July 24, 2014

While We’re Waiting: Welcome to the new WWW

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We’ve been going through some changes here at WFNY in recent weeks. The latest change is to the format of While We’re Waiting. First, you might notice that I’m not Rick Grayshock. Rick deserves a ton of credit for suffering through WWW for so many years. Some might think it was an easy post to do, just throwing some links together. But it was so much more involved than that—carefully curating tips sent to us, pouring through every last nook and cranny of Twitter for any and every last interesting bit of info to share.

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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]

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

Ohio State replaces Vrabel with Penn State’s Larry Johnson

After Bill O’Brien left Penn State for the NFL’s Houston Texans, assistant head coach Larry Johnson wanted to be the next head man at Happy Valley. He was passed over for Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.

Penn State’s loss in now Ohio State’s gain.

Larry Johnson will become the defensive line coach for the Buckeyes, and could end up the co-defensive coordinator alongside Luke Fickell as well.

Johnson spent 19 years at Penn State, and is widely regarded as an excellent recruiter, particularly on the East coast. Johnson was a well respected high school coach in the DC area and has brought in athletes such as Jared Odrick, Tamba Hali and Courtney Brown in his time at Penn State.

Vrabel’s departure was a stunner to the Buckeye community, but getting Johnson to replace him is such an Urban Meyer move.

[Related: Rumble young men, rumble]

Rumble, Young Men, Rumble: Ohio State Season in Review

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Braxton Miller and Jamal Marcus

Today we look back. Forget the star-studded 2014 recruiting class. Forget the possibility of having someone not named Luke Fickell coaching the Ohio State defense next season. Today we have but one purpose, and that is to relive the peaks and valleys, twists and turns of another Buckeyes season in the books.

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My Cleveland Sportsman of 2013: Urban Meyer

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

It took over two regular seasons for Urban Meyer to lose a football game in Columbus, Ohio.
Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year is an annual must-read. Given that the national recognition rarely has anything to do with the teams or individuals whom we cover. In turn, WFNY will soon announce its choice for 2013′s Cleveland Sportsman of the Year. Here’s one of the nominations for that honor by an WFNY writer.
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Injuries, Suspensions threaten fragile Buckeyes defense

Nebraska v Ohio StateThere’s no use in denying it at this point: Ohio State’s defense cost them a shot at the national championship. Through a combination of unfortunate injuries (Christian Bryant), failure to try new players (Vonn Bell), and pure incompetence (Armani Reeves, Pitt Brown, Joshua Perry), the Buckeye defense bungled their way to some embarrassing yardage and point totals against what should have been overmatched opponents.

Now that same defense will be called upon to stop Tajh Boyd and the high-powered Clemson offense, which ranks 11th nationally with 329.3 pass yards per game. That job has gotten harder in the past few days with the news that the Buckeyes could be missing three regular starters.

Starting defensive end Noah Spence and his team best eight sacks did not make the flight to Fort Lauderdale with the team. Coach Urban Meyer originally told the media that Spence is dealing with a personal issue, but on Wednesday it was announced that Spence was suspended for three games, including the Orange Bowl, for an unspecified violation of Big Ten rules. That violation is reportedly the use of an unapproved dietary supplement, but no specifics have been confirmed by the school or conference.

With Spence banned, his starting spot will be deputized by some combination of sophomore Jamal Marcus and junior Steve Miller. The two have seen some action this year, combining for 27 tackles and five sacks, but it is still a significant downgrade from Spence.

Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell also told the media earlier this week that middle linebacker Curtis Grant was unlikely to play as he continues to battle ankle and back ailments.

The most troublesome news, however, comes in the secondary. Earlier in the week Fickell insinuated that All-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby could miss the game with the knee injury he suffered against Michigan State. On Wednesday, Meyer told the media in Miami that he did not expect the junior to play against Clemson.

That revelation would mean that Roby’s career in Scarlet and Gray is likely over, as he has made his intention to declare for the NFL Draft exceedingly clear. His career has been a memorable one that included an All-American selection last season, but the last significant play of that career just might end up being the third quarter pass against Michigan State on which Roby bruised his knee and dropped an interception that would have likely locked up the game and a BCS Championship Game berth for the Buckeyes.

If Roby doesn’t suit up, Doran Grant will slide into the top cornerback role with Armani Reeves moving back into the starting lineup. That sounds to me like a recipe for disaster against the Clemson receiving corps led by speedster Sammy Watkins.

In other bad, yet more expected news about the Buckeyes’ defensive backs, Fickell revealed that injured senior safety Christian Bryant would not be able to play on Friday as he continues to recover from the broken ankle he suffered against Wisconsin. Furthermore, Meyer told the media on Thursday that he believes that Bryant’s appeal to the NCAA for a medical redshirt that would grant him an extra year of eligibility was denied, meaning that his collegiate career is over.

All of this news combines to seriously threaten the fragile ecosystem that is the Buckeyes defense. It’s no secret that the secondary is the weakest link of this weak unit. A top-10 team should not have a unit that ranks 102nd nationally as the Buckeyes’ passing defense does. The 259.5 yards they allow per game have come against relatively weak aerial attacks, a category to which Clemson does not belong. Now, with Roby out, there is even more pressure on the Ohio State front seven to get pressure on Tajh Boyd and unsettle the Tigers passing offense.

With Spence out, that responsibility falls on defensive linemen like Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett, and Joey Bosa. This game could be a coming-out party for the freshman stud from Fort Lauderdale. A massive game on the national stage could launch Bosa’s name into the national spotlight for next season, when he figures to be a candidate for All-Big Ten and possibly even All-American honors.

At the second level, fellow Fort Lauderdale native Ryan Shazier must continue his spectacular season to help pick up the slack from the possible absence of Grant. The junior linebacker is considered slightly undersized, but this week the NFL Draft Advisory Board projected him as a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. For the Buckeyes to shut down Clemson, they need Shazier at his best, but a great performance may lead him to enter the draft and forgo his senior season.

Both Shazier and Bosa are vital to the Buckeyes’ hopes. Perhaps even more important will be the play of the secondary itself, specifically the safeties. C.J. Barnett and Corey “Pitt” Brown both had nightmarish games against the Spartans. Those performances led to a reshuffling of the depth chart. Barnett retains his starting spot but must bounce back from his weak showing in Indianapolis. The biggest change on the defense comes with the promotion of true freshman safety Vonn Bell to the first-string nickelback spot. That move means that usual nickelback Tyvis Powell will start in place of Brown at the safety spot opposite Barnett.

While I don’t think we could possibly see this new set of safeties perform as poorly as Barnett and Brown did against Michigan State, they will still need help from the rest of the defense to stifle the Tigers. If Bosa, Shazier, and company can keep Boyd uncomfortable in the pocket, it will go a long way towards helping the Buckeyes secure an impressive BCS victory that could combine with the bowl victories by Michigan State and Nebraska help the Big Ten earn back some much-needed respect.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

While We’re Waiting… Top Buckeye moments of 2013, drinking your favorite Cavaliers, and ranking the NFL head coaching vacancies

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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Leading off 2014, let’s take a look back at the best the Buckeyes had to offer in 2013 with help from Jason Priestas and the guys at Eleven Warriors, including their top moment, “Ohio State is one of the top-five winningest programs in the history of college football – a veritable blue blood program if there ever was one – and this man matches into town and shatters a 44-year-old record like it was no big deal. The game that secured the mark, Urban’s 23rd win in a row, came against Indiana, in a 42-14 romp on Ohio State’s senior day. He would, of course, add a little room between the new mark and the old mark, by securing No. 24 in dramatic fashion in Ann Arbor when Tyvis Powell intercepted a Devin Gardner pass on a final, desperate two-point conversion from the Wolverines. Sadly, the streak would die against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game the following week, but it was a hell of a ride, every step of the way. Stop for a second to appreciate it. If you think you’ll see another streak like this one, you’re likely wrong (we’d love to be wrong).” [Eleven Warriors]

The Cavaliers’ heart-breaking losses in the past week have probably driven some people to the bottle a little more than usual. Over at Cavs: The Blog, they pair each player up with a beer or two that resemble their qualities, including Alonzo Gee, “You’re a “hard nosed defender” (ha) with a half-decent three pointer.  But it’s time to up your defense game so I can remove those quotes.  Chances are this is the best Alonzo will ever be, but it couldn’t hurt for Alonzo to down a few barley wines – big, strong beers that typically have some dark fruit, licorice, and booze notes.  Great fits would be Anchor’s Old Foghorn and Old Ruffian from Colorado’s Great Divide.  Whatever the choice, the bigger and stronger the better.” [Cavs: The Blog] [Read more...]

Ohio State’s Noah Spence did not travel to Orange Bowl

The Buckeyes arrived in South Florida today sans one of their key defensive playmakers: Defensive end Noah Spence did not travel as he sorts out “personal issues.” It appears he will not play in Friday’s Orange Bowl.

Multiple reports on Twitter, including those of 10TV’s Beau Bishop, share that Spence was not on the team plane. It’s a huge loss as the sophomore was an All-Big Ten First-Team defensive end this season.

On the year, Spence had 52 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He’s one of the team’s best players on defense and in a matchup against Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense, his absence will be crucial.

[Related: Buckeyes and the Orange Bowl: An unsatisfying and challenging consolation prize]

While We’re Waiting… Mike Brown leads Cavs turnaround

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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Brown deserves credit for the hot stretch: “But stop and take a breath. Take a really deep breath and you might notice something different. Is that hints of azaleas? Notes of coffee and barnyard? Nope. That’s just new Mike Brown smell you’re smelling. So far, even as the team has gradually improved almost in spite of itself, Brown has done some things to buck what many considered the more troubling trends from his first time around.” [Robert Attenweiler/Cavs: The Blog]

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Four-star recruit Johnnie Dixon chooses Ohio State

One day after landing a five-star linebacker from the state of Georgia, Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes have added a four-star wide receiver out of West Palm Beach, Florida. Deciding between Alabama, Miami and Ohio State, Johnnie Dixon, a 5-foot-10-inch burner from Dwyer High School, chose to call Ohio State home for at least the next three years.

Known for his elite speed and precise route running, Rivals.com has Dixon ranked as the 109th-best player in the country, the 17th best at his position. Dixon helped lead Dwyer to a state championship on Friday with a 55-39 win over Niceville, Fla., a game in which the receiver had five receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s an immediate impact guy because of his speed and ability to play inside or outside,” said Rivals recruiting editor Mike Farrell. “I think he fits perfectly into what Ohio State likes to do because he can gain yardage after the catch and turn a bubble screen or slant into a nice gain and hit a home run here and there.”

Dixon is the 19th commitment for Ohio State. He had scholarship offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Notre Dame, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Purdue, and Virginia Tech among others.

[Related: Buckeyes and the Orange Bowl: An unsatisfying and challenging consolation prize]

Ohio State lands five-star recruit Raekwon McMillian

The much-maligned Ohio State Buckeyes defense landed a huge shot in the arm on Monday afternoon by landing five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan. McMillan, a 6-foot-2, 242-pound linebacker from Hinesville, Georgia, announced his commitment in a live ceremony at his school on Monday morning, providing Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer with yet another player from SEC country.

After teasing the crowd by grabbing the Alabama hat which was placed on his table, McMillan ultimately donned a red Ohio State cap to announce his decision. The linebacker stated that early playing time was an important factor in his decision. Meyer had previously been reluctant to start true freshmen on the defensive side of the ball, but defensive end Joey Bosa (a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) broke that mold this past season after replacing an injured Adolphus Washington.

“There was just something special about Ohio State,” the five-star recruit said.

McMillan had whittled his choices down to five finalists: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. He is rated as the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country by Rivals and is also the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Georgia and the No. 19 player overall in the Class of 2014.

[Related: Video: Ohio State coach delivers a Braveheart-like speech to recruits]

Buckeyes and the Orange Bowl: An unsatisfying and challenging consolation prize

braxtonandhydeSitting in the upper reaches of Lucas Oil Stadium last Saturday evening, I watched Ohio State’s BCS Championship Game hopes slip away amidst a chorus of “Go Green! Go White!”

But it wasn’t only dreams of a national championship that slipped out of the Buckeyes’ grasp in Indianapolis. With the loss, Ohio State not only lost out on the opportunity to play for the BCS title on January 6 in Pasadena, but they also missed out on the chance to head to the same stadium for the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day – replaced by the Michigan State team who had just defeated them to take the Big Ten crown.

It was a somber march through the cold Midwestern night for the 40,000 plus Buckeyes fans1 who had made the trek to Indy. With no BCS Championship Game and no Rose Bowl, Ohio State supporters were left to wonder where their team would end up when the bowl pairings were announced the next evening.

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Footnotes:

  1. The announced crowd was 66,002. Of that number at least two-thirds were wearing Scarlet and Grey. []

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]

Indianapolis to Pasadena: How Ohio State gets there

braxtonandhyde24. In 24 straight contests, the Buckeyes have come out victorious, subpar schedule or not. It’s something that no one in the current college football landscape can claim. To get to 25, however, they’ll need to beat their first Top 10 opponent in that stretch. The Michigan State Spartans are looking to make their own claim to the conference and hush critics who say they too haven’t played anybody. With a stout defense, this will be the most complete opponent that Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, and company have faced in their career. On the other end of this game, should they navigate a victory, stands an almost-certain trip to Pasadena and the BCS National Championship Game. Here’s some notes on the matchup and how they get to No. 25.

The Michigan State defense vs. Ohio State offense: Who have they played?

I think the first thing to look at is who these two polarizing sides of the ball have matched up against so far this season. [Read more...]

Win and They’re In

Carmen Ohio Buckeyes 2013

Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo Editor, The Lantern

In this piece, I will strive to explain why Ohio State will be playing for the BCS title if they can defeat Michigan State this Saturday.

What I’m not going to do is defend Ohio State’s resume against that of Auburn. It is asinine and disingenuous to bury your head, point at a two touchdown loss to LSU, and pretend that the Buckeyes have had a more impressive season than the Tigers.

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While We’re Waiting… Thoughts on the state of the Cavs

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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What are the Cavs right now? Who is their core? Looking deep inside their system: “So far this season, despite a near abuse of the words ‘culture’ and ‘process’ in Mike Brown’s renewed jog with the team, the Cavs seem more like a DeMarcus Cousins Kings team than a culture team. Right now, their identity is a cult of personality… and that personality is the Rubix Cube that is Andrew Bynum.” [Robert Attenweiler/Cavs: The Blog] [Read more...]

Michigan Week

Ohio State Michigan RivalryAt noon this Saturday, the Buckeyes will march into Michigan Stadium to take on what should be an overmatched Wolverines team. Immediately following that game, the Alabama Crimson Tide, number one team in all the land, will head to Jordan-Hare Stadium to take on arch-rival Auburn with the SEC West crown on the line.

Considering Ohio State’s current BCS predicament, some Buckeye fans may tell you that this year’s version of The Game is simply the warm-up for the all-important Iron Bowl; an appetizer, so to speak. I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong.

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The Time to Impress

ddn110611sparch1_1041626a_2Remember what happened last year when the Buckeyes faced Indiana? Allow me to refresh your memory.

No. 8 Ohio State sauntered into Bloomington’s Memorial Stadium at 6-0, coming off consecutive wins against ranked opponents to open the Big Ten schedule – the latter of which was a 63-38 dismantling of then No. 21 Nebraska. The Hoosiers came into the game at 2-3 (0-2 in the conference) and looked to be an inconsequential speed bump on the Buckeyes road towards an undefeated season. But then the Hoosiers started doing whatever it is that Hoosiers do1, and the Buckeyes couldn’t get a key stop against Indiana’s suddenly potent offense, and by the it was all said and done Ohio State escaped – yes, that is the appropriate word – with a 52-49 win.

Does that sound slightly familiar? Well it should after Ohio State’s surprisingly lackluster performance in another Memorial Stadium2 – this one belonging to Illinois – last weekend. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Really though, the question of what a Hoosier is will bother me until the day I die. I lived in Indiana for seven years, my mother and an aunt are graduates of IU, and my brother is a current student there, and I still haven’t accepted that it’s just a stupid name for someone who lives in Indiana. But I digress. []
  2. I fear for the Buckeyes next trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, where the team inhabiting Memorial Stadium is actually a traditional power, unlike either the Illini or Hoosiers. []

Ohio State’s Roby to declare for 2014 NFL Draft

Ohio State junior cornerback Bradley Roby will declare for the 2014 NFL Draft following the end of the Buckeyes’ season. This relatively unsurprising news was declared by Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer on Wednesday.

Scout.com ranks Roby as the No. 2 cornerback eligible for the 2014 Draft, 15th overall, coming in behind only Oregon’s  Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

Roby, 5-feet-11 and 192 pounds, has eight interceptions and 32 pass breakups in his career at Ohio State. He considered entering the 2013 NFL Draft a year ago as a redshirt sophomore, but decided to return to Ohio State for “one more year.” Roby entered the season as a potential top-10 pick, but his rocky junior campaign—marred with mental mistakes, a suspension, missed tackles and an ejection due to “targeting”—has raised some red flags about his potential at the NFL level.

Meyer said Roby, who is techincally a junior, will be honored on “Senior Day” when Ohio State plays host to Indiana on Saturday.

[Related: Bradley Roby and Picking Nits]