Archives for February 2007

History defined

OSU FootballOSU LogoIn the 2005/2006 season, the Ohio State University became the first major school in history to win conference titles in all three major sports: men’s football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball.

In this 2006/2007 season, tOSU has done it again, again, and again!

What a high bar has been set by these young men and women! Not only accomplishing something that had never been done before, but doing it two years in a row. This record is one that very well might be impossible to beat.

One final point: the group of youths on these six squads accomplished this while under the strongest microscope in NCAA history. Thanks to the scandals of O’Brien and HWSNBN (or, more to the point, “no thanks to…”); over the past two years, the university, the media, and the NCAA have lived in the hip pockets of these student athletes. Athletes have been watched like hawks. Bank accounts have been scrutinized and audited. Even apartments and dorm rooms have been broken into. And, through all that, the athletes have ground their teeth, kept their noses clean, and quietly succeeded in dominating their conference competition for two years straight.

Way to go, ladies and gents! Go Bucks!

Buckeyes are #1, again!

The Buckeyes are a unanimous #1 (almost) in both polls, marking the first time since 1946 1962 that OSU is ranked #1 in the AP Poll.

I’m a little nervous of the winning streak we currently have. If we run the tables in the Big Ten tournament, we’ll be going into the NCAA tourney with quite a bit of momentum. I don’t like that. A loss in the championship game wouldn’t be a bad thing in the long run.

I didn’t get to see the entire Wisconsin game, but some of our fellow bloggers did. Make sure you read them: (DCfW, Pfef and Eleven Warriors). The Big Ten Wonk isn’t as impressed.

I can’t say I disagree with BTW. The Buckeyes have looked soft at times, especially Oden. It seems like he doesn’t assert himself a lot and the offense isn’t giving him enough opportunities to assert himself. On defense, I’m worried that they’re getting lazy, letting Oden pick up the slack. He’s been doing that just fine, but staying out of foul trouble is going to be an issue in the tournament.

Don’t get me wrong — this is a good basketball team. Even a great team. I just don’t know if they’re an elite team, right now. They have all the tools, just not the experience.

Let’s Make Some Noise

Block O.bmp The atmosphere for Sunday’s match-up between the Buckeyes and Badgers should be reminiscent of the ’05 game when unbeaten Illinois visited the Schott. Illinois left Columbus that day stunned when Matt Sylvester’s 3-pointer at the buzzer sent shockwaves around Columbus. I am endlessly baffled why it takes an undefeated opponent or a 1 vs. 2 match-up for Buckeye Basketball fans to wake up and cheer. It is embarrassing when TV announcers comment over and over about the lack of fan noise in Value City Arena.

What makes me ever more frustrated is the fact that Buckeye fans have something to cheer about. The fans of pretty much every other team in the Big Ten put Buckeye fans to shame in the cheering department. I realize the Buckeyes don’t have their students behind the benches like most schools which contributes negatively to the atmosphere (whole different subject). I’ll give you that one, but it can’t be used as an excuse to pout and sit on your hands.

I’ve heard all the excuses before. “It’s going to be different this year…we’ve got Oden, Conley, Cook etc.,” result – silence. The season starts, “wait till Oden gets in the line up the Schott will be rockin” result – silence. “Wait until the Big Ten season” result – silence. The season is almost over and I’m still waiting.

I have no doubt that I won’t be disappointed on Sunday. Why does it take a 1 vs. 2 match-up for fans to cheer? Why do fans have to be reminded by a stupid bell to get out of their seats and make some noise?

Stand up and make some noise!

Buckeyes take the top spot (sort of)

OSU LogoThe new Men’s Basketball polls are out, and OSU and Wisconsin take the top spot in the AP and ESPN polls, which sets up for a #1 vs. #2 this weekend, as OSU welcomes the Badgers into Columbus. (Let’s make some noise, Buckeye fans! More on that later) There has been chatter on who deserved the top spot, but at this point it’s tough to completely gauge who is “the best.” OSU’s losses have come against top five opponents (including Wisconsin) while Wisconsin losses have come against inferior teams (including an Indiana team that OSU beat handily). It’s too close to call.

This week’s game probably won’t really settle anything, either, unless OSU lays an egg and loses to Wisconsin. But, in the minds of most of the voters, a decisive victory by the Buckeyes should cement their place at the top of the polls, as well as secure the Big Ten regular season title. It would also provide the Buckeyes with some needed momentum and confidence going into the Big Ten tournament.

Let’s go Bucks!

Mid-BigTen Season Basketball Grades: Part 3

Block O.bmpToday we finish the three part series.

Part One: Mike Conley Jr., Jamar Butler, and Ron Lewis
Part Two: Ivan Harris, Daequan Cook, and David Lighty
Part Three: Greg Oden, Othello Hunter, and Matt Terwilliger

Feel free to add your grades and evaluation in the comments section.

Greg Oden.jpgGreg Oden: A-
My first thought about Oden is there is a good chance the Buckeyes will get to see him at 100% healthy. Oden’s offensive abilities have been limited by his injured wrist, but he has been a beast on defense. Last night while watching the game I heard one of the announcers say. “There should be a stat for shots altered.” Oden’s impact on the defensive end goes way beyond his shot blocking ability. The team struggles getting Oden involved when opponents are in a 2-3 zone defense (which I was reminded of last night). I think more and more teams will notice that and if the Buckeyes don’t figure out more ways of attacking the zone, it could be trouble especially come tournament time.

Othello Hunter.jpgOthello Hunter: B
For me Hunter has been a pleasant surprise. As a junior college transfer he was the most unknown of the Thad5. I like the rotation when Hunter and Oden are on the floor at the same time. It gives an additional option for guards to drive and dish. Also, the two are a dynamic combination on the defensive end. Hunter is still developing offensively. He has not shown a mid-range game yet.

Matt Terwilliger.jpgMatt Terwilliger: B-
Terwilliger has seen his minutes dwindle since the insertion of Greg Oden into the line-up. Most of his minutes come when Oden needs a rest or is in foul trouble. Terwilliger understands and accepts his role, as explained in a recent Columbus Dispatch story.
Terwilliger provides much needed depth to the nine man rotation. A third big man is an integral part of any team.

Friday Fun: Top 5 moments of 2006, OSU Football

OSU FootballIt’s the return of the Friday Fun! Yeah for fun on Fridays! This week, we look at the Top 5 moments of OSU Football for us MotSaGers. We hope you’ll join in with your top 5 moments in the countdown. Here we go:


el Kaiser – This one may be out-there, but one of the best moments of 2006, for me, was Vince Young announcing for the NFL draft in the spring. I told anyone who’d listen that this opens the door for OSU’s chances for Glendale. That was a glorious day. It was a Sunday, if I remember correctly.

Zeke – Who can forget Joe Pa running off the field with the bowel issues. That was priceless.

sportsMonkey – Laurinaitis forcing a fumble against Texas at the goal line, for two reasons. First, because Texas was about to score, which would have made the game interesting. After the forced fumble, Texas gave up and OSU cruised to an easy victory. Secondly, it allowed fans to breathe a bit easier, knowing that the Little Animal was stepping up to fill A.J. Hawk’s shoes.


el Kaiser – The Heisman Trophy ceremony. I was a little put-off by the constant reminder of Troy’s past transgressions, but outside of that, ESPN did a good job building Troy up as a kid who overcame a lot of adversity to rise above and better himself. Troy was a class act all season long and this was just icing on the cake.

Zeke – 3rd and 1 play action pass Troy Smith to Ted Ginn Jr. in the Michigan game.

sportsMonkey – Smith to TGJr for a zillion-yard rainbow TD pass in the Fiesta Bowl (counts as 2006, right?) on their first possession. Ginn made all the overconfident Irish fans in the stands wet their pants a little. We have to play against this for the next three hours? I still remember Brent Musberger’s reaction: “Get out your adding machines, folks; here comes OSU.” IMO, this is the game that represented the peak of the entire recent OSU era; the offense was clicking like a machine and the defense was merciless.


el Kaiser – Troy Smith to Brian Robiskie in the back of the end zone, against Iowa. Everything about that play was perfect. Troy’s throw, before Robo was even looking, was pin-point perfect. Robiskie looked back and the ball was right on the money. Just another stellar play by Troy.

Zeke – Troy Smith wins the Heisman.

sportsMonkey – The OSU/UM game. Antonio Pittman providing the iconic image that will define the game’s legacy. Beanie Wells trampling and kicking through the entire ‘vaunted’ UM defense on his way to a 52-yard TD rush. OSU moving 98 yards in a few plays thanks to a huge 46-yard play between Smith and Robiskie, with the remaining yards provided on the most brilliantly executed misdirection move ever, as Troy went play-action to TGJr and threaded the needle on a 38-yard TD. You can see all these highlights here.


el Kaiser – Vernon Gholston’s one-arm beat down of Albert Young. You’ve seen the video a hundred times. You seen those arms even more. But those arms don’t haunt your nightmares like they do Young’s.

Zeke – Chris “Beanie” Wells spin move in the Michigan game.

sportsMonkey – Smith to Robiskie against PSU. The prototypical “Heisman highlight” clip.


el Kaiser – The entire Michigan game. I can’t pick a single play. Beanie’s spin move. Pittmans gash right up the gut. Troy’s play-action to Ginn. So many memories from one of the greatest OSU/UM games ever. It was thrilling, nerve wracking, ultimately satisfying. Is there a better way to end the season other than pounding Michigan? Methinks not.

Zeke – Troy Smith’s pass to Brian Robiskie in the Penn State game.

sportsMonkey – Gonzalez’s catch and scramble TD in the Iowa game. Again, any time you make Musberger say, “Are you kidding me?!?” you know it was a memorable play.

So let us know what your favorite moments were in the comments!

Mid-BigTen Season Basketball Grades: Part 2

Block O.bmpAs promised here is part two of three of the basketball team analysis.

Part One: Mike Conley Jr., Jamar Butler, and Ron Lewis
Part Two: Ivan Harris, Daequan Cook, and David Lighty
Part Three: Greg Oden, Othello Hunter,and Matt Terwilliger

Feel free to add your grades and evaluation in the comments section.

Ivan Harris.jpgIvan Harris: B
Harris has been a pleasant surprise this season. His game is pretty one dimensional, but when he gets hot he can light it up from 3 point range. You would think he would not be very difficult to guard, but to his credit he always seems to be open for the 3. He is a prime example of a complimentary role player. Ivan has really raised his game from last year. He has been nicknamed the microwave by ESPN’s Steve Lavin.

Daequan Cook.jpgDaequan Cook: B+
Instant Offense! Daequan looks to create his own shot. On more than one occasion he has throw up a runner or a fade away jumper that just makes you shake you head and wonder how the ball went in the basket. He has had his fair share of amazing dunks as well *see picture*. I have really been impressed with Cook’s game. Daequan has also shown the ability to post up on the block when he draws a height mismatch. He has a good all-around game and will become even a more complete player as he develops on the defensive end.

David Lighty.jpgDavid Lighty: B-
There is not a whole lot to say about Lighty. The best compliment he can be given at this point is that he has been considered the defensive stopper from day one. At the risk of being redundant, that is a lot of responsibility for Matta to place on a freshman. Lighty, when on the floor, will draw the assignment of guarding the opponent’s best guard. David’s offense needs to be improved, but as long as continues to play great D he will get the minutes.

Another shutout


Thanks a lot, Jackets. Thanks for treating the fans that managed to drive hours through the snowstorm to the worst effort in franchise history.

It’s a good thing it was only the ‘yotes. Otherwise, the Jackets would have lost 912-0. That’s how bad they looked.

Not at first, though. For the first ten minutes, the tempo was high, the hits were hard, and the Blue Jackets were outshooting Gretzky’s squad 9-2. Then the bottom inexplicably fell out.

Some of the offenders (oh, yeah, I’m naming names):

Berard/Malhotra. Boy, was I looking forward to welcoming Berard home to the ‘Wide. But he played exactly like someone who hasn’t played in a year. He wasn’t ready, and it showed. Both players had sloppy turnovers that directly resulted in two Phoenix goals, taking whatever wind was left out of the Jackets’ sails.

Fedorov. I never thought I’d be calling out Sergei, but I (and the hundred or so fans closest to me) caught something that made us quite angry. Near the end of one of his shifts in the third period, he began heading back to the bench from inside the Coyotes zone. An errant pass from the ‘yotes sent the puck directly beside his skate, where he could have picked it up and had it to himself, one on one, with the goalie. Fedorov looked at the puck, and casually skated by it. He didn’t reach for it, he didn’t even react at all. It was like he was daydreaming or something. The folks sitting in my section just looked at each other, saying things like, “…oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” and “…no way did he just ignore that,” and “…THAT BLACK THING’S THE PUCK, SERGEI!!”

Just one example, but very representative of the team’s overall effort.

Nash/Carter/Brule/Modin. It ain’t got to be pretty, boys. Chuck it in there and get the rebound. Stop insisting that all NHL goals have to be fancy finesse shots or mach 1 slapshots. Most goals nowadays come from, what, 6-10 feet in front of the net, the majority of them redirects? Get it in there, and let someone else mop it up.

Whoever’s on man-advantage. Just. Take. The. Shot. We really don’t need to take 1:45 seconds to set up a shot during a PP, do we?

Overall, it was just sloppy, undisciplined play. No battle for the loose pucks. Repeatedly going offside – not accidentally, but cluelessly. Six to seven men playing on the ice in the same zone, and nobody realizing it until the refs give the penalty. Not finishing checks. Bad passing. Daydreaming.

Okay, some positive things. Fritsche and Vyborny did play hard and give good effort. Klesla also played hard.

And I think I like this Konopka kid, too. He’s… “tenacious.” A little undisciplined — I think he gets angry a bit too easily — but I definitely enjoyed watching him. He finishes his checks, and isn’t afraid of anyone. He was at the center of a huge melee in the first period between the benches, which seemed to go on forever. Owen Nolan took a cheap shot, and Konopka responded; then Nick Boynton responded to Konopka; then Shelly jumped in and it became a yard sale… two fights, three roughing minors, blood on the ice, etc.

When the play-by-play looks like this, you know you missed a dandy fight…

If only they would play hockey with the same effort as they use to defend one another…

More CBJ bloggers also blowing off steam:
Army of the Ohio
End of the Bench
The Jacket Times

Mid-BigTen Season Basketball Grades: Part 1

Block O.bmpThe buckeye basketball season is entering the fourth quarter, while the Big Ten season is at the midway point. March Madness is only a month away. I know it is too late for true mid-season grades, but here is a brief player by player analysis of the basketball season to date. This will be a three part analysis.

Part One: Mike Conley Jr., Jamar Butler, and Ron Lewis
Part Two: Ivan Harris, Daequan Cook, and David Lighty
Part Three: Greg Oden, Othello Hunter, and Matt Terwilliger

Feel free to add your grades and evaluation in the comments section. Also, check back after the Big Ten Tournament for a full season evaluation as a lead up to the tournament.

Mike Conley Jr.jpgMike Conley, Jr: A-
I think Conley has been the most consistent player for the Buckeyes this year. His quickness and change of direction is incredible. I am also amazed at his ability to drive the lane and shoot with either hand. I know he is a lefty but he can make the 10-12 foot runner with his right. Conley is the floor general, the catalyst that makes the offense run if you will. I know it’s cliche, but for a freshman Conley has tremendous poise. Just think, he is only going to get better. In my mind he receives a minus for suspect free throw shooting.

Jamar Butler.jpgJamar Butler: B
If Jamar’s grade was based only on the Big Ten season it would be an A; however, it took a few games for Jamar to feel comfortable in his new role as more of a 2 guard. In the last few games he has really improved his play. I think Jamar has embraced his new role. In the past Butler was the one to penetrate the defense, but now he is often the man on the wing spotting up for the three. Butler is lights out from 3 and is developing a good chemistry with Conley, Jr. Jamar will be key if the Buckeyes are to make a deep run in March.

Ron Lewis 2.jpgRon Lewis: B-
Lewis has been streaky this year to say the least. He has gone from dropping 30 on North Carolina to spotty shooting in recent games. I think Lewis is the one player most affected by Oden’s return to the line-up. Pre-Oden the lane was often clear which set up nice for Ron’s slashing style, but Oden’s presence has caused Lewis to pick the right spots to take it to the bucket.

It is hard to be critical of a team that has only lost three games this season, but let’s hope the players only continue to improve within the team concept. Hopefully they will be peaking at the right time in March. Stay tuned this week for the rest of the grades.

Brady Quinn has a blog

FootballThe Dublin, Ohio-bred Brady Quinn will be blogging his experiences as he prepares for the NFL draft. From the Xbox 360 Gamerscoreblog:

University of Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn is teaming up with Xbox 360 to chronicle the steps he’s taking as he prepares for the NFL draft, and begins his professional football career. Starting next Friday, Quinn will blog about team workouts, agent meetings, favorite games, music, and other insights. We’ll be producing some videos to download on Xbox Live Marketplace, and we’re setting up a Game With Fame session to give some of you a chance to play him on Xbox Live on April 27, the eve of the NFL draft.

More information here.

As a gamer, I think this is pretty cool, and should be interesting to read BQ’s experiences. As a Buckeye fan, I ask: why not Troy Smith or TGJ? Both are known video gamers and infinitely more interesting than BQ. But that’s just my opinion.