting the Alabama job last year and “sucker punching” fans, he came back to Morgantown to publicly claim that he was there to stay. Yet when another national power came knocking a year later, the man from a small mining town left a Mountaineer team that was arguably the best he’d ever coached for a key to the Big House.

Though, even after putting like that, it’s hard to say that any man of flesh and blood wouldn’t do the same—but would a “Michigan man?”

All that being said, it’s time to snap back to the reality of the situation and what better way than to get acquainted with the enemy:

Five reasons to hate Rich Rodriguez

1. Mimicking his predecessor, his teams were pre-season favorites to soundly win their conference yet they rarely did and that never seemed to matter when the same predictions were made the following year

2. We were also annually reminded of WVU’s two-headed Heisman juggernaut, Steve Slaton/ Pat White. Yet, after three seasons of hype, Rodriguez and his speedy workhorses are only left with the memories of that one good half in the 2006 Sugar Bowl when their punter won the game. Start the Hart/Henne comparisons anytime you’d like.

3. The spread option. It’s Rich’s bastard child and, in some shape or form, it’s accounted for our last two losses (Illinois ran the read-option but we’re not splitting hairs here). Heacock can’t wrap his mind around it and dual-threat quarterbacks like Terrelle Pyror love it.

4. He had the gall to sign and or negotiate his death sentence in Ohio, of all places. (Note: This could be interpreted as an uncharacteristically intelligent move by Rich if you assume that he was in no hurry to set foot on Michigan soil.)

5. His name lends itself to any number of smarmy nicknames like “R-Rod” or the soon-to-be-popular, “Dick-Rod.”

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Silver Bullet Points

Rich gets richer

The monogrammed leather is being hand stitched in Ann Arbor by Mario "soft hands" Manningham

Michigan bought their man and, if you open your windows, you can almost smell the burnt polyurethane foam coming from Morgantown. After mining WVU in the spring for men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker's (who, by-the-by, recently beat the Wolverines with his new Ivy League “powerhouse” squad) replacement, AD Bill Martin went back to hillbilly heaven to find the future of the football program.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

And the second longest sports-related list released today...
Another bare cupboard for the Bucks?

In typical fashion, Tressel has been nothing but frank about his early-departure policy. Says Brian Robiskie: "Just talking with coach Tressel and a lot of the other coaches, they just said that by you doing this it's not going to take away from anything." Let's hope so, because this "new approach" to the National Championship we've been hearing so much about is starting to sound a lot like last year's model. Of the 13 players who filed out the paperwork

  • UPDATE (12/14)One player who almost certainly didn't submit paperwork, is backup QB Robbie Schoenhoft. Take it for what it's worth, but a headline on Buckeye Grove insinuates that Schoenhoft might be considering a change of position. Keep in mind this could be something out of less than nothing but it's worth considering the impact this could have on the continuing courtship of Terrelle Pryor.
  • Watching TV as I write this: is it just me, or is Total Recall a colorful cocktail of every sci-fi movie ever made?


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Eye Candy

"I felt like destroying something beautiful"

Says the suddenly lethal Narrator after bloodying Angel Face in Fight Club. Had the seminal novel and subsequent film been around ten years earlier, this is the same rationale Zach Dumas would have provided after ab-so-lute-ly unloading on Stacy Danley. With bated breath:

Sweet God. “Hardest tackle I’ve seen in years.” Almost 20 years later and this knee-jerk analysis stands uncontested.

Unfortunately, Auburn proved the tougher team; Danley’s Tigers used the monster hit as motivation. Final score of the 1990 Hall of Fame Bowl: 34-14, Auburn.

Look closely on your 9th viewing to see former Ohio State DB Bo Pelini congratulate Dumas.

As if there were any question as to where the future Nebraska head coach learned to light ‘em up.

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Silver Bullet Points

No surprises here:

The AP All-American teams were released yesterday (this is one that 'actually matters'). After a quiet start to the season, Gholston continues to receive his due recognition as one of the top DE's in the country.

  • CFN unveiled their end-of-the year Big Ten recognitions. Lots of OSU love; Buckeyes account for nearly 25% of their top 30 Big Ten players. Despite all this flattery, one can't help but notice the omission of Marcus Freeman from this list and those like it. Dan Conner, Laurinaitis and J Leman were arguably the top three LB's in the nation, yes, but it's a shame their talent overshadowed the conference's 4th or 5th best linebacker--boasting 21 more solo tackles than Laurinaitis--who would shine almost anywhere else.
  • I'm not one to jump on bandwagons long after they've passed by, but this one is too good to continue ignoring. (Note: Chris from Eleven Warriors and I are thinking alike today) So, at the expense of seeming behind the times in the blog metaverse:

According to his interview with SI, Tim "thinks people just Photoshopped [the jorts] in."
Photo c/o www.loserswithsocks.com

  • Even though the increasing popularity of the Tebow/jorts approximation has left me without an original post for today's 'Eye Candy section, I couldn't be happier that that "Tebow Wears Jorts" has vaulted into the fan-friendly lexicon of college football along with "O-H...I-O!," "Roll Tide!," that cat sound they play at Beaver Stadium, and, to a much lamer extent, "Geaux Tigers!" Losers With Socks, a particularly nasty Tennessee blog, seems to have declared ownership of the phrase, but I suspect there's a clever second-year on UGA's campus who thought of it first. Either way, the mutual disdain for Tebow amongst SEC and Big Ten fans is a welcome reminder of the holiday spirit.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

Late date with Michigan could make for an awkward Thanksgiving

Much like early reports of the would-be-epic computer crash known as the “Y2K bug,” today’s most shocking OSU news won’t effect anything until around the turn of the decade. At the discretion of Big Ten university presidents, the conference will begin playing a 13-week schedule.

The key rationale being the reinstatement of a bye-week. Math wizards and poor conversationalists alike will immediately note that this means a post-Thanksgiving date for The Game—though it won’t be the first time.

One assumes that the decision was at least partly in response to the onslaught of Big Ten criticism after idle Illinois and OSU “backed in” to their respective BCS bowls.

  • A couple more post-season lists at which to gander (or completely ignore) at your discretion. Notable is Malcolm Jenkins’ deserved, albeit still under-appreciated, appearance on SI’s team after being neglected by Bruce Hooley.
  • Dave Zirin of SI.com puts himself on the map as he rides the coattails of numerous, more successful pundits and makes this post-season’s most audacious BCS comparison. While it is uncertain whether Zirin’s extensive archive is the subject of that new Nick Cage flick, one imagines Dave-O is definitely shelling out ten bucks to see this:

(Note: As you can see, this movie will be legit and therefore is in no way meant to be a backhanded insult.)

  • You know those listless conversations with friends, colleagues, and strangers on High St. about what would happen if OSU played USC or West Va. this year? Those heated debates over whether or not our front four could overpower Oklahoma’s O-line? And how, when all is said and done, someone with common sense steps in and reminds everybody that there’s no way to tell how the game would play out on the field so you’re just wasting your time? Well, ESPN has found an incredibly incredulous way to legitimize that banter. Not that posting links and embedded YouTube videos is changing lives, but it’s difficult to imagine anyone at the Worldwide Leader in Sports could read off those 7 items in the pop-up window with a straight face. Go ahead, try yourself.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Weekend Read

"You lost it for yourself"

(Note: Most of this entry is based on reports that are founded in speculation and unidentified "insiders," proceed with caution. But, if the ESPN era has taught us anything, if there's smoke...)

Terrelle Pryor, the grail after which most top-tier programs are questing, continues to create suspense in the weeks leading up to his supposed announcement date (tenitavly the Army All-American game on Jan. 5th but there are whisperings that he might break the news before the end of the year). A
s referenced in yesterday's "Silver Bullet Points," this headline and subsequent article suggest that Pryor isn't the lock Buckeye fans once assumed.

The free article here, like that posted on Rivals, is...terrifying. Included are Pryor quotes like

"Oregon is now on my list...I really like the offense"
juxtaposed with
"that concerns me about Ohio State because they’ve never run an offense like the one we run at my high school or that they run at West Virginia, Florida, Oregon or other places."
Either Pryor is acting as a one-man hype machine to create some authentic surprise when he puts on his Block-O fitted at half time on Jan. 5th, or he's subconsciously speaking to Buckeye Nation's latent fear that highly talented skill players simply can't justify squandering their abilities in a traditional Big Ten offense.

Not to linger on this pseudo-story any longer, but if Pryor does indeed choose Oregon over Ohio State than it could be labeled as a "tipping point" for that program. Couple this potential steal for the Ducks with the Pac-10/BCS Championship season that should-have-been and consider the media-proclaimed end of an era f
or USC—is Oregon ready to step us as the class of the West? A long-time “bridesmaid” team , the Duck’s have the ingredients (money, facilities, media exposure and possible future-NFL stars Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart) to take the next step. Add in a nationally televised verbal from a consensus top recruit and we may be hearing a lot more of this in the coming years…

As I allow myself to become further caught-up in all this Pryor chatter along with feelings of nostalgia for one of the finer sports trilogies ever made, the mind begins to paint this picture…

Pryor ends up playing at Penn State for the evil, yet methodical Nittany Lions under vaunted coach Paterno. With Dixon playing on Sundays, the Ducks mirror the team they were at the end of November (a rag-tag group of players in kooky uniforms who can’t pass or receive). Midway through the season, the young(er) Mike Bellotti brings a shocking clerical error to the attention of Paterno: Pryor accidentally signed a LOI to the Ducks!

T.P. hesitantly transfers to Oregon where, after a series of comical and heartfelt follies, he learns to play with this lovable band of losers and leads them to the Rose bowl, only to meet…Penn State!

Pryor’s Ducks win in overtime after a Penn State QB, in the tradition of (almost) every quarterback to play for JoPa in recent memory, fails to live up to his potential and throws a fourth-down interception. The following conversation between Paterno and said underachieving QB ensues:

(begin at 10:00 end at 10:50)

Other items of note:
  • Pyror, as portrayed here by Charlie Conway, justly beats Penn St. QB’s (Gunnar Stahl) ass after being told “Good work, captain Duck."
  • “Let’s gogh shake their ‘aands”
  • How quickly we forgive the once-vapid head coach Gordon Bombay for his former life of admitted indulgence, alcoholism and moral side-stepping. Just like in real life.

But I digress.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

Been Caught Stealin'

Recruiting services such as Scout, Buckeye Grove and Rivals all agree this is a big recruiting weekend for Ohio State. Several blue chippers will be on campus including Florida State commit Moses McCray and the missing piece to the "Brew Crew," O-lineman Josh Jenkins who is listed as a soft verbal to West Va. Will this be the year that broken promises on signing day go in the Buckeyes' favor?

Of course this fantastic class will never achieve its full potential if QB Terrelle Pryor snubs Tressel and Co. for Penn State or, God forbid, Oregon.

Despite missing time to nurse an injury, Anderson Russell stood out as one of the most underrated defenders in the Big Ten.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

You've gotta love...

James Carville

By no means is this feature intended to mirror VH1’s guilty pleasure: Best Week Ever, but forgive me for using the eponymous phrase when I say James Carville is having the best week ever. Widely credited for the success of Wild Bill Clinton’s ’92 presidential campaign, Carville now spends his time lobbying for a college football playoff. Keep in mind Skeletor here is a Georgia-born LSU alumnus who makes a living being contentious and generally unlikable.

Note to Dana: Avoid poorly worded, loaded questions such as “James, do you think, in your lifetime, you’ll see a playoff system”

So not only did Jimmy C get a free plug for his XM radio show, he was also allowed to take the gloves off and tear into the hated Big Ten = Best Week Ever!

But wait, there’s more: Carville is also slated to appear in tonight’s episode of 30 Rock. I imagine that if there’s one thing the Ragin’ Cajun and I could agree on, it’s that a Times Square performance of "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" would be better New Year’s day entertainment than Illinois-USC.

Here’s to you, James Carville!

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Silver Bullet Points

Sources: Using Doc Brown's DeLorean, Michigan AD Martin travels back to 1997 and hires John Cooper as head coach

No, no friends, just yanking your chain! But Martin did talk to Brady Hoke. (Who?)

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Spend the big Buck$ on...

2008 BCS 'Helmets Tee'

available at The Buckeye Corner

Nothing says buyers remorse like waking up on January 9th, 2007 after an early night, still in your game day jeans and '07 BCS 'Helmets Tee.' But there's no reason this year can't be different in your crisp, heather gray, '08 edition. Safe shoppers will get theirs early and enjoy over a month of garunteed satisfaction. Smart shoppers will pick theirs up Dec. 26th when retailers are desperate to rid themselves of this burden. Conversely, those fat-cat, high-risk Wall Street types will play the market and wait till January 8th when stores will either be tossing the left-over 'Helmet Tees' or immortalizing them in oak frames.

It's your call. Tears wash out with soap and hot water.

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Silver Bullet Points

Not to go over-kill with Troy Smith sightings, but #10 was in the ESPN studios yesterday for appearances on Cold Pizza and College Football Live. Good to see someone outside of Columbus still acknowledges his Heisman and place in the college football pantheon, even though he was clearly just the "de facto player of the year"...

  • Even though CFN unceremoniously stripped Troy and Eddie of their awards, the Buckeyes fair well throughout the conversation. Particularly flattering are the five OSU trophies ranked in the top 40 of all time. Beanie/Boeckman '08.

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'Eye Candy

Jalen Rose has a heart-to-heart with Braylon Edwards and Reggie Bush,er,Troy Smith
Truly a multiple viewing piece, albeit a red carpet train wreck of Tara Reid proportions. Though I'd like the viewer to simmer in the awkwardness cooked up by ESPN's Jalen Rose on his own terms, I've highlighted a few items below:

  • Jalen Rose, sans Final Four banners, has parlayed a mediocre pro career into a mediocre commentating career.
  • As evidenced by the Blair Witch- esque camera work, ESPN producers probably had no idea Rose was at the ESPY's, let alone harassing guests.
  • Rose seems to be filling that ever-so-necessary role of "the young Lou Holtz" with his unintelligible, nerve-fueled banter at the beginning of the interview.
  • If you make it to the end of the clip without sticking forks in your eyes, take to heart Rose's candid plea for help as he throws himself on the dapper Edwards (who, despite spending four years in Ann Arbor, wasn't aware Michigan had a basketball team.)

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Silver Bullet Points

Thanks, Captain Obvious

for this unprecedented take on the implications of January's match-up:

"OSU can't waste chance to regain lost stature"

Thesis: It would be for the best if OSU won the BCS National Championship.

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