Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ohio State New Head Coach Urban Meyer's Full Press Conference



Among various topics, Urban discusses his new gig, his family, his health, his goals for the program, his excitement over his new QB, and a little about who will be on his TBD staff.

Part I


Part II


Part III


Part IV


Videos by ElevenWarriors

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Urban Meyer Named "New Coach of Ohio State" Announcement Seemingly Just a Formality Now...



With the 2011 regular season having just ended rather unpleasantly in Ann Arbor for Ohio State and Buckeye fans, the news that Urban Meyer has -- or at least will -- formally accept the position of head football coach at Ohio State later today (rumor has it a 6PM presser is lined up) is a much-welcomed distraction from what has been one miserable year.

Let's see...

The Tressel emails.

Tatgate.

DeGernoimo's overpayments.

Jim Bollman.

Losing to TTUN.

According to NevadaBuck, a program insider on the BSB message boards over at Scout.com, Meyer to Ohio State has been in the works for at least a full month.

NB also stated in October that Meyer would make an appearance at halftime of the Ohio State-Duke basketball game (a la Jim Tressel) Tuesday night -- a prediction that seems very likely to come to fruition once the ink dries on the reported 7-year, 40-million dollar contract.

This move is crucial for Ohio State regarding recruiting. National Signing Day is a mere three months away and Meyer's hiring should preserve the statuses of the current recruits, and perhaps sway a few others to come aboard.

Already, there are rumors that QB Jeff Driskell, a freshman at Florida this past season, might consider transferring to Ohio State if indeed Meyer is named coach.

Ricquan Southward, a 6'3" WR from Lakeland, Florida has changed his mind and decommitted from Miami (FL) and is now verbally committed to the Buckeyes.

Nothing is official until it's officially official, but Meyer to Ohio State is about as close as it gets to being official, prior to officially becoming official.

UPDATE -- 7:27AM -- IT'S OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL!

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Ohio State-Michigan Recap: Buckeyes Winning Streak Over TTUN Ends at Seven

By Special Contributor Chris Holloway

They say all good things must come to an end. It sure would have been great if this wasn't one of them, but alas, it was.

It only took 60 minutes out of a year to define the entire Buckeye season.

60 minutes for a lifetime of memories.

60 minutes of immortality.

The Buckeyes and the Wolverines met for the 108th time, and for the first time that I can remember since Ohio State Football became my religion, the Wolverines were favored to win by 8.5 points.

It’s been a bittersweet season for the men of the scarlet and gray, but nothing that had transpired over the last 12 months meant a thing as they took the field against their hated rivals.

It was a chance for the outgoing Seniors to add to their collection of gold pants. It was an opportunity to silence the critics, and an audition for Coach Fickell to remain on Urban Meyer’s staff going into 2012. It was also, thankfully, Jim Bollman’s swan song.

The offense, led by Braxton Miller, showed the world why Ohio State never rebuilds, but only reloads as he connected on 14 of 25 passes for 235 yards and 2 TDs with 1 interception. Miller added another 100 yards on the ground with a touchdown, while Boom only managed 37 yards on 15 carries, but added a touchdown.

DeVier Posey finally got in his own touchdown celebration, his first and only of the season, but it was not enough to overcome the Michigan offense led by Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint.

The past three weeks, the Buckeyes had fallen into a 10-0 hole, and were unable to dig themselves out against Purdue and Penn State. This Saturday, however, saw the polar opposite.

Whether it was that Urban replaced Bollman’s bucket of salt cod with an actual playbook, or whether Michigan came out with a little too much swagger, it didn’t matter as the Buckeyes came out aggressive and bombing the football all over Ann Arbor.

The Wolverines won the toss and deferred to the second half. As the teams lined up for the opening kickoff, the Big House crowd of more than 114,000 whipped themselves into a frenzy.

Ohio State was determined not to fall into a hole against the hated rivals from up north, and it was evident on just the first drive as Braxton Miller completed passes to three different receivers, the last a 54 yard floater to a wide open Corey “Philly” Brown for quick touchdown.

The Silver Bullets, much maligned the past few games for their flat play, came out swinging, forcing Michigan into a three and out on their first drive. The offense came back on the field after the punt was not returned by Jordan Hall, but were forced into their own three and out with Ben Buchanan punting from out of his own end zone.

After a run by Toussaint picked up 6 yards, Robinson showed why he is probably the most hated Wolverine since Mike Hart as he broke through the line on a QB keeper for a 41 touchdown run. The TD knotted it up at 7.

Someone must have replaced Jim Bollman as the offensive coordinator before the game, because Ohio State fans finally saw some play action fakes, coupled with throws on first down.

But the penalties were what doomed the Buckeyes from the get go as on the next drive Zach Boren was flagged for holding, Jack Mewhort false started, and Mike Adams was flagged for holding in the end zone, resulting in a safety, giving the Wolverines their first lead against the Buckeyes since 2007.

After the kickoff was fair caught at midfield, the teams got a little chippy, as these two teams are wont to do. Something in the scrum gave the Wolverines some life, as they marched the rest of the field and Denard hit Junior Hemingway for a touchdown to give UM the 16-7 lead.

Fumbilitis was the story of the first quarter, as the ball squirted out of Jordan Hall’s hands on the kickoff return, only to be tipped and recovered by Posey. After a three and out by the Buckeyes, Denard fumbled as he was hit by Orhian Johnson, but quickly fell on the ball.

After the Michigan timeout due to equipment malfunctions (apparently in addition to not tying his shoelaces, Denard has problems with his helmet), John Simon showed why he’ll be the beast on the D-Line next year as he got into the back field for a coverage sack.

The field position game was swinging back and forth, as the ensuing punt was fair caught by Hall at the 45, only to be pushed back an additional 15 yards due to an unnecessary roughness penalty on Dominic Clarke.

Two plays later, Braxton Miller demonstrated why people compare him to Terrelle Pryor as he broke tackles and ankles on his way to a 24 yard pickup on third and 7. His efforts went largely for naught, as the Buckeyes settled for a 47 yard field goal from Drew Basil to but the lead to 6.

Denard’s case of the fumbles struck again, as he lost the ball on a designed run. The recovery went to Travis Howard, but the elation of the Buckeye faithful was short lived as Ryan “Beastmode” Shazier, starting in place of the injured Andrew Sweat, had to be helped off the field.

The cheers came back in short order for the Scarlet and Gray, as just three plays after the fumble recovery, Braxton ran in for his only rushing touchdown of the day, once again making insane cuts and jukes on his way to the end zone. The Buckeyes regained the lead, albeit a single point, with the TD run.

The Ohio State defense, led by Simon and Shazier, faltered mightily on the next drive, allowing Toussaint and Robinson to gobble up 56 yards on the ground en route to Robinson’s second QB keeper touchdown of the day. Once again, the lead had changed and the Buckeyes were back down by 6.

The Ohio State fans watching from the unfriendly confines of Michigan Stadium and at home had to have mixed feelings at the offensive play calling from Jim Bollman. On the one hand, the Bucks were coming out much more aggressive than they had in any previous game other than Wisconsin, but on the other hand we all wondered where the play actions, bubble screens, and outlet passes were the last month.

But checkdowns and passes the flat were the order of the day for Miller and the Buckeyes. The true freshman quarterback showed tremendous poise in registering only the 4th 200/100 game in Buckeye history. The other three came from Troy Smith (1) and Terrelle Pryor (2). That’s pretty elite company for a Buckeye QB to be included in.

The “basics” of football passing had eluded the Buckeyes for the better part of 2 months, but against That Team Up North, they worked wonders as Miller hit Posey in the flat for a gain of 9, hit Boom with a checkdown for 5, and Hall for another gain of 5 on a screen. All of this set up the streak toss to Posey, a 43 yard beauty that Posey fell into the end zone with. The Buckeyes retook the 1 point lead after the Basil point after, 24-23.

On the final drive before halftime, Denard was shaken up as he got a chalk pebble in his eye and Devin Gardner had to enter the game in a non-wildcat formation. Gardner handed off to Toussaint for about 2 yards before the clock wound down to zero in the first half.

At halftime, Braxton Miller was already having his best game of the year so far with two passing touchdowns on 127 yards and a rushing TD with 59 yards.

If fumbles were the story of the first half, then injuries were the story of the second. Just three plays into the second half, safety Orhian Johnson was rolled up by Jonathan Hankins, and had to exit the game. Untested safety Zach Domicone came in for the injured Johnson.

The depleted secondary turned out to be no match for the starting Michigan offense, as Denard completed passes to Koger and Odoms, the second a touchdown to give the Wolverines the lead back. Not even a massive tackle by Bradley Roby in the backfield could negate the porous Buckeye defense as they fell back into a 6 point hole.

The Ohio State offense felt deflated after that, the 5th lead change of the game. The ensuing kickoff was returned by Hall to the 24, and Miller got the team to the 36 yard line when 4th and 4 came up. This decision is where you could see the chasm of differences between Tresselball and Fickellball.

Tressel, in this rivalry, with the game within reach, would have either sent Basil out there with confidence that he could hit the FG, or would have gone for it and given up little field position. Instead, Fickell opted to punt, putting his faith in Buchanan’s ability to pin the Wolverines. And pin them he did. His kick was high, booming, and went 27 yards to go out of bounds at the 9.

In just a few plays, the field position was erased, but the defense found the second wind and forced a punt. Hagerup muffed the snap and instead of punting the ball when he picked it up, tried to make a play. He was taken down at the 32 yard line and just like that the Buckeyes had picked up 4 yards from the questionable punt call.

Just before the end of the 3rd quarter, Braxton Miller continued to show flashes of why he was considered the #1 dual threat quarterback in the nation just a year ago, as he broke ankles on his way to the 5 yard line. Had he not slowed up as it appeared he did, he might have found the end zone once again.

As it was, the end of the quarter may have taken some of the momentum from the offense, as they came back from the break to settle for another field goal by Basil to make it 30-27 in favor of the Wolverines.

Just 8 plays later, Denard found Tight End Kevin Koger in the end zone after a nifty play action to push the lead back to 10. A touchback brought the ball out to the 20 for the Buckeyes, who marched down the field in 83 seconds for another touchdown, aided by Miller passes of 36, 17, and 20 yards to Stoneburner, Hall, and Fragel, respectively.

A late hit out of bounds by Michigan (their first penalty of the game) cut the yards needed for a touchdown to 4, and Boom immediately broke through the line to pick up the six.

The lead was cut back down to 3. This is when all hell broke loose. After a keeper by Denard and a snazzy run by Toussaint got them down in the red zone, the UM running back punched it into the end zone once again.

However, the play was reviewed and the officials overturned the TD run and placed the ball at the 1 foot line. The touchdown seemed an inevitability at this point. Robinson rolled out to the right and got back into the end zone, but a flag for holding on Omameh and a personal foul flag on Steve Watson negated the TD and brought the ball back to the 26.

Denard tried to get it done through the air, but the pass fell incomplete and Michigan got the easy points to put them up by 6. The Buckeyes were left with just under 2 minutes to win the game. The fans were thinking Wisconsin redux. But it was not to be.

An overthrown pass by Miller to Posey would have given the Bucks a 76 yard TD with seconds left on the clock. Posey had created a good yard of separation from his defender, but the pass just sailed over his outstretched arms.

A questionable spike on third down gave way to the Buckeyes’ only turnover of the game, a Miller interception to end the game. The Wolverines came out and assumed the victory formation for the first time since 2003, dropping Ohio State to its first 6-6 season since 1999, well before Jim Tressel set up shop in Columbus more than a decade ago.

The Buckeyes now head home to Columbus and patiently await the NCAA’s ruling, and hope that their performance this season – and the sure to be riveting storylines – garners them an invitation to the Gator Bowl to face off against Meyer’s old Florida team.




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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ohio State—Penn State Highlights (Week 12, Game 11 - 11/19/2011)



If there was any doubt remaining that Luke Fickell and the Ohio State coaching staff sealed their fates with the pathetic effort and loss at Purdue, the home loss to Penn State removed any and all of that remaining doubt Saturday -- and then some.

It seems as though something has been agreed to in principle but there will be no official announcement until there's something official to announce -- thus, the Urban Meyer official announcement clock is still ticking, for now...........

I've been saying all along (since NB from Scout.com posted as such) that halftime of the Ohio State vs. Duke b-ball game on November 29th and the (top secret) Urban Meyer to Ohio State announcement can't get here soon enough!

Recently, Jody aka BuckeyesGirl33 suggested to me that the job apparently must be posted for two weeks before an announcement can be made?

I am unaware of the NCAA particulars regarding what a University must do in regards to posting and filling a coaching position, but if true, all that does IMO is delay the inevitable.

BOTH sides (Urban & tOSU) want this and it will happen, even if it's mid-December before it can be official.

Anyway, here are the OSU-PSU "highlights" if you can stand to watch them....



This Ohio State-Purdue highlight video was produced by lednerk and is brought to you exclusively by BlockONation.




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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ohio State vs. Penn State— Week 12 (Game 11) Outlook, History Lesson, and Prediction



OSU/Indiana—A Few Opening Thoughts...

Somehow, the Buckeyes let destiny and fate perhaps slip through their hands last week in an unexpected 26-26 overtime loss to Purdue.

This week, Penn State comes to town off a home loss to Nebraska, and still realing from the Jerry Sandusky molestation case, and on the heels of the news that Joe Paterno has been diagnosed with lung cancer.

This game today could play out just about any way imaginable given the whirlwind these two programs have faced recently, and for the Buckeyes, since last December.

The higher ranked team usually wins when OSU and PSU battle, but PSU has only scored three touchdowns against Ohio State in Columbus, EVER. A low-scoring defensive game is most likely -- although every we all think we know what to expect, the opposite happens -- so don't be shocked if both teams break into the 30's or 40's -- or not.

The Wisconsin-Illinois game just went final and with the Badgers win, Ohio State's run of Big Ten titles is officially over -- but, a win today and of course next week vs. "them" will still count as a decent season given everything these players and this program has been through over the last year.


Team Overview / Players of Note

Penn State

The Penn State offense ranks 88th nationally at 359 yards per game. They are 8th in total defense, allowing an average of 287 yards per game, and rank 3rd in points allowed per game (12.9).

Penn State quite frankly has no decent quarterback, but Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin have shared the duties. McGloin seems to be the guy now, but both pretty much suck so it really doesn't matter who starts. McGloin has 1,386 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. Bolden has 526 passing yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions.

Running back Silas Redd, PSU's only real offensive threat, leads the team with 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns.

Derek Moye and Justin Brown are one-two in receiving for the Nittany Lions. Moye has 34 catches for 592 yards and three scores, while Brown has caught 32 balls for 423 yards and one touchdown.


Ohio State

Ohio State is 108th in total offense (317 yards per game) nationally. They are 15th in total defense, allowing an average of 317 yards per game, and rank 16th in points allowed per game (18.9).

The Silver Bullets have 22 sacks and 11 interceptions through 10 games.

On the season, QB Braxton Miller, has 679 passing yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has 490 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns. His current passer efficiency rating is 134.

Carlos Hyde still leads the team in rushing with 525 yards and six touchdowns, while senior starter Dan Herron, who will play his final home game today has 477 yards and a two scores.

Devin Smith leads the team in yardage with 241 yards on 11 catches, including four for scores. Tight end Jake Stoneburner, who has not caught a pass in the last three games, is still second on the team with 150 yards, and still leads in receptions and touchdowns, with 12 and six respectively.


Ohio State—Penn State History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State is 14-12-0 all-time vs. PSU.

• Ohio State is 69-8 in Ohio Stadium since 2001.

• Ohio State is 18-2 in November games since 2005.

• Ohio State has won 4 of the last 5 meetings against PSU.

• Ohio State is 183-78-11 all-time in November home games.

• Ohio State is 2-2 against ranked teams under coach Luke Fickell this year.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponent to fewer than 10 points 31 times since 2006.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just one 100-yard rusher in the past 28 games at home.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just seven 100-yard rushers in their last 46 games.

• Ohio State has held 66 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State has lost just three games in the month of November since their last loss to Michigan on November 22nd, 2003 (Purdue 2004, Illinois 2007, Purdue 2011).

• PSU has only beaten Ohio State twice in Columbus since 1978.


Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

There's really not much else to say. I believe it was all covered in the opener.

This game feels like a toss-up so the home team gets the edge.

The score is anyone's guess.

Here's mine -- literally a gut-feeling guess.

Ohio State 20
Penn State 12



"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" (you also have to beat Purdue, but I digress) - Sugar Ray Robinson




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Ohio State-Purdue Recap: Buckeyes Upset by Boilermakers in West Lafayette AGAIN

By Special Contributor Chris Holloway

Author’s note: I apologize for the lateness of this recap. I was sick to my stomach for most of the weekend, and not just from the outcome of the game. HD was kind enough to not pester me once about it, and for that I am eternally grateful. Next week’s recap of the Penn State contest should come in on time and with a lot more emotion. -- Chris

The #7 ranked Buckeyes headed into Ross-Ade Stadium on a four game winning streak, their unbeaten season already dashed by the Trojans of USC. Ohio State fans had every reason to believe that this game was a gimme, as the last time they had lost to a team with a losing record had been Jim Tressel’s first season, way back in 2001.

Upon leaving the stadium, the Buckeyes felt deflated. They had just endured a game that saw QB phenom Terrelle Pryor fumble the ball multiple times. They had just seen their second loss of the season, one that was almost unconscionable. They were beaten, bruised, and battered.

Two years later, Ohio State traveled back to Purdue University, eager to show that the 2009 game was a fluke, an aberration. Yet, just as they had two years previous, the Buckeyes left with another stunning loss. The main difference between this one and that was not the turnovers – the Bucks actually won the turnover battle in this game – it was the effectiveness of the defense.

One shining spot of this season had been Jim Heacock’s crew, yet for the second week in a row, the Silver Bullets seemed flat. The normally stingy defense, ranked 16th in the country coming into the game, could do almost nothing to prevent Purdue’s offense from moving down the field.

Just as they had last week against Indiana, the Buckeyes permitted their opponents to jump out to a 10 point first quarter lead. The outcome, however, would be immensely different.

Ohio State fans watching from the stands and at home could see from the very beginning that this would be a replay of the Indiana game. Their first drive lasted only 1:07, a three and out. Purdue took the Buchanan punt on their own 41 yard line, a rare short punt for the normally lethal team MVP. The Boilermakers proceeded to march down the field, only to settle for a field goal from the Ohio State 2 yard line.

Another three and out by the Buckeyes, and another below average punt from Buchanan gave TerBush and crew the football at their own 40. The Purdue QB took his team down field once again, and with the help of Akeem Shavers, put it in the end zone for the 10 point lead after the Wiggs PAT.

WalrusBall reared its ugly head once again, as for the third straight drive; the Buckeyes could not muster a first down and were forced to punt again. The first quarter came to an end with Purdue at their own 48 yard line, and threatening once again.

Whether it was the players or the coaches that got the team fired up, one can only wonder. But when the second period started, the Buckeye defense came out hungry and stopped the Boilermakers, forcing a punt to the Ohio State 32.

Determined to give the Silver Bullets more than a minute of rest, Miller came out firing, hitting Boom Herron for a 20 yard strike followed by a nifty 7 yard run of his own. 5 plays later, Braxton showed that he has the ability to pass the ball as well as run it, as evidenced by the 38 yard touchdown toss to Jordan Hall across the middle. After a Basil PAT, the Bucks were only down a measly 3 points.

Three plays into the ensuing drive, TerBush hit Justin Siller, who promptly fumbled the football and then recovered it himself. Buckeyes fans knew that the team had to create turnovers, but also realized that creating and actually recovering are two different things altogether. After a false start put Purdue into a third and long situation, an incomplete pass by TerBush forced another punt.

Kawann Short, who would be named B1G Co-Defensive Player of the Week, got to Miller in the backfield for a sack that cost the Buckeyes 5 yards. Two more plays could not produce a first down, and just like that, the Bucks were back into three and out mode. Buchanan boomed his best punt of the day thus far, and even though Gravesande fumbled the kick, the Buckeyes could not recover.

Robert Marve, the transfer from the University of Miami, came out as the Purdue QB on the next drive and promptly led his team 88 yards down the grass, capped by a 7 yard rush by Ralph Bolden for a touchdown. The Boilermakers were up by 10 again after the Wiggs point after with a little over 3 minutes left in the half.

Carlos Hyde, back in the return game, delivered a good runback to the 28 yard line and Miller & Company went back to work. A completion to Hall for 7 yards gave the fans something to be excited about, until Tackle Bruce Gaston sacked Braxton for a loss of 5. Buchanan punted yet again and Ohio State was aided by a holding penalty on Purdue to pin the Boilermakers at their own 11.

Danny Hope was content to run the clock down, perhaps confident that Coach Fickell would forget his timeout signal again. Fickell did not oblige, and the Bucks managed to get the ball back with under a minute left in the half after forcing their own three and out.

Starting at midfield, Miller tossed a pass to his new favorite receiver, Devin Smith for a 14 yard gain, and added another 2 on the ground before Drew Basil came out to attempt a 50 yarder that ended up no good. The Bucks went into the half down 10, but looking like a team that should have been down by three scores or more. The offense had no spark, the offensive line was not protecting Miller, and the usually stout defense was flat.

The second half saw the Boilermakers gain possession of the kickoff, and apparently something that Jim Heacock had said in the locker room resonated with the defense, as they forced their second consecutive three and out.

Taking over at their own 42, Miller turned and handed the ball to Hall, who took it 25 yards to the Purdue 33. Just 2 plays later, Hyde got the offense into the red zone with a ten yard gain, and after a Purdue timeout, Miller added 14 of his own to get his team down to the 6. After El Guapo lost a yard, Miller once again found the end zone with his legs, sauntering in to bring the Buckeyes within 3 points once again.

A massive kick by Basil was all but negated as Raheem Mostert brought the ball back 27 yards to the Purdue 30. An 18 yard strike from TerBush to Antavian Edison gave the Boilermakers a first down, but Ryan Shazier entered beast mode and found his way into the backfield to put TerBush on his back and force a fumble. But, as was the story of the day, Ohio State could not recover the fumble and were instead forced to return a punt.

Both offenses remained stagnant throughout the remainder of the third quarter and the team entered the final quarter of regulation with Purdue still up by three, 17-14. A quick incompletion from Miller forced Buchanan to trot out once again, kicking from his own 8 yard line. Purdue fair caught the punt and started the last quarter at their own 45. Marve was back in for the Boilermakers, and behind the rushing attack of Bolden was able to get his squad down to the 27 yard line for a 44 yard field goal from Wiggs. The game was still within reach, a manageable 6 point deficit.

After yet another sack, this time by Short – his second of the game – Miller showed why he’s a dual threat by taking the rock himself for a 17 yard scamper. TY Williams saw his first catch in a dog’s age, a 13 yard reception to put the team at midfield. Facing another third and ten, Braxton ran to his left for 11 yards to breathe new life into the team.

It was all for naught as two incompletions and a meager rush from Hyde forced the Bucks to perform the most important play in football. The defense, with a rare extended rest, came out fighting, forcing a three and out once again.

With just over 6 minutes remaining in the game, it appeared that Braxton Miller would need to perform some last minute heroics once again. And once again, the QB of the future delivered, driving his team 66 yards down field, ending with a 13 yard strike to Jordan Hall for Hall’s second touchdown reception of the game. It appeared that Miller had once again put this team on his shoulders and delivered another improbable win in the waning moments.

All that was needed was the PAT, the most routine of plays. But as all fans of the program know, nothing this season is routine. The Boilermakers came through the line and blocked Basil’s attempt, sending the Buckeyes to their first overtime game since 2009 against Iowa, the game that determined the Big Ten Champion that year. This game held similar importance to the Buckeyes, as they desperately need the win to stay in the chase.

The Bucks managed to convert their only turnover in the game in what was essentially garbage time, a badly thrown ball by Marve, intercepted by Orhian Johnson. It mattered very little, as Fickell was perfectly fine with letting the clock run out and going into overtime.

In the first overtime, the Buckeyes lost the coin toss and therefore had the ball on offense first. After 3 plays yielded all of 9 yards, Fickell was forced to settle for the easy points and put his season, and perhaps his long term job prospects on the defense.

Unfortunately, the normally stout Silver Bullets permitted Marve to push his way into the end zone after the completion to Bush was reviewed and the ball placed at about the ½ yard line, giving the Boilermakers the 26-23 win in OT.

The road to the Rose Bowl is all but lost to the Buckeyes at this point. While they got the help they needed from Nebraska, they failed to take care of business and are now looking up at both Penn State and Wisconsin in the Leaders Division. At this point, it would take a miracle for the Buckeyes to be able to punch their tickets to Lucas Oil Stadium.

They would need to win their remaining games against Penn State and Michigan, coupled with an additional loss by Wisconsin to clinch another Big Ten Title. Wisconsin closes out their season at Illinois and against the Nittany Lions and both games are thought to be manageable wins for the Badgers.

While the Rose Bowl, is all but out of sight for the Bucks – which would end a streak of consecutive BCS bowl games -- they still have a decent shot at a second tier bowl game, perhaps the Capital One Bowl or the Gator Bowl. In a season filled with distractions, suspensions, and an anemic offense, all can agree that the Buckeyes need those extra three weeks of practice, just to get ready for next season.

In all likelihood, we have witnessed the death knell on Luke Fickell’s tenure as Head Coach of the Buckeyes. Whoever comes in as The Big Nut next year has a lot to work on, but will be blessed with a ton of talent. Most agree, and I am one of them, that the Buckeyes suffer from a lack of adequate coaching on the offensive side of the ball.

My personal opinion – which does not necessarily reflect the views of BlockONation or the management – is that whoever comes in needs to clean house. But only up to a point.

Fickell, Vrabel, and Heacock are very, very good at what they do. Fickell alone is an outstanding recruiter. Vrabel keeps the defensive fires burning white hot, and Heacock is probably one of the top 3 defensive minds in the college game today.

A new head coach would be wise to keep these three on staff, but throw the remaining bums out onto High Street with nothing but the clothes on their backs.





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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ohio State—Purdue Highlights (Week 11, Game 10 - 11/12/2011)



If there was any doubt remaining, Luke Fickell and the Ohio State coaching staff sealed their fates with this pathetic effort and absolutely clueless and ever-predictable game strategy.

Ohio State isn't going to beat even the worst of teams when your offensive coordinator thinks run, run, run/incomplete pass/QB sack, and punt is a successful four-down-series.

Halftime of the Ohio State vs. Duke b-ball game on November 29th and the (top secret) Urban Meyer to Ohio State announcement can't get here soon enough!

Here are the "highlights" if you care to be disgusted all over again....



This Ohio State-Purdue highlight video was produced by lednerk and is brought to you exclusively by BlockONation.




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A Full-On Review of Ohio Stadium, aka The Mecca of Buckeye Football—Special Contribution From StadiumJourney.com

Thanks to Paul from StadiumJourney.com for allowing BlockONation to share this with our readers and fans on Facebook and Twitter.


On the banks of the Olentangy River in Columbus, Ohio, 200,000 people gather for six Saturdays every fall to come together as one to cheer on their beloved Buckeyes.

Whether the team is playing for a national title or only looking ahead to the big rivalry of the year, fans will brave the unpredictable Ohio weather to get loud for the Scarlet and Gray.

Ohio Stadium, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, was constructed in just over a year and held its first official game on October 7, 1922, against crosstown Ohio Wesleyan University in front of a crowd of 25,000.

Very fittingly, later that season, the first-ever Michigan game held in Ohio Stadium drew an amazing crowd at the time of over 72,000 of the 90,000 available seats.

Since the opening, many renovations have been conducted to update and expand “The Shoe” which now comfortably seats 102,000, the fourth-largest college football stadium in the country.

In addition to Buckeye football, Ohio Stadium has also been home to the Columbus Crew, before they built their own stadium, and various concerts such as Pink Floyd, Elton John, Billy Joel, U2, and the Rolling Stones......

To read the full Ohio Stadium article and review from our friends at StadiumJourney.com, click here.






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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ohio State vs. Purdue — Week 11 (Game 10) Outlook, History Lesson, and Prediction



OSU/Purdue—A Few Opening Thoughts...

Ohio State visits Purdue this Saturday for the first time since the then-seventh-ranked Buckeyes left West Lafayette, a 26-18 loser in 2009.


2010 Flashback: Dan "Boom" Herron stretches for the goaline vs. Purdue.

In the last five meetings, the Buckeyes are just 2-3 against Purdue -- a recent trend they most certainly want to reverse this weekend -- especially if they hope to preserve their chances of playing for the 2011 Big Ten crown in December.


Team Rankings / Players of Note

Purdue

The Purdue offense ranks 83rd nationally at 367 yards per game. They are 74th in total defense (43rd vs. the pass, 92nd vs. the run), allowing an average of 400 yards per game, and rank 58th in points allowed per game (26.4).

Quarterback Caleb TerBush has thrown for 1,386, with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer efficiency rating is 130. He also has 183 yards rushing and one touchdown.

At running back, Ralph Bolden leads the team with 469 yards and three touchdowns, followed closely by Akeem Shavers, who has gained 338 yards on the ground and scored five times.

The Boilermakers have a trio of wide receivers with over 25 receptions and 300-plus yards. Antavian Edision has 26 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns -- Justin Siller has 34 catches for 342 yards and one touchdown -- and O.J. Ross has 29 catches for 326 yards and three touchdowns.


Ohio State

Ohio State is 106th in total offense (319 yards per game) nationally. They are 16th in total defense (29th vs. the pass, 27th vs. the run), allowing an average of 312 yards per game, and rank 14th in points allowed per game (18.1).

The Silver Bullets have 21 sacks and 10 interceptions through nine games.

On the season, QB Braxton Miller has 547 passing yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has 447 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdowns. His current passer efficiency rating is 132.

Jordan Hall may play this week after missing the Indiana game. In his absence, team rushing leader Carlos Hyde broke the 100-yard barrier and now has 513 yards and six touchdowns. Dan Herron also broke the 100-yard barrier (as did Braxton Miller) and now has 415 yards and two scores.

Devin Smith leads the team in yardage with 227 yards on 10 catches, including four for scores. TE Jake Stoneburner is second on the team with 150 yards, and still leads in receptions and touchdowns, with 12 and six respectively. Neither had a reception against Indiana, but the fact that the Buckeyes had well over 300 yards rushing in the game is directly attributable to that.


Ohio State—Purdue History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State is 38-13-2 all-time vs. Purdue.

• Ohio State is 18-1 in all November games since 2005.

• Ohio State is 108-54-8 all-time in November road games.

• Ohio State is 12-7 all-time vs. Purdue in West Lafayette.

• Ohio State is 9-0 on the road in November games since 2005.

• Ohio State is 2-3 vs. Purdue in the last five games at West Lafayette.

• Ohio State is now 4-2 with Braxton Miller as their starting quarterback.

• Ohio State is 21-1 when running back Dan Herron rushes for at least 55 yards.

• Ohio State has won 13 of their last 16 games against Purdue, dating back to 1989.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just nine 100-yard rushers in their last 59 games.

• In the last 10 meetings between Ohio State and Purdue, the visiting team is just 2-8.

• Ohio State has held 67 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State's defense has held their opponent to fewer than 10 points 31 times since 2006.

• Ohio State has lost just two games in the month of November since their last loss to Michigan on November 22nd, 2003 (@ Purdue 2004, vs. Illinois 2007).

• Purdue is 11-4 all-time on games played on November 11th.

• Purdue is 1-1 against Ohio State under head coach Danny Hope.

• Purdue has outgained Ohio State in seven of the last 10 meetings.

• Purdue has won three of the last five meetings at home against Ohio State.

• Purdue is third nationally and first in the Big Ten in kickoff return average (27.3).

• Purdue has not had a 100-yard rusher since 9/03/11 (Ralph Bolden) vs. Middle Tennessee State.

• Purdue's defense surrendered 605 total yards to Wisconsin last week (11/05/11), including 223 yards on the ground and three touchdowns to RB Montee Ball.


Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

It would seem obvious to me that another big week for the Buckeye running game in on tap.

Nothing personal against Jordan Hall, but I kind of hope he misses again this week so we can all see more of Carlos Hyde. I love this kid -- he's the next Beanie Wells!


Carlos Hyde has a mean stiffarm and he just looks the part of a brusing-Buckeye-back, don't you think?

The defense must play better -- Purdue is most definitely better than Indiana -- but Ohio State has plenty of motivation in this game.

What, with revenge for the 2009 loss in Ross-Ade Stadium, not to mention, a shot at the 2011 title game and a potential Rose Bowl berth hanging in the balance.

Something tells me it could be close into the third quarter, but the Bucks will get separation in the end, and a win for the good guys should be in order this time in West Lafayette.


Ohio State 41
Purdue 20



"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson




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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ohio State—Indiana Highlights (Week 10, Game 9 - 11/05/2011)



Well, it wasn't pretty -- and this week, the defense looked the worst they've probably looked all season, but they made some plays in the end to preserve the victory -- and as they say, a win is a win!



This Ohio State-Indiana highlight video was produced by lednerk and is brought to you exclusively by BlockONation.




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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ohio State-Indiana Recap: Buckeyes Escape Hoosiers Upset Bid; Keep Big Ten Hopes Alive

By Special Contributor Chris Holloway

For the past 10 years, the month of November has brought unbridled joy and success to the Buckeyes.

They have lost just twice in November since 2003, and closing out the season with four consecutive wins has been the hallmark of this program since that day in 2001 when Jim Tressel took over as head coach.

Since 2005, the squad has lost just a single November game -- a Juice Williams powered Illini victory in 2007 -- that marred an otherwise perfect regular season.

The tradition of winning games in the weeks before Thanksgiving did not falter on Saturday as Kevin Wilson brought his 1-8 Hoosiers into the Horseshoe. Indiana had not won against the Buckeyes in 16 straight tries -- their last win coming in 1988.

There was not a single pundit that believed that Indiana could break this losing streak, especially after the abrupt dismissal of DeMarlo Belcher -- the team's leading receiver -- for violation of team rules.

With Belcher gone, the receiving corps for Indiana looked even bleaker than that of their opponents, as they were without their top two receivers.

The Buckeyes were not without their missing pieces either. Jordan Hall, the do everything back, injured his ankle during the last kick return against Wisconsin, and missed the game.

Jamaal Berry was involved in an altercation before the contest against the Badgers. During the week, he was officially charged with several counts and was suspended indefinitely. In the backfield, they would not be missed, but where their absence would be most felt was in the kick return game.

In normal situations, with Hall out, Berry would be in the mix to return kicks. Since his suspension, there was speculation as to who would be returning punts and kickoffs. Thoughts drifted to anyone from Chris Fields to Dan Herron to Rod Smith, who had been practicing with both the linebacker corps as well as the running backs. In the end, it was Devin Smith, the receiving hero from a week ago, that would end up with kick return duty.

Neither team figured to throw the ball all that much in this game, given their shortcomings in the passing game. Braxton Miller may have saved the day with his arm a week ago against the Badgers, but most would agree that it was an anomaly.

We all know that Miller has the potential to be a finesse passer, but so far he has not been given the chance as the Ohio State coaching staff has opted for a more conservative style of play.

On the opposite sideline, true freshman quarterback Tre Roberson was showing glimpses of greatness in the opportunities that have been presented to him. A dual threat QB in his own right, Roberson had the ability to make plays with not just his feet, but his arm as well. This would become evident to the Buckeyes early on.

Taking the field for the coin toss, the Hoosiers won and elected to receive. Drew Basil, with shades of his last kickoff against Wisconsin, booted the ball out of bounds on the opening kickoff to give Indiana the ball at the 40-yard line. After a run-heavy drive that took the Hoosiers to the Ohio State 18, Indiana was forced to settle for a field goal to give them the early lead at 3-0.

Devin Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 17 yards to the Ohio State 26. The decent return was marred by a drive that only gained 20 total yards, with 15 of those coming on a penalty. A collective groan was heard as the drive ended in disaster when Braxton Miller fumbled the ball at the 46, with Indiana recovering.

A Tre Roberson pass for 11 yards to Kofi Hughes and a 16-yard run up the gut by the true freshman QB set up a five yard run by Stephen Houston for the first touchdown of the game. The Bucks now trailed 10-0 and horrible thoughts of Purdue 2009 and Illinois 2007 began to creep into the minds of the Buckeye faithful.

Those thoughts were quelled for a moment as on the very next drive when Miller broke free and in just a few strides, set the school record for longest rushing TD by a Quarterback -- scampering 81 yards to the house and cutting the Indiana lead to three.

The Silver Bullets recorded the first of their three and outs after the kickoff, assisted by an Indiana penalty, and Ohio State took back over on their own 41. As they began their next march down the field, the offensive line showed some weakness in the trenches. In all, the Buckeyes allowed six sacks on the day, two of which came on this drive.

Miller did show some shades of passing acumen when he hit fullback Zach Boren for a 22 yard strike, only to be sacked again. The Buckeyes settled for three to tie the game when the second quarter began.

If the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game was the Clash of the Passing Games, then the first half of the Indiana game was classic Tresselball.

The kickers for both teams were the story in this half, hitting their field goals and MVP Ben Buchanan pinning the Hoosiers deep within their own territory on seemingly every punt. Basil and Ewald combined for three field goals in the second quarter -- the only scores in the period -- and at halftime the teams went to the locker room tied at 13 apiece.

Just before the break, there was shock and confusion at the tactic that Coach Wilson employed, calling successive timeouts with little time on the clock, only to kneel the ball down and let the clock run out. Given that Ohio State would take the ball in the second half, the decision by the first year head man was a head scratcher. Perhaps he feared the pick six, or perhaps communication was an issue.

Whatever the reason, the Buckeye coaching staff had to feel a little underwhelmed at the outcome of the first half, and the choruses of boos did nothing to dispel the notion that they had to come out stronger in the second half.

They were not expecting to be tied going into the break, much less being exposed on defense as they had been. Indiana seemingly had the middle of the field occupied on short routes, and were able to connect on just about every short or mid-range crossing route they ran.

Ohio State took the ball to start the second half, and Boom Herron promptly broke off a 40-yard run. The celebration was short lived, however, as Braxton was sacked yet again and then intercepted by Webb, the second turnover by the freshman QB.

It seemed as if the Bucks could not get anything going unless it was a breakaway, big play. The defense, porous at times, found their real steel and managed another three and out. Pines punted, and Ohio State took over at their own 48, giving them magnificent field position.

On their first play, Braxton took off for a 13-yard gain, followed by runs of 20 and 15 by Herron -- the latter ending in the endzone to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game at 20-13.

Indiana responded in-kind on their next drive, with Roberson hitting Hughes for with a 34-yard strike, and just like that, the game was knotted again at 20.

Miller and crew then had their most sustained drive, going eighty yards down the field, using the rushing attack that everyone figured them to use almost exclusively.

Carlos Hyde, who was complaining on Twitter about his lack of carries and playing time after the Illinois game, provided the bulk of the yards on the drive -- even though his longest run of the day to that point was negated by a holding call on Corey Brown.

After another breakdown in protection led to yet another sack, Braxton responded by taking the rock to the house on a 20-yard run that saw him waltzing into the end zone. Ohio State was back in the lead, 27-20, and they would not relinquish it again.

The Hoosiers had control of the ball when the final period started, and took it down the field to the Ohio State 18. On 4th and 9, the Indiana field goal unit came out, only to have a false start penalty levied against them. Ewald, whether shaken or just frustrated, pushed the football wide left with just nine minutes and change left in the game.

All Ohio State would need to do was eat away at the clock to secure their third consecutive Big Ten win. Those hopes were nearly dashed briefly however, as Herron fumbled on the first play, with Miller recovering.

Boom came off the field, apparently shaken up a bit, and El Guapo came on. Hyde and Miller joined up to grab the first down at the OSU 35, only to have Miller sacked once more, and the drive stalled. Buchanan came on to punt, and booted the kick to the Hoosier 28.

Coach Heacock's defense looked for another three and out, only to be stymied by a Roberson pass to Hughes that kept Indiana's hopes alive.

Roberson rushed for another first down to the Ohio State 44, but on the very next play, was intercepted by Travis Howard. Howard read the route beautifully, stepped up to the ball, and returned it 15 yards to the OSU 42 yard line.

After a 4-yard gain by Hyde, he broke through the middle of the defense and steamrolled his way down to the Indiana 7.

Boom came back onto the field, rushed right for five, and Hyde showed why he should be the short yardage bruiser by punishing his way through the Hoosier defense for a two-yard score.

The Buckeyes ended the game with three 100-yard rushers on the day -- just the fourth time in school history that feat was accomplished. The last time this had happened was in 1989 against Northwestern when Dante Lee, Scottie Graham, and Carlos Snow each eclipsed the mark.

The lead was now a more-comfortable 14 points with just two and a half minutes remaining. All of the Buckeye touchdowns had been on runs. Braxton posted two; Boom found the end zone once after having his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown snapped against Wisconsin, and of course, Hyde and the final nail in the coffin for Indiana.

Ryan Shazier and company produced their last three and out, with big #10 coming through the line to sack Roberson and Michael Bennett recording his own sack just two plays later to force the turnover on downs.

With a minute and 40 seconds left on the clock and Indiana out of timeouts, the Buckeyes lined up in the victory formation for three consecutive kneel downs, and the clock ran out to give Ohio State a hard fought win -- one that kept the hopes of an appearance in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game alive.

The Buckeyes continue to need a bit of help to make it to Indianapolis, but you have to figure that the scandal currently swirling around University Park will have an effect on the Nittany Lions as they prepare for the most difficult stretch of the season.

A loss against either Nebraska or Wisconsin, coupled with Ohio State winning the rest of their games would see the Buckeyes in the Promised Land.

Iowa showed what we already knew -- Michigan can be beaten -- as the gave the Wolverines another Big Ten loss.

As long as Ohio State can avoid looking past Purdue as they almost did Indiana this week -- which isn't exactly a guarantee this season (remember 2009?), they nearly control their own destiny.

While the game wasn't even close to being the blowout that many expected (and yes, that HD predicted), and the team kept the fans on a razor's edge the entire game, what matters at the end of the day is the win.

Now, with six wins in the regular season and three left to play, the Buckeyes are officially bowl eligible. Where they end up come bowl season is almost entirely up to them.

Prepare, execute, and limit mistakes, and this team could be headed to the Rose Bowl for the second time in 3 years.



After an offseason of scandal, strife, and a sea of change in the locker room, nothing could be sweeter than smelling roses on January 1st, 2012.




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Friday, November 4, 2011

Ohio State vs. Indiana — Week 10 (Game Nine) Outlook, History Lesson, and Prediction



OSU/Indiana—A Few Opening Thoughts...

Coming off last weeks' huge upset win over the then-No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers, the Buckeyes host Indiana this Saturday at noon in Ohio Stadium.

As predicted, it was a Braxton Miller coming out party of sorts, as Miller had his best game as a Buckeye with 89 passing yards, 99 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns -- none bigger than the game-winning, 40-yard TD toss to Devin Smith with just 20 seconds left on the clock after Wisconsin had stormed back from 12 down to take the lead with 1:18 left.

The Buckeyes kept their Big Ten title hopes alive with the win, and have instilled renewed excitement across Buckeye Nation. Conversely, Indiana is probably just hoping their nightmare season ends soon.

The hapless Hoosiers are just 1-8 on the year. Having just booted their top WR, DeMarlo Belcher, from the team this past week won't help their struggling offense either.

The Buckeyes need to avoid the classic let-down performance here that so often follows a big win for many-a-team. Indiana is obviously not a good team, but they've played a couple of halfway-decent teams (Virginia, Penn State) closer than might have been expected, and they'll come to Columbus with a nothing-to-lose mentality -- fair warning to the Bucks not to overlook them -- any given Saturday...


Team Overview / Players of Note

Indiana

The Indiana offense ranks 75th nationally at 378 yards per game. They are 112th in total defense (62nd vs. the pass, 117th vs. the run), allowing an average of 458 yards per game, and rank 114th in points allowed per game (36.2). In a word, the IU defense (especially against the run) is woeful.

Quarterback Tre Roberson has thrown for 524 yards, with 2 touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer efficiency rating is 125. He also has 267 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Wide receiver Kofi Hughes has 20 catches for 298 yards, with two touchdowns. He's the only receiver on the roster that has made any significant contribution with Belcher gone and Duwyce Wilson injured and out for the year.

Running back Stephen Houston leads the team with 577 yards and six touchdowns. He also has 12 receptions for 125 yards.


Ohio State

Ohio State is 110th in total offense (310 yards per game) nationally. They are 17th in total defense (27th vs. the pass, 26th vs. the run), allowing an average of 310 yards per game, and rank 16th in points allowed per game (17.9).

The Silver Bullets have 17 sacks and nine interceptions through eight games.

On the season, last weeks hero QB Braxton Miller, has 492 passing yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has 342 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns. His current passer efficiency rating is 143.

Devin Smith made his single reception against the Badgers count in a big way when he caught the game-winner with 20 seconds left on the clock last Saturday. He leads the team in yardage with 227 yards on 10 catches, including four for scores.

Despite another week without a catch, TE Jake Stoneburner is second on the team with 150 yards, and still leads in receptions and touchdowns, with 12 and six respectively.

With Jordan hall set to miss the Indiana game due to injury, Carlos Hyde will get another chance to see the field along with Dan Herron. Hyde still leads the team in rushing with 408 yards and five touchdowns, while Herron -- who rushed for his second straight 100-yard game in as many starts -- has 274 yards and a score.


Ohio State—Indiana History Lesson And Trends

• Ohio State is 67-12-5 all-time vs. Indiana.

• Ohio State is 68-8 in Ohio Stadium since 2001.

• Ohio State is 17-1 in November games since 2005.

• Ohio State has won 16 straight games against Indiana.

• Ohio State is 43-10-4 in Columbus all-time vs. Indiana.

• Ohio State is 182-78-11 all-time in November home games.

• Ohio State's defense has held opponent to fewer than 10 points 31 times since 2006.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just one 100-yard rusher in the past 27 games at home.

• Ohio State's defense has allowed just seven 100-yard rushers in their last 45 games.

• Ohio State has held 66 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.

• Ohio State has lost just two games in the month of November since their last loss to Michigan on November 22nd, 2003 (Purdue 2004, Illinois 2007).

• Indiana is 42-85 overall since 2001.

• Indiana last defeated Ohio State in 1988.

• Indiana last beat Ohio State in Columbus in 1987.


Final Thoughts and Score Prediction

In their last two games, the Buckeyes have upset Illinois and Wisconsin. In those games, they averaged 135 yards passing and 239 yards rushing. It's a safe bet that the gameplan for Indiana will be to run a lot, and then run some more.

Sorry to any Hoosier fans out there, but even you know that the Bucks could completely overlook Indiana and still gain 200+ on the ground while posting a win in convincing fashion.

The final outcome really shouldn't be a mystery, so me picking the Buckeyes is a given here.

Wisconsin crushed IU 59-7, so since Ohio State beat UW by 4, Ohio State will win by at least eight touchdowns -- or I'll never-ever count on that damn transitive property when making my weekly pick again...

Ohio State 48
Indiana 0


Yeah, I was joking about the eight TDs and the transitive property -- I am not kidding however on that final score.

I definitely can see OSU scoring close to 50 AND pitching the shutout -- Believe it!


"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson




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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The REAL Big Ten Power Rankings, Minus the ESPN Anti-Buckeye Sentiment

By HD HandshoeBlockONation.com Founder

Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett posted their Week 10 Big Ten Power Rankings yesterday, and the list makes practically no sense at all -- especially when they have one team that was crushed by another team four spots higher in their rankings than the team that crushed them.

Surely you can figure out the two teams being referenced when you look at theirs.

Here are the real power rankings as they should be, based on how each team is performing on offense, defense, and special teams at this point in the season -- not just on who has beaten who, or overall number of wins, as that doesn't reflect each team's strength of schedule -- or lack thereof.


12.

Indiana (1-8, 0-5), is still Indiana, and they just booted their best WR off the team -- not good.


11.

Minnesota (2-6, 1-3) finally got their first Big Ten win, but Iowa is not much higher in the rankings, so it's not really a big deal outside of Minneapolis.


10.

Illinois (6-3, 2-3) has lost three straight games, and web traffic to the Fire Ron Zook websites has most certainly increased steadily in the past three weeks.


9.

Iowa (5-3, 2-2) has good players and what we thought was a decent coach, although some fans in the Hawkeye Nation are beginning to question if they have a JoePa situation on their hands...


8.

Northwestern (3-5, 1-4) is a much better team than their record indicates, especially with a healthy Dan Persa, but if this program is going to ever turn the corner, they have to consistently win the games they're supposed to win.


7.

Purdue (4-4, 2-2) has been hard to figure out at times this season, but now that they have settled on QB Caleb TerBush, count on a few more wins out of the Boilers before all is said and done.


6.

Michigan State (6-2, 3-1) has shown almost no consistency -- losing to a middle of the road Notre Dame squad, beating Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, and then getting dominated by Nebraska -- talk about hard to figure out.


5.

Penn State (8-1, 5-0) managed to escape defeat last week against the Illini, but they have played exactly one good team, and lost. This week they are off, then will host Nebraska before travelling to Ohio State and Wisconsin -- all opponents who could very possibly hand PSU three losses to finish off the season.


4.

Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) has played pretty well nearly every week, other than their trip to Madison, and before Braxton went down and Black-Death-Bauserman came into the game for the Buckeyes. With games remaining against Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan, and Iowa, 10-2 or 11-1 and a Legends Division title seems a very likely probability.


3.

Wisconsin (6-2, 2-2) hasn't dropped far in the rankings as far as I am concerned despite losing back to back games in heartbreaking fashion -- one on a Hail Mary to Michigan State, and the other to Ohio State on a veteran-like touchdown pass by freshman-phenom Braxton Miller with less than 30 seconds left. Unfortunately however, their dream season may be over as they look to be the odd man out should a three-way tie occur between themselves, Ohio State, and Penn State in the Leaders Division.


2.

Ohio State (5-3, 2-2) is playing as well as anyone in the conference in all facets of the game -- not to mention, the Buckeyes have won 10 November games in a row and have lost just two games in the month of November since 2003. It just really sucks that several great defensive efforts were wasted before the coaches finally realized that Braxton Miller needs to be on the field, every possible second of every game. Maybe it's not too late though as the Buckeyes have a real chance at yet another Big Ten title.


1.

Michigan (7-1, 3-1) is improved on defense (although there was really nowhere to go but up) and has one of the most dynamic and athletic players college football has seen recently in Denard Robinson. Too bad he's not a very good QB, and he still has at least two strong defensive units to face in Nebraska and Ohio State. 9-3 would be a great season in AA after what that program has endured recently -- but it won't mean as much if coach Brady Hoke can't lead his team to their first victory over "Ohio" since 2003...





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