Archives for September 2015

Week 5: MotSaG B1G Pick ‘em and Tidbits

By: Phil Schoch, Twitter me @osuphil95

Each Wednesday evening Pick ’em & Tidbits peers into the Magic 8 Ball and predicts each B1G match-up as well as a few national spotlight games. Will we reach the 50% level?


Don’t call it a comeback! I’ve been here for… well, five weeks.

Week 4 proved to be a pleasant bounce-back week for Pick ‘em & Tidbits as I tallied a 10-5 record versus the spread. I was 11-4 straight up. My PM Stukenborg Fearless Prediction covered for the 4th consecutive week, but for the 3rd consecutive week fell short of the outright win by a field goal or less. After three weeks, I am 29-34 against the spread and 49-14 straight up.

Bert Bielema’s bacon fat dripping tears continue to flow (Toledo, Texas Tech and Texas A&M). Can Tennessee rebound from a second high profile, double digit collapse (Oklahoma & Florida) to taste the maple-pepper flavored ocular goodness of Bert’s tears? #bertforillini #chiefillinibert

Texas Tech! So close. You could have satisfied millions, if only your defense and bell ringer had more starch and stamina.

Disclaimer: I am not a clairvoyant! Do NOT contact the Cayman Islands to wager actual money based on anything uttered in this weekly post. Do you even know where the Cayman Islands are? Frankly, they sound made up to me.

Around the B1G…

Saturday, October 3





Vegas says… PSU

No spread available

At Penn State

Penn State has pseudo-recovered from their season opening loss to Temple. After Army and Indiana, next week, they could be a 5-1 smoke and mirror show rolling into Columbus for a prime time match-up versus a team wearing ridiculous all-black uniforms.

Pick ’em says… Penn State 31-10.





Vegas says…

Sparty -21.5

At Michigan State


Is former Jim Tressel assistant coach, Darrell Hazell, making enough progress in year three at Purdue? After a 1-3 non-conference slate that included losses to MAC and C-USA schools, Purdue will certainly be significant underdogs in all eight B1G games.  Hazell currently sits at 5-23 in 2+ seasons in dumpster-scented West Lafayette. The Boilers five wins are less-than-impressive: Indiana State (twice), Southern Illinois, Western Michigan and Tim Beckman’s Illini.

Pick ’em says… By all accounts, Hazell is far too good of a human to get short-circuited this season, but an empty stadium and mounting losses will make the situation difficult. Nothing doing this week. Spartans, 34-10. 




Vegas says… ‘Cats -4.5

At Northwestern


Northwestern skillfully posted a 4-0 non-conference record, including two of the conference’s best wins (Stanford & at Duke). Fitzy & The ‘Cats have been in this position before and have collapsed dramatically. I’m looking forward to my second quarter/halftime nap while this game silently grinds to a nub on TV #2.

Pick ’em says… There will be drool. First team to 20 wins? Northwestern, 17-14.





Vegas says…

Badgers -7

At Wisconsin


On TV #1, Iowa and Wisconsin will run the ball, run the ball, punt the ball, punt the ball… zzz… zzz… zzz…

Pick ’em says… Copious amounts of drool. Badgers, 24-18.




Vegas says… ‘Huskers -7

At Illinois


Illinois (3-1) vs Nebraska (2-2). This would be far more entertaining to not watch if Tim Beckman and Bo Pelini were coaching. But they’re not, so I’m still not watching.

Pick ’em says… Nebraska, yawn, 31-17. Mike Riley? Really Nebraska? Are you just happy to cash B1G checks and be mediocre with a nice guy coach? I don’t git it. Ya know, you used to be somebody!

Ohio State

 Dean Martin - publicity.JPG



Vegas says… Bucks -21

At Indiana


Dean Martin (born in Steubenville, OH as Dino Crocetti) was one of the most popular entertainers of the mid-20th century. He teamed with Jerry Lewis as the comedy duo Martin & Lewis. He was a member of the Rat Pack, the host of the television variety program, The Dean Martin Show (1965–1974), and starred in motion pictures. His legendary voice earned him dozens of hit singles including his signature songs That’s Amore, Everybody Loves Somebody, You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You, Volare, and Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (born and raised in Indianapolis) is an R&B musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He has written and produced over 26 No. 1 R&B hits throughout his career, and has won 11 Grammy Awards. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Pick ’em says… It’s October – time for leaves and losses to pile up in Indiana. Bucks, 45-13.





Vegas says… Blue -16

At Maryland


How long will Maryland continue with the Randy Edsall charade? The Terps got flipped on their shell by Bowling Green and West Virginia in non-conference play and are now staring at the very real possibility of six consecutive losses to kick off B1G play. The Terps have Under Armour cash (founder & CEO, Kevin Plank is a Maryland alum), high caliber recruits who love to leave Maryland, a half-empty stadium and zero juice in the program. One good hire and the Terps could quickly move up the B1G ladder. Who? Suggestions? Anybody?

Pick ’em says… NSFW ALERT! Pure Michigan., 34-13.

National Spotlight Games…

West Virginia




Vegas says… Sooners -7

At Oklahoma


I have no idea what to expect from these two in this match-up. But, what I can count on (but not understand) is the announcers will reference Big Game Bob multiple times (even though he hasn’t attended a big game in years). What I also don’t understand is why no one reports that Dana Holgorson is wearing Kelsey Grammer’s prop hair from his Cheers days.

Pick ’em says… Oklahoma, 38-33.





Vegas says… Dawgs -2.5

At Georgia


From 1966 – 2012, legendary Minster (Ohio) resident, Paul ‘P.M.’ Stukenborg (pictured above) posted his weekly sports predictions in the hometown paper, The Community Post. Each week, Pick ’em will make a P.M. Stukenborg Fearless Prediction and call for an underdog to to knock off the favorite.

Pick ’em says… If it feels like I’m taking the easy way out in order to pad my Fearless Prediction record – oh, I am. Never trust these ‘Dawgs on the big stage. Tide, 34-28. 

Notre Dame




Vegas says… Pick ’em

At Clemson

 30 rock animated GIF

High stakes. High profile. Death Valley. College Game Day. Howard’s Rock. Running down the hill. All of the ingredients are in place for a very public and very tasty Clemsoning.

Pick ’em says… Is anyone listening to me? Is anyone actually reading this?  No seriously, does anyone even read these articles? If so, pleeeease let me know. Irish, 38-34.

Buckeyes Buck Broncos: In-Depth Recap

Ezekiel Elliott hurdles a Western Michigan defender. (USATSI)

Ezekiel Elliott hurdles a Western Michigan defender. (USATSI)

Better, but still not there yet.

In a game where fans and players alike were looking for more out of a lackluster offense the past two weeks, that’s exactly what they got. If it’s one thing that Ohio State’s 38-12 win over Western Michigan told us, it’s that Urban Meyer knows what he is doing – with the decision to start Cardale Jones over JT Barrett.

Jones set a career high for passing yards with 288, and he also threw for two touchdowns. While improved, Jones still made a few mistakes, under-throwing multiple guaranteed touchdown passes.

Jones’ two touchdown passes came in the first and second quarter, one to Michael Thomas and one to Jalin Marshall.

Fleck’s Broncos made the game interesting after quarterback Zach Terrell found wide-out Daniel Braverman for a 55 yard touchdown connection. Broncos’ kicker Andrew Halderman failed to convert the PAT, leaving the score at 14-6.

After a Jack Willoughby field goal, the Silver Bullets came up with their third consecutive game in a row with a defensive touchdown. Adolphus Washington picked off Terrell and ran it back 20 yards to put the Buckeyes up 24-6 going into halftime.

The Buckeye running backs stole the show in the second half. Ezekiel Elliott racked up 124 yards, one touchdown, and two spectacular “ZekeLeaps” in the third quarter, and Curtis Samuel rumbled for a 40 yard score in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.


The Ohio State offense improved tremendously from the past two weeks on third down, converting 8 of 13 attempts.

Neither the offense or the defense played up to expectation, but at the same time, expectations are high when trying to compare this team to last year’s.

One thing that will still drive Meyer and fans crazy is that OSU committed 12 penalties for 86 yards. False starts have continued to plague the Buckeye offense, and there’s no real excuse for them, especially inside The Horseshoe.

So despite racking up 511 total yards of offense and improving the offensive production, this team still has a lot of work to do. Fortunately, though, there aren’t many other teams out there playing their best football at the moment.

But the Buckeyes better be ready to play their best football this coming weekend against an upset-minded and undefeated Indiana team that will be looking to take their best shot at the defending national champions.

A Look Around the Country

Pac 12 teams shine in Week Four

Welcome back to my weekly column, A Look Around the Country. I’ll be highlighting notable games from the week before, the week ahead and of course, the Heisman and Playoff race. Special features include an in-depth look at the Buckeyes and a Michigan update, mainly for folks to bask in their misfortunes. Feel free to comment with your opinions, I hope you enjoy!

At the beginning of the year, who saw Utah beating Oregon by six touchdowns? Not me. Another barnburner included UCLA demolishing Arizona by 26. Both teams have shot up in the polls and look to contend for the Pac 12 crown now that the Oregon reign appears to be over.

Notable Games Last Week

TCU 55, Texas Tech 52

The Horned Frogs should have dropped this one in Lubbock, but they were able to escape after a score late in the game. TCU was picked by many to be in the playoff this year but have been underwhelming thus far. Trevone Boykin has been amazing but their defense is terrible and will ultimately lead to a loss.

UCLA 56, Arizona 30

Josh Rosen and the Bruins were able to take care of business against Arizona and are now the favorite in the Pac 12 to reach the Playoff. They end the season with Utah and USC which sounds much tougher than it did a year ago. Until then, expect them to continue climbing up the polls.

Utah 62, Oregon 20

Going into Autzen Stadium and beating Oregon by 42 is no easy task. Now that Utah has done it, many experts have crowned them as the number 1 team in the land. I am very impressed with them thus far but do not see them continuing on this trajectory. The Utes still have USC and UCLA and I expect them to drop one of those. Mark Helfrich and Oregon have to go back to the drawing board now.

Big Games this Week

West Virginia at Oklahoma

Slowly but surely, the Sooners have been improving and are now increasing their rankings in the polls. All eyes have been on TCU and Baylor, but we might see Oklahoma creep back into the Big 12 picture (their archrival, Texas, sure as hell isn’t). West Virginia has also improved throughout the year but I think there’re still a step or two away.

Saturday, October 3 at Noon on Fox Sports 1

Minnesota at Northwestern

Who would have thought that this would ever be a big game in the Big Ten? Northwestern is ranked 16th in the AP Poll while Minnesota’s (who should be ranked) only loss is to TCU. It seems that every year Pat Fitzgerald has the Wildcats on the brink of a West Division crown but the wheels always come off. With a wide open race to Indianapolis, maybe this is the year. Expect a classic in Evanston.

Saturday, October 3 at Noon on Big Ten Network

Alabama at Georgia

The Tide have underachieved this year which is something that Georgia almost always does (thanks to Mark Richt who by some miracle still has a job). However, Nick Chubb has been a wrecking ball this season and should be a problem for Nick Saban’s coveted defense. Lane Kiffin hasn’t been able to get his offense going either. Sanford Stadium will be rocking both between and in-between the hedge rows for this one. Tuscaloosa will cease to exist at around 7pm Eastern time.

Saturday, October 3 at 3:30pm on CBS

Ohio State at Indiana

The Buckeyes took a step in the right direction against Western Michigan with Cardale Jones taking all of the reps as QB. He is now listed as the sole starter on the depth chart, which means he’ll get the majority of the reps in practice instead of splitting time with J.T. Barrett. The defense didn’t play as well as they have been, but I don’t think its cause for concern. The Hoosiers are 4-0 and although they haven’t played anyone yet, look halfway decent. There will be more IU fans at Memorial Stadium than usual but I still expect it to turn into Ohio Stadium West.

Saturday, October 3rd at 3:30pm on ABC or ESPN 2

Notre Dame at Clemson

Death Valley is one of the great atmospheres in college football and Saturday Night will be no different with the Irish coming to town. But I don’t expect it to be electric for long. Notre Dame is for real (despite injuries) and I see them running through the Tigers. Clemson looked horrible as they escaped Louisville last week and that will translate into this game. People need to start taking Notre Dame seriously.

Saturday, October 3rd at 8pm on ABC

Michigan Update

So, Michigan is good. After blasting BYU 31-0 in impressive fashion, it appears the Wolverines are on their way back with Jim Harbaugh at the helm. With two months before the Buckeyes roll into Ann Arbor, it’s starting to look like that may be one for the ages.

Heisman Watch

1. Leonard Fournette, LSU

2. Trevone Boykin, TCU

3. Nick Chubb, Georgia

4. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State

5. Josh Rosen, UCLA

6. Derrick Henry, Alabama

My Playoff if the Season Ended Today

*Editor’s Note: This will be a volatile poll every week based on performance in the past week and resume to date, very similar to the Playoff Committee.

1. Ohio State (beat Western Michigan, plays Indiana)

2. Michigan State (beat Central Michigan, plays Purdue)

3. Baylor (beat Rice, plays Texas Tech)

4. LSU (beat Syracuse, plays Eastern Michigan)

Just Missed the Cut

5. Ole Miss (beat Vanderbilt, plays Florida)

6. Notre Dame (beat UMass, plays Clemson)

7. UCLA (beat Arizona, plays Arizona State)

8. Georgia (beat Southern, plays Alabama)

9. Utah (beat Oregon, plays Cal)

10. TCU (beat Texas Tech, plays Texas)

Men of The Scarlet and Gray Podcast Invading the Hoosier State

Chip takes charge of the show today. He was responsible for steering into the Hoosier State after we discussed kicking Western Michigan Broncos back to the mitten state. We went over what we felt impressed, gave us cause for concern and even handed out a grade to the Buckeye football team as a whole. Surprisingly its not as high as it will be at the end of the season but good enough for now. Key is to keep getting better.

We go into Indiana and get with Kyle Swick of the Crimson Quarry to discuss the undefeated Hoosiers. Kyle explains to us who to keep an eye on, keys to the Hoosier offense. Can they step up and stop a potentially potent offense? Did the special teams improve of will Jalin Marshall have another great game.

We even had a great time giving our predictions and Chip has to copy everything I do to not allow me to catch up after a bad weekend. Riverboat gambling I believe was the mention. Kyle was nice enough to inform us about construction in Bloomington which is weird he said it was everywhere very bad and should stay at home. He told us some places to possibly enjoy a nice adult beverage and some food if able to get through the extremely bad construction. This show really is worth the listen. Chip did an outstanding job and Kyle was another great guest.

Check out this episode!

Let’s Get Defensive: Silver Bullet Edition

Although it is WAY TOO EARLY in the season, I cannot help but give props to the job that Coach Fickell, Coach Johnson, Coach Coombs and Coach Ash for reviving the unit that attracted me to become a full-fledged Ohio State Buckeyes fan.  What a sight to see!  Not only have they restored my faith in the defense, they also resurfaced as the Silver Bullets!  It brings me back to the days when my favorite Buckeye defender ran the show at the Mike Linebacker Position.  Surely, that is a very vague statement and seeing that Ohio State has seen numerous Mike Linebackers shine and run the show.  One comes to mind, James Laurinaitis!  A.J Hawk is also pretty high up there in my list.  You could say the same for Fullback turned Middle Linebacker, Zach Boren.  I get that nostalgic feeling when I see the defense flying around and making plays and having an impact on the game.  That is what you come to Ohio State for and with the new group of gems that Coach Meyer has collected, watch out world!  The Buckeyes are merely scratching the surface!

Ohio State is stacked from top to bottom.  There is no exaggeration either.  Literally at every position on Defense, we are stacked to the point to where the younger less-known players would become starters at other universities.  I know that it really doesn’t make sense, but if you keep your attention right here, it will!  I will talk about everything Defense on this piece.  From the current starters, to Buckeyes on the two-deep and beyond that are waiting for the opportunity to compete and to make plays.  I will also mention potential class of 2016 signees and targets.

Defensive End/Defensive Tackle:

With former great such as Jim Stillwagon, Will Smith and Mike Vrabel who have become productive Ohio State Alumni at the Defensive Line and recent Buckeyes John Simon, Jonathan Hankins, Cam Heyward, Mike Bennett and so fourth, you get where I am headed.  Ohio State produces quality players year in and year out.  The Buckeyes also produce a few busts, such as Vernon Gholston.  It is hit or miss and sometimes the game can sneak up on you or they leave too early and are unprepared for a much different game.  The Buckeyes look to add a few more names on this list of greats with Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington nearing the end of their Buckeye careers, but I am not too worried about it.

This is arguably the deepest position and a definite strength for the Silver Bullets.  With the two-deep all but locked up, if you look past it, you would regret it.  So what if I told you that aside from starters, Joey Bosa and Tyquan Lewis and back-ups, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard, they still look nasty.  Let’s see behind Holmes and Hubbard are Darius Slade, who was pushing for some playing time and Jashon Cornell.  Last time I checked, Cornell was a blue-chip prospect from Minnesota who oozes potential and New Jersey prospect, Darius Slade who a lot of people slept on.  That is a pretty deep three deep.  Throw in Five Stars Nick Bosa and Jonathan Cooper, then it quickly becomes a four deep.  Talent on top of more talent.  Like the current Quarterback dilemma, the rich get richer.  We are stacked on defense for years to come.  Imagine if Terrell Hall was still committed to the Buckeyes, but I think that it is safe to say that Alabama is benefitting from a “more flexible” and “coach friendly” defense.  No sour grapes and I wish the kid luck in the future.

This position isn’t as deep as the Defensive End situation, but things can change.  Adolphus “Diesel” Washington and Tommy Schutt man the trenches alongside Bosa and Lewis.  Behind them are Donovan Munger who is in a hotly contested battle with Michael Hill and Joel Hale who is ahead of Tracy Sprinkle.  Add Freshman Robert Landers ad DaVon Hamilton waiting in the background for their opportunity.  Factor that with incoming freshman Malik Barrow and recruiting targets,  Rashan Gary, Dexter Lawrence, Rashard Lawrence and Antwuan Jackson, the Buckeyes are only going to get deeper at another position of strength.  I am hoping one or two of the aforementioned names join the 2016, but if it doesn’t happen, we will still be okay.  Barring any unexpected departures for next years draft, I can see a few more targets joining in.


Linebacker has been a strength for Ohio State.  Flat out!  With names like A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis, Ryan Shazier patrolling and leading Defenses and with Legends like Randy Gradishar, Pepper Johnson and Chris Spielman, Ohio State produces NFL ready prospects.  Although many of the LB’s fall through the cracks and end up out of the League, there is no telling what this seasons crop will or won’t do.

Carrying the Linebacking Tradition, Ohio State boasts stars and playmakers alike with Strongside Linebacker Darron Lee, former Five Star Raekwon McMillian and Weakside Linebacker Joshua Perry who all have firm grip on their respective position.  Behind him are Chris Worley, Camren Williams and Dante Booker.  They also have a bevy of future stars in Justin Hilliard, Jerome Baker, Dre’Mont Jones and Nick Conner.  With the depth at the Linebacker position, I can surely say that if the right recruits want in, Coach Meyer will find a way to add them to the class if other positional needs cannot be met.  Current commit Tuf Borland is the only commit at this position, I can comfortably say that we are done with the position.

Defensive Backs:

First off, I am a Broncos fan and another Buckeye great made some plays this week.  Former shut-down corner, Bradley Roby recovered a fumble to win the game for Manning and the Broncos.  Roby is from a long line of Buckeye Greats at the Defensive Back position.  Let’s see, Malcolm Jenkins, Kurt Coleman, Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Donte Witner, Chris Gamble, Nate Clements and Will Allen.  Add Legendary players like Jack Tatum to the fold and you can just imagine how deep routed the tradition is, when putting DB’s into the NFL.

So with Eli Apple and newly anointed starter, Gareon Conley locking the outside receivers up and with Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell laying the lumber and patrolling the middle that is a pretty lethal stranglehold when defending opposing offenses.  With Damon Webb, Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward in the Nickel that pretty much forces an offense to pick their poison.  The Safety position is also as deep as every other position on Defense and it has really become a recurring theme with Ohio State.  With Cam Burrows and Erick Smith picking up the slack for Bell and Powell whenever they need a rest or during mop-up duty there will be little to no drop-off.  Current Freshman, Eric Glover-Williams, Joshua Norwood and Damon Arnette with incoming Freshman, Wayne Davis and Kareem Felder coming in after National Signing Day.  Let’s not forget about the targets, Chauncey Gardener, Jordan Fuller or Damar Hamlin who all hold Ohio State offers.

So to summarize this article, WE ARE SET FOR YEARS!!!  If we could somehow manage to pluck a few blue-chip recruits in both 2016 and 2017, the Buckeyes will be loaded once again.  With the top classes in 2016 and 2017, we will continue to improve and eventually dominate College Football.  But I am a humble fan who takes it a week at a time, as all Buckeyes Fans should, but I digress.  This will be a lot of fun for a few more years.  If we also successfully defend our Crown, the recruiting floodgates will open, but until then, ONE GAME AT A TIME.

Why 12 Gauge is the Right Choice

First of all let’s take a deep breath after that win this past Saturday against Western Michigan. While there are still plenty of things that we need to improve on, the offense finally showed some flashes of its past self. Zeke was able to break away on a few nice runs. We were able to make some plays when it mattered, and Cardale was able to make some throws that he had not made since the VT game. But, as I watch the game I always keep my eye on Twitter to see what everyone thinks about the game and I was surprised at how many people were still upset that Cardale was still the QB. So, here are some reasons why I think Jones is the right choice.

First, Coach Urban Meyer has decided that Cardale is the best option for the Buckeyes right now. Honestly that should be the end of the conversation. We are talking about a guy that brought us our first national title in 12 years. A guy that has brought in the best talent that Ohio State has probably ever seen.

Urban gets to watch these guys in practice every single day, he sees things that w do not get to see so if anyone is going to know who is best suited to lead this team, it is THE Urban Meyer.

Secondly, it seems like people have forgotten the things that Cardale was able to do for OSU last year. In his first three starts he proceeded to beat Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon. When you really sit down and think about that, it is incredible. I don’t think there is another player in college football that would be able to gel with a team that fast to be able to beat 3 of the best teams in the country.

There is no doubt that so far this year Jones has not been able to perform as well as he did last year. In fact not even close to what he expected from him, but is that really all his fault to this point? I think not. First of all, he is dealing with a new QB coach along with a new play caller. There is no doubt that there was something about Tom Herman and the way that he coached/ called plays that made guys comfortable in the offense. Both Jones and JT proved that, but this year you can tell that not everyone is on the same page. So is that Cardale’s fault? Not in my opinion.

Another factor that people tend to forget about is the fact that last Saturday was only Cardale’s 7th start for Ohio State. I mean that is insane if you think about what he has accomplished. The kid had his first ever start in the Shoe just 3 weeks ago. His talent in undeniable and Urban obviously sees that and thinks ,with time, he will be the guy that has the best chance to lead this team successfully. If you really look at the game Saturday, things were better than the last two weeks. I noticed that people were really upset with a few of Cardale’s undergrowth balls, as was I, but at least he is starting to go down field. It felt like for 2 games straight we didn’t even attempt going down field, so it’s going to take some time for him to get some chemistry with these guys.

In conclusion, I have to say that during the off season I really thought the coaching staff would go with JT as the starter. It just seemed like everything was pointing in that direction, but when 12 Gauge walked out on the field it felt exciting to me. That was great for a game, but in both the Hawaii and the NIU I was right along with everyone else calling for JT, but the bottom line is JT didn’t perform much better. He has every opportunity in 2 different games to take over and make the team his! But, that didn’t happen so at the end of the day if Cardale is out performing in practice than he should be the starter. Thanks for reading and Go Bucks!

B1G Weekly Recap: Wolverines Dominate BYU; NW, IU Remain Undefeated

In what was the final weekend before the conference schedule starts in full, the Big Ten took care of business for the most part. The conference went 12-2 on the weekend, with Maryland and Purdue taking the only losses. Northwestern and Indiana both will start conference play undefeated, which is surely a sign of the human race’s impending doom.

Michigan 31, BYU 0

The Wolverines took care of business and dominated from start to finish in BYU’s visit to Ann Arbor. Jake Rudock accounted for three touchdowns (2 rush, 1 pass) and De’Veon Smith had 60 of his 125 rushing yards on a magician’s disappearing act of a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter.

The Wolverine defense completely shut down Tanner Mangum and the Cougar offense, allowing just 105 total yards on the day. The Wolverines finish nonconference play at 3-1 and will open their Big Ten slate on the road at Maryland.

Michigan State 30, Central Michigan 10

In what was a one-score game until a couple late Gerald Holmes touchdown runs made this win look simple, the Spartans sputtered on offense but managed to avoid embarrassment against the Chippewas.

Connor Cook was just 11-19 passing for 143 yards and a touchdown for Michigan State. Sparty improve to 4-0 on the season and will welcome Purdue to East Lansing in the first Big Ten game for both teams.

Bowling Green 35, Purdue 28

In a back-and-forth battle, Bowling Green made the last play with :09 left in the game when Travis Greene rushed for 12 yards and the game-winning score. Matt Johnson starred yet again for the Falcons, throwing for over 400 yards for the 4th time already this season.

David Blough was solid in his first start at QB for the Boilermakers, completing 29 of his 39 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns. Purdue falls to 1-3 and things don’t get any easier next week when they have to go on the road to the No. 2 team in the country.

Rutgers 27, Kansas 14

Rutgers bounced back from their loss to Penn State last week to take care of business against Kansas this week in Piscataway. Chris Laviano threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights as they handled the Jayhawks easily.

Josh Hicks also found the end zone twice to go along with 113 yards. Rutgers will take this weekend off and use the extra rest to prep for a visit from Michigan State.

Nebraska 36, Southern Miss 28

First half red zone issues nearly came back to bite Nebraska as a one-time 29-7 lead finished as a one score game. Three times in the first 30 minutes the Cornhuskers had to settle for Drew Brown field goals after they had crossed the 20-yard line. Brown had five field goals in total on the day.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. took care of the rest, throwing for 368 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for the clinching score in the 4th quarter. Nebraska sits at 2-2 and will go to Illinois next weekend for their B1G opener.

Indiana 31, Wake Forest 24

Jordan Howard carried the load yet again for the Hoosiers, racking up 168 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Tony Fields picked off Kendall Hinton early in the 4th quarter and returned it for six, pushing the Indiana lead to 31-10 before Wake Forest narrowed the gap to its final score.

Nate Sudfeld threw for 204 yards and two scores as the Hoosiers improbably made their way through the nonconference schedule undefeated. The last time Ohio State and Indiana played each other with both undefeated, the year was 1954 and the Buckeyes went on to win the national championship. Do similar fortunes await in 2015?

West Virginia 45, Maryland 6

Maryland, your football team, woof! West Virginia basically did whatever they wanted in this matchup, storming out to a 38-0 halftime lead and an eventual 45-0 lead before Jahrvis Davenport took a Daxx Garman 46 yards to the house and spared Maryland from being shut out.

The Terrapin defense gave up 601 total yards (304 rushing, 297 passing) and a whopping 37 first downs. The offense didn’t do much better, turning the ball over six times in the blowout loss. Maryland, now 2-2, will look to bounce back when the Wolverines come to College Park.

Ohio State 38, Western Michigan 12

Things were a little less tense this time around when a MAC West opponent came into the Horseshoe. Cardale Jones hit a wide open Michael Thomas for a 38-yard touchdown on Ohio State’s first drive and the Buckeyes never looked back.

Adolphus Washington lived out every defensive lineman’s dream late in the 1st half when he pulled in a Zach Terrell pass and took it back 20 yards for a touchdown. Ezekiel Elliott went over 100 yards yet again and will look to extend that streak in Bloomington on Saturday.

Penn State 37, San Diego State 21

It took four games, but Christian Hackenberg finally put up some decent passing numbers for the Nittany Lions. Hackenberg threw for 296 yards and three scores but Penn State still struggled to put away their Aztec visitors.

Up 27-21 with San Diego State driving, the Nittany Lions defense made a play by forcing a fumble and Austin Jackson picking it up and scampering 71 yards for the dagger. Penn State is now 3-1 and finished out their nonconference schedule next week when Army visits Happy Valley.

Iowa 62, North Texas 16

Kirk Ferentz and his Hawkeyes did what they were supposed to do when North Texas came to town. Jordan Canzeri (115 rushing yards, four TDs) and C.J. Beathard (18-21, 278 yards, two TDs) led the way on offense for Iowa.

The Hawkeye defense found the end zone as well, with Josey Jewell and Bo Bower both picking off passes and returning them for scores. Now 4-0, Iowa faces a tough task when they go to Wisconsin for the Big Ten opener.

Minnesota 27, Ohio 24

It took nearly all 60 minutes, but Minnesota finally put away their MAC foe when Shannon Brooks took a handoff and found the end zone from three yards out with :30 left in the game. That was Brooks’ 2nd touchdown of the game and he finished with 82 yards on just 10 carries.

Mitch Leidner was 22-31 for 264 yards and has Minnesota sitting at 3-1 with a trip to undefeated Northwestern next on the docket.

Illinois 27, Middle Tennessee 25

It was Illini kicker Taylor Zalewski who was the hero who saved Illinois from being upset at home by a Sun Belt school. There was barely two minutes left in the game when Zalewski nailed a 51-yard field goal to win the game.

Wes Lunt was 29-49 passing for 238 yards and a score while Geronimo Allison was his main target, pulling down 10 catches for 128 yards. Illinois managed to get out of their nonconference schedule at 3-1 and will now host Nebraska in Champaign.

Northwestern 24, Ball State 19

It took a second half comeback for Northwestern to remain undefeated after Ball State came to Evanston. The Cardinals led 10-7 at half and even made a comeback attempt of their own after the Wildcats came out of the locker room with 17 3rd quarter points.

Clayton Thorson threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns and Justin Jackson pounded the Ball State defense on the ground for a tune of 184 yards on 33 carries. The Wildcats open Big Ten play undefeated for the first time since 2013 and welcome Minnesota to town this weekend.

Wisconsin 28, Hawaii 0

In another visit to B1G country, it was another shutout loss for the Rainbow Warriors. Wisconsin scored once in every quarter to easily put away Hawaii in a game where the Badgers rushed for over 300 yards as a team while Joel Stave added 164 yards and one score through the air.

Taiwan Deal led the way on the ground with 147 yards and two touchdowns with Dare Ogunbowlae added a touchdown of his own in the 4th quarter. These two will need to step up to open conference play with Corey Clement out for a few weeks. Wisconsin opens their Big Ten West title defense at home against Iowa.

What game are you looking forward to most to open B1G play? Is Wisconsin-Iowa a potential B1G West title game despite being the first game of the season?

Did Ohio State’s Quarterback Decision Bring out the Worst in Jones, Barrett?

Urban Meyer’s mishandling of Ohio State’s quarterback competition has put both Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett in a position to fail, and will ultimately cost the Buckeyes a chance to win the national championship this season.

What a nightmare that scenario would be if it were true – or if I actually believed it. The mere thought of that statement ringing true seems so sacrilegious given Meyer’s track record, but it’s one that will scare me until the team proves that is fully capable of playing up to its own lofty expectations. While it seems like an outrageous criticism for a man of Meyer’s stature and expertise, no matter what any OSU fan says, the fact remains that it could be true. I’m afraid that the wrong decision was made in the quarterback derby, and that Ohio State will suffer the consequences through what otherwise could have been a dream season as repeat national champions.

It sounds strange, but what if Cardale Jones is only capable of performing well in big “marquee” games – more specifically, night games in indoor stadiums that are on neutral sites? What if Jones lacks the attention to detail, focus, and dedication to his craft to be an every-week starter over the course of 15 weeks? I’m afraid that 12-Guage was only able to run rampant through Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon simply because they underestimated him and didn’t have enough film to produce a full scouting report on him.

Likewise, what if Meyer’s selection of Jones – and the bulk of practice repetitions that go along with being named the starting quarterback – has caused J.T. Barrett’s development at the position to actually regress? What if Barrett – more a cerebral tactician on the field than a physically gifted phenom –  needs an abundance of game reps and practice reps to maximize his potential, and otherwise sees some of his precision and skill fade to rust and a pressure to make the big play. I’m afraid that Meyer electing to pass on Barrett, who broke Drew Brees’ record for touchdowns in a season, is wasting a year of his development and stunting the Buckeyes’ overall growth for the next two seasons at the same time.

I just can’t get over how smooth and poised Barrett looked directing the offense for the majority of the 2014 season – to the point that I proclaimed that I was on “Team J.T.” over Braxton Miller – compared to how shaky he’s looked in his limited action in 2015. I’ve also been discouraged by how much less stellar Jones has looked in 2015 as a full-time starter, compared to his legendary postseason run last season. Is it a coincidence, or did Meyer accidentally stymie his own offensive potential by placing both Jones and Barrett in a respective position that benefits the team the least?

I know, conventional online message board wisdom will point out my lack of head coaching experience and championship rings in comparison to Meyer, as well as my absence from daily practice sessions that he orchestrates. I don’t want to belittle his decision making, as I am fully confident and ecstatic about his ability to lead this program, both on and off the field. I just can’t help but fear that he may have been wrong, and simultaneously prevented the team from winning the championship for the next two seasons.

As is the case with every season, it’s important that Ohio State give the team time to find its identity and develop chemistry. It was unrealistic to expect an unbeatable juggernaut right out of the gates. I just hope that the lack of offensive consistency is the sign of a team slowly but steadily finding its groove, as opposed to coaching decision that is preventing the team from being as good as it could be.

5 B1G Observations: Week 4

So I spend most of my weekends with my in-laws on Sandusky Bay.  My wife’s grandmother is always there, watching the game right along with us.  She just turned 90 this summer and is starting to get to the point where she’s a bit more wily or maybe even crass.  Like any person of her age she runs into the typical problems while watching a football game: she can’t see the score, she forgets which team is wearing which color, she asks multiple times where they are playing the game, she likes to mention the weather conditions on the field, etc.  But there is one unique thing that she does that just… it gets under my skin a little.  Almost every play in football today is immediately followed by an instant replay from a different camera angle.  Well grandma sees those replays and – you guessed it – she thinks it is live football.  Sure, it’s cute the first five or six times.  Try the entire game.

Either way I wouldn’t trade her for anything.  Well, other than maybe a ticket to the game.  You keep on cheering, Grandma!


#1: De’Veon Smith is going to be a handful

Well I don’t think we can avoid this topic any longer.  That Team Up North might just be the real deal.  I know Big Ten play doesn’t start until this upcoming Saturday but there is no denying what the Wolverines did to BYU this weekend.  And after watching Utah destroy Oregon, you can’t exactly call Michigan’s loss to the Utes a blemish anymore.  The scariest part, to me, was this run by De’Veon Smith.  The dude is a beast.  He may not have explosive speed but he’s got a real knack for slowing himself down and bouncing off of defenders, bulldozing his way to pretty much anywhere he wants to go.  I know you’ve probably heard this comparison already, but he reminds me a hell of a lot of Mike Hart.  Am I telling you to be nervous about this game?  Well first, you should always be nervous about THE GAME.  And secondly, even Mike Hart couldn’t manage to win a single game against our Buckeyes.  Take that however you want to, but I’m keeping my head up.

#2: Indiana is undefeated – no that’s not a typo

BLOOMINGTON, IN - SEPTEMBER 27: Damon Graham #38 of the Indiana Hoosiers runs the ball as Kenneth Goins Jr. #30 of the Maryland Terrapins converges for the tackle at Memorial Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana. Maryland defeated Indiana 37-15. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 513036555 ORIG FILE ID: 456214910So the Hoosiers, despite their awful candy cane uniforms, are preparing to host the number one team in the country this Saturday with a squeaky clean 4-0 record.  According to people who took the time to look it up, this is the first time the Buckeyes and Hoosiers have met as undefeated teams since 1954.  It’s about time, Indiana!  No offense to our neighboring state, but you can’t really blame the Buckeyes for this 61 year drought.  Ohio State should be close to a 20 point favorite by Saturday.  Why, you ask, will the point spread be so much in favor of the Buckeyes when Indiana is undefeated and hosting the contest?  I would say it has something to do with who the Hoosiers have played and how close those victories actually were.  Any defense that gives up an average of 32 points per game to Southern Illinois, Florida International, Western Kentucky, and Wake Forest should have a really hard time with the Scarlet and Gray.  Just sayin’.

#3: Maryland is fighting Purdue for worst team in the conference

So Purdue is not a good football team.  This isn’t news to anyone.  I had high hopes for Darrell Hazell when he left Kent State for West Lafayette.  He did, after all, turn a graveyard Golden Flashes team into an 11-3 squad with a bowl appearance after only two seasons.  Unfortunately for him, Purdue is worse than a graveyard.  It’s the Dante’s Inferno of college football.  Hazell only has one conference win in two seasons and probably won’t get another one this year.  I’m saying that, of course, because the Boilermakers don’t have the luxury of playing Maryland.  The Terrapins are miraculously 2-2 this season after laying an egg against West Virginia this past weekend.  With the Wolverines and Ohio State on tap to start the Big Ten Conference schedule, Maryland may not win another game until it faces Rutgers in the season finalé.

#4: Iowa might have the third most impressive B1G resumé this season

HBeathardKWith victories over Iowa State and Pittsburgh as well as blow-outs against Illinois State and North Texas, one could argue that the Hawkeyes are the best team in the B1G West.  ESPN has them fourth in their Big Ten Power Rankings this week and for good reason.  Quarterback C.J. Beathard is playing lights out: he’s got six touchdowns to only one interception, he’s completing 68% of his attempts, and has a QBR of 80.7.  To put that into perspective, Cardale Jones’ numbers in those categories are 4 TD, 4 INT, 57%, and 66.7 QBR.  No, he’s not a better quarterback than Cardale, but the kid is playing lights out.  AND he looks startlingly similar to my favorite professional wrestler of all time.  So there’s that going for him too.

#5: Buckeyes getting back into form

We’ve been waiting for this one, haven’t we?  I don’t know about you guys but this is the first game since Virginia Tech that I didn’t walk away from the television with a foul taste in my mouth.  No, the Buckeyes didn’t bulldoze the Broncos the way I would have liked them to.  But what I liked about it was that they never truly let Western Michigan into the game.  The defense was stout, particularly against the pass.  Adolphus Washington did his best J.J. Watt impression and returned his first career interception into his first career touchdown.  Raekwon McMillan (16 tackles, 1 sack) and Joshua Perry (13 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) showed up big in a game where the Broncos spent a vast majority of the contest trying to establish the run.  Ezekiel Elliot still didn’t see the ball as often as I would have liked – he only got 16 carries – but he did lead the team in all purpose yards with 153.  Maybe WMU’s 15 minute edge in time of possession had something to do with that.  Whatever way you look at it, I imagine we can all say this: the outlook for Ohio State is better this week than it was last week.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Big Ten Power Poll Week 5

The Votes are in!!

Teams Points Record Last Week
Ohio State 8 4-0 (0-0) 2
msu 18 4-0 (0-0) 1
michigan 30 3-1 (0-0) 5
northwestern 32 4-0 (0-0) 3
wisconsin 38 3-1 (0-0) 4
iowa 46 4-0 (0-0) 6
minnesota 60 3-1 (0-0) 8
nebraska 64 2-2 (0-0) 7
indiana 2 73 4-0 (0-0) 11
penn state 74 3-1 (1-0) 9
rutgers 92 2-2(0-1) 13
illinois 94 3-1 (0-0) 12
maryland 102 2-2 (0-0) 10
purdue 111 1-3 (0-0) 14

This concludes the non conference portion of your schedule. Please buckle up and enjoy the ride that of Big Ten conference game play. Iowa, Northwestern, Maize and Blue, Indiana are all trying to make some noise will that transfer into conference play? Will the Big Ten still have five teams ranked in the AP or by the college football committee when its all said and done? Imagine if things keep moving the way they are Ohio State can possibly play three ranked opponents at the end of the season if they do their part and win out (includes B1G Championship game). Funny it was said that the Buckeyes would only face one ranked opponent funny how things change (thanks Bret and your 3 game slide).

Hang on tight Big Ten fans its about to become a bumpy ride, remember have fun its going to be over before you know it.