Archives for November 2015

Not So Fast Jimmy!

Oh how sweet it is to to be a Buckeye fan today! After everything that has happened this year from the QB issues to the offensives struggles, finally accumulating into a loss to Michigan State, the only thing that could make a true Buckeye fan feel even a little bit better is a win over TTUN. Boy did the football Gods shine down on us. Not only did we beat TTUN, but we essentially embarrassed them on their own field.

All we have heard all year was how impressive TTUN had become and how Jim Harbaugh has completely turned this program around. It turned out that even Vegas had become believers due to the fact that this game was essentially a “Pick Um”. Well unfortunately for them the Buckeyes blew that theory out of the water. The TTUN defense literally had no clue what to do with our running game. It seemed like our offense had finally hit its stride and every player knew where they were suppose to be at all times. The read option offense was just too much for the Wolverines to handle as JT had over 100 yards on the ground along with Zeke putting up over 200.

I guess the moral to this story is we all should be ashamed of ourselves to actually think there is a coach anywhere in the country (not named Mark Dantonio) that could actually coach on Urbans level. Old Urb  embarrassed Jim in every phase of the game, and man it was beautiful to watch! Better luck next year Jimmy.

Now let’s talk a little about what it’s going to take for us to have a chance to get into the College Football Playoff. First of all we should have known better than to trust Penn State to do our dirty work for us, but I did at least expect them to be competitive, but they weren’t…. SO due to those unfortunate circumstances we need a little help from some other teams. The best case scenario is that Florida is able to beat Alabama in the SEC championship game. If that were to happen, Alabama would have 2 loss’s giving the Buckeyes an edge on them to get into the top four. Unfortunately the changes of this happening are very slim. Florida is just not on that level yet, although they are on their way.

The next best chance we have is for North Carolina to beat Clemson in the ACC championship game. This, in my opinion, is our best shot. After what turned out to be a very bad loss at the beginning of the season to South Carolina, North Carolina has been on a roll. Playing very well in every game since and riding high coming into the championship game. The nice thing for them is that few believe they can compete with Clemson, so they can come into the game with a chip on their shoulder. The only possible downfall here is that if NC is able to pull off the upset they will have a legitimate argument to be in over us since they only have 1 loss as well, but we will cross that bridge when we get there!

Finally, the biggest thing that we need is for MSU to beat Iowa in the Big Ten Championship game. That makes our loss to them look that much better! At the end of the day it is all in the hands of the football Gods now so all we can do is sit back and watch!

The Rivals, Part XIV: The Game

College football is the greatest game on Earth. It’s unlikely that anyone reading this disagrees. Part of what makes college football so exciting, so captivating, so maddening is its unpredictability. The season is so short, the playoff field is so small, and there so many teams vying for a spot that a single misstep can end anyone’s championship hopes in a matter of seconds, or less. Michigan State severely damaged the playoff chances of both Michigan and Ohio State this year, and both times they did it without ever having a lead while there was still time on the clock. And while that is excruciating for fans of the losing team—the epitome of the agony of defeat, in fact—it is exactly what we, as college football fans, should want.

Imagine the alternative. Imagine the world where everything goes exactly the way we expect it to. In that world, we would be watching Ohio State dominate every opponent on their way to a national title. No one would even come close to challenging the Buckeyes all season, except maybe Alabama or TCU in the playoffs. Michigan would be playing better but not really doing anything impressive as new coach Jim Harbaugh tries to manage as best he can in a transition year. Sounds great for Ohio State fans, but it certainly would make today’s game much less exciting than it is right now.

Oh, and let’s not forget that in this alternate, no-surprises reality, we’re not vying for a repeat championship, because we didn’t even make the playoff last year. There was no Kick Six, no Fifth Down, no Because We Couldn’t Go For Three. Appalachian State never beat Michigan. The Holy Buckeye pass glanced off Michael Jenkins’ fingertips, then Miami steamrolled Georgia in the Fiesta Bowl. We never got to see Boise State’s bag-of-tricks upset of Oklahoma. There was no fumblerooski, no Bush Push, no Hello Heisman. The band stayed off the field.

But fortunately, that’s not the world we live in. We live in the world where Ohio State’s offense has underperformed in more games than it’s dazzled. (But it has dazzled.) We live in the world where Michigan is in the top 6 nationally in every defensive category, but can’t crack the top 50 on offense. We live in the world where an upset by Penn State will vault the winner of The Game into the Big Ten championship game and, with a little bit of national help, that team’s national title hopes will be revived too.

Unpredictability. It’s what fuels Ohio State/Michigan, still the greatest rivalry in all of sport. For the first time in a long time, the teams enter the game at a virtual dead heat. As I type this, the Buckeyes are a 1-point favorite, but that’s probably changed now that you’re reading it. Urban Meyer has yet to lose to Michigan as the head coach of Ohio State. Wolverine head coaches are 12-2 against the Buckeyes in their first year. Ohio State is coming off their first loss in 23 games; Michigan has won 9 games for just the third time in the last 10 years.

Today is the dawning of a new era of The Game. It’s a coaching matchup that this rivalry hasn’t seen since Woody/Earle vs. Bo. (Coach Bruce doesn’t usually get billed along with Coach Hayes, but he had a 5-4 record against Schembechler and deserves recognition for that.) John Cooper could never overcome his Michigan bugaboo, and Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez proved to be no match for the ruthless Jim Tressel. Brady Hoke took advantage of the rocky wake of Tressel’s abrupt departure but couldn’t best Urban Meyer in three tries, despite some very competitive games.

But Harbaugh vs. Meyer seems like a slam dunk. Urban is the best active coach in college football, having amassed a 48-4 record at Ohio State so far. Harbaugh has had an illustrious career himself, reinvigorating Stanford and dominating in the NFL with the 49ers. And now, he has Michigan in the top 10 of the playoff rankings. All signs point to a fierce battle between two bitter rivals for many years to come, the kind of edge-of-your-seat back-and-forth that few fans of either team have witnessed in their lifetimes.

The Game is back.

Does History Really Repeat Itself?

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, center, leads his team on the field during the second half against Penn State, Saturday, Sept 23, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, center, leads his team on the field during the second half against Penn State, Saturday, Sept 23, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)

Once upon a time in the not so distant past, the Ohio State football staff led by coach Jim Tressel, was preparing their players to compete in the season opener against Youngstown State. The year was 2007. The Buckeyes would go on to win that game by a score of 38 to 6. What is special about this Ohio State team, is that they were just coming off of a 41-14 shellacking in the BCS national championship, at the hands of the University of Florida and their budding head coach, Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes were an angry football team with a lot to prove; to themselves and to the nation. The angry Buckeyes would go on a tear in their next nine games against the likes of Washington, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State and Minnesota among others, where only one of their opponents (Michigan State) was able to keep the score within two touchdowns. However, on November 10th, Ohio State would meet their match when they faced the fighting Illini and their all everything quarterback, Juice Williams. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Williams said,

“Good teams are going to hit you,” “They’re going to hit you hard and they’re going to hit you often. It’s about how you respond. My whole thing was just go hit them back in the mouth.”

That’s exactly what Williams and Illinois did as Ohio State started the game by throwing down field, looking for big plays. OSU would score early but not often; as they were held to just two touchdowns after their first drive of the game. Eventually Illinois would go on to schock Ohio State and the rest of the country on that night by knocking off the number one ranked Buckeyes. Unfortunately for Ohio State, the loss to Illinois came on the second to last week of their season; so in all likelihood, after dropping to number seven in the polls, there would not be enough time for the Buckeyes to revive their season. But as fate would have it, Oregon, Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia, Mizzouri and LSU would all lose, in between Ohio State’s loss to Illinois and the BCS national championship selection show. Ohio State dropped from number one, down to number seven and climbed back up to number one in the rankings within about two weeks, on their journey to play in the championship game.

Ohio State finds itself in a similar situation eight years later, as they have fallen to Michigan State in the second to last game of the season. The Buckeyes need some help to get into the championship picture again by the end of the year; but not nearly as much help as they needed in 2007. The Buckeyes could find themselves back in the playoff picture if they win this weekend and the Spartans lose to Penn State; and with a hurt Connor Cook, Penn State has a significantly improved chance of beating MSU. There are a number of scenarios that would place the Buckeyes back in the top 4, but this is one that would require the least amount of help from teams around the country.

Finally and most important of all, Ohio State must have an extremely strong performance against our rivals this weekend, much like how they did against Wisconsin in the title game last season. We will see how the season ends and whether the Bucks can make it back to the top 4, but believe me, crazier things have happened!

2015 Buckeyes Playing For Pride In “THE GAME”

It is far too common and completely understandable to want to dwell on a painful event or moment. Asking yourself, “What happened?!?”, over and over, trying to make sense of something that does not make sense.

At some point, you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and proceed forward. If you do not let the past go, it will remain with you into the present.

It is at this juncture where we pick up the 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes, fresh off a disappointing loss to Michigan State. While there are shades of the 1998 loss in this latest setback to the Spartans, a couple prominent points need to be made ~ 1. The 1998 team lost to an unranked Michigan State team that wound up 6-6; this year’s team came into Ohio Stadium with only one loss, so this was a loss to a good team. And 2. The 1998 team had the good fortune to get to play at Iowa after the Michigan State, before having to face That Team Up North in Ohio Stadium, while this year’s team gets no opportunity to regroup, having to travel to Ann Arbor – hence, the points I made in the second paragraph, up above.

The College Football Playoff is not dead, but is pretty ill. Ohio State needs to focus on what they can control, and that is defeating That Team Up North.

Three Things I Will Keep An Eye On During “THE GAME” ~

1. Ohio State’s Offensive Approach ~ To call Ohio State’s offensive output ‘disappointing’ sullies the word. Ohio State had five total first downs against Michigan State. That is not a mistyped word – five. Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer will be very hands on for this game, and it will bear watching how Ohio State attacks That Team Up North. Beyond Ezekiel Elliott, look for the various playmakers on the Ohio State to be involved far, far more than they were against Michigan State.

2. Line Play ~ Players on both teams will want to make sure their respective chinstraps are tightened up for this one. Somewhere, Woody and Bo will be smiling, as this game promises to be very physical along the lines of scrimmage. As Ohio State lost this battle last week against the Spartans, how will the Buckeyes respond to an equally physical Wolverines team?

3. Watch Out For This Unsung Player On That Team Up North ~ Ohio State fans are familiar with Jake Rudock, Jake Butt, De’Veon Smith. Here is a player you may not know now, but I am guessing you will be with by the end of the game – Sione Houma. A bruising fullback, the Wolverines use Houma as a receiving option, as well as an occasional ball carrier. If the Wolverines are near the goal line, do not be surprised if Houna gets the call or carry.

Throw out the record books. This is all about pride. The Buckeyes will battle a hostile crowd, and a very physical football team on both sides of the ball. Even with a refreshed offensive approach, this game should come down to the wire, as usual. I like Ohio State to eek it out in the end, with a score of Ohio State 20, That Team Up North 17.

Week 13: MotSaG B1G Pick ‘em and Tidbits – The Sadness

By: Phil Schoch, Twitter me @osuphil95

Each week Pick ’em & Tidbits risks public humiliation and mockery by predicting each B1G game, as well as a few national spotlight games, versus the Vegas spread.

A Pie & A Song: Busting out of my Buckeye Blues

Buckeye fans dealing with a football loss have a spectrum of coping methods. The more volatile may drink themselves into a thrashing rage or rage-Tweet at players and coaches (if this is you, seek help now). Others seek group therapy sessions. On Saturday night I replaced the Buckeye flag affixed to the front of our home with a black skull-and-crossbones flag, then I withdrew and analyzed. I listened to post-game interviews, read Tweets, studied the dreadful statistics, considered or dismissed various opinions and takes and ate pie.

I never intended for my Meijer Rich Caramel Apple Pie to be consumed in mournful solitude. It is a flavorsome, friends and family, celebratory pie. After three hours of analysis and one-third of the pie ingested, I fell into a tumultuous sleep. Morning arrived, blanketed in the post-Buckeye loss blues. Another slice of pie was no help. Then my three year old daughter walked through the kitchen singing a Trombone Shorty song and my blues were lifted. I was still aggravated to no end, but no longer brooding. Wait. Did I just experience perspective? If so, I certainly could have used some perspective and pie in ’95, ’96 and ’97 after those cannonball-to-the-gut Michigan losses.

I highly recommend the Meijer Rich Caramel Apple Pie. It is coated in a quarter-to-a-half-inch (no lie) of breakfast-y caramel you would find on an iced cream-filled donut and weighs about 8 pounds (also not a lie). Lift with your legs, not your back.

If Trombone Shorty comes to your town – buy tickets, get a babysitter and go! Core-melting New Orleans funk-rock-jazz. Here is the song my daughter was singing Sunday.

Buckeye fans: Have rage? George does too.

Overview of the Aggravation

A philosophy and commitment to championship expectations among the football program, school administration and fan base is what makes Ohio State football an all-time great. Ohio State football and its fans should never be ashamed or afraid of championship expectations, because without them – we’re Purdue or Illinois or what has become of Nebraska. Losses happen – and if it hurts as a coach, a player or a fan, good – it should.

Some perspective. Losses happen – in Ohio State’s case, it had been 441 days between losses. Before the Spartans invaded The ‘Shoe, the Buckeyes last regular season B1G loss had taken place 1,445 days ago. An undefeated season, a National Championship and 23 & 24-game winning streaks have taken place in the past four years. On Saturday, the Buckeyes lost – and it hurt. It hurt Ezekiel Elliott.

Championship expectations and championship preparation and performance against perfection are what make Urban Meyer teams great. On Saturday, a season of disheveled preparation and uneven performances reached a confluence – and the Buckeyes lost to a tenacious, resolute and undermanned Spartan squad. Afterward, Zeke spoke out. Did he say too much and go too far? Yup. Was he a robust, 100% correct? Yup. Will he likely learn from this situation and become a better leader down the road? Yup. Will it harm his draft status, as some national drama-instigators have suggested? Hecks no!

As if they broke down my own thoughts on Saturday’s debacle and put them into words for me, here are two excellent local Buckeye writers:

From Chris Lauderback of ElevenWarriors.com (@chris11w)

PLAYING NOT TO LOSE ENDS IN LOSS

Remember when Urban Meyer tried to score 50 points on every team by speeding up the tempo and throwing haymakers at opposing defenses? I do, but not this year.

 Instead, with a three-headed monster of Ed Warinner, Tim Beck and Meyer calling the plays for an offense featuring bouts of indecision around staffing the quarterback position, a line that has yet to match last year’s effectiveness and spotty wide receiver play all complemented by the best running back in America, the play calling became painfully conservative.

SHAKE IT UP

The season is far from over but last night served as the greatest example yet that Ohio State needs to shake up the offensive staff’s roles in the offseason. Maybe that’s through turnover, maybe it’s through shuffling responsibility but the status quo won’t suffice.

The current setup has taken some of Warinner’s time away from coaching the offensive line and it seems logical to correlate that fact with the lack of consistency and improvement from a group that was the strength of last year’s championship run.

Beck has taken over some of the play calling duties while moonlighting as the quarterbacks coach and it’s telling that the offense looks rudderless at times as both quarterbacks have shown zero improvement – if not regression – in comparison to last year. Specific to yesterday, to not even attempt to attack Sparty’s depleted secondary was flat out criminal. How much of that decision was Beck and how much was Meyer isn’t totally clear but either way it’s on Meyer as the head coach.

From Tony Gerdeman of TheOzone.net (@GerdOZone)

Boy, oh boy, was that an irresponsible offensive game plan by the Ohio State coaches, or what?

URBAN MEYER HAS GONE TOO CONSERVATIVE

I cannot believe that what we witnessed on Saturday was an Urban Meyer offense. This was not the offense of an elite head coach.

THIS IS THE REAL 2015 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

This isn’t a team that was bored by the schedule. This wasn’t a team that was waiting for a real challenge. This is a team that scored twice at home against Michigan State on touchdown drives of 32 and 6 yards. Those are fake drives. This is a team that struggled on offense at times all season long.

IF YOU HAVE A BAD OFFENSE, IT’S ON PURPOSE

This is my longest-held and most firm football belief, and I have mentioned it many, many times: If you are a college football head coach and you have a bad offense, you’re doing it on purpose. There is no reason for it. There are far too many successful offenses out there with lesser skill looking like world beaters.

The only excuse for Ohio State’s offense to look like it did against Michigan State is that Ohio State caused it. You can’t give this much credit to the Spartans. Give them some, they took some things away from the Buckeyes, but the Buckeyes didn’t look for replacements, they just simply threw their arms up and hoped that they could get away with doing absolutely nothing.

The Buckeyes ran just 45 plays, which is what good up-tempo teams want to run in a half. Getting 45 plays is due to a lack of trying on the coaches’ part and that’s a total disservice to the players. Limiting opportunities is the exact opposite of what Urban Meyer has always said his offense is about. He talks about writing down his list of 10 playmakers and how he’s going to get them the ball, but where is the evidence of that list and those intentions this season? It never existed.

THE GAME IS ONLY DAYS AWAY!

With the Michigan Game and their first tangle with Jim Harbaugh just days away, can this Buckeye squad bounce back? Mentally? Emotionally? Strategically? Organizationally? Urban Meyer has spoken glowingly all season of the leadership and focus of his team. That leadership will be tested to the extreme this week in preparation for a rejuvenated Michigan program with a stout front 7 and better DB’s than Sparty. My guts are churning already.

To the good news…

My late season push continued in Week 12, as Pick ‘em & Tidbits registered a 6-2 record versus the spread and 6-2 straight up. My PM Stukenborg Fearless Prediction of the Indiana Creepy Creans (+3) over Maryland won outright as well.

Heading into the final week of the B1G regular season, my record stands at 68-64 (51.5%!!!) ATS and 98-34 (74.2%) SU.

Disclaimer: Keep your holidays merry and bright. Don’t wager your kids Christmas present money on anything you think you may have learned here.

Around the B1G…

Friday, November 27

Iowa

3:30

ABC

Vegas says… Iowa -1

At Nebraska

 

This is how legendary Iowa coach used to slump around the football offices. Now he has swagger.

Not only is this link SFW, it is officially Iowa SFW. blob:https%3A//vine.co/e7217ecc-fb37-4015-ab8c-c84ea284205c

Pick ‘em says… Too much on the line for the Hawkeyes to lose this one. Iowa, 27-24.

Saturday, November 28

Ohio State

 

12:00

ABC

Vegas says… Blue -1

At Michigan

 

A lot of questions need answers. Does Ohio State have the leadership and focus to move past the Michigan State loss and be ready for a battle in Ann Arbor? Can OSU find offensive balance in less than a week? Under the Radar X-Factor: Can OSU OLB, Darron Lee (New Albany), neutralize Michigan TE, Jake Butt (Pickerington) on 3rd down and get the defense off the field?

Pick ‘em says… At mid-week, my stomach feels like this Michigan Man’s face. Buckeyes, 24-23. 

Indiana

12:00

BTN

Vegas says…

Hoosiers -6.5

At Purdue

 

The Hoosier state’s battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick ‘em says… Add another I to the chain. Hoosiers, 38-16.

Maryland

12:00

BTN

Vegas says… Terps -1

At Rutgers

The Eastern Seaboard’s Battle for Jim Delany’s Cash.

 

 

 

 

 

Pick ‘em says… Everybody loses when Rutgers and Maryland square off in a B1G sanctioned event. Turtles, 24-20.

Penn State

 

3:30

ESPN

Vegas says… Sparty -11

At Michigan State

 

The Land Grant Trophy is the second worst trophy in B1G history. Remember the short-lived Farmer Buys Young Boy for a Bushel of Corn Cy-Hawk Trophy (creepy image below)? That one is the worst, but half of the blame goes to the Big XII. The Land Grant is all B1G and celebrates a federal government real estate program of 1855 – trash talking over 160 year old government programs – oo’yeah! The pads will be poppin’! Here is the Land Grant Trophy in it’s 7th grade junior high yearbook photo. Here is my favorite version – The Lou Grant Trophy. Man, that Ed Asner was a hairy guy. In case you did not know, multiple David Letterman Top 10 Lists referenced the full-body shagginess of the actor – including this gem from a 1997 list: Top Ten Surprises In The New Version Of Star Wars – #10 Part of Chewbacca now played by a shirtless Ed Asner. B1G comedic trophy gold!

 

 

 

 

 

Pick ‘em says… Sparty in a squeeeeeeeeeker, 20-19.

Wisconsin

 

3:30

BTN

Vegas says… W -2.5

At Minnesota

 

Southern Canada’s Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe

 

 

Pick ‘em says… It’s the PM Stukenborg Fearless Prediction! Gophers in a mild-flavored Gouda upset. Gophers, 24-17. 

Northwestern

 

3:30

At Soldier Field

ESPNU

Vegas says… NW -3.5

Illinois

 

Battle for the Land of Lincoln Trophy

Pick ‘em says… Northwestern’s resurgent season has been a pleasant surprise that Wildcat fans won’t go see. Wildcats, 24-17.

National Spotlight games…

Baylor

 

Friday, November 27

7:30

ESPN

Vegas says… Bears -1

At TCU

 

It’s amazing how far these two programs have come in the past decade. They have temporarily put the blue-blooded Longhorns out to pasture. This battle of third-string quarterbacks will be determined by turnovers.

Pick ‘em says… I’ll postulate that TCU is the tougher team. Frogs, 38-31.

Notre Dame

 

7:30

FOX

Vegas says…Stanford -4

At Stanford

 

Pick ‘em says… Please lose Notre Dame. Cardinal, 27-24.

Oklahoma

 

8:00

ABC

Vegas says…

Sooners -6.5

At Oklahoma State

 

If you are a rooting for the perfect storm to get the Buckeyes back into the Final 4, you are a mid-day Nittany Lion fan and a late night Cowboy fan.

Pick ’em says… Sooners are on a roll, but I hope Jim Ross is sadly shaking his head like this at midnight. Sooners, 45-35.

Thanks for reading, Dan of Crestwood.

Men of the Scarlet and Gray Podcast The Game Edition

Chip and I recap (autopsied) That Michigan State game along with fan behavior, which seems more and more Buckeye fans are getting out of hand acting like Penn State fans. We also did our weekly #AskMotSag and MotSaG Pick’Em segments.

We went over to the Darkside to talk about TUN and The Game. Anthony Broome from maizenbrew.com along with David Mormino from TheBigHouseReport.com got to hang out with the cool kids that enjoy the Scarlet and Gray. We fist pay tribute to Chad Carr, the grandson of former Wolverine head coach who just recently passed away from cancer. This rivalry means so much that this young child became a part of Buckeye Nation and we are right there weeping with the Carr family.

Anthony and David we gracious enough to try and help us understand how to recover from a loss. Been so long for the Buckeye’s you forget how to cope with it, who better to turn to right. We actually did discuss the maize and Blue football team and gave our predictions on who would win. Let’s just say it was unanimous.

You should follow Anthony Broome on twitter @anthonytbroome and David Mormino @davidmomino. Even for being fans/bloggers/writers for TUN they really are great guys and always a blast having them on the show.

A Look Around The Country

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

Notable Games Last Week

Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14

Welp, the Buckeyes were not able to overcome questionable play calling and terrible weather and dropped their first game since September 2014. The loss all but destroys Ohio State’s playoff hopes unless mayhem ensues the next 2 weeks. Michigan State finds themselves in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten East and with a win over Penn State, they will face Iowa in the Big Ten Championship with a trip to the Playoff on the line.

Baylor 45, Oklahoma State 35

Down goes another Big 12 playoff favorite as the Bears knocked off the Cowboys Saturday in Stillwater. Now the only hope for that conference remains with Oklahoma as a win over Oklahoma State would give them a great chance to make the Playoff.

Oklahoma 30, TCU 29

Oklahoma barely escaped TCU and will face the Oklahoma State Cowboys this week for the potential right to go to the Playoff.

Ole Miss 38, LSU 17

After the 3rd straight loss for the Tigers, it appears that the Les Miles era at LSU will be coming to an end at the conclusion of this season. Miles has one National Title in Baton Rouge and his firing will add just another name to the list for head coaching vacancies across the country.

Big Games This Week

Ohio State at Michigan

The greatest rivalry in sports will kick off for the 112th time this Saturday in Ann Arbor with the long awaited match up of Meyer vs Harbaugh, Part I. Ohio State’s playoff hopes are on life support with a New Year’s Six Bowl their likely destination unless they drop this one. Michigan has been playing inspired all season and let’s be honest, this Saturday’s game is all their fans, players, and coaches have been thinking about since Jim Harbaugh was hired. This will be an all out war like it always has been and I cannot wait to watch. There is just nothing like watching Scarlet and Gray clash with Maize and Blue. There is nothing else like it in the world. Woody and Bo will be smiling down onto Michigan Stadium come noon on Saturday.

Saturday, November 28 at Noon on ABC

Florida at Florida State

One of the best in-state rivalries in the country will take place in Tallahassee with Florida’s playoff hopes on the line. If the Gators are able to win this one, then beat Alabama in the SEC Title Game, it will be difficult to keep them out of the playoff. But the Noles have been waiting for this one all year and with it being at Doak, I give them the edge.

Saturday, November 28 at 7:30pm on ESPN

Notre Dame at Stanford

The Irish can likely clinch a playoff berth this Saturday with a win over Stanford, who has been no slouch this season. The only way the Irish are left out of the playoff after a win would be if everyone in front of them were to win, as well as Oklahoma. It would then come down to the playoff committee to decide. I think the Irish win and set up a rematch with Clemson down in the Orange Bowl. We shall see.

Saturday, November 28 at 7:30pm on FOX

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

Bedlam! Playoff hopes will be on the line at Boone Pickens Stadium with the Sooners needing a win and some help from other teams across the country to make it into the playoff. The Cowboys controlled their own destiny but could not escape last weekend’s game with Baylor. I think Oklahoma State wins and the Big 12 will yet again be left on the outside looking in.

Saturday, November 28 at 8pm on ABC

That Team Up North Update

If you don’t know what this week is or what it means, get the hell out of here.

Heisman Watch

1. Derrick Henry, Alabama

Unless Henry has the worst game imaginable and Baker Mayfield goes off for 1000 yards, the Heisman Trophy will be headed to Tuscaloosa for the second time.

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. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Iowa

4. Notre Dame

Just Missed the Cut

5. Michigan State

6. Oklahoma

7. Baylor

8. Ohio State

9. Florida

10. Stanford

B1G Weekly Recap: Iowa Wins the West, Michigan State Takes Control of East

Iowa jumped out to a 20-0 lead just 16 minutes into their matchup with Purdue and never looked back as they clinched their spot in Indianapolis. That Team Up North beat Penn State to keep their hopes of an East Division title alive, but it will take a collapse from Michigan State for that to be a possibility after Sparty took down the Buckeyes on Senior Day.

Iowa 40, Purdue 20

It was one of the coldest games in Kinnick Stadium history, but that couldn’t stop the party as the Hawkeyes moved to 11-0 with their sights set on making the College Football Playoff. C.J. Beathard led the way for Iowa, throwing for 213 yards and three touchdowns. LeShun Daniels found the end zone twice in the 1st quarter to set the tone and the Hawkeyes never looked back.

Austin Appleby came in to backup duty for Purdue after David Blough went down with an injury to his head. Appleby was serviceable, throwing for 259 yards and a touchdown as the Boilermakers fell to 2-9 on the season. Purdue head back home for a date with Indiana while Iowa will take its Playoff hopes on the road to Nebraska.

TTUN 28, Penn State 16

Despite another mediocre game from Christian Hackenberg, the Wolverines got everything they could handle from Penn State before De’Veon Smith sealed things with a 1-yard touchdown run with five minutes to play. That drive succeeded a Penn State drive that made it to the 1-yard line before James Franklin elected to kick a field goal instead of try for a tying touchdown.

It was another solid outing for the Wolverines and QB Jake Rudock. Rudock threw for 256 yards and a pair of touchdowns while being intercepted once. The Wolverines look to win The Game for the first time since 2011 while Penn State has a chance to send the winner of the Ohio State-TTUN game to the B1G Championship with an upset of Michigan State.

Rutgers 31, Army 21

Rutgers did its best SEC East impression by scheduling a cupcake for the second-to-last weekend of the season and struggling to win when it took down Army. Paul James was the workhorse for the Scarlet Knights, rushing for 116 yards and three touchdowns as Rutgers snapped a four-game losing streak.

Rutgers will play host to Maryland on Saturday in what might be Kyle Flood’s final game in charge.

Minnesota 32, Illinois 23

Both Minnesota and Illinois will head into the final weekend of the regular season with their bowl hopes still alive after Minnesota held on to take down the Illini. Shannon Brooks was the star of the show for the Gophers, rushing for 174 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-clincher from 75 yards out with 85 seconds to play.

Malik Turner had himself quite a day receiving for the Illini, hauling in 11 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Both teams now sit at 5-6 with Illinois heading up to Chicago to take on Northwestern at Soldier Field while Minnesota will play their final home game against Wisconsin.

Indiana 47, Maryland 28

10 minutes into the game, it looked like Indiana was going to be blown out and their bowl chances out the door. Maryland jumped out to a 21-3 lead thanks mostly to the legs of Brandon Ross before the Hoosiers turned things around and dominated the final 50 minutes. Ross finished with 250 yards on the ground and three touchdowns for the Terrapins.

Nate Sudfeld was the driving force behind the Hoosiers’ comeback victory, tossing four touchdowns to go with 385 yards in the air. Indiana’s bowl hopes rely on Sudfeld leading the Hoosiers to a victory over rival Purdue in West Lafayette while Maryland heads to Rutgers to just get their season over with.

Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14

Ugly weather brought about an ugly game in Columbus on Saturday. The Buckeyes’ play-calling has been brought into question over the past couple days after Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball just two times in the 2nd half. Elliott finished with just 33 yards and a touchdown that gave the Buckeyes the first lead of the game.

Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry split time at quarterback for the injured Connor Cook, but it was the Spartan ground attack that did most of the damage. As a team, Michigan State ran the ball 51 times for 203, hitting the Buckeyes with body blow after body blow on the final drive that ended with a Michael Geiger 41-yard field goal. Sparty will wrap up the B1G East with a win over Penn State on Saturday and you should probably already know who Ohio State has this week.

Northwestern 13, Wisconsin 7

It was not a pretty game for the Wisconsin Badger offense. The Badgers turned the ball over five times in the defeat and managed just 203 yards of offense to go with it. Corey Clement scored Wisconsin’s lone touchdown in the 3rd quarter but the Badgers were never able to officially find the end zone again.

Northwestern’s defense held strong, preventing the Badgers from scoring after obtaining a 1st & Goal at the 1-yard line late in the game. Justin Jackson was the workhorse for the Wildcats, toting the rock 35 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. Northwestern heads to Chicago to take on Illinois while Wisconsin heads to Minnesota for their final regular season game.

Are you impressed by Iowa yet? Will Michigan State take care of business against Penn State or will they leave the door open for the Buckeyes or Wolverines to sneak in?

Lack of ‘Miller Time’ Has Cheated Buckeyes of Unbeatable Potential

Ohio State is unbeatable.

That was the thought that immediately entered my mind when news broke on the evening of July 23 that Braxton Miller had changed positions to become a full-time wide receiver. And then I texted the same statement to several of my friends, whether they were OSU fans or not.

It was something I truly believed to be correct. The Buckeyes already had the greatest quarterback dilemma in the history of sports – having two Heisman-caliber talents capable of leading the offense to big wins. They already were returning the vast majority of its lineup that was the hottest team in the country at the end of the 2014 season, and with one of the more talented collection of players in recent college football memory. I pictured opposing teams struggling to defend the myriad of offensive weapons that Ohio State could attack them with. In addition to the several blazing fast wide receivers and H-backs on the Buckeyes’ roster – in addition to another Heisman candidate at running back – the placement of arguably the most electric athlete in all of college football on the field to make plays in open space took this offense to an unspeakably high level. So I thought; so we all thought.

Aside from the opener against Virginia Tech, when Miller seemingly put the country on notice – and gave a glimmer of hope for those bold enough to take his initial 50-to-1 Heisman odds – a lot has been left to be desired regarding his game-breaking abilities. And it’s been extremely frustrating. On numerous occasions throughout the season, I found myself contemplating how Miller likely would’ve been used in other offensive systems. I can easily picture him being an absolute monster in some kind of Pac 12 offense – those super-late Saturday night games where he’d have like 300 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns every single week. A highlight machine. But then I snap back into reality, where the most electric athlete in college football has been limited to three receptions or less in nine of 11 games thus far – and often has to run predictably unsuccessful plays from the wildcat quarterback position just to justify another touch. What a shame.

Why can a bunch of other teams around the country take full advantage of their electric athletes, but for some reason, Ohio State coaches are limited to saying things like, “we love Braxton and we want to get him the ball, but the defense just won’t allow it”? Of course, they won’t allow it, he might be the best football player in the country – they’re going to try to remove him from the equation. So your job as an offensive coaching staff is to make Miller part of the question. Force the ball into his hands in a variety of creative ways and make the defense make plays. Run plays like jet sweeps, reverses, screen passes, shovel passes. Why is that so hard? Believe that I am serious when I say this: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines utilize Jabrill Peppers on offense – in a limited manner – better than Ohio State uses Miller. Peppers’ offensive numbers might not match Miller’s, but at least Michigan uses him in a way that instills fear into a defense, which can’t be said for OSU’s attempts. And what a waste of potential that is.

Here we are in late November, just days away from the big rivalry game every Buckeye fan has been waiting for since the season kicked off, and I can’t help but feel so unaccomplished. It feels like just yesterday I gleefully chatted with friends about how unbeatable Ohio State had become with Miller playing wide receiver. And finally, after 11 games of woefully neglecting his playmaking abilities, we’ve found out the hard truth – without creative playcalling, Ohio State was indeed incredibly beatable this whole time.

MotSaG B1G Power Poll Week 13

The Votes are in!!

Teams Points Record Last Week
iowa 11 11-0 (7-0) 2
msu 11 10-1 (6-1) 3
Ohio State 22 10-1 (6-1) 1
michigan 26 9-2 (6-1) 4
northwestern 35 9-2 (5-2) 6
wisconsin 43 8-3 (5-2) 6
penn state 48 7-4 (4-3) 7
nebraska 62 5-6 (3-4) 9
minnesota 62 5-6 (2-5) 8
indiana 2 67 5-6 (1-6) 10
illinois 75 5-6 (2-5) 11
rutgers 86 4-7 (1-6) 12
purdue 93 2-9 (1-6) 14
maryland 94 2-9 (0-7) 13