Archives for December 2006

CBJ 3, Referees 4

CBJNormally, I try not to complain about officiating when a team I’m pulling for loses. Tonight I’ll make an exception, as I’m still nauseous over the horrible display of officiating that cost the Blue Jackets a point.

It is not fanaticism to notice that the officials were clearly in Minnesota’s pocket tonight. The Wild were allowed to commit penalties at will, while Columbus was forced into eleven (!) penalty kills. Hooks, tackles, interference, etc. all happened within inches of referee Tom Kowal, who kept his hands in his pockets, rolled his eyes, and whistled dixie.

And this isn’t just my opinion; I have never seen Rims or Gare (FSN Ohio broadcasters) litterally speechless.

You know, if the Jackets are going to the sin bin anyway, and if they’re going to lose no matter what, they might as well put enforcers like Shelly to work. Boorgaard especially needs a dose of humble pie. Chickening out of a scrap with Shelly, then skating far away from the C-bus bench and turning and taunting them is just pathetic.

“As long as Kowal’s the ref, I can do what I please.”

The icing on the cake was the OT goal given to the Wild. In case you’re just catching up: Minnesota center Wes Walz charged the net, a puck came flying in, got caught in his pants (we think!), and he skated across the goal line. The red light went off, but the goal was quickly, and correctly, waved off. (It’s against the rules to advance the puck across the goal line in your pants. This is what I call the “David-Copperfield-doesn’t-play-NHL-hockey” rule.) Furthermore, video replays simply showed the puck disappear. I mean, it simply disappeared. There was no way to know where the puck was, if it crossed the line, etc.

Now remember, you can’t wave a goal off and then have it count later. Especially when there is no conclusive evidence to the contrary. Especially especially if a player carries it across the goal line in his equipment.

Think that mattered to Toronto? Nope. After a ten minute conversation with the war room, when Kowal no doubt chatted about his desire to give the Wild two points, or his “stupid” contact lens prescription, or his hatred of the Jackets, Toronto agreed to let him give the Wild the goal anyway.

Again, the Jackets are battling for that eighth seed. Every point counts. I suppose this is righteous indignation for a team that just can’t catch a break.

Silver-lining wise (I guess I always have something positive to say), Zherdev showed more improvement tonight than we’ve seen from him in the past month. Nash again continues to make PKs a dangerous time for the opposition. If the Jackets aren’t going to the playoffs, lets hope they make the west central miserable for everyone in the meantime.

Week #17 — Bowls — Open Thread

FootballNote: Most MotSaG contributors are on vacation this week, so I’m not sure how “open” this open thread will be. If no one chimes in, then you’ll just have to humor me as I speak to myself. Or better yet, join in via the comments.

Bowl season in the Big Te(leve)n kicks off today, with Minnesota (Insight bowl) and Purdue (Champs Sports). Tomorrow, Iowa plays Texas (Alamo). New Year’s Day features Penn St. (Outback), Wisconsin (Capital One), and Michigan (Rose). And of course, OSU returns to the BCS title game on Jan 8th. (I won’t cover that here. Watch this space next week for all the talk and analysis you can handle.)

To this writer, the most intriguing matchups are Wisconsin/Arkansas and Michigan/USC. JoePa vs. Fulmer comes in a close third.

Wisconsin vs. Arkansas, Capital One Bowl, Jan 1st — Both Wisconsin and Arkansas finished second in their conferences, but did not qualify for BCS consideration because of the “two-teams-per-conference” rule. Still, both teams are without question among the nation’s best.

Wisconsin has a chance to finish with a 12-win season for the first time in its history. Using P.J. Hill, the Badgers will bring an old-school rushing attack against the Razorbacks’ defense, which is ranked 43rd nationally against the rush. Arkansas will bring an electrifying rushing attack of its own behind Darren McFadden, who finished as first runner-up for this year’s Heisman Trophy.

Whichever running back has the better game will likely be the Heisman front-runner going into next season.

Michigan vs. USC, Rose Bowl, Jan 1st — Michigan’s excellent season finishes in the familiar locale of Pasadena. There are a lot of strong feelings and emotions about this game, but we’ll avoid the insane melodrama that some are getting sucked into.

Some UM fans (and even some in the media) are holding out hope for a split national title should UM win the game and Florida beat OSU. Could someone explain this scenario to me? Let me get this straight: Florida beats consensus #1 OSU, who beat UM, so somehow UM gets the title? Not gonna happen.


How many bowl victories will the Big Te(leve)n accrue (out of seven)?
Will JoePa make it through the Outback Bowl with all of his limbs intact?
Who will have a better game, PJ Hill or Darren McFadden?
Who wins the Rose?

sportsMonkey’s predictions:
Big Te(leve)n bowl record: 4-3
Will JoePa survive?: Perhaps. With help.
Hill or McFadden: McFadden has the better game, but I think Wisco wins a close one.
Rose: I think USC will win. And this isn’t OSU homerism. I actually hope UM wins… it’d be great if the Big Ten finished 1-2-3 in the final standings. But in a Carr vs. Carroll matchup, I gotta go with Carroll. Plus, USC has been reduced to a sideshow in the game, as everyone in the media has been focusing on the circus of controversy and emotions surrounding Michigan. This could motivate them significantly. This year’s Rose Bowl could be one of the closest in history.

Sylvester Yon-Rambo’s predictions:
Big Te(leve)n bowl record: 7-0
Will JoePa survive?: He will survive with all his limbs, but it will be a 3 DEPENDS game if you know what I mean.
Hill or McFadden: Hill has a huge game, McFadden is shut down big time.
Rose: I am picking scUM in this game, as I truly believe they are the 2nd best team in CFB this year, unfortunately for them it is a very distant 2nd best team from my beloved BUCKEYES.

“There was no extra benefit”

OSU FootballSpaghettigate looks to be drawing to a close.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting the NCAA’s Bob Williams said, “If it’s determined that money did not go to either family, then one would deduce that there was no extra benefit.”

Therefore, since the money from the fund raiser went to a nonprofit Pee Wee football league, it appears Beanie and Pittman are in the clear.

This has been a silly, frivolous waste of time. Two families living close to (or below) the poverty line have a one in a million shot to see their sons play for a national championship, so their friends and neighbors gather together to help find a way to help them afford the trip. Next thing you know, someone finds an obscure passage in the telephone-book sized NCAA rulebook that forbids it, so the players have to leave and the families have to give the money away.

This is exactly the type of thing that the NCAA should allow. A community helping its members is a pretty noble thing. This type of heavy-handedness is exactly why collegiate boosters have so much power & temptation over star players. “C’mon, take it. You know the NCAA won’t allow your family to raise money to come see you play.”

All this has done is give the media another chance to throw darts at OSU and give UM fans something else minor to add to their “zOMG teh OSU iz criminalz one!!11eleventyone!” lists.

I’d also bet that this situation has hardened Pittman’s stance on returning for another year. Would you come back to deal with this kind of hilarity, if you had an opportunity to be free from it?

OSU’s investigation is complete; they’ve declared that no wrongdoing occurred.


Hockey postThe NHL Board of Governors will vote in February on realigning the teams into new divisions and conferences. Apparently, they want to maximize television ratings and ease up on travel for teams by confining divisions into time zones.

Most teams will “remain” where they are, conference-wise. They may have new divisions, but will remain playing the same conference rivals as before. Only Atlanta and Columbus will switch conferences.

If it’s approved, the Blue Jackets would move from the West Central to the Northeast Division. The Jackets would leave behind division opponents St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago, and Detroit; and start playing against Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo, Boston, and Pittsburgh.

First thought: Intriguing that the BOG is interested in television ratings, when they really need to be worrying about attendance.

Second thought: Aw, shoot. Just when the rivalry between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets started turning into something serious (has anyone gotten IwoCPO a friggin’ bucket yet?!?). The opportunity to have another major rival from the Detroit area was perfect.

Third thought: Pittsburgh? I know Balsillie sent a “will you go with me [check box]?” letter to Mario yesterday, but that controversy is far from over.

Speaking of Northeast Conference teams…

CBJCBJ 3, Vyborny 2, Bruins 4

Was ready to puke by late in the second period. Boston seemingly couldn’t be stopped. Then Hitch said something during the second intermission, probably something about honor, hard work, the weather in Syracuse this time of year, who knows. All I know is that the Jackets came out and played like they were trying to win the Cup.

nhl94SegaVyborny rightfully gets the props for the victory, but Fedorov and Nash were the leaders on the ice last night. Nash didn’t manage any points, but was without question the single most dangerous player on the ice. (Nash got an assist on Feddy’s shorthanded goal. Thanks to Drew for the correction). What a great move Hitch made in getting him involved in penalty kills. And Sergei hasn’t played this well since he was my regular choice of the forwards in Sega’s NHL 94.

Any night the opposing goalie breaks his stick smashes the pipes in frustration after the final horn sounds is a great night of hockey for me.

Antonio Smith has hurt shoulder

OSU FootballBad news for Buckeye fans… starting cornerback Antonio Smith has been seen wearing an arm sling.

No details as of yet. It’s a good thing the title game is 17 days away.


Octopi 5, CBJ 0

CBJ*groan* The Columbus Bipolar Jackets gave two points to Detroit last night. Just handed it to them. Wrapped it up in a big box with a festive red and white bow and handed it to the Wings, who then proceeded to tear into it like an aroused spider monkey after a triple-espresso.

Deadspin’s link to the fiasco read:

“Columbus falls out of the suck tree and hits every branch on the way down, and then rolls into the brutal well.”


It was a bad game. So bad I don’t want to write about it. You can go to theusualsuspects for more analysis.

I’ll infuriate you with a quote from AP sports:

“It was a good bounce-back effort for Hasek, who was lifted after allowing three first-period goals in a 4-3 loss on Monday night in Columbus.

“‘We know we’re a better team,” he said. “And if you want to be a contender, a top team in the NHL, you can’t lose two games in a row to a team like Columbus.”’

Double Ouch.

So, there’s a silver lining?

Yup. Even considering last night’s spanking, so far in December the Jackets have earned 13 out of 20 points (including that awesome 11-of-12 run earlier in the month). Plus, the schedule is a bit more favorable over the coming week, so that % should improve. If they win even half of December’s remaining six games, they’ll finish with having earned at least 59% of the month’s points (compared to November’s 25%). Improvement continues.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

OSU LogoWill Greg Oden be a Buckeye for more than one season? That debate, to most, is a forgone conclusion. Answer: it will be one and done for the big man. In a recent interview captured by the Ozone Oden casts some light on the debate.

“There’s a very big chance I will be here four years. I’ve got to finish college. That’s what my mom told me,” Oden said.

Greg OdenBuckeye fans must remember, it is December and Oden has played in 3 games in a Buckeye uniform. Let’s not get too excited (yet). He is saying this now because it is the right thing to say and maybe he truly believes it today. It will be more difficult after the season to say the same thing when million$ are staring him in the face. Regardless of how long Oden suits up in the scarlet and gray, let’s enjoy these stats (only to get better) while we can. In three games, without full strength in his dominant hand…WOW! Average per game:

    Minutes: 24
    Points: 14.7
    Rebounds: 8.3
    Blocks: 5
    Field Goal %: 89.5

Don’t get me wrong, I am just as excited about the other freshman, but a dominant man in the middle makes all the difference thus all the discussion. What are your thoughts on Oden and the basketball Buckeyes so far?

On tap this week:
Tonight, 12/19, Iowa State in is town. Game starts at 8:00pm.
Saturday, 12/23, the Buckeyes travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators. Game starts at 4:00pm.

ND backlash?

FootballI was halfway through writing a post chiming in with my opinion on the somewhat infuriating “Season of Backlash” article from Blue Gray Sky, when my Bloglines feeds updated and Brian’s extremely cogent response appeared. His post said everything I was planning to argue, and more.

Head on over there for some good logic.

We’re still here

Blog/site newsWe, like most of you I’m sure, have been a little lax after the excellent 2006 regular season. While we didn’t have finals to worry about, we did have family and other requirements that demand our time. Our updates have been sporadic as of late, but we appreciate all of you checking in peridoically for new content. We’ve got some material lined up and there’s still a lot of great Ohio sports action going on, so bear with us as we come out of our blogging-funk.

We’ll be looking back fondly at some memories of the 2006 football season with the return of “Friday Fun,” we’ll be watching out Basketball Buckeyes tear up the non-conference schedule (the upcoming Bearcats game should be excellent), and of course we’ll keep a watchful eye on the Gators from down south. We’ll be taking a look at how the Buckeyes match up with the scrappy Gators. They’ve got to watch out for that SEC speed!

We’ve also got something that, if we release it to the public, could shake the very foundations of Buckeye fans everywhere. We’re still trying to decide what to do with the information we’ve uncovered, but just be aware that we have Ohio State fans’ interests in mind. Watch this space for more information.

Heisman can’t fly

OSU Footballtroy_smith_heisman.jpgTroy Smith’s Heisman trophy had to be shipped home after failing an airline security inspection.

Smith was not allowed to take the trophy on the plane. He could have passed it through the X-ray scanner, but that’s how Eddie George’s trophy got damaged in 1995. Apparently, he asked for a hand inspection, and the trophy was denied clearance.

Wonder if anyone checked to see if the TSA screener was a Michigan fan…