April 17, 2014

LaQuinton Ross going NBA, Sixers keep losing, and Community: While We’re Waiting

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I’m currently writing this while fighting a fever, so this will probably be a little shorter WWW than I normally write, so please bear with me….

LaQuinton Ross going pro? I heard whispers all season long that Ohio State junior forward LaQuinton Ross would be heading to the NBA after this season. I never really believed it. I believed he wanted to, but I didn’t he was good enough to actually do it.

Well, I don’t know if I was right or wrong on whether he’s an NBA player, but he evidently really is entering the draft. I don’t really get it. I understood why Deshaun Thomas went pro last year. He had probably peaked as a scorer and he was getting in a shallow draft while avoiding this year’s supposedly loaded draft. But Ross lacks the consistency that Thomas showed and he’s entering what some consider to be one of the better draft classes in recent memory. I hope it works out for him, but I really don’t get it at all. [Read more...]

No more-deserving Cinderella than the lovable Dayton Flyers

devin oliver dayton

Why not Dayton? This was the question asked for decades by the renowned Flyer Faithful. While the once-storied program consistently disappointed, mid-major after mid-major blasted through the gates of the NCAA tournament’s first weekend into the hearts of the nation.

[Read more...]

Solutions for NBA tanking and Jim Thome wants to play: While We’re Waiting

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By now, you’ve seen the first two renditions of our new version of While We’re Waiting. Andrew got us started on Tuesday. Rick followed up on Wednesday. Now, with my usual bent toward sports analytics and media topics, here’s my first stab at this new format. Hope you enjoy and chime in with your thoughts in the comments.

The 76ers are awful. Like, really, really awful. Is it an “embarrassment”? What needs fixed? Last week, it seemed like the ESPN properties all seemed to gang up on the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving’s free agency status. Yesterday, they all appeared to team up to discuss “tanking” and the currently horrendous Philadelphia 76ers. Last weekend, former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy called the 76ers’ current scheme an “embarrassment” to the league. [Read more...]

Buckeyes focus on defense with Big Ten’s top recruiting class

According to a radio interview with Urban Meyer, the number one position of need for the Ohio State Buckeyes is linebacker. The team took a what it hopes is a big step toward filling those needs with the class of 2014, which is up to twenty-three players after letters of intent came in today.

“Without question, the position that is not up to standard is linebacker,” said Meyer on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. Meyer hinted that all four recruits from this class could end up playing.

LB Raekwon McMillan is one of seven recruits that enrolled early and is already working out with the team and apparently making quite an impression. Meyer said today that McMillan was “kind of a grown man for his age.” ESPN rated him the top inside linebacker recruit in the nation.

Kyle Berger from St. Ignatius, Dante Booker from St. Vincent-St. Mary and Sam Hubbard from Cincinnati Moeller join McMillan to form the top linebacking recruiting class in the country according to 247 sports.com.

The defensive secondary was also upgraded with Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith from Glenville, Damon Webb of Detroit, Michigan and Malik Hooker of Pennsylvania.

On the offensive side of the ball the line was in need of several replacements and the Buckeyes feel they got what they needed when Chicago’s Jamarco Jones made the commitment to play for Ohio State. He tops the list of five offensive linemen brought in by Urban Meyer’s staff.

Of course, Meyer made sure to recruit plenty of speed, including a few wide receivers that have a chance to see the field in 2014.

 [Related: Craft the senior leader every team wants]

Michigan State upsets Ohio State to win Big Ten Championship, knocks Buckeyes out of national title contention

MSUUrban Meyer and Ohio State’s 24 game winning streak came to and end in Indianapolis on Saturday night with a 34-24 loss to Michigan State. The win caps off a dream season for the Spartans, sending them to their first Rose Bowl since 1988. The loss leaves Ohio State looking back at a 24 game win streak that is now in the past and ends without a BCS title or a Big Ten title.

The Spartans opened the game with a 14 play drive aided by two Buckeye pass interference penalties that led to a 40 yard a field goal. Then the Spartans defense took the field and looked as advertised, forcing OSU punts on the game’s first three possessions. The Michigan State defense keyed in early on Braxton Miller, giving him little room to run the football. While Miller was bottled up early, Michigan State sophomore quarterback Connor Cook let it all hang out. Cook found Keith Mumphrey behind the OSU defense for a 72 yard touchdown to give the Spartans a 10-0 lead and then hit Tony Lippet for 33 yard touchdown to stretch the Spartans lead to 17-0 early in the second quarter.

Trailing 17-0 Braxton and Buckeye offense finally got it going, moving 84 yards on a quick 2:35 drive, capped off by a 20 yard passing score to Philly Brown. Brown got behind the Spartan defense up the seam as Miller put the ball high, back shoulder for Brown to go up and make the catch for the score.

Both defenses then locked in until the Buckeyes got the ball back at their own 36 with 1:23 remaining in the half. After a Miller and a Carlos Hyde run, the Buckeyes had the ball into Michigan State territory at the Spartans 47 with just 13 seconds remaining. Miller then connected with tight end Jeff Heuerman for a 36 yard game down to the Spartans’ 11 yard line. The Buckeyes hurried to the line and spiked the ball with 7 seconds left in the half to set up a much needed Drew Basil 28 yard field goal to cut the Spartan lead to 17-10 at the half.

The OSU offense started the second half getting their running game on track, gashing the Spartans offense for 59 yards on the drive, including an 8 yard Miller touchdown run that knotted the score at 17-17 early into the third quarter.

The next drive saw Connor Cook intercepted by the Buckeyes’ C.J. Barnett. The turnover didn’t amount to points for the Buckeyes, but flipped field position. Both teams would then traded punts with OSU getting the ball at the Spartan 44 yard line. Ohio State capitalized on the great field position and marched in to take their first lead of the game 24-17 on a 6 yard Braxton Miller run with 5:36 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Michigan State was able to answer the Buckeyes’ score with a 44 yard field goal to bring the game to 24-20 heading into the 4th quarter.

Cook then led the Spartans down the field on a 90 yard drive sparked by a 48 yard pass to Macgarrett Kings Jr. and a crucial pass interference by OSU’s Doran Grant. Three plays later Cook would find Josiah Price for a 9 yard touchdown to give Sparty a 27-24 lead.

Michigan State then attempted an onside kick of sorts that the Buckeyes recovered on their own 41. Sparty would force the Buckeyes three and out, which was followed by the Ohio State’s defense holding serve forcing MSU into a punting situation. While punting from inside their own 25 yard line, Michigan State had the punt blocked by Ryan Shazier who came full force into the Spartan wall of protectors, bulldozed his man, and got a hand on the punt that gave the Buckeyes the ball back at the MSU 47 yard line.

But the Spartans defense were up to the task stopping the Buckeyes on three straight before Urban Meyer elected to go for it on 4th and 2 at the MSU 39 yard line. On fourth down the Buckeyes ran Miller around right end, but he was never able to get the edge and brought down a yard shy of the marker.

Michigan State took over the ball on their own 38 yard line with 5:41 to play and needing to bleed out the clock for a trip to Pasadena. Connor Cook completed a crucial 3rd and 4 with a five yard pass to Tony Lippet at the OSU 34 yard line to put Sparty fully in the driver’s seat. After a Jerry Langford 8 yard run, Langford broke off a 26 yard touchdown run to give the Spartans a 34-24 lead and lock up a Big Ten title.

With the win Michigan State heads to Pasadena to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl against Pac 12 champion Stanford.

The loss for Ohio State snaps a 24 game winning streak and knocks them out of contention for a berth in the BCS National Championship game. Ohio State will more than likely receive an at large bid to a BCS bowl game to be announced on Sunday night.

[Photo: Mike Mulholland/MLive.com]

While We’re Waiting… The debate rages- Ohio State, Florida State and a one loss SEC team

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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“Auburn vs. Ohio State? I get Auburn vs. Ohio State. It’s a tough call for the second spot in the BCS title game, given that Ohio State is undefeated in a weak BCS league while Auburn has one loss in a tougher league — and has the most impressive win of the season, by anyone, with that upset of Alabama.

What I don’t get is the free pass given to Florida State. Why are the Seminoles just blithely assumed to be deserving of that first spot in the BCS title game?” [Doyel/CBS Sports] [Read more...]

BCS News: 4 Auburn upsets 1 Alabama; Ohio State on verge of moving up

In one of the greatest college football games ever, No. 4 Auburn upended No. 1 Alabama 34-28 in an epic Iron Bowl on a missed field goal return for touchdown. The upset moves No. 3 Ohio State into the BCS Championship picture.

The Tigers (11-1, 7-1 SEC) trailed the Buckeyes by a sizeable margin — almost .100 — in the latest BCS standings released last Sunday. It’s expected they still should be behind OSU and No. 2 Florida State, who defeated struggling Florida in their rivalry game.

Go find the Auburn-Alabama last play video and the Auburn radio call if you haven’t yet. It’s a sight to see, plus could move the 12-0 undefeated Buckeyes into the title if they can win one final game next Saturday in Indianapolis. OSU will face off against previous No. 11 Michigan State.

In other BCS and Big Ten news, Penn State upset No. 15 Wisconsin. Certainly, that slightly hurts the Buckeyes’ resume, but they should be able to put all concerns to rest in the Big Ten title.

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

Five around Cleveland – OSU, CSU, QBs, Jhon, & AB

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers-Press Conference1. It is Ohio State/Michigan week and for the first time since the days of Rich Rod, there is almost zero anticipation for this game outside of the local fan bases. Remember, this was supposed to be the one “tough” game post-Wisconsin on the Buckeyes charmin-soft schedule. Instead, they might as well be playing Illinois, Iowa, or Indiana. It isn’t “if” Ohio State will win, rather by “how many.” This game has taken on that kind of feel.

Michigan’s offense has been, well, offensive to say the least. They literally cannot run the ball or protect QB Devin Gardner, who has become a complete shell of himself after being destroyed all year long. The “rivalry”  thing can only take you so far. Michigan may be at home, but they literally have no shot pulling off this upset. The talent and coaching disparity is just too great, especially in the trenches. Back in September, the early line on this game was Ohio State -4.5 (h/t to my man @ClevTA). Today, they sit a 14 point road favorite. It won’t even be that close. [Read more...]

Examining the Buckeye Offense at the Midpoint

braxtonhallA year and a half into the Urban Meyer era, and the Buckeyes are still yet to taste defeat.

The 2012 season was glorious. In spite of a nonexistent postseason, I’ll never forget watching Ryan Shazier house that interception at Beaver Stadium, the emotional roller coaster in Madison, or Carlos Hyde grinding the Michigan defense into submission. The 12-0 record is something to be celebrated, in spite of the fact that Ohio State fans had to watch December and January games from the couch.

However, the Buckeyes offense was borderline unwatchable at times last season. In the first year playing in Urban Meyer’s spread attack, Ohio State occasionally devolved into the Braxton Miller show. The Buckeye quarterback racked up almost 1300 yards on the ground, but only 2039 through the air. Philly Brown was the leading receiver with just 669 yards. Carlos Hyde totaled 970 yards on the ground, but the next leading rusher behind him and Miller was Jordan Hall with just 218.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Trent’s workload, Tribe’s rotation, Buckeye’s read option

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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“In 2012, over a five game stretch, Richardson carried the ball at least 20 times during those games and the Browns won three of the five, while Richardson averaged just under 100 yards per game. He had 24 rushes for 122 yards and a score in a win over the Chargers, followed by a 25 for 105 yards in a loss to the Ravens.

In Week 10, Richardson had 28 carries for 95 yards in a loss to the Cowboys, followed by 29 rushes for 85 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Steelers. He had 20 carries for 72 yards and a score in a win over the Raiders in Week 12. The next week, the Browns beat the Chiefs 30-7 and Richardson had 18 rushes for just 42 yards and two touchdowns.

In the other 10 games of the season, Richardson had less than 20 carries, averaged 47 yards a game and the Browns were 2-8. He didn’t play in the season finale against the Steelers.” [Greetham/Orange and Brown Report]

[Read more...]

WFNY talks about Ohio State and off-field issues

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Urban Meyer probably feels like he can’t catch a break these days. In his first season as head coach of The Ohio State University, he had to deal with a postseason ban that he wasn’t expecting and the arrests of veteran leaders like Storm Klein, Jake Stoneburner, and Jack Mewhort. In the offseason since then, he’s seen the University President forced to resign, one of his former high profile recruits at Florida being arrested and charged with first degree murder, incoming recruits having legal issues (Timothy Gardner and Marcus Baugh), and now the issues with junior Bradley Roby and senior Carlos Hyde.

With all of these distractions taking place, it’s a bit of an uneasy time for Ohio State’s football program. As the arrests pile up, all in the wake of one of the biggest scandal’s in OSU history 2 years ago, public perception and national reputation are changing. With so much going on, it seemed like a good time for Kirk, Rick, and myself to talk about some of these issues and to share our opinions on what’s going on, and how much impact this will have on the school and the program. [Read more...]

NCAA News: Ohio State’s Hyde dismissed from team; Bradley Roby arrested

A pair of Ohio State players find themselves in the news for unfortunate reasons. Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde was recently named as the person of interest in a police investigation concerning an altercation at a bar in Columbus over the weekend and has been subsequently dismissed from the team while cornerback Bradley Roby was arrested and faces charges of battery.

Eleven Warriors.com was the first to obtain the police report on Hyde who is linked to the alleged assault of a female which took place early this past Saturday in Columbus. No arrest has been made at this point. The Columbus Dispatch reports that was arrested early Sunday morning in Bloomington, Indiana and is facing preliminary charges of battery resulting in bodily injury. Reports regarding Roby state that the player refused to leave a bar after being asked and had to be “subdued” by in-house security. His case summary was filed as a criminal misdemeanor—a crime with a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

During the Buckeyes’ 12-0 season of 2012, Hyde accounted for 1,021 total yards (970 yards on the ground) and 17 touchdowns. Roby, who opted to return for his junior season rather than going to the NFL, has been listed on several preseason lists for various national awards (including the Thorpe Award) as well as being projected as an All-American. He recorded 62 tackles in 2012, intercepting two passes and defending 16 others.

Eleven Warriors also reports that additional news, potentially involving a third player, may be on the way, though not as severe as the reports surrounding Hyde and Roby.

[Related: Scott Raab on the Tribe, superstition and no-hitters, and the Browns]

Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee to retire July 1

A week after his comments about Notre Dame, the SEC and the Catholic religion went public, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee announced today his intention to retire effective July 1, 2013.  The two-time Ohio State president made his announcement this afternoon in an email to students, faculty and staff. The Columbus Dispatch broke the story.

“Without question, the university has achieved remarkable success, and it has been my honor and calling to lead it,” Gee’s email says. “Ohio State is well-positioned for the future. I love this university, and my relationship with it will continue.”

Gee met with the Trustee board after he made the remarks in December, but there was no real action taken. Since the comments came to light late last week, the board met again with Gee on Monday.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that the University was ready to hand down a stiff penalty on the President if he decided to stay on. For the record, Gee stated that his decision to retire was after a vacation.

“I recently returned from a vacation with my family, during which time I had a chance to consider the university’s phenomenal achievements and the road that lies ahead for it. During my days away, I also spent some time in self-reflection. And after much deliberation, I have decided it is now time for me to turn over the reigns of leadership to allow the seeds that we have planted to grow. It is also time for me to reenergize and refocus myself.”

[Related: Gee could be fired with one more slip up]

NCAA Tournament: Ohio State’s Path To Atlanta

Deshaun ThomasRejoice Ohio State fans. Not only is your team playing its best basketball at the right time, but the NCAA Tournament committee rewarded them with perhaps its best draw in years. Fresh off of their Big Ten Tournament Championship in Chicago, Thad Matta’s Buckeyes are riding high right into the greatest event in all of American sports.

It is amazing to think about how far this Ohio State team has come when you look back at their midseason swoon. This was a team that was throttled at Illinois by 19 in January and destroyed at Wisconsin by 22 in February, in the midst of losing three of four. However, since that debacle in Madison, the Bucks have won eight straight, six of those coming against NCAA Tournament teams, including a road win over #1 seed Indiana.

The Buckeyes are peaking. With a stroke of magic, they were sent out West with a path to the Final Four as good as anyone has. As many of you know, I am Kansas graduate and I would gladly give up our number one seed for the two seed in the West with Ohio State’s draw.  [Read more...]

Big Ten News: Former Buckeyes OC Jim Bollman being considered at Michigan State

According to Football Scoop.com, former Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator Jim Bollman is close to accepting a job to be Michigan State’s new OC-

“Sources tell us Jim Bollman is expected to accept the Michigan State OC job”

The Detroit Free Press is also reporting the hiring-

“Michigan State has hired Purdue offensive line coach Jim Bollman to be its new offensive coordinator, according to multiple reports…. Bollman was Jim Tressel’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Ohio State and previously served as MSU’s offensive line coach under Nick Saban, in 1995-97. MSU head coach Mark Dantonio worked with Bollman at both stops.

While Bollman had the title of offensive coordinator, Tressel called the Buckeyes’ plays. Bollman took over OSU’s play calling for the 2011 season, under interim coach Luke Fickell.”

Bollman was the offensive line coach for Boston College last season. He then accepted the same position to work with Darrell Hazel at Purdue. This off-season.  Now it appears he will be leaving Purdue to be the OC and calls plays at Michigan State.

In 2011, Bollman’s  Ohio State offense ranked 107 in all of college football.

While We’re Waiting…Kyrie earns respect, OSU/Wisc, Bourn notes

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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“”This weekend was just basically about earning everybody’s respect and getting a chance for people to see me who don’t usually see me,” Irving said. “We’re not nationally televised. This weekend is to show my face to the fans and get everybody in the league acclimated to my face.” [Ingram/USAToday] [Read more...]

Gordon Gee: Big Ten expansion talks ongoing

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee told the university’s Athletic Council last December that talks regarding the Big Ten’s further expansion were “ongoing”. On the heels of adding Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers it appears the Big Ten is not quite done expanding.

Gee “believes there is movement towards three or four super conferences that are made up of 16-20 teams.” After Maryland and Rutgers officially become members the conference will be at 14 teams.

The Ohio State president did not name specific schools that the conference was targeting, but said “there are opportunities to move further south in the East and possibly a couple of Midwest universities.”

NCAA Basketball News: Ohio State Revises Coach Thad Matta’s Contract

While this season has been a bit of an up and down year for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, their head coach Thad Matta is still being rewarded with a revised contract that sees a boost to his annual salary. According to Rusty Miller of the Associated Press, the new contract will see him receive a 10% bump to his salary (bringing him to over $3.2 million per year) including academic bonuses.

Additionally, the contract also revises some language regarding NCAA violations. The contract now requires Matta to report anyone who “may potentially have violated NCAA rules”. The new wording is presumed to be an effort by OSU to avoid some of the ambiguities that made negotiations with Jim Tressel a little trickier in the wake of the email coverup scandal that ultimately cost the coach his job.

Thad Matta is now under contract with Ohio State through July 2019.

[Related: Meltdown In Game’s Final Minute Spoils Deshaun Thomas Show]

Buckeye Learnings

Well, the undefeated season for the Ohio State Buckeyes is officially over. All we are left to deal with are articles about what could have been, what should have been and what the NCAA or Ohio State could have done differently to avoid this debacle. Somewhere along the line you will find articles tying all of those pieces together in an effort to claim to know what would have been best for each situation. Put me in the camp where I think the Buckeyes got what they deserved. It is extremely unfortunate considering what came out later for other schools, but it is the bed they made regardless of the seasons’ outcome.

Given all of that, somehow the season does not really feel like it’s over to me. I get that there are no more games to be played by the Buckeyes this year, but finishing the season the way they did with two huge wins, it feels as though the ending was more of a springboard for this team than a true conclusion. The Buckeyes were not supposed to go undefeated this soon. Urban Meyer was supposed to come into this season to assess players that he largely had no hand in recruiting prior to, realize the talent and start building a winning program with his guys that fit his system under his coaching style.

Instead, he came right in and led this team to an undefeated, 12-0 season in his very first year. What the heck? How do you build on that?!

With confidence and an influx of top tier recruits, that’s how. [Read more...]

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: [Read more...]