Archives for November 2008

Week #14 Open Thread

I’m mostly-AFK this holiday weekend tending to family business, but that’s no reason we can’t have a non-Ohio State playin’ Open Thread. If nothing else, make sure you catch the OU/Okie State game and have a third helping of turkey and stuffing!

U of M? More like U of Meh

OSU FootballRandom BuckNotes about last Saturday’s de-pantsing of the Worst Team in Michigan History:

noteIcon Most Buckeye fans knew that the 21 point line was an underestimation of some sort (most of our predictions here at MotSaG were in the 40s to 10-ish range), but no question the betting lines were equalized at three TDs because of (1) the sheer size of, and (2) the optimism of, Wolverine Nation. UM fans were desperately hoping for a repeat of Bo’s first year. Alas, reality arrived in the third quarter.
noteIcon Between the number of interceptions thrown by UM’s "quarterbacks" (heh), and OSU’s ability to get them, I went into the game personally confident in a defensive score. If you have to find something positive to say about Rodriguez, it would be for keeping his QBs from challenging OSU’s secondary. 8 of 25 is pathetic, but that’s 8 of 25 with no interceptions/pick sixes. Still, it would have been nice to see Jenkins score one more TD as a Buckeye.
noteIcon Having just given RichRod a compliment, let me give him some grief: some UM fans continue to give him a generous pass on the year, as if 3-9 has nothing whatsoever to do with coaching. I know UM has some bad players, but coaches and players fistfighting with each other on the sideline during a game? That’s a lack of institutional control, there. Tim Brewster only won a single game last year, and I don’t remember seeing Minnesota coaches and players going at it on the sideline. And wasting Feagin’s redshirt on a kick return a couple of games ago? Inexcusable.
noteIcon Speaking of 3-9, You know your team stinks when your “little brother” rubs it in a little. “Embarrassing,” indeed.
noteIcon Seeing a Michigan quarterback crawl off the field after a hit made me all warm and fuzzy inside.
noteIcon Zoltan The Magnificent should have his nickname changed to Zoltan the Rockette. His freakin’ leg was up in the air more often than a Broadway show dancer’s.
noteIcon A little more of Sam McGuffie’s entrails were just found on the OSU 22 yard line. Could someone from the UM Athletic Dept. please come and pick them up? Bring a small cooler. And give his mother some aspirin for the uterine pain.
noteIcon THAT WAS A SAFETY. The officials gave UM a "pity spot," which kept Tressel from breaking Woody’s record for biggest margin of victory. Ah well.
noteIcon Speaking of the officials’ pity for UM, Robo was definitely interfered with on that fourth down conversion attempt. If that had been called, UM wouldn’t have scored on the following drive. Result: Shutout. However, all in all the refs did a good job of letting the players play. They knew what game they were officiating.
noteIcon Would someone please take Bob Griese into the dirtiest bathroom in the Horseshoe and give him a swirly? Seriously – I hope ESPN finally gets his bias and sends him to Foutsville. We get it, Bob – Woody didn’t want you playing for him, then your son played for UM, so you hate OSU. Enough already. Go away. You stink as an analyst, anyway.
noteIcon Guess what? Mike Hart is now 0-5 against OSU. "But he didn’t play on Saturday." Yeah but he really didn’t play in 2007, either.
noteIcon Attention Todd Boeckman: I gave you a standing ovation in my own living room. I wish I could remember you as being one of the best OSU quarterbacks ever, but I honestly can’t say that. I will instead say that you absolutely personify everything that’s wonderful about leadership, sportsmanship, and teamwork. I wish things worked out so that you had had a better offensive line, like Krenzel enjoyed. No matter what, though, I hope you have a fantastic career, wherever you go.
noteIcon Beanie’s gone. *sniff* We want you to stay, but nobody is going to give you grief for going. Stay healthy & run angry in the NFL, dude.
noteIcon Next year’s WRs: Hartline/Sanzenbacher/Small/Posey/Thomas. NOT BAD. Not bad at all.
noteIcon Finally, some closing words for the Little Animal. We’ve anointed several OSU stars as "Wolverine Killers" in recent years, and his legacy deserves no less. Stars like Troy Smith, Beanie, and Ginn beat them three times. But Laurinaitis beat them four. His legacy started when he stepped in after Scott Bobby Carpenter broke his leg on the first play of the 2005 game. Carr orders a play directly at the new LB, trying to take advantage of his inexperience, and he blew it up. He continued to blow it up until the final whistle Saturday. By the way, the biblical reference on his eye black? “Father, the hour has come, glorify your son, so your son may glorify you.” I think we can all tolerate a little blasphemy to acknowledge that your father is indeed proud of you.

And with that, we sit back and wait to see where OSU will end up on January 1st.

Congrats to Little Animal and Terrelle Pryor

A couple huge MotSaG congratulations go out to James Laurinaitis and Terrelle Pryor, who were named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year, respectively. The awards were announced Monday night.

This should be the beginning of a plethora of awards thrown in the direction of the Ohio State players this year, and just the beginning of what Pryor will eventually be crowned with (three Heisman trophies, if you were wondering).

We’ll miss Little Animal, and welcome him into the Pantheon of Ohio State Linebackers of Destruction.

Columbus Crew – MLS Champions

CrewWhile we may be Buckeye-heavy this time of year, MotSaG is still an Ohio-themed sports site and we’d be remiss if we didn’t congratulate the Columbus Crew for winning the MLS cup.

Way to go, Crew!

I wanted badly to cover the Crew last week, but since (1) we were shorthanded at MotSaG, and (2) it was Michigan week, I never managed to put a few posts together about the conference championship game against Chicago last Thursday, nor the preparation for Sunday’s title match.

The Crew won their first-ever title by beating the New York Red Bulls, behind their leader and the MLS’s best player, Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Schelotto’s three assists and fantastic play earned him the MLS Cup MVP award.

So, all in all, between the Crew’s MLS Championship, the Buckeyes’ record-setting spankification of Michigan, and Mason’s first career shutout, it was a great sports weekend in Columbus.

The only thing that would have made it better would have been for the Crew to have won the title at home. I wish the MLS would abandon this desire to make soccer look and feel like the NFL. We don’t need a neutral site for the title – let the best team with the winningest record have the home-field advantage. But that’s nitpicking at this point. Congratulations, Crew! Enjoy a well deserved winter off.

2008 Blogpoll Ballot, Week #13

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama 25
2 Oklahoma 24
3 Florida 23
4 Texas 22
5 Penn State 21
6 Southern Cal 20
7 Texas Tech 19
8 Utah 18
9 Boise State 17
10 Ohio State 16
11 Oklahoma State 15
12 Georgia 14
13 Missouri 13
14 Ball State 12
15 TCU 11
16 Cincinnati 10
17 Oregon State 9
18 Georgia Tech 8
19 Boston College 7
20 Florida State 6
21 Brigham Young 5
22 Michigan State 4
23 Oregon 3
24 Northwestern 2
25 Mississippi 1

Dropped Out:

We missed last week’s Blogpoll due to my being out of town, but here is our submission for this week’s Blogpoll. It was very satisfying dropping LSU from the ranks. Also, making an appearance as the only 4-loss team, Ole Miss gets a nod for beating the current #3 team and LSU in the same season. The rest is here for your perusal and advice.

Week #13 Open Thread and OSU/Michigan Semi-live update

I’m giving Monkey the day off (though I know he’ll be active in the comments) and I’ll handle the semi-live update today. I’ve noticed that in previous semi-live blogs, I haven’t given much context to what elicited whatever comments I make, so I’ll be making an effort to giving a little more background to each comment.

(Also, I’m awaiting for some people to show up for the party, so I’ve got the game paused. I’ll catch up live as soon as I can, so this is, quite literally, a semi-live game update)

First Quarter
On 1st-and-10 Pryor rolls out to the left and throws an interception, returned to the 12. Blech.

Laurinaitis just knocked the stuffing out of Sheridan on 3rd-and-15 and then KC Lopato missed a chippy. LOL

Okay, right now the OSU offense is stuck in neutral but the turnover off the punt needs to be the little jolt that kicks it in gear. Let’s go, Pryor.

One word to describe Ohio State’s effort thus-far: Uninspiring.

Until Beanie Wells, ONCE AGAIN takes this team on his shoulders and takes care of business. He even gave a Michigan defender a mini SAoJ after the play.

Second Quarter
Pryor seems to have settled down, as he just hit Hartline, in stride, for a beautiful touchdown on 1st-and-10. That was the kind of play that was just waiting to happen. The beatdown is on.

Third Quarter
There’s not much to say right now, but Michigan has run 5 straight running plays, and they’re moving the ball rather easily. We need some big stops and big hits on defense right now.

Now we need a sustained drive from the offense. Or rip off 40 yards with Beanie. Or or gash them for 50 with Daniel “Boom Goes the Dynamite” Herron. That was nice.

Good to see that a) Ray Small is back on the field (I know he’s been fielding punts all day) and b) he’s playing well. That eighty yard punt return was smooth.

Fourth Quarter
**MotSaG Standing Ovation** for Todd Boeckman!!


Open Thread and Common Opponent Data – OSU/UM

OSU FootballHow’s THAT for a quick season? Is it just me?

Tomorrow the top-10 ranked Buckeyes will play The Worst Michigan Team In History. Seriously. In 111 years, no OSU team has faced a statistically worse UM opponent.

UM fans, if you think that makes Buckeye fans breathe easier or act overconfident, guess again. Games like this always make me nervous. On paper, OSU should have an easier time with the Wolverines tomorrow than they had against I-AA Youngstown. Which is precisely why I’m hoping the OSU team doesn’t think of it that way. If there’s one weakness with this current class of senior leaders, it’s that time and time again they’ve failed to take the big games seriously. Cakewalking into Florida. Infighting against LSU. Choking against USC.

However, if there is a reassuring theme from the Tressel era, it’s that he’s always been successful at getting the players fired up for Michigan. Even in his one loss, the overmatched Buckeyes kept it close into the fourth quarter.

Unlike what you’ve read in the papers, The Worst Michigan Team In History did not miss out on a bowl game this season. Actually, they earned a spot in the “Horseshoe Bowl,” and that’s how the Worst Players in Michigan History are looking at it.

Below are the tables comparing apples to apples between the good and bad guys.

The tables list the opponent(s) in chronological order down the first column, and include the following ‘important’ stats: total points (Pts), total yards (Yds), total first downs (Dwns), and turnovers (TOs); for each team and its opponent (Opp).

Table 1: The Worst Michigan Team In History

  Pts Pts (opp) Yds Yds (opp) Frst Dwns Dwns (opp) TOs TOs (opp)
Wisconsin 27 25 268 384 14 18 5 4
Illinois 20 45 319 501 17 19 2 0
Penn St. 17 46 291 482 15 22 1 1
Mich St. 21 35 252 473 13 22 4 3
Purdue 42 48 300 522 15 25 1 1
Minnesota 29 6 435 188 20 8 1 1
NrthWstrn 14 21 264 257 15 14 2 2
TOTAL 170 226 2129 2807 109 128 16 12
AVERAGE 24.3 32.3 304.1 401 15.6 18.3 2.3 1.7


Table 2: Ohio State

  Pts Pts (opp) Yds Yds (opp) Frst Dwns Dwns (opp) TOs TOs (opp)
Minnesota 34 21 414 268 21 18 1 3
Wisconsin 20 17 327 326 17 19 2 2
Purdue 16 3 222 298 14 18 0 2
Mich St. 45 7 332 240 18 14 0 5
Penn St. 6 13 287 281 14 18 2 0
NrthWstrn 45 10 441 294 23 20 0 3
Illinois 30 20 354 455 16 25 1 2
TOTAL 196 91 2377 2162 123 132 6 17
AVERAGE 28 13 339.6 308.9 17.6 18.9 .85 2.4


The values in Table 3 indicate a team’s overall performance, percentage-wise, against the average numbers the common opponents collectively allow.

For example, in the table below, Michigan scored an average of 12% fewer points on these common opponents than what those opponents typically allow, while their defense allowed those same opponents to score 15% more points than what they would typically get, and so on.

Table 3: Performance against what Common Opponents Typically Allow

  % Scoring % Scoring Defense % Yards % Yards Allowed
Worst Michigan Team in History -12 +15 -10 +4
OSU +31 -54 0 -20


The Worst Michigan Team In History gets a lot of guff for its poor offensive performance, but as the charts show, the defense deserves just as much, if not more, blame for this season’s woes. Some rationalize that this is a direct result of the poor offense – “the defense is on the field too much.” But this is absolute bunk. Look at OSU – statistically, their offense is about as poor as UM’s, but OSU is in position to win 10 games this year. Why? Because they have a decent defense. UM has no excuses.

Also: Holy 17 to 6 turnover ratio for OSU, Batman! To me, this is the most satisfying defensive improvement from last season, and the one that’s most likely to impact tomorrow’s game.

Only one question this week:

  • Final score?

sportsMonkey’s Prediction:

  • Ohio State wins its conference record 4th straight Big 10 Championship with a 932 to negative 50 drubbing of The Worst Michigan Team In History.
  • Seriously, OSU, 42-13. Tradition and adrenaline keep it interesting in the first quarter or two, but the Buckeyes pull away and don’t look back.

el Kaiser’s Prediction:
First of all, let me thank sportsMonkey for handling Michigan week for me here at MotSaG while I was away on a business trip to the Freezing tip of Northern Maine, working in the FREEZING cold for hours on end. I had a grand total of 10 minutes of internet the whole week, so I was clueless to what was going on in the ‘Sphere. Of course I had no doubt that SM would skewer the The Worst Michigan Team In History because that’s just how he rolls. And thanks for the trips down Memory Lane, Monkeyman.

So my prediction is for a blowout, OSU: 47 UM: 10


Gotta love Corso.

Will somebody please read The Buckeye Blog and Maize & Brew?

It wouldn’t be OSU/Michigan week without a good BLOG FIGHT!!!!

Will somebody please teach Rodriguez About the Ohio State vs. Michigan Game?The Buckeye Blog

Will somebody please teach The Buckeye Blog how to read?Maize & Brew

Thank Goodness MotSaG exists as a totally independent, objective third party, who can offer an opinion here. After careful examination of both parties’ positions, sides, and points of view, we can unequivocally declare, without bias or prejudice, that The Buckeye Blog wins.