Archives for November 2006

Academic All-American Buckeyes

OSU FootballOhio State’s Anthony Gonzalez, Stan White, and James Laurinaitis were all named to the 2006 Academic All-American team, recognized for outstanding performance in the classroom.

Penn State’s Posluszny took top honors as Academic All-American of the Year (an honor once held by OSU’s own Craig Krenzel).

In fact, the Big Ten dominated the Academic All-American team, getting 11 places. More first-team players were selected from Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin than from all other Division I-A conferences combined.

It’s one thing to root for a given team on the football field, but it’s always great to see the players who take college seriously getting recognized. Way to go, Big 10!

OSU vs. North Carolina, Semi-live update

OSU LogoI figured I’d do a little live blog of the Buckeyes game. I’ll update this post periodically throughout the game.

Incredible first half. Buckeyes up by four. The Buckeyes are absolutely unconscious from three-point land. Currently 8-12. Lewis and Butler are playing great. I didn’t think the Buckeyes would be able to keep up the fast tempo for the whole twenty minutes but they hung with the Tarheels. The freshmen are playing excellent as well. Twiggy is actually playing very well against Hansbrough, which is commendable. Buckeyes are looking good. They need to stay out of fould trouble and keep shooting the lights out.

OSU: 48
North Carolina: 44

11:28 left
After surviving a 9-0 run by Carolina to start the half, the Buckeyes claw back into the game with a flurry of three’s from Harris.

North Carolina: 62

6:14 left
So I take it that if Hansbrough is dancing, his doesn’t have to actually dribble the ball, right? Got it.

OSU: 72
North Carolina: 80

Game Over
Ohio State’s shots simply didn’t drop at key times in the second half while North Carolina stepped up the pressure on defense and made some huge shots. It was a good game and I think the Buckeyes are in a good place. The #1 rating was definitely based on the voter’s perception of how the future Buckeyes will play, not necessarily how they’re playing now. When Oden comes back (I don’t know if you heard, he’s coming back) this will be a completely different team.

OSU: 89
North Carolina: 98

And Dick Vitale. I know a lot of people love to hate him. I listen to him and sometimes I love his excitement, but there are times (see the comments below) when I want to grab a steak knife and drive it into my ear drum. Arrgh. If I heard them refer to how “Oden is coming” one more time, I think I would have snapped.

Is Quinn overrated?

FootballWith last Saturday’s crushing defeat at the hands of USC, has it been determined that Brady Quinn is not the legend the media hyped him to be? A fine quarterback – perhaps. But is Quinn worthy of the number one pick in the NFL draft?

El Kaiser and I were talking about this yesterday. Where, exactly, does ND actually fit in as far as strength goes? They’re ranked 12th this week, but who really knows how tough the Irish are? They either play the best of the best or the cellar dwellers. There’s no team in the middle to “benchmark” them against.

For example, we can benchmark OSU and UM, because they have played each other. We have a hunch that LSU against Wisconsin would make a good game — even though they’ve never played each other — because of how they matched up against similar opponents. Same for Oklahoma and Auburn. Etc., etc.

But where does ND fit in? We know that ND’s past three losses have been to the top three teams in the country: Ohio State, UM, and USC, and they were completely blown out in those games. So clearly, the Irish are not among the country’s elite. We also know they’re better than most unranked teams, based on their performance against the weaklings in their schedule.

The same goes for Quinn. Mention Troy Smith’s name to a Quinn fan, and they’re quick to point out his statistics, some of which are slightly better than Smith’s. But what does that really tell us? Quinn’s “legendary” career at ND has been built on 400-500 passes a season against the service academies, where Smith’s legendary status has been built in his clutch performances during the biggest games.

Phillips at Rumors and Rants does a decent job of analyzing Brady Quinn’s career. Among other points, he writes:

In four years at the helm of Notre Dame’s offense, Brady Quinn is 29-18 as a starter. Not too bad huh? Well, when you take out Stanford, BYU and the service academies that record changes to 17-18. That’s legendary?

…which is an excellent point. If we were to use points like this to “benchmark” Quinn against Smith, consider that Smith is 25-2 as a starter, and one of those two losses was in a game that he technically started, but did not finish. Furthermore, Smith is 10-1 against ranked opponents, 3-0 against his rival Michigan, and 1-0 in bowl games; all numbers to which Quinn could only dream of aspiring.

So what say you? Who would you rather see in a Cleveland Browns uniform: Brady Quinn or Troy Smith?

CBJ 0, Canucks 1

CBJSigh… Yet another shutout for the Jackets, their sixth this year (they only had five all of last season). Lots of frustrating things about this game… but Pascal Leclaire wasn’t one of them. The man was an absolute animal between the pipes, especially through the early second period when the Jackets were getting outshot three to one. Only one of 33 shots got past him, and that was from — who else? — Naslund.

LeclaireThe refs taking away a goal from the Jackets didn’t help, either. I don’t know what Toronto saw, it was plainly clear even in my small bedroom television that the puck crossed the goal line before Luongo swatted it away. Luongo got the shutout, but to this writer he was outplayed by Leclaire.

I saw moments of great effort from the lines last night, but they weren’t able to string it together for an entire game. Luongo had a great game, but there were two or three opportunities where the hole was there but the forwards couldn’t find it, or couldn’t make the pass, or WOULDN’T make the pass (still not playing as a team), or whiffed the puck, etc., etc. Too many painful turnovers. I was hoping Anson Carter would find the net last night, just to silence the boos from the Vancouver crowd every time he took the ice.

Still, I think this team is playing with better effort than it was a month ago, so I guess it’s admirable that some sort of improvement is occurring. It hasn’t translated to the scoreboard yet, but I’m optimistic that isn’t too far off.

I sold my soul to God in 2002;
now I need your help.

OSU FootballI promised God that if he would allow my Buckeyes to win a national championship in 2002, I would never complain again about Ohio State coaches or players or playcalling or about any losses, and that I wouldn’t go into a coma after a loss to Michigan, like I did during the Cooper era.

So you maybe asking yourself why am I bringing this up. I can’t sell my soul again. I need another passionate, Hang on Sloopy loving, scarlet and gray bleeding, OSU fan to make the same deal that I did.

Sell your soul to God, NOT the devil (Michigan fan). Make this deal and I assure you we will win handily and will enjoy another NC. Then a few years from now you must make this same plea to fellow Buckeyes.

Ohio State = #1

OSU LogoThe college football regular season is ending this Saturday and we will soon find out the opponent for the Buckeyes in the National Championship Game. Also, we are more than a week removed from the Michigan game and Buckeye fans are coming down from the high, as Kaiser said. As a fan of the Buckeyes or a sports fan in general, there is still a lot to be excited about as we begin the six week build up to Glendale. The national championship ticket lottery has started for faculty, staff, and students. Sean, @ the 614, discusses his frustration with the process, sorry about your luck Sean. The Troy Smith college football award season is just around the corner. The bowl season begins soon. The who’s #2 debate will continue for another week (and probably beyond). Oh yeah, and there is another #1 team in Columbus, Ohio. In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll the Basketball Buckeyes are ranked #1, marking only the 3rd time ever and the first time in 33 years that a football and basketball team from the same university are both ranked #1. (H/T Columbus Dispatch).

In my opinion, the ranking is a credit to the brilliant recruiting job by Thad Matta. It is too early to tell if the ranking is justified; however, there is no questioning that the team has talent and it is nice to be recognized for it. Undoubtedly the #1 ranking will bounce around to a few different teams throughout the season, but as for now the Buckeyes are kings of the college football and basketball worlds.

The Buckeye basketball season can be broken down into four segments: the non-conference warm-ups, the non-conference tests (with a couple of warm-ups mixed in), the Big Ten Season, and the post season. Thad Matta and his team have passed the first segment with an A, compiling a 6-0 record. The second segment begins tomorrow night with a battle against #6 North Carolina. The second segment, as I’m calling it, is full of games that will get the Buckeyes battle tested for a run at the Big Ten Championship and ultimately a run through March Madness. In the next month or so the Buckeyes will face UNC, Cincinnati (even in a down year should be a tough match-up), and reigning national champ Florida. Not to mention the first three games of the Big Ten season are against three of the best teams in the conference: Indiana, @ Illinois, and @ Wisconsin.

North Carolina and Florida are getting a lot of love by so called experts predictions for the Final Four and National Championship. The Buckeyes will face both teams on the road. Unfortunately, for the game against UNC tomorrow, the Buckeyes are still without Greg Oden. It is still up in the air if Oden will make his debut in time for the game against Florida.

As for Wednesday’s match-up against UNC…

Thad 5 It is no secret that Ohio State and UNC have two of the best (if not the best) recruiting classes this season. Matta’s class has been dubbed the Thad 5. On the ESPN family of networks (where the game will be televised), I have heard tomorrow’s OSU vs. UNC game hyped as such. I am excited to see how the new freshman will react in a hostile road game. There may not be national championship implications in one specific game, but in my mind this is a huge test for the development of the Thad 5.

It is time for Columbus Buckeye nation to get excited about Buckeye basketball.

We’re not dead

Blog/site newsWe’re just now coming down from the high of the Michigan victory. Seriously, for like a week we all had smiles on our faces you couldn’t beat into a frown, even with a ballpeen hammer. It was some serious after-glow. We decided we would take a rest from the blogging game during the Thanksgiving week. With the Thanksgiving holiday now over, we’re getting back into the swing of things, trying to bring you some more excellent OSU content, hopefully entertaining you in the six weeks of downtime until it’s time to go Bowling in Glendale.

We’re not completely ignoring the other Ohio sports, we just have been so laser-focused on Ohio State football that we haven’t had time to mention the other sports. But we’re watching them and we have opinions. Like my opinion that the Browns are the biggest embarrassment the NFL has ever seen. Could the Buckeyes hang with the Browns right now? I wouldn’t be surprised. OSU Basketball is starting to heat up. How good is Thad Motta going to make this team? He must go recruiting with Playboy bunnies or something, he gets whoever he wants. The guy is amazing. The Cavs are looking strong (if uninspired) and LeBron makes some of the best commercials, ever. The Jackets aren’t in my wheel-house of expertise, but from what I can tell, they’ve been disappointing. The Indians aren’t exactly tearing up the off-season with any killer signings. Typical Cleveland behavior, but it’d be nice to see something exciting happen for a change.

Here at MotSaG, we’re working on a number of items, so I thought I’d give you a taste of things to come:

  • How does OSU matchup with its potential BCS Championship opponent?
  • OSU Basketball has a couple marquee match-ups during the next month. We’ll be taking a look at the team and their chances against North Carolina and Florida.
  • What OSU footballers are finalists for what awards, and their chances to win them.
  • Lots of Troy Smith stuff
  • We’re still in awe of what Joe Paterno has done this year. We’re still going to make fun of him.
  • … and much more

Hopefully you’ll stick around and enjoy the show.

Blogpoll Ballot, Week #14

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State
2 Southern Cal 1
3 Michigan 1
4 Florida 1
5 Boise State 1
6 Wisconsin 1
7 LSU 5
8 Louisville 3
9 Oklahoma 5
10 Auburn 3
11 Arkansas 7
12 Brigham Young 3
13 Virginia Tech 5
14 Rutgers 3
15 Wake Forest 7
16 Notre Dame 8
17 California 4
18 West Virginia 9
19 Texas A&M 7
20 Nebraska 3
21 Texas 11
22 Hawaii 2
23 TCU 3
24 Georgia Tech 5
25 Boston College 9

Dropped Out: Tennessee (#20), Clemson (#25).

Here’s our Blogpoll ballot for this week. Our voters actually voted Michigan and USC to a tie for #2, but since a majority of the voters voted USC #2, I ranked them accordingly. West Virginia and Texas suffered the most from their losses. Hopefully we can put to bed the idea that the Big East was a good conference with teams that should be considered for the national title and accept the fact that it’s a decent conference with decent teams. Other than that, not a lot to say here.

Most of us watched the USC/ND and LSU/Arkansas games with a smattering of other games here and there. We’re all lamenting the fact that the college football season is coming to a close. It’s been such an awesome season (for Buckeye fans, natch) that we’re sad to see it end and anxious to get to Bowl Season.

Jackets hitch a new coach

CBJWe know that MotSaG has been remiss in covering the CBJ as well as we would have liked to. It’s just that recently there’s been this other team in Ohio that has taken up most of our blogging space.

kenHitchcockIt was announced yesterday that Captain Kangaroo Ken Hitchcock has been hired as the new coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hitch replaces interim coach Agnew, who replaced long-time coach Gerard Gallant last week.

<SARCASM>However, at least Doug MacLean is still with the organization.</SARCASM>

Hitch will coach his first game Friday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, the organization that fired him earlier this season.

I think it’s a step in the right direction. Hitchock is known as a hard-nosed disciplinarian, and if there’s one thing the Jackets need, it’s a kick in the pants. On Wednesday, Anson Carter was interviewed by Columbus sports radio station 1460 TheFan. Carter was asked about the pathetic 2006 season, and was unusually honest. Paraphrasing, he said that he understands the need for a coaching change, but holding one or two people accountable isn’t going to fix things. “The entire team needs to be held accountable,” said Carter. “There’s too many players missing practices on a regular basis.”

He didn’t elaborate on which Jackets were skipping practice *coughZherdevcough*, but if that’s true, then hopefully Hitch can set some new expectations. He’s won 408 of 750 games, including a stretch with the Stars that earned the 1999 Stanley Cup.

“Any one of you punks who miss practice will have to deal with Mr. Green Jeans”

I was watching last night’s game (ugh, leading by a goal with a two man advantage, and they still managed to find a way to lose) and Hitchcock was interviewed during the second period. He said all the things that Jackets fans needed to hear, about his goal to build winning lines first, and his philosophy of how the forward lines play for the defensemen, and the defensemen play for the goalie. Seemed to me that we might expect to see some major shakeups on the lines & pairings.

So a new era begins. I think it might be too late to make the playoffs this year, but we’ll take any improvement we can get. I wouldn’t say they’ve hit rock-bottom yet, but they’re close.

Blogpoll Ballot, Week #13

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State
2 Michigan
3 Southern Cal 4
4 Arkansas 1
5 Florida 1
6 Boise State 2
7 Wisconsin 2
8 Notre Dame
9 West Virginia 2
10 Texas 4
11 Louisville 1
12 LSU 1
13 Auburn 9
14 Oklahoma 3
15 Brigham Young 1
16 Boston College 5
17 Rutgers 12
18 Virginia Tech
19 Georgia Tech 4
20 Tennessee 4
21 California 1
22 Wake Forest 12
23 Nebraska 2
24 Hawaii 1
25 Clemson 1

Dropped Out: Maryland (#19).

Here is our Ohio State + the rest of college football rankings. Ohio State is head, shoulders, knees, and toes above the rest of the field. I think most OSU fans are rooting for USC to leapfrog Michigan, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to rank them higher. Other than that, we don’t have much more to say. We’re spent from Saturday’s game to care about the rest of the teams. We’re just watching the calendar tick down the days.