Hanging Out With the Buckeyes & Tigers on the Orange Bowl Google+ Hangout

Getting to talk to Ohio State and Clemson players face-to-face? Sign me up! That was the opportunity I was offered just a few days before Christmas and of course I immediately jumped on it. For those that don’t follow me on Google+, I got to participate in the two-day Orange Bowl Digital Media Press Conference this past Monday and Tuesday via a Google+ Hangout with other fans. I talked directly with players on both sides and got to ask them questions about the upcoming game. It was certainly exciting and interesting to be so up close to the players. Over the two days, Clemson players Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, Brandon Thomas and Vic Beasley were among the players that participated in the Hangout portion of the press conferences. For Ohio State, Carlos Hyde, Michael Bennett, CJ Barnett, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort and Corey “Philly” Brown participated.

On Monday I talked to Thomas, Watkins and Bennett. I asked offensive lineman Brandon Thomas how Ohio State’s defense stacks up on tape compared to other top defenses they’ve faced this season, such as South Carolina and Florida State. The audio doesn’t come in well here, but this is his answer:

Brandon Thomas on How Ohio State’s Defense Compares to Others

Fortunately the audio comes in quite well when I talk to wide receiver Sammy Watkins. I asked him to compare Ohio State’s secondary to the secondaries he faces in the ACC. He said the styles and aggressiveness of each are certainly different:

Sammy Watkins on Ohio State & ACC Secondaries

The final player I talked to on day one was defensive lineman Michael Bennett. I asked Bennett how it feels for him to reach the Orange Bowl after all that has happened around the football program the last few seasons. Bennett said it feels great after going through a few different coaches and to finally have stability and a plan around the program.

Michael Bennett Talks About How it Feels to Reach the Orange Bowl

I can imagine that Bennett would be a great interview. Seems very thoughtful and meticulous when he answers questions. Glad I got to ask him a question.

On day two I only attended the first part of the press conference and I talked to only Ohio State players. The first one I talked with was offensive lineman Jack Mewhort. I asked him what his biggest learning moment was this season, not only as a player, but as a person. Mewhort said it was definitely the Michigan State game.

Jack Mewhort on his Biggest Learning Moment in the 2013 Season

I liked Mewhort’s answer and he was definitely my favorite to talk to out off all the players I spoke with. Later in the hangout you’ll see him joking around with his teammates. He seems like a fun guy to be around and would love to have a full interview with him.

Later in the hangout I spoke with wide receiver Philly Brown and I asked him what the mood has been like around the team since the B1G Championship Game. Brown says it has been pretty good and he feels the team really learned from the experience.

Corey “Philly” Brown on the Team Since the B1G Championship

One last moment we were able to catch was the team getting a picture together after the press conference. You could definitely see they’re a tight nit unit and you get to see everyone’s favorite strength coach Mickey Marotti. I love his personality! Props to Matthew Laferty for getting this great screenshot below.

Orange Bowl Media Conference

I certainly had a great time participating in this unique opportunity and I’m glad to have shared it with you.

If you would like to view the entire day one hangout, click here. If you would like to view the entire day two hangout, click here.

The Spread: The More Things Change

On January 7, Florida State will take on Auburn for the final BCS National Championship. The Seminoles played an SEC team (Tennessee) in the first-ever BCS title game too. Like this year’s FSU team, the ’98 Volunteers were the only remaining undefeated major conference team. Like this year’s Ohio State team, the ’98 Buckeyes missed out on a shot at the title because they lost to Michigan State. Ohio State was the preseason #1 team in the 1998 AP poll, but ended up playing in the Sugar Bowl against a team from the Big 12, just like this year’s preseason #1 AP team Alabama will.

At the time, the BCS was an exciting prospect. After years of split national titles decided entirely by polls, we were finally going to get a True National Champion, decided on the field of play, as it should be. Of course, the convoluted and amorphous gel of human polls, computer rankings and bonus points left us unsatisfied. Sure, it turned in a gem of a season finale from time to time, but more often than not, when that last piece of confetti was vacuumed off the field turf, we were left with more questions than answers.

During the BCS era, we’ve seen the sport undergo even more radical changes–from the functional (instant replay) to the philosophical (read-option) to the structural (realignment). Three of the eleven conferences that made up Division IA football (now the FBS) in 1998 no longer exist. The WAC had 16 teams back then. It has 0 now. There was no Mountain West. There was a Sun Belt, but they didn’t play football then. There was a Big East, but they don’t play football now.

In 1998, there were 22 bowl games. Now there are 35. Next year: 39.

A microcosm of the shifting world of college football comes in the form of the Big 12. At the end of 1998, they had five ranked teams: Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas, Nebraska and Missouri. Three of those teams are no longer in the conference. Neither is Colorado. Baylor was the worst team in the conference in 1998, winning just two games by a combined 10 points. This year, they won the Big 12 with just a single loss and posted a national best 53.3 points per game.

Next year, the College Football Playoff begins and with it a whole new host of arguments and controversies and spats over regional bias and schedule strength. Those things will probably never go away–not until football gets its own version of March Madness. When that day comes, someone will ponder over the four- and eight-team eras. They’ll marvel at how undefeated teams used to regularly get shut out of the national title picture, often before any games had even been played. They’ll remind us that Conference USA used to play at the same level as the Pac-16 (which only had twelve teams back then). They’ll say: Baylor used to be good. Really good.

They’ll say: Michigan State knocked us out of the title game in 2013 too.

The Spread, Week 15: Auburnt

As expected, we are now down to just two undefeated major conference teams. All that hand-wringing over how we would deal with the glut of perfect seasons seems silly now. Assuming both Florida State and Ohio State take care of business (which is a big assumption, at this point), the national title game matchup is an obvious choice, right?

Of course not.

Those in SEC country are having a hard time dealing with the fact that they very likely will not have at least one representative in the national game for the first time in eight seasons. Auburn AD Jay Jacobs is going full Kubler-Ross on this one, already covering denial (“A one-loss SEC [champ] can’t get left out. It’s impossible.”) and anger, calling the potential snub a “disservice to the nation.” Baby steps, Jay, baby steps.

Auburn has a devastating 14-point loss to 9-3 LSU on their resume though, and that’s going to be enough to keep them out if they don’t get help. That help would almost have to come from Michigan State, since the only other possibility is Duke beating Florida State, which isn’t even a sentence I should have to type about football. I mean, it would be awesome, but let’s not get crazy.

And should the Spartans be victorious Saturday night (which is entirely possible), then shouldn’t they finally enter the conversation? Mark Dantonio thinks so, and I agree. They have a dominant defense that has held half of their opponents under seven points. No one has scored more than 28 on them, and the two times that happened, the Spartans put up 40+ of their own.

By contrast, Auburn held only Western Carolina to less than seven points and gave up 28+ four times. Six of their eleven wins are by fewer than 10 points, and again, their loss was by 14. Michigan State won every game by at least 10, and only lost by 4, to a Notre Dame team that is only one game worse–record-wise–than LSU.

It’s actually Missouri (Auburn’s SEC championship opponent who just might make all this discussion irrelevant) that has a good argument to be favored over Michigan State. Missouri’s loss is a three-point double-overtime drop to 10-2 South Carolina and occurred without their starting QB in the lineup. Missouri has been far more dominant than Auburn, winning only once by fewer than 10 points. I would still give the nod to Michigan State if that were the choice, but it would be a little tougher.

But why stop there? It’s not like Alabama has reason to believe that winning their own division should be a pre-requisite to a national title berth, so even they have come up with a way to get back in the picture. You might think that a rematch of the most thrilling upset of the season would make a great national title game. It wouldn’t. We just did this. Have you forgotten?

As much as the common sports fan thinks he doesn’t want to see Ohio State in the national championship game, it is our duty to spare them from these other, far less desirable scenarios. We must beat Michigan State on Saturday. Not doing so would be a disservice to the nation.

Q&A with an Opponents Blogger:TTUN

Well here we are at the last game of the regular season, its the most anticipated game of the regular season. This is The Game really nothing in all of sports compares. Folks down south like to think that the Iron Bowl is the best but lets face facts I believe only twice have those teams met when they were both Top 5 or Top 10 something like that. It seems like 9 out of 10 times that the wolverines of TSUN and the Buckeyes of The Ohio State University meet there is something on the line.

I know you are all just waiting for this weeks post on who I’m talking with and what kind of hard hitting questions I can come up with for TTUN. Well this week Joshua who is the editor of The Big House report was ever so gracious enough to work with me on this weeks post.

MotSaG: I wanted to start out with what the hell is going on with the Michigan fan base? I’m seeing they are getting rid of their tickets online and ready to burn Ann Arbor down, is it that bad or just the Wolverine boards I’m reading greatly exaggerated?

TBHR: It’s not fun to be a Michigan fan right now. The season hasn’t gone as planned and the fans are acting accordingly. A lot of the message board fodder you are mostly reading are from fans who have a tendency to freak out. Most fans dont understand the meaning of “perspective” and just want to automstically result in fire and pitchfork protesting.

MotSaG: Do you think enough bandwagon fans get ride of there tickets Scarlet and Gray will overrun the Big House?

TBHR: Ohio State fans always travel well, it’s not a huge secret. Considering how big this game is, I expect the stadium to be filled with plenty of scarlet. Those fans who are willingly giving their tickets to Buckeye fans are part of the problem.

MotSaG: Brady cHoke is in his 3rd season and he seems to be getting worse (record wise) with his own hand picked talent, Is it him or the coordinators failing him?

TBHR: I wouldn’t necessarily call Hoke’s tenure a failure yet. Hoke is trying to rebound from a senior-heavy squad in 2011, the team is young. I’m not trying to excuse the lack of results, it’s just the way it is right now. Is Al Borges to blame for a lack of offense? Probably. I give Hoke one more season before the heat gets turned up on his seat.

MotSaG: One of Michigan’s biggest problems this season is the offensive line, will they be able to patchwork something to keep OSU’s defensive line away from Gardner?

TBHR: Simply put, no. Michigan has shuffled that line way too many times this season. There really isn’t much chemistry there, as you can see from the terrible year they are having.

MotSaG: Whats the over/under on Devin The Pastry Chef Gardners turnovers vs Buckeyes?

TBHR: Believe it or not, Gardner has cut down on the turnovers as the season has progressed. Although that won’t help him this weekend. Considering Michigan will be desperate, they will try to force plays. With that being said, I expect Gardner to have at least two turnovers.

MotSaG: Being this is The Game and the greatest rivalry in ALL of sports Buckeye fans know and expect Michigan to bring their best and then some but my question is have they played their best yet this season at any game or is there to many problems?

TBHR: Notre Dame was arguably Michigan’s most complete game. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really mean much. I am hoping that Michigan is leaving the best for last. But, again, that’s going to be tough.

MotSaG: Seen a report come out Sunday I believe that cHoke has lost the team do you feel this to be true?

TBHR: Don’t believe those reports, they are not true. Hoke is still respected by the team.

MotSaG: With the issues the Wolverines have been having this season what effect is it having on recruiting? I seen Jabrill Peppers is taking official visits after his season ends I thought that was a big no non in cHokes eyes?

TBHR: I think losing out on Hand is good enough evidence that the season is taking its toll on recruiting. The Peppers thing was overblown, he said he wanted to have a backup plan because of fake rumors floating around that Hoke will be let go after the season. So far, there are zero decommits and I dont really expect any changes with the current class. What happens in the future remain to be seen.

MotSaG: Before the season started I wrote my first post hoping and thinking Michigan was going to be a good team and I also wrote about The Pastry Chef and our site thinking he was going to be the in the Top 25 of the B1G talent as much as I don’t like Michigan I do respect the heck out of them so my question is, is the talent on the team overrated or the coaching overrated?

TBHR: I think it’s just a simple fact of the players not living up to expectations I don’t think the coaching or players are overrated, I still think the team needs one more offseason to be coached up before we can make a determination.

MotSaG: Buckeye fans keep hearing Michigan fans say that Ohio State has a cupcake schedule and they haven’t played anyone ( you know riding the coat tails of national media). If Ohio State schedule is so easy why did Michigan need OT to beat Northwestern lost to Iowa and Penn State and barely beat the cupcakes Akron and UConn? Michigan’s schedule isn’t harder than the Buckeyes yet tOSU is undefeated and Michigan is 7-4.

TBHR: Every team plays each other differently. Northwestern gave Ohio State all it could handle, while they sucked when they played Michigan (as did the wolverines.) The lopsided records to conference strength between the two teams is due to the Buckeyes being a vastly superior team. Its as simple as that.

MotSaG: What does your gut tell you to expect from this game? Final score prediction and if you feel Michigan wins what do they have to do to beat the Buckeyes?

TBHR: I’m thinking Ohio State will put up 35-40 points this weekend. Michigan will lose, obviously. It could be worse, considering the Buckeyes need style points in the BCS.

I’m at a loss here because honestly I have been hoping that TTUN was turning things around and this was going to start another Ten Year War or something along those lines. I’m not sure what the problem is up there nor do I really care but I do know rest assured as much as we Buckeye fans are beating our chests that this should be a slam dunk kick their butts type of game, it won’t happen till the end. As much as I feel that Brady cHoke is vastly overrated and in over his head those kids putting on those putrid maize and blue helmets and jerseys they will come to play.

One of the many reasons I can never look past this team no matter the coach no matter the year 2 games stick out in my mind from all of my many years of watching this rivalry. The kid from Cleveland striking that damn pose and the one which that kid ran all over us for over 300 yards and while he wasn’t doing his Forest Gump impression on the field he was riding a stationary bike on the sideline. I refuse to mention them by name because when I hear their names I feel that same pain in my heart all over again and if your to young to know I bet they will remind us Saturday.

Like many of you I will be going out early for kegs and eggs and I will make sure I sit next to my friend who is a TSUN fan and revel in his misery I hope. Seriously the Buckeyes could really make a statement in this game early and quickly like they have done this season. This is the game where if the Buckeyes get up early and are firing on all cylinders you better believe the main man from Astubula, Oh will be going for the kill and when asked after the game why did you run up the score. “Because its TTUN”

I as many of you are hoping for a can of whoop ass to be open up on the wolverines but history and my gut tell me the odds makers are probably right with the 13 point spread. The Buckeyes defensive line is going to need to pin their ears back and constantly beat the hell out of The Pastry Chef and Carlos Hyde is going to have to do what he does best run over them again and again.

I want to thank Joshua from The Big House Report again for being a great sport and taking the time out to help me with this weeks post. Please go check out his site they do great work over there even if its for TTUN.

If you want to get involved and have questions about THE B1G Championship Game feel free to send them in to me and I can send them on. Email your questions to AskMotSaG@gmail.com or MotSaG@gmail.com. Would love to know your thoughts on this post and hope you enjoyed it.

MotSaG TV Guide

Let me start by apologizing for accidentally listing this week’s UCLA/Oregon game in last week’s guide. I don’t know what happened. Probably interns.

We are down to 10 undefeated teams, and while all of them are in action this Saturday, none of them play each other. Still, it’s unlikely that all of them will survive. I’ll go on record saying 2 or 3 of them will fall.

Eight of those ten teams come from the Big 5 conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) and this has caused many fans to fear that we could end the season with 3 or more unbeaten major conference teams, meaning someone (probably Ohio State if we’re one of them) will be left out of the national title game.

To ease those fears a bit, I looked into the progression of undefeated teams from this point in the season on over the last five years. The first thing to note is that none of those five seasons ended with more than two major unbeatens (including Notre Dame last year). Also important is that in 2011 and 2012, there have been eight undefeated teams from the Big 5 conferences, just like this year.

Based on the five-year average, we should be down to just three unbeatens in three weeks, but last year we still had five at that time. In other words, relax. These things have ways of working themselves out.

Since we’re on the topic of being undefeated, this week we’ll take a look at the last time each of our 8 remaining major unbeatens finished the regular season with no losses.

Saturday

Noon

Wake Forest @ Miami. What a great place to start! The last time the Hurricanes went into bowl season unbeaten was 2002, when they met an underrated Ohio State team in the national championship game. We all know how that ended, and it still stands as one of the greatest games of the BCS era. (ESPNU)

3:30pm

N.C. State @ Florida State. In 1999, the Seminoles ran the table as the AP #1 team, defeating Virginia Tech for the national championship. Their offensive coordinator that season was current Georgia head coach Mark Richt. (ABC/ESPN2)

Tennessee @ Alabama. Despite winning three of the last four BCS titles, the Crimson Tide hasn’t gone unbeaten since 2009. Texas QB Colt McCoy was knocked out of the title game on the Longhorns’ fifth play that year, and it’s hard not to wonder what might have happened had he played the whole game. (CBS)

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma. This one was tricky, but I’m fairly confident that the last time the Red Raiders went undefeated in the regular season was the 10-win 1938 season, playing in the Border Conference, which featured teams from Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. (Fox)

7:00pm

Baylor @ Kansas. Less tricky was Tech’s Big 12 foe Baylor. The Bears have never gone undefeated in the regular season, coming closest in 1980, when a 30-22 loss to San Jose State sullied their perfect Southwestern Conference season. Baylor would also lose to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl that year, by the knife-twisting score of 30-2. (ESPNU)

South Carolina @ Missouri. Depending on who you ask, Missouri either did or did not go undefeated in 1960, the only time they have done so (if they did, which they didn’t but kind of they did). What happened? Kansas bested the Tigers in the 1960 Border War game by a score of 23-7. The Jayhawks’ Bert Coan scored two TDs in the game, but was ruled ineligible following the season due to recruiting violations committed by his former coach at TCU, Bud Adams. Kansas was forced to forfeit the game and Coan’s contribution can’t be ignored, but on the field, Missouri lost. (ESPN2)

UCLA @ Oregon. Let’s get back to modern times, shall we? The Ducks took an unbeaten record into the national championship game following the 2010 season, where a last second Auburn field goal kept the SEC streak alive. (ESPN)

8:00pm

Penn State @ Ohio State. As you know, the Buckeyes went undefeated last season. Under penalties from former coach Jim Tressel’s violations, Ohio State could not compete in the Big Ten or national championship games. Based on the performances of would-be opponents Nebraska and Notre Dame in those games, it’s very likely that OSU would have walked away with the crystal football. (ABC)

MotSaG TV Guide

It happens every year: that one week where there just aren’t many compelling match-ups. If I told you the ABC prime-time game this Saturday was a choice between North Dakota State @ BYU or Towson @ Akron, how excited would you be? Well, those aren’t the games, but the real ones feature teams who were beaten (or almost beaten until they were saved by shoddy officiating) by those teams. As a bonus, special guest Bo Pelini was secretly recorded giving his opinion on this week’s games.

Thursday

7:30pm

Clemson at N.C. State. N.C. State had a much-needed bye last week after narrowly defeating the Richmond Spiders, which is possibly a team made up of actual spiders. Bo Says: “I @#$!%$ hate spiders. They can kiss my #@%!” (ESPN)

Friday

9:00pm

Boise State at Fresno State. Fresno State had a bye last week because their opponent, Colorado, was under water. This week their opponent plays on a blue football field which, according to a popular lie, birds often mistake for water. Bo Says: “Football fields are #$%@&# green! Boise State can kiss my #%$!” (ESPN)

Saturday

Noon

Florida A&M at Ohio State. The Rattlers are 1-2 and are just now playing their paycheck game. I try not to be overconfident, but I feel like we could start the band and win this game. Bo Says: “Rattlers? Spiders? Are you trying to give me a @#$%%$#@ heart attack?!” (BTN)

3:30pm

Arkansas at Rutgers. It’s our old buddy Bret Bielema, who bailed on the B1G after breaking Nebraska’s defense apparently beyond repair. His Razorbacks are 3-0 and are looking for their first win over a somewhat decent team in future B1G pal Rutgers. He’d better hope for a win here, because his next four opponents are: Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. And we’re all going to enjoy that! Bo Says: “TACKLE!!! TACKLE!!! HOLY @@#%$## @!$& SOMEBODY TACKLE!!!” (ESPN)

Michigan State at Notre Dame. Okay, well this one could be fun. The Spartans unveiled a new trick play called “Scoring Repeatedly On Offense” last week and their defense remains top-notch. It would be nice for the B1G to get to 2-1 vs. the Domers. Bo Says: “Looks like a good game.” (NBC)

Tennessee at Florida. It’s a battle of SEC East Teams Who Are Still Blaming Everything On Former Coaches. Bo Says: “Either of you guys taking applications?” (CBS)

7:00pm

Arizona State at Stanford. I don’t think this will be a good game, but it might be worth watching to see if karma exists in the college football universe. Bo Says: “@#$&%! refs are just %$#^&* worthless! @#$&!$ #$%% !@&*$% $$%@^!” (Fox)

8:00

Kansas State at Texas OR Michigan at UConn. LOL WUT? Bo Says: “$%&@ this, I’m watching Pawn Stars.” (ABC)

MotSaG Top 25 Poll- Week 2

Week 2 was kind of fun, no? There was quite a lot of movers this week. None bigger than Michigan which jumped up into the top 10 this week after 2 pretty impressive home wins. More on them later and everyone else as well. Here is my top 25 for this week.

[Read more...]

Depth Perception

As we enter the final season of the BCS, I remain hopeful (but skeptical) that we will begin to move away from the constant comparison of conferences as whole entities and return to the focus on individual teams that was more the norm in the pre-BCS days. It seems that every new season opens with the same sentiments from the national sports media: The Big Ten is down this year. The SEC is so tough, they don’t need to play other top teams. The Big East is a joke.

I wanted to actually look at some numbers on this, but outside of a few “power rankings,” no one seems to be measuring conference depth in any meaningful way. So I came up with a quick little formula that I believe is as objective as anything else you’ll find out there, although it admittedly contains some arbitrary choices.

When people talk about conference depth, I figure they mean which conference has the most good teams, as opposed to which conference is the most competitive (which would be unconcerned with the overall quality of the teams). So I set out to quantify this concept as best I could.

I won’t bore with all the details, but basically I looked at all 15 years of the BCS era so far and focused on the 10+ win teams each conference produced each season. I chose 10 wins because it’s impossible (barring sanctions on other teams) to have a losing conference record and still win 10 games. It has also been a symbolic indicator of a successful season for a long time, and it happens to stand out when you’re examining 90 sets of conference standings.

Conference expansion posed a few problems, but I feel like I dealt with them in the fairest possible way. For example, conferences are only credited with 10-win seasons accomplished by teams for years they were in that conference and percentages were used to account for different conference sizes.

I calculated two sets of numbers, one for the past five years and one for the entire BCS era. It will not surprise you that the SEC claims the number 1 spot in both standings. But what may surprise you is that the number 2 conference over the past five years is our own Big Ten and that the difference is remarkably small (0.3% to be exact). In third place is the Big 12 (also no shocker) sitting 10% behind the Big Ten. The gap between these three and the other three is vast, with the fourth-place Big East (yes, really) coming in at 53% behind the Big 12.

For the entire era, the Big 12 sneaks ahead of the Big Ten by just 0.5%. The Pac-10/12 moves up to fourth, with the Big East and ACC settling at #5 and #6, respectively.

One of the reasons for the poor showing out of the Pac-12 in recent years is the fact that only three different teams (USC, Oregon and Stanford) have posted 10-win seasons since 2008. The ACC and Big East have each had four, and the Big East is helped by the fact that they only 8 teams in the conference. Compare those numbers to 8 different teams each for the Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 and you can see why the separation is so noticeable.

The reason for the SEC’s lead is that they consistently have multiple 10-win teams in the conference at the same time, although that consistency is a more recent phenomenon than many might think. Breaking the numbers down into 3-year segments, the SEC only significantly surpasses the Big Ten in the most recent period from 2010-2012, when they produced fifteen 10-winners to the Big Ten’s nine.

With the proposed emphasis on schedule strength (easily the most useless “statistic” in college football) for the upcoming playoff, it’s unlikely that conference depth discussions are going away anytime soon, but I still hold on to hope that fans will at least start looking at the idea more objectively, instead of blindly buying into to ESPN’s questionably-motivated SEC lovefest.

(TotalFootballStats.com was used extensively in this research)

In Case You Missed It

College Football Playoff name revealed

The long awaited playoff in college football is becoming a reality as conference commissioners have decided on the name of the new playoff game. What name would they settle on? Something inspirational, something captivating, something… memorable? Nope. It will be called, “The College Football Playoff”. Voting has been opened up at the aptly named collegefootballplayoff.com website where you can vote on the logo from four equally uninspired designs. Truly democracy at its most boring.

Steve Rohlik named new OSU hockey coach

Rohlik brings 16 years of experience as a DI coach including the last three as associate head coach in Columbus. Before becoming a Buckeye he was a part of the Minnesota Duluth team for ten years including 2 tournament appearances as well as a trip to the Frozen Four.

Jonathan Hankins looks forward to the draft

Hankins, who was once a top twenty draft prospect has seen his stock go down over the last week. Now, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has him as a top sixteen prospect… In the second round. Despite that, Hankins has kept his confidence up. Kiper pointed out that Hankins’ production was not as good this year as last. Says Hankins, “When they ask me about that (drop-off in production), I tell them we went undefeated as a team in 2012 and I was a big part of that,”

Reid Fragel confident in his NFL future

Coming off his private workout with the Bengals last week, Reid Fragel said it was ‘Awesome’ and that they said he improved his draft stock with the team. The former tight end has only been playing tackle for a year but despite that he is extremely confident in his skills. “This whole time, not to sound cocky, but I was confident in my ability to become an NFL tackle,” Fragel said. “That’s been a one-year project, and a credit to the coaches I’ve worked with.” Currently Fragel is ranked the 14th tackle and the 147th overall pick.

Jamarco Jones gets visit from OSU

In the never ending world of college football recruitment, the Buckeyes are making strides after one of their most important prospects. It looks like Meyer is bringing the house when it comes to Jones, going after the offensive tackle from Illinois hard. Jones just tweeted out 3 hours ago that he had spoken with Urban Meyer himself. Rivals gives Jones a 4 star rating and his position is one of the most important OSU needs to shore up going forward.

The Spread, Week Eighteen: B1G Finish(ed?)

Tomorrow night, Minnesota opens up the Big Ten bowl season against Texas Tech. No one has much faith in the Gophers, or the rest of the conference for that matter. All seven of the league’s bowl teams are underdogs and that just reflects the absence of top teams Ohio State and Penn State as well as the general (correct) perception that the conference just wasn’t that good this year.

But I thought it might be interesting to look at how this bowl season would have been different if there no were no sanctions in place for the Buckeyes or the Nittany Lions. I don’t mean to add fuel to your What-Might-Have-Been fire, but what else is there talk about? Cincinnati vs. Duke?

THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

#1 Ohio State vs. #2 Notre Dame

Yes, this is exactly what would have happened. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Ohio State would have been on top due to being ranked higher in the pre-season. There is no reason for Notre Dame to have jumped the Buckeyes throughout the year as both teams had close calls and ugly wins. As for the Bama aPAWLogists, sorry, but there’s no way the last two remaining AQ unbeatens don’t play for the title. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

THE ROSE BOWL

Nebraska vs. Stanford

I’m not sure that the Rose has to take the #2 Big Ten team in this situation (if anyone can verify, it would be appreciated), but I’m pretty sure they would. Penn State was an option here, but both their conference and overall records are worse than the Huskers, so I don’t think they’d be the pick here.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL

Penn State vs. Georgia

Michigan and Penn State are pretty much interchangeable for this spot. They both lost to the same teams in-conference and no common-opponent comparison favors either team significantly. You could argue that Michigan’s schedule earns them this bid, but Penn State was playing better at the end of the year. Also, Michigan sucks.

OUTBACK BOWL

Michigan vs. South Carolina

GATOR BOWL

Northwestern vs. Mississippi State

These two line up just as they did in real life, so maybe my taunting of the Wolverine fans I know was uncalled for. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. That’s never true.

BUFFALO WILD WINGS BOWL

Wisconsin vs. TCU

Bret Bielema always looks like he just drank a tub of Blazin’ sauce anyway, so maybe if this had been the Badgers’ bowl, he would’ve hung around. Thankfully, we’ll never know. I’m sure the Frogs would have enjoyed beating Wisky in a bowl again though.

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL

Michigan State vs. Texas Tech

This would have been a far better match up for the conference, as the Spartans are more equipped to defend Tech’s passing game and attack them on the ground than Minnesota is.

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

Another that works out the same as in real life. So a loss.

LITTLE CAESARS PIZZA BOWL

Minnesota vs. Central Michigan

If you watched Western Kentucky play in (and almost win) their first bowl game ever last night, you probably need to look into getting some other hobbies. You probably also didn’t think about how they wouldn’t be there if not for the transgressions of Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel, et al. Unless ESPN brought that up. They probably did.

So there you have it. How do you think the B1G would have fared this bowl season if this was the slate? How do think we’re going to do for real? Approximately how much alcohol would an average human need to consume to watch all seven Big Ten bowl games in their entireties (assuming he had the technology to do so)?