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

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.

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites

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.

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites

'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.

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites

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.

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites

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...

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites

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.

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites

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.”

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites

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.

BallHype: hype it up! Add to Technorati Favorites