April 20, 2014

The Buckeye Leaves

The Big Ten has been busy the last two days handing out conference awards. Keep something in mind as we talk about which Buckeyes did and didn’t make these all conference teams and individual honors: Ohio State finished 8-0 in Big Ten play. Nebraska finished 7-1, Michigan 6-2 and Penn State 6-2. I mention those next three teams because they were the second, third and fourth best records in the conference.

And Ohio State beat all of them. (And Wisconsin for good measure.)

There were two sets of all-conference team. The coaches voted for one team, and a media panel voted on the other. You would have to wonder if some of the hurt feelings surrounding Urban’s recruiting didn’t spill over onto a ballot or two.

The Buckeyes named to the coaches All-Big Ten Conference team:

First team- John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Bradley Roby.

Second team- Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, Corey Brown, Ryan Shazier, Christian Bryant.

Honorable Mention- C.J. Barnett, Travis Howard, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort, Andrew Norwell.

Three Buckeyes on the first team. Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State (3-5 in conference play) each placed 5 players on the first team. Nebraska and Michigan had 2 each. Nebraska had 9 players named to the second team.

The media team had a different flavor to it:

First team- Braxton Miller, Andrew Norwell, John Simon, Ryan Shazier, Travis Howard, Bradley Roby.

Second team- Carlos Hyde, Jack Mewhort, Johnathan Hankins.

Honorable mention- C.J. Barnett, Corey Brown, Christian Bryant, Reid Fragel, Corey Linsley, Etienne Sabino.

Yesterday, Braxton Miller was named the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year by both the media and the coaches, and John Simon was the unanimous defensive player of the year. Strange that Miller was given the offensive player of the year award, and the Griese-Brees quarterback award despite not being named first team all conference by the coaches.

The real head scratcher may just be the coach of the year award.

Penn State’s Bill O’Brien was given the award by both the coaches and the media. Let’s be clear about this- he did an outstanding job. Nobody expected that group to compete the way that they did this year. I’m not actually surprised that he won. I also don’t think that the team with the most wins automatically gets their coach the award.

But there is something going on here.

As many have pointed out, Ohio State hasn’t had a coach of the year winner since Earl Bruce won it in 1979. Think about that for a moment. Jim Tressel never won it. The Buckeyes have won outright or tied for the conference title 14 times since Bruce won it in ’79, but neither Cooper, Tressel or Meyer won it. The Buckeyes went 13-0 in the regular season, and was an underdog to the Hurricanes when they won it in 2002, but no COY award.

Ohio State was 3-5 in the conference last year. That’s a five game turn around to an undefeated season. You can’t even claim that Meyer wasn’t selected because of the sanctions. Penn State’s head coach won it.

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I wanted to give out my own team awards. It’s hard not to give Braxton Miller the offensive player award. I mean, he did lead the team in rushing and was much improved in the passing game this season. His completion percentage was higher, he threw for more yards and more touchdowns. He deserves the award.

So I’m going to give a best supporting offensive player award. There are many candidates. Carlos Hyde was the yin to Braxton’s yang. He had a heck of a season, falling 30 yards short of 1000 yards rushing despite missing 2.5 games with an injury. Corey Brown led the team in receptions and was Miller’s safety net.

But I’m giving the supporting offensive player award to Reid Fragel. This guy was a tight end last season, and he transformed his body and skill set to become a very effective right tackle in his senior year. I can’t tell you how impressive that is.

On the defensive side of the ball, I have to concur that John Simon deserves the award, but it isn’t such a run away win. Ryan Shazier was the most dependable and consistent player behind the line of scrimmage all year. He led the team in tackles with 115 and tackles for a loss with 17. Add in five sacks, an interception and 3 forced fumbles. He gets the supporting defensive player of the year.

I have to give out one more award. I’ll call it the Buckeye pride award. And it goes to Zach Boren.

It is really hard to imagine switching positions mid-season. Even harder to imagine switching sides of the ball. When Chris Gamble started playing defensive back for the Buckeyes, well that kind of made sense. Who better to use covering wide outs than a wide out himself, and one who played the position in high school. What made Gamble remarkable was the high level at which he played CB once making the switch.

That is a very apt comparison for what Zach Boren did this year. The team was in desperate need of someone to step up and play the inside linebacker position. Not only did Boren come in and play the middle spot, he was the best MLB we’ve seen since Laurinaitis. We don’t beat Penn State, Wisconsin or Michigan without him. Not even if Storm Klein was healthy.

Zach Boren is a football player. And he is the kind of guy that Bill Belicheck drafts and uses. I know I’d rather have him on the Browns than any of the fullbacks in Berea. And he’ll be a good special teams player at the next level.

  • Dee P

    I agree that “something is going on here” but isn’t that what makes college sports and rivalries so much fun? I love that there is “something going on here”. It fires up the fan base, makes the week building up to a big game against Wisconsin, Nebraska, michigan, etc., that much more exciting….and of course when the game begins who out there doesn’t have goose bumps? This is such a great way to keep rivalries alive, and fresh, and reading the coaches picks and breaking them down like this makes college football tremendous.

  • ted bundy

    Dee P whining bout rivaly LOL! O’Brian receiving the award was the right thing to do, anybody who thinks otherwise has blinders on. Meyer has plenty of time to build his own team and reap earned rewards down the road. Tressel lost control shortly after Coopers recruits left, under achieving beyond the Big Ten with the great talent he had for years. If you whiners out there want to whine about something try complaining about why OSU lobbied to keep the Cincy Bearcats out of the B1G but seem eager to let little Rutgers and Maryland in. Seems every other state has that rivalry Ohio fans have been denied for too long. Brian Kelly could have built a program in Cincy to equal that of the Buckeyes but Ohio fans lost all that to Notre Dame giving Indiana fans bragging rights to the mid-west probably for the next decade. Doesnt that piss you off more than some little stinkin” award?

  • mgbode

    wait, so Tressel lost control after Cooper’s recruits left, but underachieved with great talent? and, if underachieving is what Tressel did, sign me up for some underachievement.

    Beating Miami(champ), KState(BCS), ND(BCS), OkieState(Alamo), Texas, Oregon (BCS), Arkansas(BCS), and others.

    6-4 record in bowl games including 5-3 in BCS games.
    9-1 vs. Michigan

    yeah, the 1-2 record in National Championship games hurts, but how many teams get 3 shots at a national championship in a 10 year period?

    ————————————————–

    oh, and another thing:

    and Cinci didn’t get into the Big10 because they are not ranked high enough academically, do not give the conference any extra market, and do not have the facilities (at least didn’t – i heard they are improving them).

  • Dee P

    Actually, I was celebrating how great college football is because of things like this.

    Thought it was pretty clear for those who take the time to read the whole post.

  • mgbode

    pretty clear from the first sentence, he didn’t get that far though.

  • cmm13

    No, it doesn’t.

    But thanks for asking.

  • ted bundy

    Read the whole post still can’t figure… but I’ll give you your own little award for babblin’ on about whatever.

    mgbode cat I’ll send back in a time machine to re experiance becoming a national joke all over again. guy cracks me up thinkin’ beaten on hapless Wolverines was fun, sure a few of those games were fun but come on dude.

  • mgbode

    i did list more teams than that michigan team (who weren’t hapless until Ohio State’s dominance forced the end of the Carr era).
    anyways, i’ll gladly relive Tempe again, that was a great night. and the rest of the decade being one of the top5 programs in the country sure were fun.
    sure, there was a bad year of press and a mediocre 6-7 season. but, we came out the other side 12-0 w/ Meyer as our HC. I’d say it was worth it as a fan.
    you.be.crazy.fool.

  • WFNY_DP

    I have absolutely no argument with O’Brien winning the COY award. None. Please raise your hand if, at the beginning of this season, you thought that team would win eight games over the next THREE years, let alone this season.

  • WFNY_DP

    “…who weren’t hapless until Ohio State’s dominance forced the end of the Carr era”

    This might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. Thanks for making my morning!

  • Paul Shuey’s Ghost

    O’Brien & Urban both made pretty dresses, but O’Brien made his out of uglier cloth

  • mgbode

    glad to make your morning :)

    it is hyperbole, of course. but, if Michigan wins that #1 v. #2 matchup, I think the story plays out quite differently for Carr.

  • WFNY_DP

    As a Michigan fan, I would pinpoint his departure on the combination of his age and the three straight losses to USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl, and then the opening losses to Appy St and Oregon in 2007. People starting calling for his head then, and I think he decided then and there that he was, to quote Danny Glover, “too old for this ****” and was ready to move on. And those fans that wanted him gone were the cautionary tale of “be careful what you wish for.”

    For all the struggles Carr had toward the end against OSU, he was equally dominant in his first six years against them, as well as having a winning record against ND, MSU, and PSU, the latter two quite lopsided (19-5 combined). His resume was more than distinguished at Michigan, with five Big 10 titles, a NC, and more than 100 wins. And as we saw, it can always be much, much worse.

  • mgbode

    Carr was no doubt dominant against Cooper’s Bucks.

    I just think if Michigan makes that Nat’l champ game it changes things. more goodwill is built up and we don’t know that the Ap-State even happens (seemed to be a culmination of alot of negativity throughout that team at the time).

    we’re off in the weeds talking hypotheticals at this point though. as it is, both teams once again have capable coaches who will likely dominate their division recruiting and on the field as well. we’ll find out if playing each other twice a year oftentimes will put a damper on The Game.