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

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Road to The Championship

Truck stops, blue colored grass, CDs under $20:Paul and the crew can only be one place...

Coming to you from the heart of SEC country, Tennesee where everyone drives a pick up truck. We are making great time although we had an extended "pit stop" in a Kentucky truck stop.

We played a little "dear slayer" arcade game, appropriately, and browsed the huge selection of country music.

-Paul, Josh, and JR, 1:53 AM EST

Careful now boys, once you cross that Mason-Dixon line there's no turning back and certainly none of them fancy mp3 whozamawhatchits so stock up on your road tunes now. While our brave travelers navigate the evening pavement, barreling towards an early morning arrival in New Orleans, let's take a gander at what SEC country is all about, courtesy of Pat Forde at ESPN.com.

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'Eye Candy

Pryor's 'point' sends shock wave through college football community

Anyone who has sat through more than five minutes of the Army All-American knows that this game, while a great honor for those participating, is nothing more than a unique chance for the two guys in the booth to talk recruiting for a couple hours while the talent down on the field holds the audience's attention. If only out of obligation, I'll note that the East squad won today's game, 32-23 with--who else--Terrelle Pryor accounting for 155 yards total offense and 2 touchdowns. Keep in mind he split time with two other QBs.

Real. Deal.

Pryor's new buddies, Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, J.B. Shugarts, Ben Buchanan, Jake Stoneburner, Etienne Sabino and Lamaar Thomas (an RB out of Maryland who also showed much promise) were all there too. And lest we forget the leader of this incredible class, Michael Brewster who did not play due to injury but did tape this segment for Scout.com.

What is this buckeye leaf he is talking about at the end, you ask?

I think he meant
this buckeye leaf:

Courtesy of user nphsbuckeye on JJHuddle.com

The sticker became noticeable soon after Pryor set foot on the field but shoddy camera angles wouldn't allow a clear view. This screen capture, however, erases any doubt.

I can't help but feel that there's some subtext here that I'm overlooking, some kind of message...

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The Road to The Championship

Nothing says trouble like three hungry Ohio St. fans, a shiny red (dare I say scarlet?) pick-up truck, Mardi Gras beads and a home-made road trip sign (is there another kind?) "The Road to The Championship" first finds Paul, center, with his two comrades just moments before they left Columbus earlier this afternoon.

No word as to their current whereabouts but Old Columbus Town imagines this motley crew is just a few Toby Keith away jams from joining the sea of scarlet and gray that continues to descend upon New Orleans.

Stay tuned...

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Special Championship Game News

Old Columbus Town to outsource Championship Game coverage to traveling reporter Paul Germain

That's no type-o friends, Columbus' native son himself is road-tripping down to the game and has agreed to keep us filled in on all the goings-on his Blackberry will allow.

If you're heading down to NOLA
yourself, keep your head on the swivel for Paul and his entourage of OSU-faithful.

Germain is a man of as many words as smiles and boasts a gaggle of passionate opinions. Old Columbus Town is excited to have another man of high culture and low brow humor on
board this sputtering speed boat of dreams.

Stay tuned...
Look for Paul heading due-south tonight with his three friends who also bare a striking resemblance to Brutus Buckeye

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Silver Bullet Points

"Be not afraid of greatness

...some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em."

-Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

And what better time to pompously quote an obscure Shakespearean comedy on the eve of the eve of battle. If I know Jim Tressel, and I don't, he's likely shying away from grandiose tactics like citing scribes or delivering ill-advised motivational stump speeches loosely based off that stirring "Peace by Inches" monologue from Any Given Sunday.

But while it's doubtful the team needs anything else to get mentally prepared for the biggest game of the season, there's no better time to be an OSU fan who enjoys his Buck-literature
en masse.

  • No link necessary, but if you don't have a whole lot going on today or are socially paralyzed from Monday-related anxiety, there's a couple mildly-entertaining, college football-related games on today. These high school All-America games, the famed Army All-America Bowl is clearly the more prestigious of the two, features a hand full of future Buckeyes as well as he who shall not be named, T.P. Said super-freak QB is causing many college football discussion boards to implode today with speculation of whether he'll do a surprise announcement or even wink at the camera in a way that might suggest he'll choose Ohio St.
  • Keep checking back for updates, links, unprovoked pop culture references all weekend...

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Silver Bullet Points

Another chapter from The Vest Chronicles

The legend continues to grow with the help of this piece on ESPN.com by Ivan Maisel. The story is the same, about a noble man from Mentor, Ohio who emphasizes special teams play as much as he does class.

You kind of wish they would dig up some new, juicy info on the guy, but the affirming fact remains that the man we've come to know as The Senator has no skeletons to speak of (though ESPN did some probing during the Clarett saga), no quirks other than his intimidating win percentage and modest offensive output. Even that one tear-jerking viral anecdote about his generous donation to a d
isabled player proved to be mostly fictitious.

Les Miles, on the contrary, makes for a much more interesting feature story. His erratic fourth quarter play calling and public snub of Michigan are the trappings of a movie-of-the-week.


  • As this section is fast and reluctantly becoming the "Pryor Watch" it seems appropriate to report the word that highly touted freshman QB Ryan Mallett plans on leaving Michigan. Nothing is official as of yet, no paper work to speak of, but a transfer, supposedly to UCLA, wouldn't be a shock. Mallett was heavily recruited out of high school as a pro-style QB, much like his contemporary, Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame's on-again 0ff-again frosh starter.) Mallet, who started for the Weasels when Chad Henne was hurt this season, was a sure-bet to start next year until Richie Rich rolled in to town, guns blazing with talk of bringing Terrelle Pryor to Ann Arbor. Does Mallett know something we don't? It's hard to believe a blue-chipper golden boy would leave his post because he isn't sold on a new offense after what, two days. Or maybe Rich Rod wasn't exactly trying to push his product to this particular costumer, if you catch my drift...

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'Eye Candy

If you see three minutes of only one video this year...

The beginning to the already-famous "Take Home Talk" motivation video given to the Buckeyes several days ago.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Silver Bullet Points

Business is business

There's no turning back now for Ohio St., who landed in New Orleans earlier today.

And, from the sound of this article, Tress has the boys in the right state of mind this year. No Princess Hotel, no shaggin' balls at the driving range, no fraternizing with the ASU coeds. Hell, there's not even a moment to spare for any philanthropic endeavors.

"A national championship is all that's weighing on my mind," receiver Brian Hartline said. "When it comes down to it, it's a business trip, and when I go down there, it's just LSU."
Be still my restless B-Hart.

After West Va. thoroughly whacked a surprisingly outmatched Oklahoma tonight (the Rich-Rod camp requests the win put him at 2-0 this bowl season), only Virgina Tech-Kansas stands in the way of assuring the Championship Game be the most entertaining BCS game this season--assuming both teams show up to play.

  • '08 commit Mike Adams of Dublin Coffman talks to Scout about Army All American Bowl. Nothing too tangible here but lots of Buckeye "insiders" on the web have been chatting about Terrelle Pryor's favorable behavior in Texas. He's supposedly running around with the Brew Crew and tossin' deep balls to commit WR DeVier Posey in practice. Conversely, I've also seen board postings that place Pryor showing up in a Michigan hoodie. Bottom line, the kid has to love all this attention.
  • But back to that WVU game. Though I found myself flipping between that and a sorely overrated (despite a cameo from Glenn Palilla's girlfriend) episode of Gossip Girl towards the end, the Mountaineers may have snagged the most impressive win of the post season and most definitely their season. I mean this is OKLAHOMA, Big 12 champs, winner of two games against Mizzou with the consensus freshman of the year behind center. Couple that with the month WVU has endured: two heartbreaking losses, one the result of a conscious decision. Oh, and let's not forget that perennial Heisman hopeful Steve Slaton was M.I.A. for most of the game. Despite starting with the deck stacked against them, the 'Neers produced a bucket full of SportsCenter highlights and pretty much scared the shit out of everyone who was watching Noel Devine prove for the 50th time this season why he was a former YouTube phenom--one with at least two more seasons left in him. After that display tonight, there should be no question as to who is the best two-loss team in the country (really? Gerry, really?)
  • As for Big Game Bobby Stoops... where have you gone? Since his 2001 title with the Sooners he is 3-4 in bowl games, including that 55-19 slaughtering in the '04 Championship "Game" against USC. www.firebobstoops.com ?
  • With these two in Arizona, who's running hell?

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

You've gotta love...

January 1st

New Year's Day bowl games truly put the rest of the post-season to shame, which is the way it should be. Let the MySpace bowl continue placing the fourth place team from the Sunbelt conference against the loser of Harvard-Yale, it won't cheapen the intrigue and entertainment value of marquee Jan.1 bowls.

In that sense, one has to be somewhat disappointed that a majority of the BCS games are yet to be played, regulated to stand-alone prime time sports events instead of juicy additions to the schedule of
the day for college football.

Good for FOX, bad for everyone else.

The Fiesta Bowl at 8:00 PM on Jan. 2, a Wednesday night? Is this the MAC championship game? Particularly in a year when the glamorous Rose Bowl is allowed it's traditional trappings, everything after the first of the year seems like a forgotten coda to the college football season.

It's also a real shame that the Michigan- Florida game wasn't played in a BCS location, because it was certainly the quality game that BCS officials are striving for. Other than a marathon viewing of HBO's The Wire, season one, this was the most entertaining 3 hours of couch time all (extended) weekend.

Like David Simon's razor sharp sociological mind-fuck (*ahem*entering it's fifth and final season on Sunday *ahem*), the Capital One Bowl was a multi-layered drama without a discernible heroes or villains. One one side there's the outspoken Mike Hart, jawing at Florida DT's four times his size and clearly involved in some kind of point shaving scheme, evidenced by his pair of goal line fumbles. Though across from the Wolverines stood an even less likable character, Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer's charismatic errand boy who has the best PR rep in the business. CBS's Gary Danielson ought to be furious with the way ABC was flattering Tebow, on whom Danielson has a well-vocalized man crush.

Yet, from the standpoint of an OSU fan, it wasn't too difficult to pick a side. As is the case every year, any animosity between Ohio St. and Michigan is rightfully put to rest for the small window of time when each team is representing the Big Ten. And, considering his record against Tressel, who doesn't love Lloyd Carr, the man who coached his last game at the school he loves? His team certainly does.

Between Hart making OSU's defense look like a brick wall and waiting for Rich Rod to mistakenly call maize "yellow" in the announcer's booth, this game was a great way to kick off the new year. A statement game for the Big Ten.

...Amidst a day of other conferences "stating" that the Big Ten isn't so great.

Illinois and Wisconsin both fell, the latter in a much more admirable fashion. The Illini lacked any fight and the Rose Bowl quickly began to resemble last year's Championship Game.

Illinois was outmatched from “go” and made things difficult on Herbstreit and Musburger, who were calling the game. When I changed the channel at 21-0 Kirk was listing all USC's Heisman winners while the camera lazily found them in the stadium. Hours later, in the fourth quarter, I stumbled upon the game again to find an info graphic of Pete Carroll’s successes on the screen, most likely recycled from the first half. Bad, bad television.

Thirty-eight Colt Brennan pass attempts and zero Colt Brennan touchdowns later, Georgia players were presenting their argument for #1. Not surprisingly, plenty of others have already written off the up-coming OSU-LSU game after the newly crowned best teams in the country, USC and Georgia, beat up on lesser opponents.

The Sugar Bowl, in which Georgia ruined Hawaii’s vacation without offering to refund their plane tickets, somehow managed to out-suck the Rose Bowl. At best it was a chance to see superstar in-the-making Knowshon Moreno, at worst an unforgiving exposure of Brennan and his system offense. The Rainbow Warriors were one season too late to be a non-BCS Cinderella story so now they are just the team that took Missouri’s place in the Sugar Bowl (and that’s going easy on Kansas.)

The bowl records after today:

1. SEC (6-2)
2. Big-12 (4-2)
3. Pac-10 (4-2)
4. Big Ten (3-4)
5. Big East (1-2)
6. ACC (2-4)

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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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