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

Friday, January 11, 2008

Silver Bullet Points

But the good news is...

Will lil' Animal follow in Malcolm's footsteps?

I love when I'm wrong, which is almost always.

Brian Robiskie and Malcolm Jenkins announced that they will be returning for their senior season at Ohio St. Yes, Vernon Gholston is moving on to seemingly greener pastures, but getting Jenkins for another year is a real steal. Says the all-conference DB during a Mike Doss-like revelation:

"What's important to me is accomplishing more. I want to win the Thorpe. I want to be a first-team All-American," Jenkins said. "I want to win a national championship. I want to experience a senior season. You can't put a price tag on that. To be paid to play football is just a benefit. I'm not ready to transition to the next stage of my life yet."
Goal setting, optimism, a big picture perspective...these are things one looks for in a leader of a program in dire need of direction and a new identity. If James Laurinaitis (still a big 'if') and Marcus Freeman (crossing my fingers) were to forgo the draft, the 2008 defense will return 9 starters from this year's top-ranked squad.

A farewell to arms

Robo, while less of a "steal" considering his probable draft position, will begin his final season at the top of the Biletnikoff watch list and be surrounded by offensive weapons like Wells, Saine, Hartline, Ray Small and newcomers DeVier Posey ( 5-star receiver) and Lamaar Thomas (a speedster likened to Florida's Percy Harvin.)

  • If you're ready to ease back into college football, CFN is a good place to start. The site has somehow found the only sports writers in America that DON'T employ Ohio St. and the Big Ten as verbal whipping boys. This Q&A section addresses the constant push to merge the SEC with the NFC Central and here you can find an unbiased, rational defense for the beleaguered conference.
  • Finally, I'd like to extend a delayed thank you to our traveling reporters and friends, Paul, Josh and JR for making Buckeye Nation a better place to be. You bore witness to scenes that will haunt your nightmares for years to come and lived to tell the story. For these model Americans it's back to selling dreams at unbeatable interest rates...until next season...

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Silver Bullet Points

Picking up the pieces

Well, that didn't go the way I would have liked.

This is sure to be light on links, as there aren't too many articles I'd like to read again myself. A few stray observations while attempting to avoid anything too heavy:

  • Beanie will begin the season with a nice cushion in the Heisman race. That is to say, he'll start the race (more like a marathon, really) at about the same place Troy Smith did--remember he didn't become a legit contender until after the Texas game. He can afford a game or two with mediocre statistical output and still be in the thick of things but a strong showing against USC would be ideal.
  • Yes, that stiff arm was sweet, but will never achieve its legendary potential because of what proceeded. Much like this monster dunk attempt and the brick that followed.
  • Brandon Saine had a huge reception early...and then kind of disappeared, as offensive players have a tendency of doing during Tressel-era losses.
  • Unlike last year, the stats don't tell the story. Most disconcerting, to me, is 3-13 on 3rd downs. Eighty-three penalty yards comes in close second.
  • Give veterans Laurinaitis and Freeman the credit they deserve, posting 18 and 14 tackles respectively.
  • Between the well-intended motivational tape, all the hype about OSU needing to prove themselves, Tressel's "new" game plan that included these cutesy "Tiger Drills," Kirk Barton's "everyone hates us" spiel and about twenty other things, OSU looks pretty hapless after that game. Even though everyone tried to do it for them, with all this chatter and providing the trappings of a Disney-esque redemption, when it came time to play the Ohio State players couldn't do it for themselves. Maybe what got lost in the media mix was that this Buckeye team shouldn't have needed a single reason to win that game. The 'why?' to the equation is "because we're Ohio State" and, since it's not late November in Ann Arbor, the 'who?' doesn't really matter.
  • But, because this is still well within the two-month mourning period where irrational, harsh reasoning is welcome, let's not forget to point a finger in the direction of Coach Tressel. If you're the girl across the table from me at the bar on Monday night, you think he was to blame for each and every misstep and needs to be fired; no further explanation necessary (if you are this girl then you are also still hung over and tried to steal a pint glass, only to spill stale Bud Light in your purse in doing so.) In all seriousness, the man needs to crack some heads while the gun is still smoking and then take time for some soul searching of the college football variety. I would hope that a symbolic firing is in order; removing Jim Bollman would be a great start. If Tressel, bless his talented heart, can't bring himself to be the catalyst of change in this program then he must surround himself with people who will--regardless of how well the personalities line up.
  • The following excerpt from Stewart Mandel's (who shockingly picked OSU 2nd in his 2008 poll) post-game thoughts is what I believe to be the most disheartening news of the week and lies on the shoulders of both the coaches and the players:
Ohio State tackle Alex Boone did not mince words about when describing the state of the Buckeyes' huddle as Monday's game unraveled. "Everybody started pointing the finger at somebody," said Boone. "Guys were trying to fight each other, getting pissed because they didn't think people were helping them and all that stuff. Just selfishness."
  • The above quote hints that exodus to the draft may be more dramatic than previously expected. No chance on Laurinaitis, Jenkins and Gholston staying and now maybe say goodbye to Freeman (who stated before the game that he'd return), Boone and Robiskie. I may regret saying this later, but I imagine that this Jr. class has nothing left to prove. Wins over Michigan will never get old, but for guys like Little Animal who have suffered two embarrassing losses at the expense of their reputation, why hang around to have your gold pants tarnished once more?

But enough with the somber retrospective. Let us begin to look forward to that Sept. 13 date with USC...

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Silver Bullet Points

Game Day
Herbie and Eddie celebrate on the sidelines of the last OSU National Championship Game that counted

What more can be said? I tried to dig up a rousing Youtube clip but couldn't find any that seemed appropriate for this afternoon. The death metal soundtrack that typically accompanies these fan compilations isn't really my cup of tea.

That being said, here are some last minute links that should hold everyone over until the pre-game coverage starts in about 10 minutes.

Go Bucks!

  • "LSU to use two QBs in title game." Just so you're not surprised when it happens. Personally, I haven't been too impressed with ol' Ryan Perry-lou this season (but the SEC Championship,) and, thanks to CBS's deal with the SEC, I've seen most of LSU's games. Maybe he's a late bloomer...

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The Road to The Championship


The temptress that is New Orleans did her best to distract us from the reason we came down here, but even hand grenades and hurricanes couldn't stop the Old Columbus Town reporters from bringing you coverage on the ground. It's gameday, the game we've been preparing for since September, since last January to be honest. The debate of whether or not we belong here is moot now, all that matters is that we show up. The opportunity that this game provides is like something out of an Ashton Kucher movie. Imagine, the biggest regret you have in your life, and you have a chance to do it over. Laurinitis, Wells, Gohlston and the rest of the crew have been given a mulligan and I promise they will take advantage of it.

Ohio State fans are outnumbered down here, as expected, but every person that made the trip knows what's at stake. The itinerary today consists solely of football. There is a "Varsity Club South" set up near the stadium where Buckeye fans have been going to pasture. We'll spend the morning down there trying to sell an extra game ticket. Maybe we'll give it away.

We have to give a quick shout out to the women who made this little road trip possible. Lauren and Jennifer played key roles in this excursion, allowing their men to spend a few days in hedonism. Paul of course has no female to answer to; this allows his focus to rest singularly on the Buckeyes.

This will be our last post before the game. Hopefully we'll come back to Cbus tomorrow with some hardware.

Go Bucks.

-Paul, Josh and JR, 10:25 AM CST

That's some nice work there, boys. I think I know the Ashton Kutcher movie of which you speak. It's called Cheaper by The Dozen and co-stars Steve Martin, Hilary Duff and that girl from Coyote Ugly who is supposedly a former OU Pi Phi.

Sounds like plenty of 'strategery' was done last night. As far as that extra ticket is concerned, I know a handsome fellow who is ready to jump on the next flight direct flight to the Superdome (I hear the LAX-Superdome seats are cheap).

Will good fortune give us another report tomorrow? Perhaps from the "victory lap" home?

Stay tuned...

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Silver Bullet Points

Oh, sleepless nights...

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The Road to The Championship

The crew has landed on Bourbon St.! The above photo, sent by Josh just minutes ago, proves that our roving reporters were indeed headed to the promised land and not Daytona Beach for a weekend of fun in the sun as some of you speculated.

The fellow left of center in the red shirt is clearly an LSU fan, staring at our friends as if to engage them in a battle of wits, or possible a dance-off, which Paul is famous for in the Southern region. Easy fellas!

You can bet fans from both teams are out on the town tonight, shaking off those pre-game jitters. No word as to what Paul, Josh and JR will get into now that they are safe in New Orleans. From what I hear, the place isn't really a party town.

Stay tuned...

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The Weekend Read

Crystal Ballin'

Twenty-four hours from now the first half of BCS Championship Game will be well underway. This we know.

The next couple hours are all speculation but as soon as the game ends we can pretty much predict how things will play out, regardless of the winner:

  • 15 minutes after the game: Hoards of fans from the winning team (lets say, Ohio St.) descend upon Bourbon St. to celebrate the win in high fashion, all looking ridiculous to various degrees, depending on their age. Locals are completely un-fazed by the sight of grown men crying, showering each other in domestic beer.
  • 20 minutes after the game: FOX Sports analysts run out of things to say, keep "sending in back to Urban Meyer" who, at this point, is convincing a recruit who committed to the loosing team to come play for his Gators.
  • 45 minutes after the game: Mark May and Lou Holtz disagree over who was the game's "X-factor." Reece Davis giggles and, just for the sport of it, asks Lou Holtz to do a Sylvester the Cat impersonation.
  • 1 hour after the game: An ESPN.com columnist publishes the first retrospective of the game and either claims that A.) The Big Ten is years behind everyone else in terms of speed and offensive schemes or B.) A plus-one format or play-off is only fair because of the demanding SEC schedule that didn't allow Georgia, the real #1 team in the country, to meet LSU in the title game.
  • 2 hours after the game: The Skybus flight from New Orleans to Columbus departs at an obscure hour, leaving almost everyone behind. Subsequently, these stragglers learn that the hospitality and amenities at the local 24- hour convenience store are more generous than those on their scheduled flight.
  • 12 hours after the game: Les Miles announces he is leaving LSU to pursue his life-long dream of becoming the head coach of his alma mater, Michigan.
  • 16 hours after the game: At a press conference Jim Tressel is vocally "very proud of our young people" and feels that both teams "played some of the best football he's ever seen." It is unclear whether Coach Tressel is presently aware of the game's outcome.
  • 24 hours after the game: 2008 pre-season predictions from at least 50 experts are published along with 10,000 reactions to those predictions that insist Ohio St. is ranked too high.

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The Road to The Championship

Paul, Josh and JR taking a breather and waxing philosophical outside of one of those kooky southern emporiums.
The smell continues to worsen as we cruise towards the Mississippi delta but nothing can stop these brave reporters from reaching our destination.

We are currently making good time traveling south down I-65 as Paul Germain is bobbing and weaving through the plentiful highway of pick up trucks. Josh Miller as taken over the role of navigator while JR Thompson heads up our security detail. The glares have become more threatening the further south that we have traveled. It doesn't help that Paul and Josh bellowed out a series of "OH""IO" chants disrupting the game of pool that was taking place at the Truck Stop / McDonald's / Nail Salon / Laundry mat / Tire Center.

As far as the upcoming show down is concerned, our sources in New Orleans indicate that the team is upbeat and so are we as we continue to head in hostile territory. The 2002 National Championship game is on loop in the rear entertainment system while we eat up white lines heading to the "Big Easy". This team of roving reporters is confident that Tressel and his silver bullets are not doomed to make the same mistakes of a year ago.

Over the next 72 hours sleep will take a back seat as we honor our commitment to the readers of Old Columbus Town to provide the best coverage possible that three cars sales people can provide. You won't be getting the cream puff predictions like you hear from Corso and Herbie. We will scour Bourbon Street, the Superdome and everything in between to be your eyes and ears in the Bayou.

Big thanks to Dave for putting together a great place for Buckeye fans to call home. Sorry for dumbing it up!

Paul, Josh, and JR, 3:38PM EST

Well done boys! Deep into enemy territory and still not afraid to wear your colors. I'm not in the least bit embarrassed to say that I've been living vicariously through you and wish these sore eyes could see what awaits you on Bourbon St, or should I say "South High St."

Stay tuned...

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'Eye Candy

Film Study

For anyone who feels so inclined to brush up on his/her SportsCenter...

I agree, Mark Schlabach has all the personality of a used napkin.

More to come...

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