April 24, 2014

While We’re Waiting… The 109th edition of The Game

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

“When Brady Hoke was hired at Michigan a year ago and defeated Ohio State in his first opportunity, there was talk about how the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was back. When OSU hired Urban Meyer, the talk intensified. While this season hasn’t developed the way Michigan had hoped, there is plenty of reason to believe another golden era of The Game is on the way. Both coaches are from Ohio and understand the rivalry, and Hoke has an appreciation for what Ohio State brings the table as they prepare to meet Saturday.” [Jeff Svoboda/Buckeye Sports Bulletin]

This OSU offense-Michigan defense focus was something I mentioned in the numbers yesterday: “The focal point for Ohio State’s opposition has centered on quarterback Braxton Miller. From Miami (Ohio) to Wisconsin, the dual-threat quarterback has warranted eyes and spies. The strategy doesn’t change for the Michigan Wolverines. And unlike a majority of the Buckeyes’ opponents this season, Michigan has the personnel to limit Miller’s production. Ohio State’s weapon of choice. The Wolverines field the 12th-best total defense in the country, top-ranked pass defense and 51st run defense. Michigan has also held opponents to 18 points per game this season.” [Kyle Rowland/Eleven Warriors]

Concur with this empty Buckeyes feeling, but there’s no possible comparison to 2006: “I have really struggled writing this preview. This season has been strange for me (and possibly other Ohio State fans. I don’t want to speak for anyone other than myself, but it’s been weird). The lack of any post season goals to play for has made this whole season feel like a giant preseason scrimmage except there is no “season” to get ready for. A twelve game Spring Game and no games scheduled for the fall. … So maybe this is Ohio State’s “Bowl Game”. Maybe this is the legacy Urban’s first team will establish for an extended period of time. And maybe, and most likely, this is just going to be another entry in the most storied college football rivalry, ‘The Game.’” [el Kaiser/Men of the Scarlet and Gray]

For my last post related to The Game, I return to the school’s newspaper: ” On Saturday, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Michigan coach Brady Hoke will square off for the first time. It will be the 109th meeting between OSU and Michigan, but this time around The Game will feature a homegrown flavor that’s been absent for decades. For the first time since 1978, both OSU and Michigan employ non-interim head coaches that hail from the Buckeye state.” [Evan Speyer/The Lantern]

I absolutely, absolutely agree with this point about Kent State’s head coach being a hot name for upcoming coaching rumors: “Kent State doesn’t have a ton of great football history, and the MAC is really tough this year. So as the Golden Flashes finished an 11-1 season with a 28-6 win over an Ohio team that came in with an 8-3 record, athletic directors around the country who already have openings or are considering firing their coaches should have been taking notes on Kent State coach Darrell Hazell.” [Frank Schwab/Dr. Saturday]

Great final point in this detailed offseason review of the Cavaliers: “Although the Cavs’ rebuilding process may be moving slower than some fans in Cleveland would like, the team has been wise to avoid being dragged down by long-term contracts and ill-advised free agent signings. Eventually, Cleveland will need to spend on either locking up its own players or on impact free agents, but for now, the team continues to inch in the right direction. The Cavs figure to have at least three first-round picks in 2013, and could continue to add even more if they find a team willing to give up a pick along with some unwanted salary.” [Luke Adams/Hoops Rumors]

I think No. 26 seems about right for the Cavs, and this is a very solid point: “Thankful for … Dion Waiters’ flashes of brilliance. For the third straight year, Kyrie Irving will miss extended time due to injury. It’s a scary trend for a player most people agree could be the top point guard in the league some day. But Cleveland can numb the pain by focusing on the handful of promising performances by rookie Waiters this season. There was his 17-point debut, his 28-point explosion against the Clippers, and his efficient 23-point follow-up (9-of-13 shooting) a few nights later. Since then, Waiters has reached double-digits only twice (both on ugly shooting nights), but that type of inconsistency is expected when you’re a 20-year-old in the NBA. Waiters still has miles to go, but Cleveland has to be encouraged by Irving’s backcourt partner of the future.” [Matt Dollinger/SI.com]

Finally, a great article by one of my favorite baseball writers on teams improving from under .500 to the playoffs: “Consider this: In the past five seasons, 10 of the possible 42 postseason teams (including four in 2012) were teams that had losing records the year before. Those teams are as follows: the 2008 White Sox, ’08 Rays, ’09 Rockies, ’10 Reds, ’11 D-backs, ’11 Brewers, ’12 Nationals, ’12 Reds, ’12 A’s and ’12 Orioles. … But now more than ever, in an era of an expanded postseason field, clubs have the ability to talk (and work) themselves into a basis for belief, just as those 10 teams did. And it is interesting — and perhaps instructive — to note that none of those 10 teams made their leap after making major expenditures in free agency proper.” [Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com]