Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Buckeyes Set National Attendance Record For a Spring Footbal Game

It was windy and hot and my arms are burnt to a crisp, but it was pretty much a perfect day for the Buckeyes Scarlet and Gray Spring Football game yesterday!

I am proud to say I was part of the RECORD BREAKING 95,722 in attendance. No other school has ever had as many fans in attendance for a Spring game than Ohio State did for this one.

Game highlights (courtesy of the Big Ten Network)

Here are the pics I took. The first set are from my phone and the better closeup shots were with a digital camera—Enjoy!

View from outside the stadium of the South stands

The Block O that was the inspiration for the name of this blog

Just before the LAX game started

The stadium was nearly at capacity about 30 minutes before kickoff

More views of the record breaking crowd

#2 Terrelle Pryor warming up with a few of his O-linemen

The pics below here are the digital camera pics. You can click on any image to enlarge it!


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Friday, April 17, 2009

Brandon Saine—Ten Buckeyes You Don't Know About Yet: Part I

by HD Handshoe

First off, let me say this article is not for die-hard Ohio State fans. I suspect you will know the players I highlight.

Instead, I wrote this in response to my recent preview article about the OSU/USC football matchup in Columbus this fall to which a lot has been made by non-OSU fans of how USC will be reloaded as usual, and thus, Ohio State will have zero chance of beating the Trojans.

Pretty much everyone who isn't a Buckeye fan seems to believe this, but the problem is, they are overlooking the fact that USC lost far more than OSU.

They are also making a generalization about how good or how not so good the Buckeyes will be based on Ohio State's big-stage losses starting with Florida in the 2006 BCS title game and culminating with their lop-sided loss in Los Angeles last September.

They are also focusing on the players OSU is losing and aren't looking at the players who are here and ready to start, including a few guys from the last two highly-regarded recruiting classes, and that's where I come in!

To help educate those gloom-and-doom prognosticators who make those type of general statements about the Buckeyes 2009 season outlook, I've decided to create a 10-part series to spotlight ten players who will make a name for themselves nationally and step in for Ohio State and sufficiently fill the holes left by the likes of Beanie Wells, James Laurinaitus, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Freeman, Alex Boone, Brian Robiskie, etc.

Obviously, no Buckeye will deny that losing Beanie Wells is beyond huge, but remember, Terrelle Pryor is an amazing dual-threat quarterback who will carry the ball more often if needed in 2009, but he's not the only potential game-breaking play-maker that will see action in the Buckeyes backfield.

No. 10—Brandon Saine
RB (6'1 220)

Saine, now a junior tailback played high school football and ran track for the Piqua, Ohio Indians.

He was compared favorably to Reggie Bush while entering his Freshman year at Ohio State due to his ability to be a jack of all trades—running, blocking and even spending time in the slot as a WR, which he may also do occasionally this season in Columbus.

Saine has been officially timed at 4.40 seconds in the forty yard dash, although he has been unofficially timed at 4.25 seconds.

As a H.S. junior, he ran for over 1,300 yards and scored 21 touchdowns while garnering All-State, All-Conference, and Conference Player of the Year honors.

In his senior year, he ran for 1,895 yards and 27 touchdowns on 259 carries, while recording 30 receptions for 412 yards.

Saine, who is physically comparable to Wells (6'1", 218), was the 2006 Ohio Mr. Football Award recipient and was ranked second overall in the 2007 football recruiting class from Ohio by Rivals.com, and ranked 50th among the Rivals 100.

After being stuck in the shadow of Beanie Wells in 2007 and being injured in 2008, Saine is finally healthy and poised for a breakout campaign at running back where he will be able to show off the speed that earned him the Ohio Division I state record in the 100-meter dash, with a time of 10.38, which he set in 2006. He also won four State track titles and a National Championship in the 60-meter dash.

He will definitely be in the mix this year and if he stays healthy, he will contribute and should help to soften the losses at both running back and wide receiver!

Next installment coming soon—Stay tuned!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ohio State vs. USC: Preview to "THE SHOWDOWN"—Sizing Up The Trojans

by HD Handshoe

The Buckeyes play host to USC in Week 2 of the upcoming 2009 season and while they did lose numerous key players on both sides of the ball, they never seem to be rebuilding, but rather, reloaded.

I've decided to take a closer look at this USC team and highlight a few players who may be called upon to fill some very big shoes this year in SoCal.


With Mark Sanchez heading off to the NFL, the main attraction at this year’s spring practice has been the quarterback competition. Senior Garrett Green, Junior Mitch Mustain, Sophomore Aaron Corp and Freshman Matt Barkley are involved in a highly contested battle to be Pete Carrol's starting signal caller and with good reason. Even Matt Cassel, who never even played while at USC, is now a multi-millionaire QB in the NFL!

Wide Receiver:

With Patrick Turner also moving on to the NFL Draft, that leaves the No. 1 receiver spot open. Damian Williams is in line to take that spot, followed closely at No. 2 by Ronald Johnson. The third and fourth slots are up for grabs.

Travon Patterson, David Ausberry, Brandon Carswell, Brice Butler and Jordan Cameron, will all be competing or playing time when the Trojans come out in three, four, or five receiver sets.

The starting receivers could affect who will be selected as the starting quarterback and vice-versa. Communication and chemistry between the quarterback and his receivers is crucial, especially when a play breaks down and the quarterback is in trouble and needs to count on his wide outs to get open and/or sometimes come back to the ball.

If the receivers don't run routes well and create separation between themselves and the defense, or if they miss an audible, the success of the QB and the team can go right down the drain, so this is also a definite position of interest for the Ohio State defensive coaches.

Tight End:

USC, unlike Ohio State, does throw the ball to their tight ends so they are worth mentioning.

Blake Ayles, Rhett Ellison, and Anthony McCoy will be joined by former defensive end Michael Reardon, who has just switched positions.

Offensive Line:

2008 starting center Kris O’Dowd will not practice with the team this spring. He is recuperating from shoulder surgery.

All-American candidate at left guard Jeff Byers will replace O’Dowd at center for spring practice. Khaled Holmes will battle with Zack Heberer for Byers’ spot. Heberer will also be competing with right guard, Alex Parsons and possibly Thomas Herring and Martin Coleman, both recovering from injuries.

Butch Lewis, Nick Howell, and Matt Kalil will all go head-to-head for that right tackle spot. On the other side, Charles Brown and Tyron Smith will compete to see who will start at left tackle.

How well these front five protect a quarterback during spring drills and scrimmages could have much to do with Pete Carroll’s quarterback selection.

If it seems as though the offensive line is having too many breakdowns, then Carroll may select a scrambler like Corp or Green. On the other hand, if the offensive line looks strong, Carroll may go with a pro-style pocket quarterback like Mustain or Barkley.

Running Back:

Joe McKnight is the marquee name but USC's backfield is full of talented backs competing for playing time. Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable, and Allen Bradford will be joined by underclassmen Marc Tyler and Curtis McNeal.

While McKnight and Bradford watch from the sidelines this Spring nursing injuries, the other four will certainly be giving their all to earn their spot in the hierarchy.


Take away Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing and that leaves quite a void to fill in its' own right, but the Trojans will be trying to fill quite a few holes at just about every position, as most of the members from last year’s defense are showcasing their talents for the NFL Draft.

Right now, the only spot that looks secure is strong safety with All-American Taylor Mays moving over from free safety. Josh Pinkard will compete with Will Harris for playing time at that spot.

Kevin Thomas most likely will start at one corner with Shareece Wright likely to take the other side. No doubt T.J. Bryant and Marshall Jones will also be in the mix.

The stiffest competition on defense will be among the front four. Christian Tupou and Jurrell Casey will fight over the nose tackle spot. Averell Spicer and Derek Simmons will compete for the three-technique spot.

At strongside defensive end is Armand Armstead going up against Wes Horton. On the other side it will be Everson Griffen taking on Malik Jackson. Hopefully, both of them will cut down on those unsportsmanlike conduct penalties they ran up last year.

If Chris Galippo stays healthy, he could lock down the middle linebacker's slot. But Uona Kavienga might have something to say about that.

Look for Malcolm Smith and Jordan Campbell to go at it on the weak side, while Michael Morgan tries to hold down the strong side with pressure from Nick Garratt and Luther Brown, who can play all three linebacking spots.

Although most of these players were not starters last year, they still saw a good deal of action. Their experience, coupled with the need to compete, should guarantee another strong defensive performance this season.

In Closing:

I do believe the Buckeyes will matchup favorably with the Trojans in this game and I also believe the Bucks will win.

That being said, I do not take USC lightly at all. As I already stated in the opening, USC doesn't rebuild, but this is about as close to it as they have come under Pete Carroll.

However, that might not really mean all that much.

Afterall, remember that Matt Leinart, Mark Sanchez, Rey Maualuga, and Brian Cushing among countless others under Pete Carroll were all once newbie recruits just trying to earn a spot and make a name for themselves.

They were able to fill big shoes when given their chance and that seems to be a recurring theme that has played out pretty well to date for the Trojans...

Here's a 2009 OSU/USC Preview video I found on YouTube

Please post your thoughts - Thanks!

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Michigan's Tate Forcier: Lofty Expectations Will Lead to Major Letdown

by HD Handshoe

After a couple of weeks of practice and their Spring game, many out-of-touch fans of that school up North already believe that Robert "Tate" Forcier will lead them to a victory over Ohio State in 2009.

Never mind that they lost nine games in 2008, including a 42-7 beatdown at the hands of the Buckeyes.

Never mind that they still have no defense and are unproven at wide receiver and running back.

Never mind that Tressel is 7-1 and Dick-Rod isn't the savior they all believed he was and wanted him to be.

Sure, he built a decent program at West Virginia, but I mean, that's the Big East, where you play schools like UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati, and Louisville, not the Big Ten where you deal with Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, and Ohio State.

Never mind that Forcier might not even be the starter in 2009.

Even if he is and he has a decent year, he can never live up to the hype and unrealistic expectations scUm fans (like Jordan from B/R) are placing on his shoulders.

I had better remind them once again, just for good measure:

UM lost nine games last year.

They're not going to win nine or 10 games this year.

Forcier looked OK, but remember, he was playing against his own weak defense so you be the judge.

Here are the video highlights from the 2009 UM Spring game—GO BUCKS!

Here's a friendly reminder to my scUm fan homeboys—LMFAO!

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Public Enemy No. 1—Espn's Pat Forde At It AGAIN

by HD Handshoe

In his most recent story on Espn.com, Forde writes about UNC's easy victory over Michigan State in the 2009 Mens' NCAA Basketball Championship game.

In it, he invokes an analogy comparing MSU's performance vs. UNC to Ohio State's recent BCS failures on the gridiron.

How (and more importantly why) is it that this CLOWN always finds a way to take cheap shots at the Ohio State Buckeyes, even when they have absolutely nothing to do with the event he was writing about...?

Here's the excerpt:

It was the perfect night for the Tar Heels, whose defensive deficiencies wound up being the most overrated story line of the season. They won another title -- the program's fifth -- while simultaneously leaving hated Duke in the record books for biggest margin of championship-game defeat at 30.

For a while, that record appeared to be in serious jeopardy as the Spartans performed like Ohio State in a BCS National Championship Game. This could have been a 40-point bomb if Michigan State had submitted and North Carolina had kept the hammer down.


We get it Pat....

You wanted to come to tOSU (much like your evil brother from another mother Mark May) but we didn't want you (or him) so you settled for Missouri and he settled for Pitt, and you both, will now forever be biased Espin taking heads that take cheap shots at Ohio State as long as you have a forum to be heard...

I, for one, hope you and May both quietly and conveniently go away—and soon, a-la get fired, a-la Trev Alberts.

I have a strong feeling that you're going to REALLY hate OSU over the next two to three years Pat when they win the title, Pryor wins the Heisman and you get you SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!

In the meantime, here's some free advice for you Mr. Forde:


Whoops, too late........

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Terrelle Pryor 2008 Freshman Highlights

Check this out! This video is awesome—Lexco44 has done it again!

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Top Ten College Quarterbacks to Watch in 2009

by HD Handshoe

The fortunes (or misfortunes for some) of many a team will depend on how well their key players step up and shoulder the load to help carry their team to success.

There is no position more crucial in this cause than that of the quarterback.

For some, it may a chance to win the Heisman trophy. For others, possibly a chance for redemption in a BCS bowl game or even the BCS title game or to earn a BCS bowl game invite and earn the title of "BCS Buster"!

Here are the top ten QB's to watch in 2009 that have the opportunity to make or break the 2009 season for their respective teams and provide all of us fans with quite a thrill ride along the way!

No. 10 - Robert Griffin - Baylor

Baylor isn't exactly on national TV week to week but, if you haven't at least heard of Robert Griffin, you must not pay attention to teams outside of your own because all Griffin did as a true freshman in 2008 was pass for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions and ran for another 843 yards and 13 touchdowns, while posting a QB rating of 142.0 for the Bears!

Unfortunately, Griffins' incredible stats didn't translate into much as Baylor finished the year 4-8.

While those gaudy stats could prove hard to duplicate, I expect that Griffin will be able to put up similar numbers and with any help from his defense at all, the Bears could become bowl eligible in 2009.

I hope they do because it's a shame that most of the nation has never seen Griffin play, and without a bowl game for Baylor, it will probably remain that way.

No. 9 - Jimmy Clausen - Notre Dame

Charlie Weis is on the hottest seat in college football and if he is to keep his job at Notre Dame, Clausen must live up to the hype and meet, if not exceed, expectations this season.

Notre Dame crushed Hawaii 49-21 in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and Clausen led the way with 401 yards and five touchdown passes. Weis can only pray that Clausen builds off of that performance and continues to play at that level or pretty near it this season.

2009 is do or die for the quarterback and the coach. If Clausen faulters, he might find a seat on the bench with highly-touted Dayne Christ waiting in the wings and Weis will most likely find himself out of a job if the Irish win less than nine or ten games.

No. 8 - Tyrod Taylor - Virginia Tech

Just about every year in recent memory, Virginia Tech has been hyped up and ranked in or near the top ten in the AP Preseason Poll. And just about every year in recent memory, they have been the poster child for why preseason polls make no sense.

According to ESPN's Mark Schlabach in his "Way Too Early Top 25" article, Va Tech is once again highly regarded, coming in at No. 5.

In 2008, Tech went 10-4, winning the ACC and beating Cincinnati 20-7 in the Fedex Orange Bowl in what many considered to be a foundation year for 2009.

They were one of the youngest teams in the nation a year ago. If Tyrod Taylor can improve in the passing game (1036 yards,2 TD, 7 INT), and with star tailback Darren Evans there to help take some of the pressure off of Taylor, the Hokies might actually deserve their preseason ranking and may even be contenders for the national championship.

No. 7 - Kellen Moore - Boise State

The Broncos have become a mainstay "mid-major" program that has been and will continue to be in the BCS bowl discussion this season. Last year, Boise finished the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record before being tripped-up by TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Sophomore QB Kellen Moore has proven he is one of the country's best quarterbacks (3,486 yards, 25 TD, 9 INT, 157.1 QB Rating), but he'll be missing his top targets from a year ago. Tailback Ian Johnson and receivers Jeremy Childs and Vinny Perretta are big losses.

Moore will need to duplicate his 2008 season if Boise is to have any chance at another "BCS busting" undefeated season.

He and the Broncos will be tested early in 2009, opening the season with Oregon at home before road games at Tulsa and Fresno State.

No. 6 - Jevan Snead - Ole Miss

Snead could have been Matt Cassell 2.0, but instead he decided to transfer from Texas at the end of the 2006 season where he would have been Colt McCoy's backup to Ole Miss where instead, he is the man and the rest is history.

Only one team beat the eventual BCS Champion Florida Gators in 2008 and that team was, you guessed it, Ole Miss!

In that 31-30 thrilling road win that catapulted the Rebels into the top 25 and the national discussion, Snead threw for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for a third.

There were a couple of lows however, when Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and South Carolina each handed Mississippi three, somewhat unexpected losses.

The Rebels bounced back with a huge victory over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl to close the season and end the year on a positive note to build on!

Ole Miss has a favorable schedule in 2009 and Snead should be able to replicate his stats from a year ago (2,762 yards, 26 TD, 12 INT, 145.5 QB Rating) and lead the Rebels back to another successful season and a possible SEC Championship!

No. 5 - Terrelle Pryor - Ohio State

While Pryor didn't have the stats (1,311 passing yards, 631 rushing yards, 12 passing and 6 rushing TD, 4 INT, 146.5 QB Rating) that Robert Griffin or Kellen Moore did in 2008, he did have a solid season for the Buckeyes with an 8-2 record as a starter and let's face it—He is the QB of "THE" Ohio State Buckeyes and, not to belittle Baylor or Boise State but, the reality is that the expectations of him and pressure on him far exceed those of/on Griffin or Moore.

I believe the Buckeyes lost four starters on offense and five on defense and yet they are No. 7 in Schlabachs' rankings. The number one reason why they are ranked in his top ten is Terrelle Pryor, so you can see what I'm saying about the expectations and pressure placed upon him.

At times, Pryor made some amazing passes and at other times, some were just plain ridiculous and downright horrible. But remember, he was a true freshman and took the starting job away from Senior QB and team captain, Todd Boeckman. I can't begin to imagine the stress he must have felt.

Still, he persevered. His only losses as a starter in 2008 came to then No. 3 Penn State after an errant pass was picked off, which gave the Nittany Lions the ball late in the game, deep in OSU territory, leading to the games only touchdown and a PSU win.

In the Fiesta Bowl, Pryor caught a TD pass from Boeckman against then No. 3 Texas as the Buckeyes held a 21-17 lead with less than a minute to go in the game when McCoy found Quan Cosby on a quick slant as the Buckeyes were on an all out blitz and Texas went on to the 24-21 victory.

Pryor is rumored to have gained 10-15 pounds of muscle this off-season and the Buckeyes are promising to open up the offense more to suit his abilities. There's talk in Buckeye cyberspace that there will be more use of the Pistol formation and even the Single-Wing or Wildcat as it's now more commonly known.

He will be surrounded by speedy tailbacks Dan Herron, Jamaal Berry and powerback Carlos Hyde and a very deep corp of young but talented receivers led by senior Ray Small so these formations make sense and will keep defense guessing.

The biggest challenges of the season will be hosting USC in Columbus on 9/12/09 and traveling to Happy Valley to take on Penn State on 11/07/09.

If the Bucks can win those two games, there's really no other legit threat on their schedule or reason why Pryor shouldn't be able to lead them to an undefeated season and their fourth BCS title game appearance in the last eight years!

No. 4 - Zac Robinson - Oklahoma State

Robinson, WR Dez Bryant, and RB Kendall Hunter comprise the three-headed monster and potential nightmare for oponnents in the Big 12 this coming season.

Last season, Robinson threw for 3,064 yards and 25 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions and also ran for 508 yards and 7 scores so while he is more of a pocket passer, he certainly can scramble and make plays with his feet when needed.

With Bryant returning from off-season knee surgery, Hunter may be asked to carry more of the workload initially until Bryant proves he's back to 100% but if and when he is, Oklahoma State, 10th in Schlabachs' Preseason rankings, could be this years Texas Tech!

No. 3 - Tim Tebow - Florida

The Gators may be considered the No. 1 heading into 2009, but Tebow is not the No. 1 QB to watch but he's close coming in at third.

He's been on two championship teams and won the 2007 Heisman so what can "Superman" as Gator fans call him do for an encore?

We'll have to wait and see but if the Gators are going to make have any chance at a repeat title in 2009, the onus will be squarely on Tebows' shoulders.

Playmaker extraordinaire Percy Harvin defected early for the NFL Draft leaving Tebow (2,746 yards, 30 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 673 rush yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 172.4 QB Rating) and TE Aaron Hernandez as the only proven weapons on offense.

Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps and Emmanual Moody combined for over 1600 yards but individually, none of them had more than 650 yards, thus the jury is still out on which, if any can step up and help replace the loss of Harvin.

Florida has an exceptionally favorable schedule with only four road games, the toughest of which will be at LSU.

With a little help, Tebow should easily put up another great statistical season and if the Gators can avoid the upset bug, they may very well be on the road to a possible third title in four years.

No. 2 - Colt McCoy - Texas

The Longhorns felt slighted in 2008 after losing only to Texas Tech, on an almost fluke-like touchdown by Michael Crabtree, on the last play of game.

That one play cost the Horns a shot at Florida in the BCS title game, where instead, Oklahoma, who Texas had beaten 45-35 on a neutral field earlier in the year, got the nod and then proceeded to lose their fifth straight BCS bowl game.

If Colt McCoy has anything to say about it this year, that will not happen again!

McCoy's stats (3,859 passing yards, 34TD / 8 INT, 561 rushing yards, 11 rushing TD, 173.8 QB Rating) were impressive enough to earn him a 2nd place finish in the Heisman trophy voting.

With his roommate, receiver Jordan Shipley returning for a sixth season and without a standout running back in the mix, McCoy should once again put up great passing and rushing numbers and solidify his status as a Heisman contender and potential top NFL pick for 2010.

Now, can I have a drumroll please......(as if you don't already know who No. 1 is!)

No. 1 - Sam Bradford - Oklahoma

Bradford, the 2008 Heisman winner, looks to repeat the the unbelievable season and production he accomplished last year heading into 2009 but it won't be easy.

He set the bar extremely high for himself, as he threw for over 4,700 yards and 50 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions and rushed for 5 more scores while posting a ridiculous QB Rating of nearly 181.

Chris Brown and Demarco Murray, each 1000+ yard rushers a year ago who combined for 34 touchdowns, both return and with the loss of top receiver Juaquin Iglesias and even with the surprising return of star tight end Jermaine Gresham, Bradford will be hard-pressed to duplicate the numbers he put up a year ago.

OU should still be considered the team to beat in the Big 12 with Texas a close second.

That's it—That's the list!

If you agree or disagree with my list or you believe I overlooked a QB that you feel deserves to make the list over one of my ten, YOU'RE WRONG (just kidding) make sure you post a comment and tell me who and why!

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ohio State Football—Become Legendary

This video, made by Lexco44, is one of my favs and with the 2009 season looming as Spring ball is underway, I thought it fitting to post it at this time!


While I'm just posting a video to add a little new content during the slow off season, I also want to take this opportunity to say thanks to several new friends of BlockONation that are helping me reach my eventual goal (hopefully in the very near future) of building this site into an online presence by linking to this site from theirs!

First off, the powers that be at www.CBSSports.com for linking to my stories on B/R

Next up, Zander Freund and Max Tcheyan and the rest of the gang over at www.BleacherReport.com for all their wonderful help and support!

I'd also like to give props to Cris Sykes for posting links to my articles over at www.SportsTimeOhio.com - It's greatly appreciated!

Last but not least, Rich Swerbinski at www.TheClevelandFan.com for including my site in his links section!

To anyone here from Bucknuts who doubted me, as you can see, I told you I didn't need Bucknuts to advertise this site...I seriously doubt Bucknuts can compete with any of my partner sites listed above in web traffic so Bucknuts is not and will not be missed - EVER!

These sites have a huge following and are high volume in terms of web traffic. I am sincerely humbled that they consider my site worthy enough to point others here!

Thanks so much to you all and God Bless!

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Numerous BlockONation articles have been posted on or linked to from some very well known, high-volume sports websites.

We'd like to take a moment to both acknowledge and thank those sites for their support in helping make BlockONation one of the most popular new Ohio State Football blogs on the web!

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Again, thanks so very much to those sites for all their support and also, a huge thank you to the fans who have visited the site to date!

I'd also like to personally thank all those individuals who have contributed to the success of the site! I wouldn't be here without your help over the last 8+ years. You all know who you are!

It is our mission here at BlockONation.com to continue to provide top-notch, fresh content for our readers and we will always do everything possible to meet your expectations!

Honestly, I really can't thank you all enough....

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