April 24, 2014

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?]

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

This year has been a strange one for Ohio State fans. Unlike the thrill of the recent undefeated 2002 or 2006 regular seasons, the 11-0 start to 2012 has had a peculiar aura because of the NCAA-sanctioned bowl ban.

As a result of the bowl ban, the Buckeyes are ineligible for the BCS standings, thus, they’re not included in the weekly updates, the USA Today Coaches Poll or the Harris Interactive Poll. But in a relatively weak college football field this year, because of only one other undefeated team, where would Ohio State rank in the current landscape?

So in a WFNY study and analysis, I looked at where the Buckeyes rank under the same BCS computer polls plus the Associated Press poll and another national ranking. I break down OSU’s perceived “weak” strength of schedule, the storylines that this formula might be missing, what would be up for grabs in today’s Michigan game and what other oddities I see in this new BCS. Hope you enjoy.

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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...]

Ohio State’s one-game season

On Saturday afternoon I drove to the barbershop to get a haircut where I was greeted by the owner who happens to be a war veteran that has more opinions than there are topics. Just my kind of place. I was sporting an Ohio State hoodie and upon sitting down, he asks me if I think the Buckeyes will beat Wisconsin this afternoon. I replied, emphatically.

“I sure so. I hope that they mash them and Urban runs up the score on them too.” He then proceeded to talk about how great it would be to see this team finish undefeated in Urban’s first year coming off a 6-7 season prior to his arrival.

“I agree, but you know what?” I said, “this is a single game season and it starts and ends next week against the Wolverines. No question I would love a win today, but given the circumstances of this season, next week is all that matters.”

He steps back, “WOW! There’s a lot of hate in there. You are a true Buckeye fan.”

[Read more...]

Ohio State jumps to No. 4 in latest AP Poll

With the chaotic back-to-back losses of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation on Saturday night, the Ohio State football team was set to benefit in the Associate Press poll. Despite being ineligible for postseason play (the Harris Poll, the BCS Standings, etc), the Buckeyes have slowly climbed the ranks in the AP poll all year.

The current order goes as follows: Notre Dame as the unanimous No. 1, Alabama at No. 2, Georgia at No. 3, OSU at No. 4 and then Oregon at No. 5. The next three teams: Florida, LSU and Kansas State.

Since Alabama and Georgia will play each other in the SEC Championship game in two weeks, some possible — although highly unlikely — scenarios exist that could lead Ohio State to the No. 1 spot in the final AP poll this season. That’d certainly be highly unprecedented in the BCS era, but puts an extra twist to next week’s edition of “The Game” against Michigan on Saturday.

[Related: Box Score: No. 6 Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14]

Big Ten owns NCAA men’s basketball coaches’ poll

With Tyler Zeller’s little brother Cody deciding to stay in school for his sophomore season, the Indiana Hoosiers sit proudly atop the 2012-13 NCAA Division I men’s basketball  ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll.

The Hoosiers received 21 out of a possible 31 first-place votes and 761 overall points from a panel of coaches. Zeller is one of four starters returning to Bloomington for the upcoming season. The Hoosiers, however, will undoubtedly have their hands full as two Big Ten rivals sit in the top five with Thad Matta’s Ohio State Buckeyes and John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines being ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Indiana will close their 2012-13 season by facing the two teams in consecutive games.

Usual suspects Louisville, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Kansas, Duke, Syracuse and Florida help round out the top 10.

[Related: The Ohio State Perspective]

“You are completely screwed” – B1G Buckeyes

Let me get this out of the way: Coming into the game, I thought the Buckeyes were going to lose Saturday night. Yes, in the ‘Shoe, in Urban’s first home night game with all of the recruits looking on in front of a packed house. I did. I thought that Ohio State’s banged up line-backing corps did not match up well with a very mobile quarterback in Taylor Martinez in tandem with a very shifty and quick running back in Rex Burkhead. For the most part, I was wrong. Martinez was held to 40 yards rushing and aside from Burkhead’s 73-yard run, he too was held in check.

But 63 points!?!? Though I cannot remember the source, there was a comment on Twitter that made me laugh out loud: “After seeing the score, Jim Tressel woke up wondering how in the world Ohio State kicked 21 field goals.”

As hysterical as the comment was, it really made me think about the new era that this program has entered. Good, bad or indifferent, there is no arguing what Tressel did for this university over the past decade but his coaching style is the antithesis of Urban Meyer’s. A fundamentally sound team that was capable of hanging 63 on Nebraska would have never happened under Tressel’s watch. Though under that same watch, the holes in the defense would never happen either. Buckeye Nation is now staring at a very talented and exciting, young team in the face. We all have the joy of watching this team grow up before our eyes, but remember what comes with youth – stupidity. I am not talking about the tweet from Cardale Jones, but taking chances as a football team. So the growing pains will be there and for some of the impatient, it can be quite a roller-coaster complete with pictures at the end.

With great risk, comes great reward and as Andy Staples put it so eloquently in his article following the Buckeyes win in East Lansing “You are completely screwed.” He of course is talking about the Big Ten as a whole and Urban’s innate ability to previously recruit such talented individuals in a conference much superior to the Big Ten.

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While We’re Waiting… A Tale of Two Cities, Matt LaPorta’s Future, Will Barton, Rivalry BBQ

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.

Literature and summer baseball. What could be bad? “To that end, I’ve been reading Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities, to be specific. It’s a gorgeous novel about love, both unrequited and not, about sacrifice and atonement. The plot of the book revolves around the French Revolution of 1848. It is not a baseball novel. Now you may ask what A Tale of Two Cities has to do with the Indians 12-5 loss to Cincinnati. As it turns out, there are a number of surprising parallels.” [Susan Petrone/It's Pronounced "Lajaway"]

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While We’re Waiting… Cavs Draft Options, Michigan Rivalry, Indians Stealing Bases

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.

Our ol’ Brendan Bowers shares his thoughts on the Cavaliers getting his favorite prospect: “As our show ended, and we made our way over to the Q for Chris Grant’s media availability, I allowed my personal dreams of MKG rocking a Cavs uniform for the next ten years to die a slow and painful death. More painful than any dance move could ever inflict. No way he’s there at four, I thought, he’™s the second best player in this Draft. Then all of the sudden I realized who it was picking second, it was the closest thing I’ve ever had to an epiphany. The same guy who drafted Kwame Brown first overall; things began to feel markedly better. As great a player Bobcats owner Michael Jordan was, he’s equally bad as an NBA executive. Anything and everything is back in play at pick number two I decided.” [Brendan Bowers/Cleveland.com] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Kardiac Kyrie, Signing Day is Here and LaPorta’s Swing

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.

Great breakdown of Kyrie’s game- “Many NBA guards never figure out how to convert shots in the lane at a high rate; Irving, who is listed generously at 6-foot-3, seems to have a knack for getting to the basket and scoring there. According to Hoopdata.com, Irving shoots 63 percent at the rim. This puts him in similar territory with Derrick Rose (62.9 percent), Tony Parker (62.4 percent), and John Wall (58.6 percent). In fact, Irving scores 1.292 points per possession near the rim, which puts him in the top 20 percent of all NBA players, according to Synergy Sports.” [Pruiti/Grantland] [Read more...]

Buckeye 12-Pack: The Michigan Game

Each week after re-watching the Ohio State game I bring you my take-aways from the game in a little something I call the Buckeye 12-Pack…

This week I will be doing a season-ending 12 pack, rather than just focusing on the Michigan game.

No. 1- Let’s start by giving some credit where it is due. The offensive gameplan against the Wolverines was great. The Buckeyes went against trends and were very aggressive in the passing game. Braxton Miller attempted 25 passes, completing 14. Both were season highs for the freshman. The volume of throws was a bit unexpected, but perhaps more so were the attempts themselves. Miller didn’t hesitate to stretch the field and swing for the fences a bit.

If Jim Bollman knew this was his last game as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator, he went down swinging. You have to credit him for that. Now, the question many will want to ask is where has this aggressiveness been all season? Fair question, however there are a lot of circumstances playing into OSU’s conservative (if not non-existent) passing game. Having Posey and Corey Brown in the line-up at the same time sure helped. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Browns Place in AFC North, More on Sizemore, Ohio State vs. Michigan Thoughts

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.

‘A Sense of Where You Are’ – AFC North edition: “For the Browns’ power trust, maybe the timing couldn’t be better. Since the Browns have loaded up against NFC West and AFC South talent this season, it’s hard to get a feel for which areas of the roster need addressed in the offseason. Three weeks from now, GM Tom Heckert may realize that both cornerback and safety again need addressed in 2012 – especially if the Browns’ secondary gets ripped apart.

Finally, beleaguered rookie head coach Pat Shurmur could buy himself some precious breathing room from the Browns’ rabid fan base. Considering the record of Shurmur’s predecessors against the AFC North, stealing a win from the Ravens or Steelers could do wonders for the first-time head coach’s image.

Not to mention giving us all a better understanding of these Browns.” [Dave Kolonich/OBR]

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College Hoops Open Thread: OSU vs. Michigan, MAC Title Game

It’s the time of year when college basketball takes over all our lives.  That’s the case today as No. 1 ranked Ohio State takes on rival Michigan.  The Wolverines are playing well and have sewn up a bid to the dance this past week.  It will be a raucous and heated atmosphere in Indy as they tip off at 1:40.  The second particularly notable contest for NE Ohioans is the MAC championship game at the Q.  Kent State has had a tremendous season and will face rival Akron for an automatic berth.  This has become a classic rivalry game in this tournament at the Q and draws a great crowd as well.  Tip is scheduled for  6 PM tonight and the game will be televised on ESPN2.  We’re one day away from the bracket being set so leave your thoughts here as this afternoon of hoops plays out.

Buckeye Hoops Report: OSU Escapes Upset Scares as Schedule Toughens

Ohio State is 23-0 and off to its best start in the Big Ten in 50 years.  They continue on their course to the NCAA tournament and first weekend protected seed at Quicken Loans Arena.  They enter the toughest portion of their schedule this weekend with a top ranked target on their back.

Ohio State avoided an upset bid by a game Michigan team last night in front of what was the second sellout of the season at Value City Arena.  They trailed the Wolverines for much of the first thirty minutes before building an 8 point with about ten minutes to play.  They never relinquished the lead and went onto a 9 point victory to remain undefeated.  They now enter a brutal stretch of the schedule where they will play all 5 teams at the top of the conference consecutively over the next two weeks.

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Ohio State Holds On Against Michigan; Positioned for No. 1 with Duke Loss

While the Cavaliers struggled to avoid being doubled up this week, the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes improved to 17-0 last night with a 68-64 win over Michigan at Crisler Arena.

The current undefeated record represents the Buckeyes’ best start since the 1990-91 season.  As has been the case in football this century, Ohio State has dominated the Wolverines on the hardwood, with last night being their 12th win in the last 14 games against UM.

Michigan has an above average team this year at 11-6 with a few quality wins and no terrible losses from a very hard schedule.  The Wolverines, playing the No. 2 team in the nation just a few days after falling in OT to the No. 3 team in the country, showed some impressive fight from the under eight timeout to the final buzzer and gave their fans something to cheer about down the stretch.

One of these fans was new head football coach Brady Hoke.  [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Embarrassed Yet?, Ward a Keeper and Son of Nance

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.

Jamison, Mo Williams get embarrassed. Well, good. That is the proper reaction if you ask me- “For Jamison, specifically, it’s an interesting situation because he came to Cleveland last season seeking a championship after escaping an atrocious situation in Washington. Now, less than a year later, he’s back in the doldrums of losing and arguably in worse shape than when he left D.C. This isn’t what he was expecting. On the other hand, it’s tough to feel too bad for a group of people who get to play a children’s game for millions of dollars. In the grand scheme of things, Jamison’s plight is much better than that of the many unemployed Clevelanders who watch him play on TV. It’s hard to feel too sorry for Jamison when he goes to sleep on a pile of money with many beautiful women.” [Freeman/Ball Don't Lie] [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Who Wants Antawn, Sleeveless in Buffalo, OSU Decade of Dominance

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.

What could the Cavs get for ‘Tawn?  “Most good teams don’t have $10 million worth of talent they’re willing to give up. And if they do, they’re the type of players the Cavs have little to no interest in acquiring. A Jamison deal would then require a third (or fourth) team to make the math work, with the likeliest candidates being sad-sack teams with a lot of cap room and a willingness to rent it out if they can grab a draft pick and/or cash in the process. There’s also a chance that Cleveland, which has about $5.5 million in cap room, could work its way into a supporting role in a Carmelo Anthony trade, in which case almost anything is possible.  So we came up with a list of potential suitors for Jamison, just for the heck of it. Unfortunately for the Cavs, most contenders/playoff teams have little need for a player in Jamison’s mold.” [Zach Lowe/Sports Illustrated]

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Buckeye Senior Class a Winning Group

This year’s edition of The Game was memorable for several reasons. First, the Thanksgiving setting made for a different experience. Not saying that it was good or bad, just different. It did seem like Michigan week was short-changed this year a bit because of it. I’m sure the students on campus felt the same way.

It was unique for me because the 36 leading up to kick-off were pretty miserable. I spent the time running between the bathroom and bed, having caught a severe flu.

For several Ohio State players, The Game marked the last time they run out of the tunnel at the Shoe. [Read more...]