August 26, 2014

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 News: Braxton Miller a gameday decision for Ohio State

“He [Braxton Miller]‘s moving much better. He conditioned pretty hard after practice [on Wednesday]. Today’s another big day. Tomorrow’s another big day. We’re going to keep working until the foot hits the ball and then we’ll make a decision on game day.”

– Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on the status of Buckeyes star quarterback Braxton Miller, who missed last week’s game against California with a sprained left knee ligament. In his place, backup quarterback and (fellow co-captain) Kenny Guiton led the Bucks to a 52-34 victory and received national player of the week nods.

OSU has one final non-conference tuneup this week at noon Saturday against Florida A&M. They’re over 50-point favorites for the lopsided matchup, which was set up with a cost of $900K from OSU to the Rattlers. Many fans are likely hoping for Miller to at least participate somewhat, in order to be prepared for the first big showdown of the year on Sept. 28 against Wisconsin.

[Related: The Other Quarterback: Kenny Guiton and his smooth jazz keep the Buckeye offense in rhythm]

Ohio State’s Kenny Guiton wins national player of the week honors

After his first career start, Ohio State captain and backup quarterback Kenny Guiton received some extraordinary news today: He’s the recipient of a national college player of the year award.

CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman initially shared the news that Guiton had won the Walter Camp National Player of the Week honor. In the Buckeyes’ 52-34 victory at California, the redshirt senior Guiton tallied 368 total yards and four touchdowns. His 90-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith in the first quarter stands as the longest play in school history.

No. 4 Ohio State concludes its regular season non-conference schedule with a noon home game against Florida A&M (sans marching band) next Saturday in Columbus. There’s obviously still no word on whether Heisman contender Braxton Miller will return for that game.

One might assume that the Bucks will be focusing on their conference opener, Sept. 28 against Wisconsin, for Miller’s return. Injuries have been a constant thorn in his side the past two seasons and despite 77 career passing/rushing attempts before Saturday, this was the first time he got the start. And he certainly capitalized on the opportunity.

[Related: The Other Quarterback: Kenny Guiton and his smooth jazz keep the Buckeye offense in rhythm]

While We’re Waiting… Fantasy football in NFL stadiums?

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.

WFNYBanner www

Would the Browns ever try out an area like this? Do they need to? “Inside EverBank Field, during the second half of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ lopsided loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, Carlos Boria finally found a reason to cheer. ‘Yeah, baby,’ he screamed as tight end Jimmy Graham scored a touchdown. But Graham is not a member of the Jaguars. He was playing for the Saints, about 500 miles away, at the Superdome in New Orleans. Boria’s cheer was part of the cacophony in the new 7,000-square-foot fantasy football lounge at the Jaguars’ stadium, where fans were primarily following not the game they had bought tickets to attend, but those in other N.F.L. cities involving players on their fantasy teams.” [Ken Belson/New York Times] [Read more...]

Ohio State 52, Cal 34: Guiton leads Bucks to road victory

The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes cruised to another quick first quarter lead en route to a fast-paced 52-34 victory against California in Berkeley on Saturday night.

Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton, in his first-ever career start in place of the injured Braxton Miller, shined with 368 total yards and four touchdowns. His 90-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith on OSU’s second play from scrimmage went down in the records books as the longest play in school history.

The mostly scarlet-clad Memorial Stadium in Berkeley cheered on as the Buckeyes romped to a 21-0 advantage within the game’s first six minutes. It was the third time in as many weeks that Ohio State had taken a three touchdown lead within the first quarter. Similar to week one against Buffalo, the game was back-and-forth from there.

OSU’s defense didn’t look pretty, as they preceded to allow over 500 yards of offense to the Golden Bears, who entered the game with one of college football’s fastest-paced offenses. True freshman quarterback Jared Goff threw for 371 yards, by far the worst game of his young career (he had 450 and 481 in his first two games).

Yet the game was never really much in doubt. Although the Bears had an opportunity to cut the margin within one score at the end of the first half, they had to settle for a field goal and a 31-20 intermission deficit. From there, Jordan Hall picked up the second of his three touchdowns en route to a 168-yard game. The Buckeyes then again increased their lead to 45-20.

It certainly wasn’t a seamless performance by any means, but the Buckeyes will take the career-best performances from Guiton and Hall with the victory. They have one more final non-conference tuneup — next Saturday at noon against Florida A&M at The Horseshoe — before Big Ten play arrives at the end of the month. Then, these post-first quarter lapses could actually come back to bite them big time. For now, it’s just another win.

[Related: The Other Quarterback: Kenny Guiton and his smooth jazz keep the Buckeye offense in rhythm]

While We’re Waiting… Why the Tribe will make the playoffs

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.

WFNYBanner www

An optimistic take on the Indians’ playoff hopes: “The good news for Cleveland is that the difficult stretch is over. There are 17 games left on the Indians’ schedule, and aside from a three-game stand in Kansas City, the remaining teams are a gift from the baseball gods. It’s practically the reverse of what they just endured — whereas the only solace in the previous 15-game stretch was the Mets series, the Royals represent the only hardship between now and the end of the season. The rest reads like a wish list: White Sox (six games), Astros (four games), Twins (four games). The question is, how many games can they expect to win from the remainder?” [Shane Ryan/Grantland] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Wild Card’s factor in MLB attendance

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.

WFNYBanner www

This article focuses on Cleveland and other MLB wild card contending teams struggling with attendance: “Baseball’s addition last season of a second wild card playoff spot in each league was supposed to help teams like Cleveland by elevating their chances of contending and increasing the importance of September’s schedule. The Indians currently trail the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League wild card by a game and a half. Yet the town, like other towns whose teams are in the thick of things, seems to be yawning.” [Tom Van Riper/Forbes] [Read more...]

The Diff: Coveted Chip Kelly brings Moneyball style to NFL

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote about some Browns storylines heading into Week 1. Now, I’m writing about the NFL’s latest fad and one of my favorite topics ever: Chip Kelly.

The Diff

Jan. 5-6, 2013: A crazy weekend in Browns news. The next Monday, the WFNY crew congregated for a roundtable to reflect on what exactly just happened. In the end, University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly had indeed bolted for the NFL, but chose the Philadelphia Eagles instead of Cleveland or elsewhere. I was pretty decimated; not only because I was on Twitter alert for 16 hours a day for naught, but because the much-coveted Chip Kelly had gone elsewhere. My favorite football coach wouldn’t be coaching my favorite team. [Read more...]

Notre Dame turns down Ohio State football game each year

One of the intriguing topics of this year’s early Ohio State football season has a familiar Cleveland bent: Attendance. In his latest article for The Plain Dealer, beat reporter Doug Lesmerises writes about the team’s non-conference scheduling and pricing efforts to increase attendance.

While the main focus of the article was on this season’s three non-conference home games of Buffalo, San Diego State and Florida A&M, along with the new ticket pricing structure unveiled to increase amounts for key games, there also was one fascinating aside. In discussing the Buckeyes’ plans with having just three non-conference games starting in 2014, Lesmerises writes:

The plan is for one major opponent considered a top 10 program ([OSU athletic director Gene] Smith said he asks Notre Dame every year “and they say no,”) another program among the best 30 or 40 in the country and one opponent like a MAC team.

The Fighting Irish and Buckeyes have met only five teams in their storied football histories. The most recent one occurred in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, made famous by the split jersey worn by ND quarterback Brady Quinn’s sister, who was dating OSU linebacker A.J. Hawk. Previously, the two teams also matched up in regular season action in 1935 and 1936, along with 1995 and 1996.

Notre Dame is transitioning to its unique partial member status in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Starting in 2014, they’ll be required to face off against five ACC teams per season. This year, they only play one such team (Pittsburgh), which means a number of long-time rivalries (such as Michigan) might be going to the wayside.

Lesmerises’ research isn’t all that surprising: The Buckeyes do have a recent history of a handful of powerhouse home-and-home series. There’s no harm in trying to ask, as a home game against the Irish would likely be among the most crazed ticket-sellers in school history.

[Related: ]

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...]

While We’re Waiting… New Nike Buckeyes uniforms?

“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.

WFNYBanner www

These might be the uniforms we see at the Horshoe this season: “Columbus-based Ohio State retailer The Buckeye Room posted this photo of a “New twill Nike Limited” Ohio State home football jersey featuring quarterback Braxton Miller’s No. 5. The jersey, which features seven embroidered Buckeye Leafs on the collar – one for each of the school’s seven national championships (or Heisman Trophies) – will set you back $120.” [Eleven Warriors] [Read more...]

Ohio State’s Marotti: Braxton Miller is starting to be a leader for Buckyes

He’s probably come the furthest. He was the furthest away from (in terms of the) day-to-day, treating yourself like a professional player in what you have to do. He didn’t do it, but he has to learn that. The one thing he’s always had though is competitiveness. If you said, ‘We’re going to do a pull-up test.’ He wants to know who got the most and then he’s going to get the most. If we’re racing, he wants to know who had the fastest time and then he’ll beat it. But the day-to-day grind, he’s had a hard time learning it but I’ve seen him grow up just in the last five months, in the last two months.

We have the off-season program and then we have spring break and then you see a little difference in him. Then you have the spring football part and then you have a break, and when he came back from this May-mester, he’s completely different this month of May than he was in January. I just think he’s maturing and getting older. He starting to buy into everything. Coach talks about him knowing the offense now. If they call a play, he just doesn’t know what the wide receiver he’s supposed to throw to does, he knows the protections, he knows the backside. He knows what the running back is doing. Now he understands the why.

He was just so laid-back. I had to learn patience with him. I have ants in my pants. I’m used to quarterbacks—Jarious Jackson, Brady Quinn, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow—they’re all workout guys. With him, he was just so laid-back, it was like ‘whoa, whoa, whoa,’ I wasn’t used to that. That’s his personality. You gotta get over that, but he’s different right now. Back 20 years ago, I would’ve thrown stuff at him. He’s a great kid. I love him. He’s starting to be a leader now. He’s developing some of those leadership skills.

— Ohio State men’s football assistant coach Mickey Marotti, in a lengthy, recommended piece by CBS’ Bruce Feldman, on the improvement of Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller. In 2012, the Buckeyes quarterback threw for 2,039 yards to go with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. A dual-threat, he 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Miller and the Buckeyes will enter Year 2 of the Urban Meyer era, their first season together where the team is eligible for a BCS bowl. On Monday, the Buckeyes were ranked second by long-time NCAA football analyst Phil Steele. Miller’s improvement from the team’s 12-0 2012 season will be integral in their success in 2013.

[Related: Scott Raab on LeBron James, “The Block,” Josh Gordon, Chris Perez and more]

Ohio State Buckeyes No. 2 in Phil Steele’s preseason ranking

The Ohio State Buckeyes, in their second year under the watch of Urban Meyer, are ranked second by Phil Steele in his annual preseason list of college football powerhouses.

In his preview magazine (which has been published annually for 18 years), Steele digs deep to analyze where he feels teams will finish the 2013 season. While he has the Crimson Tide of Alabama slotted in the top spot, Steele has plenty of glowing things to say about the Scarlet and Grey.

Last year the Buckeyes were coming off a 6-7 season but had a huge turnaround under new head coach Urban Meyer, going a perfect 12-0 despite not having a bowl to go to at the end of the season. This year they have my Heisman Trophy favorite in quarterback Braxton Miller, four starters back on the offensive line and solid skill players. The defense does lose all four starting linemen, but not only do I like their replacements, I also think highly of their back seven, which features two of my preseason first-team All-Americans in linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Bradley Roby. This is one of the most talented teams in the country, as all eight of Ohio State’s units rank in the top 25 of my individual position rankings.

The schedule is light, as the Buckeyes will be favored in their first 11 games, with the toughest road games coming at Northwestern and then Michigan in the finale. In Meyer’s previous coaching stops at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida, the team improved in his second season. The only thing better than a 12-0 season is another 12-0 season followed by a Big Ten title and an appearance in the BCS National Championship.

Following the Buckeyes are the Florida State Seminoles (last season’s No. 1 pick), Texas Longhorns and Oregon Ducks. Steele has selected the national champion correctly three times in the last six seasons.

[Related: Scott Raab on LeBron James, “The Block,” Josh Gordon, Chris Perez and more]

Former Buckeye Orlando Pace named to College Football Hall of Fame

Former Ohio State All-American offensive tackle Orlando Pace will join former Cleveland Browns quarterback Vinnie Testaverde as members in the newest class for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Pace, the 24th Buckeye player to make the Hall, is considered one of the most dominant offensive linemen in college football history, finishing fourth in the Heisman voting in 1996. Winner of the Rotary Lombardi Award in 1995 and 1996, Pace became the first ever player to win the award twice. He was the offensive lineman since 1972 to finish in the top-four in the Heisman vote, the winner ultimately being Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel.

Pace started every game–38 in all–between 1994-96 before bypassing his senior year to enter the NFL Draft where he was selected first-overall by the St. Louis Rams. Pace went on to a 13-year career in the NFL where he was a member of the Rams’ 1999 Super Bowl championship team. He protected the blind side and cleared running lanes for the NFL’s MVP for three consecutive seasons (Kurt Warner in 1999 and 2000 and Marshall Faulk in 2001). Pace was named All-Pro five times and he was voted into seven Pro Bowl games.

“I don’t know how you could play the position any better than [Orlando] did,” said former Ohio State head coach John Cooper. “He was just a fantastic football player. “He was the best.”

Pace did not allow a sack in his final two years at Ohio State.

[Related: Ohio State five-star recruit says God wanted him to play for the Buckeyes]

Ohio State five-star recruit says God wanted him to play for the Buckeyes

This past winter, leading up to National Signing Day, Georgia recruit Vonn Bell was said to be deciding between playing for Alabama, Tennessee or The Ohio State University. The five-star recruit surprised many when he opted for Columbus over the warmer confines of the SEC. As it turns out, Bell may have had a little bit of guidance in making his decision.

From the AJC:

I didn’t really have any secrets. I kept everything all open with everybody. But about the biggest secret was probably keeping it secret (about Ohio State) until signing day. The first two days (before signing day), I just woke up out of my dreams. Me and God just had a conversation. He said ‘I want you go to Ohio State.’ Then I just knew ever since then. That was probably the longest time I ever kept a secret, those two days.

He just woke me up in the middle of my sleep, and I just heard ‘Ohio State’ in my head. I just listened to it, and stuck with it. Ohio State was in my heart. I didn’t know (which college I was going to sign with) until then. I asked God to give me a sign, and He gave me a sign. I woke up the middle of the night.

Bell went into Signing Day as the fourth-best safety in the country, a top-35 recruit overall. In addition to Alabama and Tennessee, the speedy play-maker turned down Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Notre Dame.

[Related: While We’re Waiting… What a night in Cleveland]

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]

While We’re Waiting… Already starting to doubt the Browns?

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.

WFNYBanner www

Skepticism Sunday: “It’s happening already. There hasn’t been a practice or even an organized team activity, let alone a game that counts. The team can’t even officially meet as a whole, but already, it’s happening. It seems with each passing regime, many in the Cleveland Browns fan base and media become increasingly more skeptical and mistrusting of the next group that comes in. Their reasons are not unfounded.” [Ryan Alton/Draft Browns]

Is drafting a guard the undoubted best move? “The best way for the Cleveland Browns to improve is for them to use the sixth pick in the draft to take Chance Warmack, offensive guard from Alabama and begin to complete the best offensive line in the NFL. When that happens, with a healthy Trent Richardson running behind that line, Brandon Weeden can be great. Or Colt McCoy. Or your grandmother, if she has a decent arm and half a brain.” [Brian Tarcy/The OBR]

Looking for stars on defense: “As you know, the 2013 Ohio State Buckeyes have a lot of defensive starters to replace. With only four returning starters — including none on the defensive line — the defense this fall will have more question marks than Frank Gorshin’s Riddler suit. Among those queries will be the usual ruminations on which young players will step up, which freshmen are likely to see playing time, who among last year’s backups can make the leap, and whether or not the D can continue the evolution it began over the last quarter of 2012. But perhaps the biggest question of all is: where will the defensive leadership come from in 2013? The Buckeyes will be as green as the Ohio Stadium turf on the defensive side of the ball.” [Michael Citro/Eleven Warriors]

This sounds familiar, eh? “Impossible as it may be, there is currently one small-market NBA team that may have the opportunity to replicate the Oklahoma City model. In the two and a half seasons since the end of the LeBron James era, the Cleveland Cavaliers have limped to a total record of 60-146 and have amassed four first round draft picks and currently have two more selections in the upcoming 2013 NBA draft (a likely lottery pick of their own and another from either the Heat or the Lakers). Stockpiling draft picks, sound familiar?” [Eric Palutsis/Pro Basketball Draft]

Loved this back-and-forth roundtable over at CTB: “There have been some notable exceptions (there’s at least one nice drive and kick play a game, for example), but overall the on-court chemistry between Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving has been severely lacking. Dion hasn’t really figured out any off-ball moved or cuts yet, and combined with the fact that Kyrie is occasionally a reluctant passer, what often results is a stunted isolation for Kyrie at the end of the shot clock, while Dion sulks thirty feet from the hoop. I would love for Byron Scott to initiate a lot more movement for the Cavaliers in general, and a lot of that should involve the backcourt.” [Dani/Cavs: The Blog]

Looking at another LOOGY? “With the departures of relief pitchers Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp during the offseason, the Indians now have a huge opening in their bullpen for a lefty – preferably one who throws strikes and is not afraid of the later innings. Nick Hagadone would seem to fit the bill, for the most part. In parts of the last two seasons with the Tribe, the left-hander has shown the ability to strike people out and hold opposing bats at bay. The problem for Hagadone is that he has also shown the penchant for melting down.” [Craig Gifford/Did The Tribe Win Last Night?]

Baseball stats in the spring, what could be bad? “If a team has a really great spring training, it’s not like they can carry some of those wins over to the regular season. Ultimately, spring records don’t matter – players are rusty and getting in shape and pitchers may be trying some new pitches. Teams will occasionally come from behind to win at the end of games, when minor leaguers not expected to be on the 25-man roster are on the field. Is there ever any correlation between your record during spring training, and how you perform during the regular season? I figured I’d take a look at the Indians during the past 10 seasons when it comes to spring vs. the regular season, as well as teams that made the playoffs over the past 10 seasons.” [Stephanie Liscio/It's Pronounced "Lajaway"]

And finally, not Cleveland-related per se, but still related to stats. And maybe the opposite will occur to the Tribe in 2013? “There is a term used often in the sports analytic community called regression, or reversion to the mean, that contends that if a statistical phenomenon occurs, it is likely not to occur again and revert closer or back to the norm or average. In layman’s terms, it is a sophisticated way of saying things will even out. With this in mind, I took a look at MLB playoff teams since 2008 that improved their win totals by at least ten wins from one season to the next and then saw if they had a significant drop-off the next year, i.e. reverting back to the mean. What I found was of the 11 teams in this study, each one lost at least 5 more games the next season and 8 of the 11 failed to get back into the playoffs.” [Alex Burwasser/Bloomberg Sports' Stats Insights]

2013 NFL Draft: Jarvis Jones’ value falling, so what?

Jarvis JonesThe Super Bowl matchup is set. But for the Browns, despite the meaningless Pro Bowl next week, the next truly meaningful event on the schedule is April’s NFL Draft.

Of course, there will be the combine and several other related activities until the three-day draft begins on Thursday, April 25, but let’s just go for the imagery of this magical, franchise-defining moment in the middle of spring for the Browns and their new front office/coaching staff.

Each of the last two months around this time, I started out WFNY’s draft coverage by looking at the Big Board for the NFL Draft. First, I professed my love for a certain underclassman turnover-machine from Georgia, and then, I squared off against my friend Jordan in the debate over picking a guard or a defensive playmaker.

So let’s take another updated look today at the aggregate Big Board. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Francona brings swagger to Cleveland

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.

“There is a new feeling around the Cleveland Indians. It isn’t a feeling of cockiness, but confidence. It’s a feeling of pride in what has been accomplished since the end of a 94-loss season in 2012, and also a focus on the work that is left to be done. It’s a feeling of comfort and trust, while starting so many things different and new. However you try to describe the feeling, it is one created by new Manager Terry Francona.” [Mike Brandyberry/Did The Tribe Win Last Night?] [Read more...]