The Annual Airing Of Grievances (Part 2)

Part one of The Annual Airing Of Grievances dealt with specific areas of the new college football playoff that I disagree with, or believe could be improved. Specifically, the biggest issues I have with the new system revolves around the number of teams in the playoff system, as well as the costly travel expenses that fans, and the families of players, will incur with traveling to multiple playoff sites.

My Dad used to tell me that anyone can sit back and complain, but if you want things to change, you have to be willing to step up and offer up reasonable alternatives. For years, I have made these suggestions about college football playoffs, but this year has some subtle changes. Let us begin.

Expand The Playoffs From 4 To 16: Here we go. How can it be a true playoff system that does not involve every conference champion? Yes, I am including conferences such as The AAC (Memphis) Conference USA (Marshall), The MAC (Northern Illinois), The Mountain West (Boise State), and The Sun Belt (Georgia Southern). Yes, even a team that won the Big 12 (Baylor) would get in. If you are the conference champion, you should get a shot at the title. Five at-large berths for teams, based entirely upon strength of schedule. The entire playoff field would be seeded, based entirely upon strength of schedule.

Home Playoff Games: And here is where we could help with those traveling expenses. Guess where the playoff games would be held? At the home stadiums of the higher ranked teams. Yes, instead of flying from New Orleans to Dallas, Ohio State fans could look forward to weekends in Ohio Stadium (possibly).

Stop and think about it – what is the one thing you hear about this time of year with teams fighting for a spot in the NFL playoffs? Home field advantage. Can you imagine fans of the New England Patriots flying to multiple playoff spots, then heading to the Super Bowl? So why should college football fans do that?

I can already anticipate some of the questions, so why not take care of them right here…

Would I eliminate games? As these are college athletes, yes, I would. Simply put, every team would begin Labor Day weekend, and would conclude by the final weekend of November (conference championships could be held this weekend). First playoff round of sixteen would be the first weekend of December. Second playoff round of eight would be the third weekend of December; as most schools have final exams the second week of December, this would allow for athletes to study this week.

Now we are down to the final four. We can have these games January 1st, at a college location of the highest seeded team. The national championship could be held at one of the designated bowl sites. In other words, fans could make a week out of it, versus moving from town to town, under the present system.

Aren’t you overemphasizing the playoff season vs the regular season? If a team knows that the only sure way to get a shot at the title is to win their conference, it kind of makes that every game counts mantra truly stand out, doesn’t it? Next question.

What about the other bowl games? What about them? They can continue, albeit outside of the playoff system. Next question.

How would this help players’ families, or fans, with travel expenses? Maybe it would not, but the possibility of home site games, versus multiple cities that require airfare, would seem plausible to me that this system would be a step in the right direction.

If you could change only one thing, what would it be? That’s easy. Considering how much money the college football playoff is raking in, why can’t the NCAA adjust its rules and allow for schools to assist families to be able to get to the playoff sites? I am not suggesting that the schools pay for a family’s hotel, but considering teams charter flights for coaches, administrators, and other university officials to get to a bowl site, why can’t they do the same with a flight for players’ families? And Coach Urban Meyer seems to be of a like mind on this issue with me…

Is my solution ideal? Perhaps, perhaps not. I do know that any system that does not recognize or involve every conference cannot truly call itself a true playoff. And above all other sports, college football has truly grown through the years because of the passion of its fan base – why not reward those fans, instead of trying to squeeze every possible cent from them?

My system is so practical, it makes complete sense why the NCAA will not implement it. Instead, I will console myself with a 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale, and prepare myself for next season’s Airing Of Grievances. Best wishes to each and every one of you for a safe and happy holiday season.

Catching up With Donald Stewart

Donald Stewart is a 6’4 Wide Receiver coming out of the 2016 class. He is from New Jersey and plays for a very highly recognized Paramus Catholic football program. Stewart currently holds three offers coming from Boston College, Temple and Syracuse. The recruiting process is starting to pick up for Donald. In the past week he received his offer from Syracuse. Only being a Junior, Stewart looks to rack in many more offers after a very successful season.

When asked about the recruiting process Stewart had many positive thoughts. “The recruiting process has been a blessing and humbling experience because not everyone gets this experience.” Said Stewart. Many schools are showing interest in him. Donald listed Stanford, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Penn State, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, West Virginia, Miami and Virginia. He also explained that Stanford, Georgia Tech, Rutgers and Northwestern are showing the most interest.

Stewart has been able to visit Temple, Rutgers, Georgia Tech and South Carolina. He has not planned any upcoming visits but he definitely plans on attending The NFTC.

Stewart helped lead his team to the sectional championship this season. In that game, he was able to score the first TD coming from a deep ball. Stewart was very happy with his season performance. “I think that my performance this season has been successful considering this has been my first time playing in a nationally recognized and competitive schedule. The only let down has been not winning the state title.” Donald explained. “My strengths are stretching the far as big plays and making good blocks. I also bring a lot of energy to the field.”. To improve, Stewart plans on working on getting faster and stronger. He also wants to work on his yards after catch.

Donald describes himself as a play maker. This past season, he certainly was the offensive spark for his team. Playing for such a highly recognized program, Stewart will certainty receive more offers. You can view some film on Donald here.

 

Follow him on twitter: @donald_stewart8

 

Predicting Every Single Single 2014-’15 College Football Bowl Game

Record in Week 15 & 16: 9-7

Overall Record for the Season: 597-249 (I picked 70.56% of games correctly over the course of the 2014 college football season)

Bowl season has arrived! It’s the most wonderful time of the year for college football fans. Not only that, but this year’s slate of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day games are absolutely fantastic. And on top of that is the first ever college football playoffs. There is certainly plenty to look forward to this bowl season. I’m going to forewarn you on my bowl picks track record: I’m not usually that great with my bowl picks every year. I’m pretty hit and miss most of the time. If I’m able to pick above .500 correctly, then I’m pretty happy. These are almost as tough to pick as the NCAA Basketball Tournament because you have no idea if a team is going to show up or not. I guarantee there will be some surprising blowouts because some teams just do not give a crap about playing a game somewhere in Alabama. Other teams are absolutely thrilled to play that game in Alabama. So without further ado here are my bowl picks!

December 20
New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette – Pick: Louisiana-Lafayette
New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs. UTEP – Pick: Utah State
Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs. Colorado State – Pick: Utah
Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Air Force – Pick: Air Force
Camellia Bowl: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green – Pick: South Alabama

December 22
Miami Beach Bowl: BYU vs. Memphis – Pick: Memphis

December 23
Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois – Pick: Northern Illinois
Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. San Diego State – Pick: Navy

December 24
Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky – Pick: Western Kentucky
Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice – Pick: Rice

December 26
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech – Pick: Illinois
Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina – Pick: Rutgers
St. Petersburg Bowl: NC State vs. UCF – Pick: UCF

December 27
Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech – Pick: Cincinnati
Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs. Duke – Pick: Arizona Statet
Independence Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina – Pick: South Carolina
Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College vs. Penn State – Pick: Penn State
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. USC – Pick: USC

December 29
Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia – Pick: Texas A&M
Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Clemson – Pick: Oklahoma
Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. Texas – Pick: Arkansas

December 30
Music City Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU – Pick: LSU
Belk Bowl: Georgia vs. Louisville – Pick: Georgia
Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford – Pick: Stanford

December 31
Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs. TCU – Pick: TCU
Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Arizona – Pick: Arizona
Orange Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech – Pick: Mississippi State

New Year’s Day
Outback Bowl: Auburn vs. Wisconsin – Pick: Auburn
Cotton Bowl: Michigan State vs. Baylor – Pick: Michigan State
Citrus Bowl: Missouri vs. Minnesota – Pick: Minnesota

January 2
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Pittsburgh – Pick: Pittsburgh
Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee – Pick: Tennessee
Alamo Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA – Pick: Kansas State
Cactus Bowl: Washington vs. Oklahoma State – Pick: Washington

January 3
Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida – Pick: East Carolina

January 4
GoDaddy Bowl: Toledo vs. Arkansas State – Pick: Toledo

National Semi-Final Playoff Games (New Year’s Day)
Rose Bowl Semi-Final: #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State – Pick: Oregon
Sugar Bowl Semi-Final: #4 Ohio State vs. #1 Alabama – Pick: Ohio State

National Championship Game Prediction (Jan. 12)
#2 Oregon – 31
#4 Ohio State – 45

That’s all of my bowl picks! This is the last picks post of the year, so obviously I won’t have an article showing how I did with my bowl picks. If you’re interested in how I’m doing on my bowl picks though, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @SchottJosh. I’ll have updates on how I’m doing throughout the bowl season, although if I’m doing terrible you might have to talk it out of me. Thanks for reading these posts all season and Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Report: Tom Herman Set To Become New Head Coach at Houston (Updated)

tom herman

As reported by Fox Sports, Ohio State’s quarterback guru and offensive coordinator Tom Herman is set to become the new head coach of the Houston Cougars. From Bruce Feldman’s report:

The 39-year-old Herman has solid Texas ties. He served as a graduate assistant on Mack Brown’s UT staff in the late 90s and worked across town from Houston as Rice’s OC from 2007-08, where the Owls set more than 40 school records. He has been instrumental in landing some plum Texas recruits for the Buckeyes in his three seasons on staff, including Barrett.

Herman’s rep is such that when Houston president Renu Khator tweeted out on Friday, “If you have an opinion about next UH Football Coach, now is the time to tell us,” the overwhelming reaction she got back were calls for the Buckeyes OC.

It’s not a surprising move considering Herman has been one of the hottest names on the coaching market in recent weeks. This season has really raised his stock after transforming Braxton Miller’s replacement J.T. Barrett into one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Not only that, but he also well prepared Cardale Jones and the Buckeye offense for the Big Ten Championship game on short notice after Barrett went down with an injury too. The Buckeyes of course destroyed Wisconsin 59-0 and was the huge win they needed to make the very first college football playoffs at the FBS level.

There is no word yet on whether Herman will stay with the Buckeyes during their playoff run. Regardless I think I speak for everyone in Buckeye Nation in wishing Tom Herman and his family the best of luck in Houston.

UPDATE: According to Pat Forde of Yahoo, Tom Herman will stay with the Buckeyes through the college football playoffs.

Buckeyes Wrestle With Growing Pains

The Buckeye Wrestling Team tied the University of Missouri Tigers, losing the high powered dual meet on “criteria,” going to the fourth tie breaker. Tie meets are first decided on number of wins (tied at 5-5), then on falls (tied 1-1) and then on the total of individual match points (also tied at 48-48). Thus, they lost the dual 20-19 because the Tigers scored more first match takedowns.

It is beginning to sound like a broken record—this team has tremendous potential—the kind of potential that could easily propel the Buckeyes to their first national title in March, but injuries have to some extent masked that potential. It is becoming increasingly clear however that youth and inexperience are talking a toll. Buckeye fans have only to look at what the football team experienced after a loss to Virginia Tech to understand the hold that youth can put on title aspirations. The good news is that like the football experience, lessons can be learned early on that can erase early disappointments and lead to the ultimate goal.

The Buckeyes saw winners at 133 (decision by junior Johnni DiJulius), 141 (forfeit to senior Logan Stieber—which counts as a fall), 157 (decision by senior Josh Demas), 174 (decision by junior Mark Martin) and 197 (major decision by freshman Kyle Snyder). Freshman Bo Jordan was healthy enough to go at 165 if needed, but the decision has been made to hold him out until January to get him both completely healthy and ready. Junior Kenny Courts was injured in Las Vegas and was held out at 184.

Freshman Nathan Tomasello was again victimized by an early mistake that led to a takedown and three backpoints that put him down early 5-0 to third ranked Alan Waters. He stormed back only to fall short 10-8. Nathan has now faced most of the top wrestlers in his 125 pound weight class, including Waters. He has demonstrated superiority through most of those matches but has had the youthful bad luck of getting caught for back points, largely because of his high motor that experienced wrestlers have used against him. At some point Nathan will start to understand what guys at this level can do if you aren’t careful. When that comes, Nathan will be unstoppable.

Sophomore Justin Kresevic filled in gamely once again at 165, and could have won his match, but also made a mistake to lose a heart-breaker. This underscores the importance that experience plays—like a backup quarterback, a reserve wrestler never knows when he is going to be called on and it is a tough task to keep your head against top flight collegiate wrestlers. His energy, drive and talent were unmistakable. He will have his chances again, and hopefully a lesson was learned against Missouri.

The emotional moment of the match came when junior Hunter Stieber emerged to the center of the mat to go against highly ranked Drake Houdashelt. It was thought Hunter would be held out for injury precaution until the New Year, but after two Buckeye wins, including Missouri’s default to brother Logan, the crowd was stoked to see the highly successful Hunter emerge for this campaign. Hunter clearly was not ready for action yet—he was caught in a crossface cradle after a wild scramble for the takedown and pinned as time wound down in the first period.

Coach Tom Ryan conceded it was probably a mistake to insert Hunter in a surprise move. “It’s a lesson how tough the sport is. The body, mind and spirit must be working in unison. Tonight they weren’t for Hunter. Credit to his opponent as well. He stunned him a little. Hunter is ok from a health standpoint and we will work hard to prepare him for our next dual.” So again, the Buckeyes were hurt by not collectively being ready.

Even the wins had tough lessons to think about. Johnni DiJulius is my dark horse candidate for NCAA champion. At his best he has proven he can beat anyone. He has come out this year much tougher and for the most part noticeably more aggressive–you can start to see the pain he is inflicting on opponents. Yet, Coach Ryan offers, “he has to close out periods.” He zoomed out to a commanding 4-0 lead with over two minutes of riding time, only to get reversed near the end of the match, nearly avoiding backpoints. He likes to wrestle in a way to make opponents uncomfortable, but Coach Ryan concedes that piling up points is what really discourages an opponent. “He has a tendency to just hang on, and that is a recipe for trouble.” If Johnni wants to avoid the simple math of getting upset because occasionally things will go against you in close matches at the end, he has to use his punishing style to start putting distance between him and his opponents early and often.

At 197, the anticipated match-up between Snyder and defending national champion J’Den Cox did not materialize as Missouri opted to move Cox up to 285 to win the meet—Cox eked out a win against the always hard working Nick Tavanello. Against the back-up Snyder scored a major 15-5 win, racking up a torrent of takedowns. So far this year Snyder has proven to be as good as expected, which is to say breath-takingly good. Snyder is a world junior freestyle champion who has spent a few years honing his freestyle wrestling. Coach Ryan concedes he needs to advance with his collegiate style (“folkstyle”) by working on his back scoring holds and adding some things from his feet. The complaint, a minor one, is only one of emphasis. “He’s going to be a factor for sure,” Ryan concludes.

Mark Martin ground out a close win but again the feeling was that he was just hanging on, rather than wrestling at his potential. Mark is also one of those guys that you expect has unlimited potential if he went into each match with more determination and fight. He seems at times to get discouraged at points in the match and often leaves you feeling he has more to give than what you see.

Another emotional moment came with Josh Demas’ return to the mat. Demas is naturally traumatized by the death of his close friend, teammate and roommate Kosta Karageorge. “Josh lost last year to injury,“ Ryan notes. “I expected him to come out this year with a youthful passion. We have not seen that yet, though I understand he is having a hard time. He has tremendous talent.”

When asked if there was anything that pleasantly surprised him in the Missouri meet, Coach Ryan responded, “No. [It] was an uninspired performance overall. [I’m] starting to believe this team will have to wrestle above their potential to score the necessary points. We look very average now.” Coach Ryan does not put the responsibility solely on his wrestlers. When asked if his young team mirrored Urban’s football team after that VaTech loss, he volunteered, “Exactly. Hope we can coach them up as well as he and his staff did.”

The wrestling Buckeyes have had to deal with far more than most teams have to fight through in a young season. There is a lot of growth that needs to happen and at the current moment the questions outnumber the answers. But it is a long season. If the coaches can get the young men to come together with a clear common purpose with each doing what he can do with his circumstances, there is every reason to think they will weather the tumult. What this team really needs is for a few of the guys to simply step up from their expectations and have one of those beautifully memorable breakout years. Everyone will enjoy watching Logan Stieber attempt to get a hold on history but if the team wants to be a part of history as a group, others will have to step up and help lead the way.

What Happens On An Official Visit?

Are you one of those recruiting fans that always wondered what happens on an Official Visit? Thanks to 2015 commit Nick Conner we now have an itinerary for his OV that happens this weekend…

B4qiYI7IUAIDnUP

Some highlight thoughts for me…

– It is pretty obvious the school does all they can to separate the parents and recruits in the evening so the recruits host players can take them out and show them a good time.

– Academic Presentations only take 15 mins of 48 hours lol

– A good basketball game can always help in recruiting… Morehead St wont move the needle much.

– They get a nap on Saturday lol

– They eat really well for free all weekend.

– The highlight video inside the ‘Shoe should be awesome

– Kerry Coombs Gameday video will be LOUD.

The Annual Airing Of Grievances (Part 1)

Festivus is one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, and a holiday we celebrate within our household. The Airing Of Grievances is something we routinely will do, before we commence with The Feats Of Strength.

Anyone who knows my passion for college football is well aware of my long-standing desire to have a college football playoff system. You would think that I would be tremendously satisfied with a 4-team playoff that begins this season, especially as Ohio State was seeded as one of the top four teams?

Wrong.

Yes, I am happy that there is a four team playoff. It certainly beats the old BCS system, and will help to satisfy the idea that college football will settle its champion by results on the field, versus being voted upon. But…

Even with this new system, with four teams better than two, have we truly improved upon the system? After all, the new College Football Playoff determined its four teams via a committee. Co-champions of the Big 12, Texas Christian and Baylor, were left out of the playoff mix. And we have not even addressed the other conferences that are being excluded (Spoiler alert – I will address how to handle those other conferences in part two. I hope that little teaser will bring you back to see how this could be handled.).

Another area that needs to be contemplated with the new playoff system is the financial challenges or difficulties that fans will have in trying to go to multiple bowl locations. This is something that I have addressed in the past, and the families of players are focusing upon this as well…

Here is a tweet from the mother of Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple…

Here is a tweet from the mother of Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee…

Here is a tweet from former Ohio State defensive lineman Matt Finkes…

And thanks to Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer for continually raising this point…

Let me spell it out for you in simple economic terms. Using expedia.com, I looked for flights from Cleveland to New Orleans (home of The Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 1st, 2015), and from Cleveland to Dallas (home of The College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T on January 12, 2015).

Here is the price of a flight from Cleveland to New Orleans

CLE_NewOrleans

Here is the price of a flight from Cleveland to Dallas

CLE_Dallas

In case you were wondering about the price of Sugar Bowl tickets…

And I didn’t even bother looking into tickets for the game in Dallas. Please remember that I have not plugged in hotels or food, and I believe you are getting an idea about the financial implications of this new system for college football fans.

Are you starting to understand why I would include this new system under my Airing Of Grievances? Good. Tune in next week, and you will see my ideas on how this system could be improved upon in so many areas. Until then, start practicing for The Feats Of Strength…

MotSaG Chat with 2016 Safety Vincent Calhoun

Vincent Calhoun

Vincent Calhoun is a safety from Middletown, Ohio. He stands at 5-11 and weighs 175 pounds. This past season in his junior year at Middletown High School he was first team All District and had 102 tackles, four pass breakups and three interceptions. In addition, he also played at running back and wide receiver. So far he has visited two schools, Michigan State in October and Ohio State in September. When I asked Calhoun his thoughts on his visit to Columbus, he definitely said the visit was positive.

“It was a good experience, it was my first visit. My tour guide made me feel comfortable and I really liked it there,” said Calhoun.

Calhoun also had an opportunity to talk to the coaches and gain advice from the staff. Calhoun said, “I’ve talked to coach Kerry Coombs and he told me to just keep doing what I’m doing and call to show interest.”

Calhoun currently doesn’t have any offers on the table from any schools, but he remains optimistic. He especially would love to get an offer from Ohio State, who he has been a fan of all of his life. In fact he says it’s his dream school.

“I love Ohio State football. I’ve always wanted to be a Buckeye since I was young and the football team I played on was the lil (sic) Buckeyes,” Calhoun said.

I asked him how the recruiting process has been going for him and he says it’s going quite well. He said currently the schools showing the most interest in him are Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State. While he just visited Michigan State, he doesn’t plan to visit any other schools soon. Calhoun hopes to commit to a school near the beginning of the next school year or in the summer. As for what Calhoun said you can expect from him:

“You get a great leader and someone who is going to give it their all everything they do anything and some to help teammates. And they get someone who will never back down from anything and is a team player.”

You can follow Vincent Calhoun on Twitter here: @middies_3

Ohio State Lands Their Running Back

The 2015 class is going to be a great class full of star players and one way or another they were destined to get a former Michigan Running Back Commit. The question was which one Mike Weber or Damien Harris? Both are highly ranked RBs both were once committed to Michigan. Both decommitted as things went down the drain for UM. Both had OSU at the top of their lists. It was a race to land the spot and it went back and forth all year who would they land.

Today that question was answered….

MotSaG Chat with 2016 Running Back Brandon Stephens

Nike Football Combine Dallas

Brandon Stephens is a running back from Plano, Texas. He stands at 6-1 and weighs 200 pounds. Over the course of 2014 in his junior season at Plano High School, he rushed 196 times for 1,268 yards and 21 touchdowns. And he’s been getting more attention as of late, visiting Baylor in November and receiving an offer from Tulsa on November 7. When I talked to Stephens I asked him how the recruiting process is going for him.

“It’s been very good, not too stressful just yet but I’ve been building many relationships with coaches, trying to get familiar with them,” said Stephens.

Stephens made his unofficial visit to Ohio State back on July 21 and was offered by Ohio State the very next day. I asked him what he thoughts of the experience and the impression he came away with from the visit.

“It was definitely amazing. Got to meet most of the coaches. The environment on and off campus was just right. It was a good visit all-around.”

Stephens was recruited by running backs coach Stan Drayton and corner backs/special teams coach Kerry Coombs (Stephens also plays corner back). I asked what he thought about the coaches and if they gave him any advice when talking to them. He said they gave him a couple of things to work on in his game and felt like they truly had his back. He really enjoyed talking to them. And when I asked him what his familiarity is with Ohio State football he simply replied: “7 Heisman winners, 7 national champions, 37 conference titles.”

Along with offers from Ohio State and Tulsa, Stephens also received an offer from Wisconsin back in June. I asked him which schools are currently showing the most interest and he replied: “Ohio State is showing a lot of interest, also LSU and Baylor.” Stephens also said he plans on visiting Wisconsin and possibly “many more,” but he isn’t completely sure. Right now he doesn’t have a list of top schools he’s considering and hopes to commit to a school by the beginning of next season.

The last question I asked Stephens about was what a team gets when they get Brandon Stephens. His response:

“A hard-working, unselfish player. I’m a player that shows resiliency. I’m also a person of leadership and character.”

You can follow Brandon Stephens on Twitter here: @BFame24

To see all of his highlights on Hudl, click here.