Archives for November 2007

Friday Open Thread

OSU FootballHey everyone, we’re alive and doing well. Sorry about the lack of content recently but with the holiday weekend, the end of the regular season for Ohio State and my surgery, we’ve been otherwise occupied. But there is still a lot of football left to be played this weekend that directly effects our Ohio State Buckeyes, so what better topic for an open thread than: Possibilities.

OSU’s Bowl opponent is still up in the air, but the choices are relatively slim. So today’s question is: Who would you rather Ohio State played — West Viriginia in the National Championship game or USC in the Rose Bowl?

To seed the discussion, there’s a quote from former el Kaiser man-crush Kirk Herbstreit, wherein he says:

“In my opinion, Ohio State could do more about [improving] the image people have of its program by playing a talented USC team that right now is as hot as any in the country … I promise you, if Ohio State goes into the Rose Bowl, everyone is going to be saying, ‘USC is going to kill Ohio State.’

… Ohio State will gain more respect if it plays USC in the Rose Bowl and wins that game, than if it goes and beats West Virginia and wins the national title. From an image standpoint, Ohio State would score more points going to the Rose Bowl than by going to the national championship game. If you can believe that, that’s the truth. ”

(h/t SMQ)

Herbie has lots of ulterior motives for saying this (ESPN/ABC will broadcast the Rose Bowl, his comments last year about “setting the Big Ten back ten years”, etc) but it brings up a point: Who is OSU better off playing? You can view the question from many different angles. You could look at it from a national reputation perspective. You can argue the merits of each opponent. What about the scary possibility that Ohio State may actually lose the game. Does that change how you feel about it?

I look at it from the perspective of opponents. I’d rather play a confident, fast (yeah, I said fast) West Viriginia team than a healthy, scary good USC. My reasoning is that while they are an athletic and fast team, West Virginia is soft. (Except for that Schmitt guy! He’s broken like twenty face masks! His team scores an extra point for every face mask the man child breaks! [Man, I would love to see Gholston punk that puke in the backfield]) Sure, they’ve got more SEC-speed than most SEC teams, but they lack a true killer instinct. My Exhibit A is West Virginia’s last year loss to Louisville. Watching that game, it really seemed like Steve Slaton, playing through an injury, was completely out of it. I remember more than once the camera panning to Slaton on the sideline during the third quarter, looking dejected and lost. He had been punched in the gut and it really looked like he had given up. Then Exhibit B would be Beanie’s entire season — playing with a bum wheel and a hobbled wrist while he bulldozed a Wolverine defense and carried Ohio State to victory. Boys to men.

I think Ohio State’s defense could come flying out of the gate, pummel White and Slaton a few times and really take the wind out of their sails. I know the Moutaineers are a different team this year, but I have to believe the killer instinct still eludes them.

What say you? What match up do you like? Which outcome is more appealing? Inquiring minds want to know!

And another one’s gone

Another one’s gone…

Another one bites the dust.

Meeting for drinks at the end of the season


[ open on interior, Big Ten Coaches’ Private Pub & Lounge ]


Carr: Hey, do you fellas know a… a guy by the name Vernon Gholston?!!

Tressel: Yeah, I know Vernon Gholston!

Paterno: Best darn lineman in Division I-A!

Tressel: Goes about 7’1″, 265, he does.

Carr: And that’s before he eats breakfast!!

Paterno: He insists on being called THE Vernon Gholston!

Tressel: He scared Gary Danielson out of the press box and all the way to the SEC!

Carr: [ holds glass in air ] To Vernon Gholston!

Together: Vernon Gholston!!

Tressel: Did I ever tell you about the time Vernon Gholston went to Wisconsin?!

Paterno: [ drunkenly confessing ] My third testicle has left me completely sterile.

[ uncomfortable silence ]


Tressel: …Anyway… Vernon Gholston decides he’s going to beat the snot out of Bucky Badger! He goes over to the mascot and starts whalin’ and poundin!! Someone stops him and says, “Hey! That’s a girl in that costume!” Vernon Gholston just wiped the blood off his knuckles and said, “Hey. Woulda happened sometime.”

Carr: He breastfeeds Charlie Weis!

Tressel: He’s been dead for three years now. No one’s noticed and I’m not saying anything!

Paterno: Goes about 8’10”, 590, he does.

Carr: His right bicep is ranked 17th in the AP College Football Poll!

Paterno: He singlehandedly fought back thousands of Persian warriors at Thermopylae! Two thousand years later, they go to make a movie about it, and called it “1.” But once in post-production, they decided the story sounded too far-fetched, so they made up a story about an army of Gholstons. Three hundred of them, to be exact.

Carr: I remember that!! It did pretty good at the box office.

Tressel: [ thrusting glass in the air ] To Vernon Gholston!

Together: Vernon Gholston!!

Carr: Did I ever tell about the time Vernon Gholston came to play Michigan?

Tressel: [ drunkenly confessing ] I’m wanted on indecent exposure charges in seven states.

[ uncomfortable silence ]


Carr: …Anyway… During halftime, he went up to one of our wolverine mascots, grabbed its head and screamed “Say, ‘I’m a faerie ballerina!!’ SAY IT!!” Then he squished its head in such a manner that it made a sound like “imafarybulreena.” It wasn’t exactly like it, but it was pretty good for a wolverine!!

Tressel: He cured Parkinson’s during his final exam in intro biology!

coachesBar2.jpgPaterno: He’s 713 years old!

Tressel: He tutored Greg Oden in the third grade!

Carr: Goes about 9’3″, 720, he does.

Paterno: He’ll eat an SEC team for breakfast and poop out a MAC team approximately six hours later.

Carr: [ almost tossing glass into the air ] To Vernon Gholston!

Together: Vernon Gholston!!

Paterno: Hey, did I ever tell you about the time Chad Henne dared Vernon Gholston to stare straight at the Sun?!?

Carr: [ drunkenly confessing ] I cry myself to sleep every night of OSU week.

[ uncomfortable silence ]


Paterno: …Anyway… the Biceps turned and stared straight at the Sun. He didn’t blink or take his eyes off it! He stood there all day like a statue, until sunset, until the Sun’s rays burned a hole! Straight. Through. His. Skull!! Then he turned to Hart with a huge smoldering hole in his head and said, “You look like crap, Fatty McSucksicle! Now fetch me a beer, and tell your girlfriend it’s time to give me another backrub!!”

Carr: His pant cuffs have never been wet!

Paterno: Goes about 10’1″, 850, he does.

Tressel: In 1985 he had a bowel movement. He called it Troy Smith and it went on to win a Heisman!

Carr: He once tackled the Sousaphone player running to dot the I in script Ohio, thinking he was Mike Hart!

Paterno: To Vernon Gholston!

Together: Vernon Gholston!!

coachesBar3.jpgBig Booming Voice: [ comes from extremely tall figure in upper camera angle ] I’M Vernon Gholston!! WHO WANTS A DRINK?!

[ the guys get excited and raise their glasses in the air towards Vernon Gholston]


by el Kaiser & sportsMonkey

Why UM only earned 91 total yards

Some will blame injuries for Michigan’s lack of offensive production. Some will blame the weather conditions. Others will blame Carr’s playcalling. Still others might blame the Michigan WRs who dropped pass after pass.

But here’s the real reason why Michigan laid an egg offensively:

Walk the talk


Source image credit Tony Ding, AP, & ESPN

Rose Bowl-bound Vernon Gholston Shot

OSU/UM semi-live update

End of 1st Quarter
UM 3, OSU 0

UM is not stopping Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ inability to handle the weather conditions is what’s stopping OSU. They’re stopping themselves with slips, fumbles, etc.

So long as the Buckeyes calm down, I’m not worried about the rest of the game. Protect the football, place your feet surely, and good things will happen.

End of half
OSU 7, UM 3

Uh-oh – Evil Boeckman is here. Underthrown balls. The difference between this game and any other this year is the lack of the vertical passing game. That plus some extremely questionable offensive play calling makes this game aberrant, even considering the loss last week. Again, UM is not playing well; it’s OSU’s offensive mistakes and coaching that’s keeping the game close.

Officials – As we feared, in addition to a great UM team, and some pretty horrible weather, once again OSU is being to play against the officials this week. No other crew would have the guts to deliberately ignore that intentional grounding play on Henne, or the blatant missed PI in the first quarter.

Historically, nobody makes second-half adjustments like Tressel (with the exception of last week). So you’ve got to think that the fact the game is still close favors Tressel.

End of 3rd Quarter
OSU 14, UM 3

Both RBs are playing hurt, but OSU’s line is actually helping Beanie. Disappointing to see three Buckeye drives stop just shy of FG range (wasn’t the second one in range for Pretorius, yet Tressel punted anyway?)

THE GAME IS FAR FROM OVER, PEOPLE. All Mallet’s heard all week is just how much he stinks. But Michigan doesn’t recruit quarterbacks that aren’t talented. Make no mistake – Mallet could win this game for UM. It’s up to the OSU offensive line to keep drives going, score or not, to keep UM off the field.

Oh, and PI for UM, but ball is “uncatchable,” so no call. Minutes later, an uncatchable throw by UM, but PI is called. Still no balance to the officiating.

End of Game
OSU 14, UM 3

What can you say? Game balls to Beanie and Gholston.

Countdown to Gametime

It’s game time!!!

Why OSU will beat UM

Earlier this week, we listed reasons why Michigan would beat the Buckeyes. Because UM has no statistical advantage, most of the content of that post covered “intangibles,” like the Hart/Henne/Long saga.

But it turns out that OSU has a few intangibles on its side, too:

  • As great of a motivator as Hart tries to be for his team, his mouth has motivated his rivals just as much or even more. OSU has been waiting a year to answer Hart’s 2006 challenge about the Buckeyes being “nothing special” and guaranteeing a victory the next time the two schools met.
  • Michigan has already been “beaten” psychologically. Even if the Wolverines pull the upset tomorrow, the seniors will forever be known as the team that only beat OSU once, and it took having the Buckeyes at home during a rebuilding year to do it. From a player’s legacy point-of-view, Michigan has way more to lose than the Buckeyes.
  • Hart and Henne are banged up, but Hart will start, he’s a warrior, his internal drive will make up for any gimpiness, yadda yadda. We’ve all heard this. But Hart was banged up in 2004 and 2005, too. And he only managed to earn 61 yards and 15 yards against the Bucks in those years – even though he wasn’t as hurt as he is now.
  • OSU beat Wisco. Wisco beat UM.
  • As much as the Big Ten officials have been trying to cause OSU’s downfall this year, they made such a stink last week that they might actually be afraid to continue sabotaging the Bucks. The media frenzy over last week’s atrocious officiating might prove beneficial to the Buckeyes in this game. For the first time this season, OSU might not have to play against both an opponent AND the officiating crew. Hopefully the crew assigned to this week’s game has already been given “the lecture.”
  • I’m sure that Michigan fans are hoping to see a lot of Evil Illinois Boeckman. However, it’s very unlikely that Boeckman’s aberrant performance will be repeated. Last week, he seemed lost, the Bucks seemed unprepared, and after the crushing frustration of the non-called fumble (sorry, Kaiser) – the team went totally flat. I cannot stress this enough – no team on either side in this rivalry has ever come out “flat” in the Big Game. Ergo, Evil Boeckman will not appear. My guess is that we’ll see a lot of Good Penn State Boeckman: well-prepared, circling the wagons in a hostile environment, focused. Whether that’s good enough to win remains to be seen. But expect to see Good Boeckman.
  • Tressel vs. Carr… alwaysalwaysalways, the edge goes to Tressel. Carr may have a team that beats OSU, but it’ll never happen because of innovative coaching.
  • Finally, there are a lot of people in the OSU program that feel that the humiliation earned under Cooper has not yet been avenged. The Michigan elitism and disrespect over the past 15 years is still used as a strong motivational tool for the crop of players taking the field. Most of the 2007 Ohio State starters were just kids in the 90s, watching UM win again and again and again, and endured the taunting of their friends who were Michigan fans. I’ve said it before… consider that Michigan has lost five of the past six years. You UM fans would still have to lose five of your next six before the universe is brought back into balance. Think of how humiliated you would feel if OSU won tomorrow, and then take that feeling and endure it until 2012. That’s what OSU fans endured through the 90’s. The only unsatisfying thing about the scenario is that Cooper stayed until he was fired, where Carr is smart enough to get out with his dignity still intact. Even when the Buckeyes are favored, the powers-that-be are still able to use Michigan’s recent historical dominance and convince the team of its underdog status. And underdog status is where Tressel is at his most dangerous.

That’s it for the intangibles. If you want tangible data, head over to this weeks Data post.

Enough talking! Time to play. Check back in tomorrow for analysis and review of the game.

University of Michigan Open Thread

OSU FootballWe’re a little late getting today’s open thread out, but with a game of this magnitude, the Open Thread has to be carefully crafted.

Here we sit, less than 21 hours to go until game time. Even without the allure of a #1 vs. #2, the Ohio State/Michigan game still excites people from around the country. All eyes will be on Ann Arbor. Heck, there will even be SEC fans in the stands. Michael Henne Long the III will be there, in search of that oh-so-elusive victory over the pesky Buckeyes. Will they get it? Then, there’s the issue of Carr’s retirement. Will we finally put a date on the tombstone as well?


Time will tell, but all signs point to Yes.

Buckeyes look statistically superior. But that’s why you play the game. Let’s look at what people are saying.

Keith has the game plan up at Buckeye Commentary. It’s beautiful in its simplicity:

  • Remember our Identity.
  • Beanie’s Health.
  • Playaction and Boots.
  • Where’s 86?

Buckeye Planet has their excellent, in-depth look at the game along with all the matchups. One matchup in particular stood out to me. Look at Beanie and Hart’s lines:

Hart: 215/1188 yards, 12 TDs, 5.5 YPC; 7 rec/43 yards, 0 TDs, 6.1 YPR
Beanie: 215/1241 yards, 12 TDs, 5.8 YPC; 5 rec/21 yards, 0 TDs, 4.2 YPR

Very interesting. While comparing Hart to Beanie isn’t exactly apples-to-apples, it’s very close. Like Granny Smith-to-Fuji. Both played with nagging injuries. Both ran against Big Ten defenses. If you are a Michigan fan, how would you feel if Mike Hart was running the ball against your defense? Probably not very good, right? You better start swigging the Pepto now.

Some more blog verbiage: 11 Warriors. The M Zone wants to know its foe. The unrelenting Sunday Morning Quarterback has a great look at the game. From said look:

One of the questions on Wednesday night’s discussion with Football Outsiders was “Who does Michigan need more against Ohio State: Chad Henne or Mike Hart?” For most of their careers – the first 48 games, to be precise – I would have said Hart, without question. But the answer now is that the Wolverines clearly need both of them. Michigan has beaten good teams this year without Henne (Penn State) and without Hart (Illinois), but last week at Wisconsin was the first time since they stepped on campus Michigan has played with Henne and Hart both on the sideline. And it was, in all phases, a disaster. If Hart is the motor, the juice that makes the offensive pistons go, we saw in Madison that Henne is the brain, and an offense with Ryan Mallett at the helm right now is one running around with its head cut off. Henne has to play for Michigan to not lose – chances of overcoming Ohio State’s defense if Mallett does anything approximating his erratic, mistake-assured horror show in the pocket last week are virtually nil – and Hart has to play for the Wolverines to win. This is, of course, just as it should be.

That’s some patented High quality Blog-2-oh©

And we would be remiss if we didn’t take some time peruse what Sir Brian MGoBlog is thinking about. More of that high quality stuff.

Finally, we will just ask you to predict the score and pray to whatever God you pray to that opher-threes go opher-four. Please keep environmental conditions in mind.

Me? I say OSU 34-23.

Go Bucks!

sportsMonkey says: OSU 31-20.