July 26, 2014

Urban Meyer strikes again as Buckeyes also add Arkansas’ Chris Ash

chris ash wisconsinWell, well, Urban Meyer. It appears you did indeed have a few tricks up your sleeve following Thursday’s sudden departure of Mike Vrabel to the NFL.

Earlier today, we shared how revered Penn State defensive lines coach Larry Johnson Sr. is rumored to join the OSU staff in the same open position. Now, Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel has the latest scoop: Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash will be taking the co-defensive coordinator role in Columbus. The team has not yet confirmed either move, but both are expected to be made official in the coming days.

Vrabel’s position under Meyer was as defensive lines coach and co-defensive coordinator with former interim head coach Luke Fickell. Just last week, it was reported that he left to join Bill O’Brien’s staff with the Houston Texans. Now, the Bucks have seemed to replace his duties with two star-studded Big Ten staples.

Ash, 39, moved to Fayetteville along with former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. He joined Bielema’s staff initially as defensive backs coach in 2010 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2011. He previously spent 11 combined years at Iowa State and San Diego State as secondary coach, with added responsibilities as the recruiting coordinator. Wisconsin was always a tough defensive team under Bielema and Ash. In their first year with the Razorbacks, the team struggled to a 3-9 overall record and 0-8 SEC mark. This is just another huge move for Meyer, who continues to recruit well in players and coaches alike.

[Related: Rumble, Young Men, Rumble: Ohio State Season in Review]

Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Vanderbilt’s James Franklin to leave for Penn State

james franklinVanderbilt head coach James Franklin is expected to shortly take the job opening at Penn State University.

CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman had the breaking news this morning of Franklin’s departure, per a source. Franklin was expected to make a decision about Penn State on Thursday after being offered the position. He reportedly had turned down further interview requests.

Franklin, 41, will replace new Houston Texas head coach Bill O’Brien, who coached for two difficult seasons in the wake of the Joe Paterno scandal. A very outgoing personality, Franklin had built a contender at perennial doormat Vanderbilt with back-to-back 9-4 seasons in the SEC. He was 24-15 overall in his three years.

Prior to taking the job in Nashville, he spent three seasons as offensive coordinator for Maryland and two for Kansas State. He had one season of NFL experience as a wide receivers coach for Green Bay in 2005. Before that, he was on the Maryland staff as wide receivers coach for five years.

Just last week, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported that Franklin — along with Auburn’s Gus Malzahn — could be a possible sleeper head coaching candidate for the Cleveland Browns. Based on Chip Kelly’s success with the Philadelphia Eagles, several NFL teams have been inquiring on the up-and-coming college coaches. As NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport shared, the Browns never lined up a Franklin interview in time.

The jump to Penn State is still quite a big promotion for Franklin. Based on his success with the Commodores, the move should place some fear into the hearts of Ohio State Buckeye fans, at least slightly. O’Brien did positive things with the program of late, but this should maintain their Big Ten momentum going forward.

As for the Browns, news broke earlier today that they’re reportedly interviewing San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt on Saturday.

[Related: The Dude, Michael, and Joey…who loved bowling]

Photo: Danny Murphy/Icon SMI

Auburn AD: ‘We have a better argument’ than Ohio State

“An SEC team can’t get left out of the (championship game) with one loss. We just beat the No. 1 team in the nation, and a team ahead of us struggled today, I understand (referring to Ohio State’s 42-41 victory at Michigan). And a one-loss SEC team that wins in Atlanta — if it’s us or Missouri — you can’t get left out of the BCS after you beat the No. 1 team. We have a better argument because we beat the No. 1 team.”

– Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs, as told to USA Today’s Dan Wolken, said today about the upcoming BCS drama following the Tigers’ upset of No. 1 Alabama. Jacobs also said “it would be a disservice to the nation” if Auburn again missed out on the championship game as they did in 2004.

The BCS standings will be released tomorrow night, but lots more football is still to be played. Auburn clinched the SEC West and will play fellow one-loss No. 5 Missouri next Saturday. Florida State, expected to jump from No. 2 to No. 1, will face off against No. 24 Duke in the ACC Championship Game. The Buckeyes will play No. 11 Michigan State in the Big Ten title. FSU and OSU are the two remaining BCS conference teams.

[Related: O-H-I-Whoa! Buckeyes survive on Michigan’s failed two-point try]

While We’re Waiting… MISSING MASCOT!!

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“Can a superstar-less team win a championship again? The last occurrence of that feat came in 2004, via the Billups – Hamilton – Prince – Wallace Brothers starting five. Last season though, two of the NBA’s final four were superstar-less. The Pacers and Grizzlies greatly resembled those 2004 Pistons. Arguably, current day, 36-year old Tim Duncan isn’t a superstar on the level of in-their-prime Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, or Duncan; ESPN’s #NBARank considers him the league’s 16th best player. Three of last year’s final four teams put themselves in near position to win a championship without a current #NBARank top-ten player, and with a few lucky breaks (or maybe more appropriately, a sprain, perhaps to Lebron’s ankle) could win one this season. As a team in a market like Cleveland – similar to Indy or Memphis to some extent — isn’t that the target to build towards? Other than Kevin Durant, recent “superstars” in a non-marquee market have bailed on the franchise that drafted them.” [Hetrick/Cavs the Blog] [Read more...]

Who should you root for? Buckeyes bye week activities

Bye WeekCongratulations Buckeyes fans. Your team has made it through half of their schedule unscathed and this week gets a bye for their efforts.

But, in spite of consecutive hard fought Big Ten wins against solid teams, Ohio State still can’t get any national respect. The Buckeyes are trapped by the overwhelming and tired perception that the Big Ten just plain sucks. Every week the pundits and Twitter legions say the same thing. When Ohio State wins big it’s because they played a glorified high school squad that shouldn’t be on the same field as them. When Ohio State wins a tight game (as they did each of the last two weeks against very capable Wisconsin and Northwestern teams) it’s because they’re garbage and are only undefeated due to their marshmallow soft schedule.

[Read more...]

Big Ten’s Jim Delany speaks on pay-to-play NCAA regulations

“If (athletes are) not comfortable on campus and they want to monetize, then let the minor leagues flourish. Or go to IMG. Train at IMG. Get agents to invest in your body, get agents to invest in your likeness, and establish it on your own. But don’t come here and say you want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000. Go to the (NBA) D-League and get it. Go to the NBA and get it. Go to the NFL and get it. Don’t ask us to change what we’re doing, because we think there are a lot of good things to preserve.”

– Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on the dialogue about pay-to-play opportunities for NCAA athletes, to a small group of reporters in the conference’s new offices in Chicago.

Delany’s comments strongly recommend for athletes who want to “professionalize themselves” to make the jump to professional minor leagues as opposed to college athletics, saying “Why is it our job to be minor leagues for professional sports?”

As a recommended conference model, Delany said each conference should legislate their own rules by which schools can provide more benefits to cover full cost of attendance for college athletes. Yet, he said “I feel as strongly as I did 20 years ago it’s not pay-for-play.”

[Related: Ohio State holds on for 40-30 victory at Northwestern]

Ohio State holds on for 40-30 victory at Northwestern

Thanks to an impressive late fourth quarter defense, the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes held on for the 40-30 road victory over the No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday night.

Carlos Hyde was the star of the game, rushing for three second half touchdowns and 168 total yards in the victory. The Buckeyes defense was not pretty, considering the loss of captain and senior safety Christian Bryant, but managed to come up with the a key fourth down stop and late turnover.

At the end of the game, the Buckeyes defense forced a final turnover and rescued the ball in the endzone, leading to a final touchdown. That score switched away the Vegas line, which was set at -7 for the Buckeyes. It was the 18th straight victory in Urban Meyer’s Columbus career.

Ohio State (6-0) managed to win their second straight Big Ten game by a narrow margin. For the Wildcats (4-1), it was yet another heart-breaking late defeat, reminding head coach Pat Fitzgerald of the team’s three late losses back in 2012.

Northwestern’s do-it-all quarterback and wildcat extraordinaire Kain Colter finished 11-for-11 passing with a rushing touchdown and passing touchdown. But the home team ran for only 2.2 yards per carry compared to 5.2 for the Buckeyes.

The crowd figured to be at least half OSU fans at Ryan Field in Evanston. It was labeled as one of the biggest home games in Northwestern’s football history with the ESPN Gameday crew at the stadium.

Ohio State has a bye next week, then takes on Iowa (4-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio Stadium.

[Related: Bradley Roby and Picking Nits]

Buckeyes’ Ryan Shazier honors injured teammate’s jersey number

Star Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier will switch his jersey number from No. 10 to No. 2 tonight to honor injured teammate Christian Bryant, according to multiple media reports.

Bryant, the captain and senior safety, was lost for the season with a broken ankle in last week’s victory over Wisconsin. The Buckeyes’ secondary was already suspect in the early part of the season and his injury was seen as a huge blow for the rest of the year.

Shazier, also a captain, has usually worn the No. 10. He famously also switched jersey numbers to No. 48 last season for the Penn State game to honor a fried who had passed away after a battle with muscular dystrophy. Shazier responded that game with one of his finest performances: two sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown.

The No. 4 Buckeyes play at No. 16 Northwestern tonight in likely the biggest football game in Evanston’s history. Both teams remain undefeated so far. ESPN’s Gameday crew is there for the 8 p.m. start time.

[Related: Bradley Roby and Picking Nits]

NCAA Rumor: Big Ten to divide into East, West divisions

After months of speculation, the Big Ten reportedly has agreed on a new realignment strategy for its new-look 14-team conference: an East and West division split.

According to league sources via ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy and Adam Rittenberg, the conference will move in that direction in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers officially join the fold. The conference also will be pursuing a nine-game football schedule starting that year, pending a commissioner vote next week.

Thus, according to this latest sourced report, here is how the 2014-15 Big Ten would look:

East Division: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers
West Division: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin

Back in January, the conference announced that it would look to move away from the Legends and Leaders division monikers that they somewhat arbitrarily used beginning in 2010. Per conference commissioner Jim Delany of the previous decision-making and naming process, they “didn’t have great options.”

Now, the conference appears to be pursuing the more traditional route of a geographical split. Yet, it won’t be without controversy.

With arguably the two best football programs — OSU and UM — in one division, there could be a remarkably easier route to the championship game each year for the Nebraskas and Wisconsins of the world. The conference also has decided to make Indiana-Purdue the only cross-division protected rivalry for optimal long-term flexibility, according to this report.

[Related: Leaders, Legends, and Balance: A Look Into Big Ten Division Realignment]

Urban Meyer calls out rest of Big Ten for shoddy recruiting

With a consensus top-three recruiting class1 under his belt after just one full year with the Ohio State Buckeyes, the university’s head coach of football is now attempting to light a fire under the rest of the Big Ten who did not bear as much fruit on the recruiting trails.

“It’s not only important, it’s essential,” Meyer said of improved conference recruiting in a radio interview with 97.1 The Fan out of Columbus. “It has to happen.”

Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines fared well with a top-10 class, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were the only other Big Ten school to amass what many considered to be a top-35 group of incoming freshmen. In contrast, the SEC — Meyer’s old conference — racked up 14 of the 33 five-star recruits in the country which led to 12 of the 13 schools being listed among the top 30.

Among the bigger signings of Meyer’s National Signing Day were wide receviers James Clark, Corey Smith and Dontre Wilson. The school also nabbed running back Ezekiel Elliot, the St. Louis native who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.

“I don’t know enough about what goes on in the other programs,” said Meyer. “I know I have a lot of respect for the tradition and their historical success they’ve had,” Meyer said. “But we do need, as a conference, to keep pushing that envelope to be better. [...] And I think all our conversations, we’re going to have a Big Ten meeting here in a week … and our whole conversation needs to be, ‘how do we recruit?’ When you see 11 of the SEC teams in the top 25 in recruiting, that is something we need to continue to work on and improve.”

[Related: Ohio State Buckeyes ranked second in 2013 AP Poll projections]

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Footnotes:

  1. Ohio State is ranked No. 1 by Scout.com []

Big Ten mulling change to divisional names Legends and Leaders per ESPN

The Big Ten Conference has confirmed that they will reconsider the names “Legends” and “Leaders” for their divisions, a change which could be made in anticipation of the 2014 football season. As reported by ESPN, this is prompted by the addition of Rutgers and Maryland, moving the conference to 14 teams, coupled with the Conference not being “tone deaf” to the laughing stock that the names have produced.

Right up there with Crystal Pepsi and the Arch Deluxe in terms of ideas gone wrong, the nationwide backlash regarding the Conference names grew even louder when the two biggest names within the conference — Penn State’s Joe Paterno and Ohio State’s Jim Tressel — were ousted for violating rules of varying degreees.

“I don’t take umbrage to negative reaction,” said Conference President Jim Delaney. “I don’t necessarily change when I hear it. I think on the other hand, we said we would test-market it, and we have for a couple of years. We have the opportunity to look at it again. I’m sure we will. Whether or not we change or not is to be determined. I don’t have any presumption that we’ll change on it, but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking at it.”

The Legends Division presently consists of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern; the Leaders Division is Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. When deciding on division names in December 2010, Delany said the Big Ten “didn’t have great options.”

Delany said in the next three to four months, his league would look at the Big Ten’s future bowl lineup, divisions, rivalries, branding and “a whole series of related issues.”

[Related: Leaders, Legend, and Balance: A Look Into Big Ten Division Realignment]

While We’re Waiting… Buckeyes Take Down #2 Michigan

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.

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What a huge, shocking win for the Bucks: “The jury has been out on the Ohio State Buckeyes. But after weeks of deliberations in Central Ohio a verdict has been reached. The Buckeyes are for real. Jumping out to a 29-8 first-half lead, Ohio State withstood a furious second-half rally by No. 2 Michigan to hand the Wolverines their first loss of the season, 56-53. Michigan, the lone remaining unbeaten, was attempting to become the No. 1-ranked team in the country for the first time in 20 years.” [Kyle Rowland/Eleven Warriors] [Read more...]

BCS Update: Kent State smelling Orange Bowl, ineligible Ohio State falls

No one could have seen this year coming for both Kent State and Ohio State football. The Flashes, ye’ of 40 years without a conference championship, appear to be one win away from a historic BCS game. The Buckeyes, who went 6-7 a year ago, managed to go 12-0 with largely the same roster in year one under Urban Meyer.

Just this last weekend, I wrote first about ineligible Ohio State’s rank in an adjusted BCS and then prophetically about Kent State’s possible BCS hopes. Both topics are more timely now than ever.

Kent State benefitted extremely from an incredible nine losses suffered by teams ranked No. 15-25 in last week’s BCS. Thus, after I guessed they’d jump between 2-6 spaces in the standings, they moved up six spots all the way to No. 17, one place away from magic number No. 16. Meanwhile, folks in Buckeye land continue to fantasize about what could have been the BCS result of the sixth undefeated season in school history.

Let’s dig deeper inside both stories for a little Tuesday fun with numbers. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Browns-Steelers renew rivalry

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.

Lots of advantages for the Browns in this detailed scouting report, with this being a solid final point: “Given the Steelers’ solid defense, there’s no way I can project some sort of a blowout. Yards will be tough to come by for Cleveland, but Pittsburgh’s struggles should set the offense up with some situations where they can manage a couple of field goals and a touchdown or two down the stretch. Many quarterbacks can rally a team from behind, but Batch isn’t one of them.” [Chris Pokorny/Dawgs By Nature] [Read more...]

Box Score: Buckeyes 26, Wolverines 21

In a tale of two halves, the Ohio State defense held down the fort against the explosive Michigan Wolverines in the final 30 minutes. The Buckeyes held on in yet another close rivalry duel, winning 26-21 to finish a perfect 12-0 for the regular season.

Carlos Hyde was the star offensive player for the Bucks, as he gained 146 yards, many of them in the final two drives, to secure the victory. Michigan gained -14 rushing yards outside of Denard Robinson as they couldn’t get anything going in the final two quarters.

Although Ohio State is ineligible for the BCS standings and a bowl game this year, this victory now means the controversy and theorizing won’t end until next season begins in August. Stay tuned for lots more analysis and debates in the coming days. But for now, savor this special victory, this special season and the sixth undefeated season in OSU history.

(19) MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
8-4 (Lost last 1)

OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
12-0 (Won last 12)

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan Wolverines 7 14 0 0 21
Ohio State Buckeyes 10 10 3 3 26

Scoring Summary

1st QuarterMICH – OHST
13:15 Ohio State BuckeyesOHST TD Carlos Hyde rushed to the left for 3 yard gain (Drew Basil made PAT) 0 – 7
8:04 Michigan WolverinesMICH TD Devin Gardner passed to Roy Roundtree to the right for 75 yard gain (Brendan Gibbons made PAT) 7 – 7
1:00 Ohio State BuckeyesOHST FG Drew Basil kicked a 41-yard field goal 7 – 10
2nd QuarterMICH – OHST
11:20 Michigan WolverinesMICH TD Devin Gardner rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain (Brendan Gibbons made PAT) 14 – 10
1:52 Ohio State BuckeyesOHST TD Braxton Miller passed to Corey (Philly) Brown to the right for 14 yard gain (Drew Basil made PAT) 14 – 17
1:30 Michigan WolverinesMICH TD Denard Robinson rushed to the right for 67 yard gain (Brendan Gibbons made PAT) 21 – 17
0:05 Ohio State BuckeyesOHST FG Drew Basil kicked a 52-yard field goal 21 – 20
3rd QuarterMICH – OHST
9:25 Ohio State BuckeyesOHST FG Drew Basil kicked a 28-yard field goal 21 – 23
4th QuarterMICH – OHST
7:35 Ohio State BuckeyesOHST FG Drew Basil kicked a 25-yard field goal 21 – 26

Passing

Michigan Wolverines Comp Att Yds Pct Y/A Sack YdsL TD Int Rating
Devin Gardner 11 20 171 55.0 8.6 4 40 1 1 133.3
Ohio State Buckeyes Comp Att Yds Pct Y/A Sack YdsL TD Int Rating
Braxton Miller 14 18 189 77.8 10.5 5 47 1 0 184.3

Rushing

Michigan Wolverines Rush Yds Avg Lng TD FumL
Denard Robinson 10 122 12.2 67 1 1
Vincent Smith 5 12 2.4 8 0 0
Thomas Rawls 5 3 0.6 2 0 0
Devin Gardner 7 -29 -4.1 6 1 2
Ohio State Buckeyes Rush Yds Avg Lng TD FumL
Carlos Hyde 26 146 5.6 17 1 0
Braxton Miller 20 57 2.9 42 0 1
Corey (Philly) Brown 1 21 21.0 21 0 1
Rod Smith 1 4 4.0 4 0 0

Receiving

Michigan Wolverines Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FumL
Roy Roundtree 3 92 30.7 75 1 0
Jeremy Gallon 6 67 11.2 30 0 0
Mike Kwiatkowski 1 6 6.0 6 0 0
Drew Dileo 1 6 6.0 6 0 0
Ohio State Buckeyes Rec Yds Avg Lng TD FumL
Corey (Philly) Brown 8 95 11.9 19 1 1
Devin Smith 2 63 31.5 52 0 0
Evan Spencer 1 9 9.0 9 0 0
Jake Stoneburner 1 9 9.0 9 0 0
Carlos Hyde 1 8 8.0 8 0 0
Michael Thomas 1 5 5.0 5 0 0

Kicking

Michigan Wolverines XPM XPA FGM FGA Lng Pct Pts
Brendan Gibbons 3 3 0 0 0 0.0 3
Ohio State Buckeyes XPM XPA FGM FGA Lng Pct Pts
Drew Basil 2 2 4 5 52 80.0 14

Punting

Michigan Wolverines Punt Avg Blk In20 TB
Will Hagerup 4 55.3 0 2 0
Ohio State Buckeyes Punt Avg Blk In20 TB
Ben Buchanan 3 44.7 0 2 0

Kick/Punt Returns

Michigan Wolverines KR Yds Avg Lng TD PR Yds Avg Lng TD
Dennis Norfleet 1 27 27.0 27 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Drew Dileo 2 34 17.0 19 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Jeremy Gallon 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 0 0.0 0 0
Ohio State Buckeyes KR Yds Avg Lng TD PR Yds Avg Lng TD
Bradley Roby 2 47 23.5 26 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
Corey (Philly) Brown 0 0 0.0 0 0 4 30 7.5 18 0

Ohio State’s defense clamps down to secure 26-21 victory over Michigan and 12-0 season

On a day the Ohio State Buckeyes honored the perfect national champions of 2002 and former players carried Jim Tressel on their shoulders in the end zone, the Buckeyes did it again.

For the sixth time in school history, AP No. 4 Ohio State (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten) has finished a season undefeated, but the final game certainly wasn’t pretty. It took three second-half turnovers by the defense, and a heaping dose of junior Carlos Hyde on the last drive, but the Buckeyes held on for a gritty 26-21 victory over their archrivals AP No. 20 Michigan (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten).

The first half was sloppy, high-scoring and filled with big plays. The second half was again sloppy, yet dominated by defenses and missed opportunities by the Buckeyes. In the end, all that matters is a victory and a spotless 2012 for OSU.

Yet, somehow, the day started off with somber news: senior leader John Simon would not play because of an bursa injury in his right knee he suffered against Wisconsin. [Read more...]

Report: Ohio State’s John Simon out against Michigan

ESPN Gameday just reported that star senior defensive end John Simon will not play today against Michigan. Various reports had him doubtful leading up to game time with an undisclosed injury and then not on the field while the team was practicing just moments ago.

This heartbreaking news not only for Simon, who would have played his final game today, but also for the Buckeyes. Simon is the undoubted heart and soul of the OSU defense, so his loss could be devastating against the versatile Michigan offense.

Update at 11:59 a.m.: Reports from Columbus indicate that Simon is indeed in sweats on the sidelines. He was the last senior to walk out on the field before the game. Again, this is a huge blow for OSU’s defense.

Update at 12:05 p.m.: The previously undisclosed injury is a right knee injury that Simon suffered against the Wisconsin Badgers last week, per various Twitter reports coming from OSU’s sports information department. About 15 minutes ago, Buckeyes blog Land-Grant Holy Land tweeted via an ESPN report that Simon has a synovial bursa sac injury.

[Related: If eligible, would Ohio State be on the verge of a BCS Championship appearance?]

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] [Read more...]

Black Friday Fun With Numbers

For your Black Friday enjoyment, I bring to you a special edition of Rick’s usual numbers post. Some of these might be scarier than normal, so hopefully this is not read with a heaping pile of leftover turkey in your mouth.

Cleveland Browns

12.7-24.6 – Average score of the 27 Steelers-Browns games since the 1999 season. Cleveland is just 4-23 in those games, after starting 2-2 in their first two years back.

20-63 (.241) – Overall record by the Browns in all division games, including playoffs, since returning in 1999. The team is 50-85 (.370) in all other games.

25.61 and 0.504– The Browns rank 30th in the NFL with just 25.61 yards per drive and 31st with 0.504 punts per drive this season. The league averages, respectively, are about 31 yards and 0.4 punts per drive, according to Football Outsiders. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Thankful for Jeremy Pargo

Today, as a special version of While We’re Waiting, I wanted to go team-by-team as I share what I’m thankful for here in November 2012. For more WFNY thanks, stay tuned at 10 a.m.

Cleveland Cavaliers

I’m thankful for a very pleasant Thanksgiving Eve surprise in new Cavs point guard Jeremy Pargo: “Pargo’s 28 points was surprising enough, but it was doubly impressive considering that he was matched up against Jrue Holiday, who is one of the better point guard defenders in the NBA. Pargo had no trouble getting his shot, though, as he shot 11-19 from the field and 4-8 from three. He also added four assists and five rebounds.” [Jordan Sargent/SB Nation Cleveland] [Read more...]