Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 College Football Conference, Heisman, and BCS Title Game Soothsayer Predictions

By HD Handshoe

There are a lot of questions for many teams heading into the 2009 season.

And fans from every team wonder is this the year my team wins their conference, or makes a BCS game or even the title game, and could my favorite player win the Heisman?

Here are my projections for those burning questions for the 2009 season.

These are solid predictions. If you're asking yourself how can I be so sure—I was Nostradamus in one of my previous lives.

"The Big Six" Conference Champions

Big Ten - Ohio State

Big 12 - Texas

Big East - West Virginia

ACC - Georgia Tech

SEC - Florida

Pac 10 - Cal

Heisman Winner

Jahvid Best - RB - Cal

BCS Championship Game

No. 1 Texas vs. No. 2 Ohio State

The Five Non-Automatic-Qualifier Conferences

Conference USA - Houston

Mid-American (MAC) - Central Michigan

Mountain West - Brigham Young

Sun Belt - Troy

Western Athletic (WAC) - Boise State

If you have a different take on any of our conference champions picks or the Heisman and BCS title game predictions (mainly Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and USC fans), feel free to post a comment and tell us who, what, when, where, and why.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

USC—Ohio State: Five Six Reasons It Might Be Time to Panic Trojan Fans

Written by HD Handshoe

No. 1

Mark Sanchez bolting school a year early for the NFL hurts a lot, even though "Slippery Pete" begged and pleaded with him not to leave him hanging (ten).

Never mind the silly surfing joke there. You probably missed it anyway.

No. 2

USC had a stellar defense in 2008—one of the best in the nation in fact—but eight of those 11 starters are now gone. Yes we all know USC reloads with more talented four and five-star blue-chippers, but it's the lack of experience that can kill you.

No. 3

Starting center Kristofer O'Dowd could be out several weeks after dislocating his right kneecap during a scrimmage last week.

I know that Ohio State center Mike Brewster is the anchor of the Buckeyes O-line and if he went down, that would be devastating.

Even though the Bucks have plenty of young, highly-touted linemen waiting in the wings, it would be nearly impossible to overcome a loss this significant. Therefore, I have to believe the loss of O'Dowd is huge for USC.

No. 4

USC fans should be concerned that true freshman Matt Barkley was named the starting QB. Yes he won the Gatorade POY in 2007 and he was the top QB prospect in the nation this past season coming out of Mater Dei.

But, he has never taken a snap at this level and his second career start is going to be in Columbus, Ohio on ABC, in primetime, versus an out-for-blood and revenge Buckeye team, in front of their own 100,000+ crazy-loud, rabid, scarlet and gray clad fans in the biggest must game win of all must win games of all-time—yet despite all that, he's going to just waltz right into the Shoe, be as cool as the other side of the pillow, and lead USC to victory?

Good luck with that Matt.

No. 5

Fifth, if you haven't heard by now, starting WR Ronald Johnson will be out six to eight weeks after breaking his collarbone during the Trojans' mock game Saturday at the Coliseum, depriving Barkley of one of his top targets until at least mid-October.

Johnson was the Trojans' third-leading receiver last season with 33 catches for 570 yards and eight touchdowns. Coach Pete Carroll said the injury was "the hit of the hit of the weekend," and called Johnson's absence "just a crusher."

No. 6

Lastly, USC projected starting corner back, Shareece Wright, has been ruled academically ineligible. Please don't say he wasn't going to srart anyway, or losing him is no big deal. He was the projected starter for a reason USC homers!

Now, if USC fans STILL believe Ohio State has no shot to win this game, you must have some super-secret weapon stored away that none of us have a clue about.

Please, do tell.

USC is still USC and I don't expect them to come in to Ohio Stadium and just wave the white flag. But, realistically, the odds of them winning have decreased over the last couple of weeks.

The sad part is, as many others have already said, this is a no-win-situation for Ohio State because if they do win, everyone will say it was because of these USC injuries and that the Trojans were overrated and rebuilding.

If they lose, it will be because Ohio State is overrated and they choked again like they always do on the big stage.

I want and fully expect the Buckeyes to win this game, but it's a shame that if they do, it will be with this dark cloud hanging over their, dare I say, impending victory.

They may have been able to beat USC at full strength, but now we will never know.

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Pardon the Pun—Injury to USC WR Ronald Johnson is "Bone-Crushing"

Posted by HD Handshoe

LOS ANGELES -- Just when freshman quarterback Matt Barkley made another stride forward, the USC offense took a big hit.

Starting receiver Ronald Johnson will be out six to eight weeks after breaking his collarbone during the No. 4 Trojans' mock game Saturday at the Coliseum, depriving Barkley of one of his top targets until at least mid-October.

Johnson was the Trojans' third-leading receiver last season with 33 catches for 570 yards and eight touchdowns. Coach Pete Carroll said the injury was "the hit of the hit of the weekend," and called Johnson's absence "just a crusher."

Johnson was hurt during the second series of the mock game when he was tackled after catching an underthrown 34-yard pass from Barkley, who went 10 for 17 for 159 yards with one touchdown and one interception on a tipped pass against the Trojans' scout-team defense.

Johnson dropped to the turf while running off the Coliseum field, and X-rays later revealed the break.

"We'll be OK," said Damian Williams, the Arkansas transfer who led the Trojans with 58 catches for 869 yards last season. "We've still got great guys there. We'll keep pushing, but we're definitely going to miss him."

Williams will take Johnson's spot at flanker, where Williams played last season. Carroll said junior David Ausberry will move into the starting lineup at split end, while promising freshmen Brice Butler and De'Von Flournoy also will move up the depth chart.

"I'm ready for it," said Butler, a Georgia high school star who had a team-leading four catches for 66 yards in the mock game. "Last year I wasn't ready. I thought I was, but I wasn't. But now I feel like I'm ready and more mature."

Although Barkley tripped and fell to the turf on his first snap in the mock game, he looked cooler and more collected in his second run-through with the first-team offense at the Coliseum, where he had a forgettable debut scrimmage earlier in the month.

Carroll selected the freshman to be his starting quarterback Thursday, pre-emptively ending his training camp competition with Aaron Corp before the mock game.

"It's a great feeling, but it didn't change the way I'm approaching anything or how I play the game," Barkley said. "It's great that the team supports me and they're behind me."

Barkley played a controlled, steady mock game, regularly finding empty spots in the defense and rarely making risky plays. Despite his opening-snap slip, he managed to pitch to tailback Joe McKnight for a 6-yard gain -- but he threw an interception on a tipped pass to end the first drive.

Barkley eventually threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score before giving way to Corp. Running back Stafon Johnson rushed for two scores, and Williams had two catches for 36 yards.

"I think I've seen every trick in the book from our defense," Barkley said. "I think we're better prepared than a lot of offenses are from what we see in practice, all the looks and fronts our defense can give you."

Corp also looked sharp for the Trojans in his late-game work, going 5 for 7 for 89 yards and moving smoothly on his left leg just three weeks after getting a small break in the bone below his knee. Easily moving inside and outside the pocket, Corp proved himself ready to play next week in the season opener against San Jose State.

"I said to him, 'When you finally take off and hook-slide, I'll know you're ready," Carroll said. "He did that, and he kind of turned and looked at me. He showed he's ready to play, and he's available for Saturday."

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This article was posted on
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

12th Man: Shaw Wide Receiver Tyrone Williams Verbally Commits to Ohio State

Posted by HD Handshoe

Imagine 6-6 quarterback Terrelle Pryor throwing lob passes to 6-7 wideout Tyrone Williams in the back of the Ohio State end zone. Buckeyes fans can begin the fantasy now.

"He's the best quarterback I've ever seen in college and he's really fast, too," Williams said. "I looking forward to catching balls from him."

Williams, a 6-7, 215-pound wide receiver at Shaw High School in East Cleveland, made an oral commitment to Ohio State on Saturday, becoming the 12th member of the 2010 Buckeye recruiting class.

Williams is big, strong, fast and still growing.

He has grown almost two inches and put on more than 15 pounds since the start of last season. He said he could reach 6-9. He is taller than any wideout playing at or committed to OSU. Shaw coach Rodney Brown said Ohio State coaches promised not to make Williams a tight end.

"When we bumped into (Pryor), the size difference was amazing," Brown said. "Tyrone is bigger than I realized when he stood next to Terrelle. It should be a great combination."

Williams also considered offers from Akron, Cincinnati, Kansas, Michigan State and West Virginia. He is rated a four-star recruit (out of five) by recruiting Web sites and Scout ranks Williams as the 33rd best wide receiver in the nation and the 15th best senior overall in Ohio. Rivals ranks him 44th among receivers and 14th overall in Ohio. Williams is the No. 3 ranked player in The Plain Dealer preseason Top 40.

Cincinnati was the only other school he visited. Williams called OSU coach Jim Tressel early Saturday afternoon.

"The coaching staff is very embracing,'' Brown said. "T.Y. is a home-state boy and it's the best choice for him. He could have visited other schools. He wants to a Buckeye."

(Article continues below the video)

Tyrone Williams Highlights

Williams, who is reserved and polite, said he struck up a good rapport with Tressel and assistant coaches Taver Johnson and Darrell Hazel. He said once he set foot in Ohio Stadium in Columbus, it was a done deal.

"From the first time I saw the original stadium, I knew I would like to play on that field," he said.

Williams had surgery last October to repair a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament. Prior to the injury, he caught 11 passes for 402 yards (36.5-yard average) and 11 touchdowns in five games. He missed basketball and indoor track seasons while recuperating, but returned for outdoor track and did well. Brown said Williams ran the 200 meters in 22.8 seconds and a 47.6-second split in the 4x400-yard relay. He has been timed in the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.

"My knee is 110 percent," Williams said.

Williams caught five passes for 112 yards and a touchdown in a tie against Warren Harding on Friday. He said he plans to play basketball this winter and run track in the spring.

Williams, who turned 17 in May, grew up playing basketball and played football in eighth, 10th and 11th grades, but missed half of his junior year.

"I met him in the eighth grade and he had a choppy stride and great turnover, which is very rare for a tall kid," Brown said. "He's never been clumsy. He was bashful and shy when he was younger."

Brown said Williams still has to qualify academically.

"Tyrone has some work to do in the classroom, but last year he had all A's, B's and one C," Brown said.

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Original article written by Tim Warsinskey of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Looking Back—Michigan Football 2008

Written by HD Handshoe

Who doesn't love a wonderful trip down Memory Lane?

Well, a Michigan fan for one, when the walk leads them back to reliving the nightmare that was their 2008, three win, nine loss season.

Yes, you did have three glorious wins a year ago (Miami (OH), Wisconsin, and Minnesota), but what fun would it be for me to revisit those?

Exactly right—none.

So, that being said, I'm a Buckeye fan and this is a Buckeye site, so allow me to lead the choir as we rejoice in the pain and suffering that was 2008 Michigan football.

Yes, Utah ended their great 2008 season at 13-0 and beat former No. 1 Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl.

But that doesn't change the fact that before this game, UM fans were predicting that their Wolverines would win in a rout.


Notre Dame barely qualified for a bowl game and they lost to lowly Syracuse.

There was also lots of talk about Charlie Weis being fired before, during, and after the season, yet they still dominated the Wolverines 35-17.

Illinois took a few steps back in 2008, losing a total of five games, including losses to Minnesota, Wisconsin and National Powerhouse Western Michigan.

That didn't stop them from taking UM to the woodshed in Ann Arbor.

Juice Williams had a career day vs. the marshmallow Michigan "D".

Another home game—another huge home loss, this time to MAC doormat Toledo.

Prior to this embarrassing loss, UM had a perfect 24-0 record vs. the MAC. If there is a silver lining, at least the Rockets are technically a DI / FCS team, but this still put another black-eye on the Big Ten, courtesy of the Wolverines.

Oh wait, the Big Ten's national perception is all the fault of the Buckeyes for losing to top five teams.

My bad...

This game featured Michigan's finest half of football all year as they actually led the Nittany Lions 17-14 at halftime.

That short-lived lead quickly evaporated as this game truly was a tale of two halves.

Penn State took over the game and ultimately crushed UM, 46-17.

Many Michigan fans will tell you that Michigan State, not Ohio State, is their true and most hated rival because they are from the same state.

If that is indeed true (which it's not), then the 35-21 defeat to your "biggest rival" must still sting, huh?

At least this was a road loss, but still, an epic fail. Purdue was worse than Michigan was last year. I mean, c'mon. No matter how you slice it, they are still Purdue.

I know that some UM fans are sure to fire back that Ohio State almost lost to Purdue. Really, because last I checked, the final was 16-3. Ohio State.

Certainly it was far from a great performance by the Buckeyes offensively, but Purdue scored three points and gained less than 300 yards, while against UM, they scored 48 points and gained over 500 yards. Not to mention this was UM's fifth straight loss

The home field at Michigan Stadium wasn't all too kind to UM last year.

Northwestern came to town and while they didn't blow Michigan away, they pulled away in the second half, holding Michigan scoreless.

The Wildcats left Ann Arbor with a 21-14 win in the Big House.

Even in a down year for UM, Pat Fitzgerald still loved adding that to his resume.

I mean, you are still Michigan,........aren't you?

What can I say that hasn't already been said? The Bucks currently own UM, period. I will give Michigan credit for hanging in there in the first half of this game, as they only trailed 14-7.

But then, much like the Penn State game, the Buckeyes unloaded on UM in the second half and the wheels came off en route to their fifth straight loss to the Buckeyes and their seventh in eight years to Jim Tressel.

2001—Ohio State 26, UM 20
2002—Ohio State 14, UM 9
2003—UM 35, Ohio State 21
2004—Ohio State 37, UM 21
2005—Ohio State 25, UM 21
2006—Ohio State 42, UM 39
2007—Ohio State 14, UM 3
2008—Ohio State 42, UM 7

I know UM fans want to believe that they will beat Ohio State again, sooner than later, but I honestly just can't see it before 2012 or 2013.

I can't wait for the hate!

Here's a couple pre-2008 oldies, but goodies!
Who says you can't kick them when they're down?

Sorry UM fans but I already stuck the knife in. I may as well give it a twist while I'm at it for good measure.

Hopefully you enjoyed this flashback.

If you didn't, you're most likely a thin-skinned UM supporter who must have forgotten about the 2-10-1 "John Cooper for UM MVP" years.

I must admit, I have very little no sympathy for you.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Sudden Impact Countdown—10 Buckeyes You Don't Know About Yet, Part VIII

Written by HD Handshoe

Welcome to Part VIII.

As previously stated, I will continue to repost the opening few paragraphs from Part I in all ten segments in the event that a new reader who may have missed a previous segment begins to follow along so if you've been following from the beginning, please bear with me and thanks!

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.

A lot has been made by non-OSU fans of how USC will be reloaded as usual, and thus, many of these people believe that 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 and OSU reloads just as well as USC!

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 several key guys from the last two highly-regarded recruiting classes, and that's where I come in.

To help educate those doom-and-gloom 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 10 players who will make a name for themselves nationally and step in for Ohio State to 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 fan, player, or coach will deny that losing Beanie Wells is a big deal—but remember, Terrelle Pryor is an amazing dual-threat quarterback who will carry the load more often in 2009 if needed.

But he's not the only potential game-breaking playmaker that will see action for the Buckeyes. The Bucks have plenty of them on both sides of the ball and now, the series resumes.

Originally this installment was going to be a feature on starting MLB Tyler Moeller, but with his season ending head injury, the show must go on. We wish Tyler all the best.

In his place, I've decided to feature two Buckeye linebackers who can, but more importantly, must step up and fill not only Tyler's shoes, but also those of James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, both now in the NFL.

No. 3A—Brian Rolle
MLB (5-11, 220)

Rolle is now slated to start in place of Moeller at middle linebacker because of his speed and ability to shift quickly to help with containment on the outside.

In his H.S. days in Immokalle, Florida, Rolle was a two-time all-Florida selection and is the only two-time recipient of the Naples Daily News Broxson Trophy, given to the best player in South Lee and Collier counties.

That's saying quite a bit as NFL star Edgerrin James is an alum of the same high school, yet he only won the award once.

Of course, Rolle himself was an all-star at Immokalee High, posting some impressive statistics.

In his final two seasons, he had a combined 283 tackles at linebacker and as a fullback, rushed for 1450 yards and 25 touchdowns.

He is a gifted athlete and the Buckeye staff is confident in him. In 2005, he helped lead Immokalee High to a state title. In 2009, he's expected to a big part of the Buckeyes quest for their fifth straight Big Ten title.

In his freshmen and sophomore seasons at Ohio State, Rolle saw some spot-duty at linebacker, but was predominantly an impact player on special teams, earning varsity letters each season.

The junior-to-be plans on making the most of his opportunity this season for the Buckeyes. He has openly said he intends on being one of the best to ever play for the scarlet and gray.

Those is certainly a high self-imposed expectation, but if he continues to play as he has since the Spring game, he'll be well on his way to meeting that goal and may even help bring another BCS title to Columbus over the next two seasons.

No. 3B—Austin Spitler
OLB (6-3, 235)

Much like Rolle, Spitler has seen most of his playing time on special teams.

Unfortunately, he has been roadblocked since 2006 from playing at middle linebacker by three-time all-American James Laurinaitis. Now he finally will get his chance to step up, but with enormous shoes to fill.

Coming out of Bellbrook H.S. in Bellbrook, Ohio, Spitler was named all-Ohio as a senior. He had 252 tackles combined in his junior and senior years and was named first team all-conference and linebacker of the year both seasons.

After red-shirting at OSU in 2005, Spitler has amassed only 44 career tackles in two and a half seasons. He missed several weeks of the 2008 season due to a knee injury.

Originally a middle linebacker, Spitler is a strong, tough and physical defender, but not as fast as Rolle so he has moved to the outside.

While he's considered solid on run defense, he will most likely be spelled by Etienne Sabino on all assumed or obvious passing situations.

His teammates have faith in him and respect for him as he was voted as one of the 2009 team captains.

This season, he will has the chance to prove he belongs on the field, but should he falter, Ohio State has a plethora of depth at his position so his leash may be a short one.

Previous installments in this series:

Sudden Impact Countdown Part I: Brandon Saine

Sudden Impact Countdown Part II: Boom Herron

Sudden Impact Countdown Part III: Justin Boren

Sudden Impact Countdown Part IV: Etienne Sabino

Sudden Impact Countdown Part V: Michael Brewster

Sudden Impact Countdown Part VI: Thaddeus Gibson

Sudden Impact Countdown Part VII: DeVier Posey

Part IX: Coming soon!

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ESPN's Resident Biased Hater Pat Forde Ripping the Big 10 Again—What's New?

Posted by HD Handshoe

On the January night in 2003 when Ohio State stunned Miami and won the national title, the Big Ten seemed poised for a renaissance.

The Buckeyes were back under Jim Tressel, and that wasn't all.

Michigan and Penn State were their usual selves, rolling up 10 and nine victories, respectively.

Iowa went 11-2 that season. Wisconsin and Minnesota each won eight games.

Surely, those schools and others in the league would rise to meet the Buckeyes at or near the summit.

Six humbling seasons later, Ohio State is still waiting for backup.

Yes, there have been high points for the rest of the conference: Iowa's 20 victories in 2003 and '04 combined; Penn State's 11-1 mark in 2005; Michigan's 11-2 and Wisconsin's 12-1 records in '06; Illinois' 2008 Rose Bowl berth; Northwestern and Michigan State each winning nine games last year.

But beyond the Buckeyes, every single program in the Big Ten has had at least one big bust of a season.

Ohio State has not ranked lower than No. 21 in the Sagarin computer ratings in any of the past six seasons. The other 10 teams in the league have ranked in the lower half of the FBS nationally at least once during that time.

Michigan had its 3-9 train wreck last year, finishing 95th.

Wisconsin threw in a 7-6 clunker last season against a soft schedule to finish 61st.

Iowa was 79th in 2007.

Penn State was 71st in 2003 and 63rd in '04.

Purdue slid in its final years under Joe Tiller, finishing 62nd in 2006 and 78th last year.

Michigan State had a couple of rough seasons under John L. Smith, ranking 66th in 2004 and 80th in '06.

Minnesota cratered in 2007, winning one game and finishing 123rd.

Northwestern is justifiably proud of earning three Big Ten titles since 1995, but it was No. 93 in the Sagarin ratings in 2006 and No. 86 in '07.

Illinois has been higher than 68th only once in the past six years.

And Indiana -- where they're now selling league home games to the highest bidder -- has failed to crack the top 70.

Compare that to the other leagues, and you'll see a consistency problem.

Five schools in the Big Ten's nemesis league, the Southeastern Conference, have ranked in the top half of the FBS nationally all six years: Florida, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Three of them -- Florida, LSU and Georgia -- have done what the Buckeyes have done, ranking in the top 30 every season.

I'd just like to add:

During his hateful rant against the Big Ten, I absolutely love how Pat slurps several SEC teams, yet conveniently doesn't mention the fact that the Big Ten has a winning record vs. the SEC this decade and all-time.

I suppose that's not really that important when your employer has a $3 Billion TV deal with the SEC though, huh...

Just focus on those lowly season end rankings and not the fact that many of those "terrible" Big Ten teams went on to beat an SEC team in a bowl game that same year.

Spun like a true ESPN anal-yst.

Here's a video of Forde's take, in case you want to see and hear what he has to say about the top five conferences and how he ranks them 1-5.

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This article was written by Pat Forde and posted on

Why Ohio State's Archie Griffin is Still Greater Than Florida's Tim Tebow

Posted by HD Handshoe

I can't take this anymore.

Allow me the opportunity to say this—I think Tim Tebow is a great football player, a tremendous leader, and perhaps one of the greatest competitors to have ever played college football.

However, I cannot stand anymore talk about how he is, or will be, the greatest to have ever played.

The Stewart Mandel article I linked to, who by the way I greatly admire, has wonderful quantifiable evidence to show how Tebow has been statistically great; however, by his own measureables, Mandel's evidence shows Pat White to have been even greater than Tim Tebow.

How can one call Tebow the greatest when one's own evidence suggests otherwise?

There are other significant flaws in Mandel's calculations, including no statistical reward for National Titles, Heisman Trophies, Doak Walker Awards, Davey O'Brien Awards, etc., which make his argument appear to be another piece of Tebow fluff than it does a solid argumentative piece of journalism.

I will go as far as to say that Archie Griffin still stands as a greater collegiate football player than Tim Tebow has been, or, likely will ever be.

Using Mandel's statistical evidence as the model here for points, Griffin's 5,589 rushing yards and 26 career touchdowns equate to a total of 714.9 total points, considerably lower than Tebow's amased 831.

What I don't like about Mandel's evidence here is the fact that I cannot take into account any receiving yards or touchdowns Griffin may have accumulated during his career either.

Nor do I like the complete ignorance of awards won and impact on the college football landscape.

Ultimately all we've decided here is that Tebow would make a greater fantasy football choice—which isn't a serious means to establishing who is the greatest college football player of all time.

Let's move on past simple statistical methods of determination here and look another component—awards.

Archie Griffin still remains the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, a distinction that either Tim Tebow or Sam Bradford could ruin come the end of this season.

However, no one can take away that 34 year distinction.

Beyond Heisman Trophies, Griffin has also won: two Big Ten MVP's, two UPI Player of the Year Awards, two Walter Camp Foundation Awards, one Maxwell Award, and finally he was the 1975 Sporting News Player of the Year.

Tim Tebow, on the other hand, has won two Maxwell Awards, one Davey O'Brien Award, one Sporting News Player of the Year, one SEC Player of the Year, and, of course, his one Heisman Trophy.

Consider, also, impact.

While one cannot take away Tebow's speech, or his grit, his impact on the Gators is far less significant than the impact that Archie's NCAA record 31 consecutive games of 100 yards rushing.

Does this quantify greatness? I am not so sure, but I am not sold that the Gators don't still win last year's title with someone else quarterbacking them. Urban Meyer has accumulated too much talent over time and on these teams for one player to be the make or break kind of talent that Archie was.

I can only imagine how many more touchdowns Archie would have had if Pete Johnson hadn't gotten most of the goaline carries during Griffin's final three seasons.

Finally, I'd also like to consider winning percentages. In this facet, Tebow has a distinct advantage in the fact that teams play more games in today's college football landscape.

During Tebow's three years in Gainesville, the Gators have won 85.4% of their games while Griffin and the Buckeyes won 88% of their games during his four years in Columbus. It will take an undefeated season by the Gators for Tebow to reign supreme in this category.

So, yes, while I feel that Tim Tebow is without a doubt a fantastic football player and one heck of a competitor, in the grand scheme of college football, Archie Griffin (for now and maybe forever) still stands above Tim Tebow on the scale of individual college football greatness.

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Original article written by blogger Keith Godfrey for THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH and appears here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Matt Barkley Being Named USC's Starter Changes the OSU/USC Matchup


by Tim Bielik
BlockONation Analyst

ESPN reported just moments ago on College Football Live that true freshman QB Matt Barkley has out-seated redshirt junior Aaron Corp for the starting job at USC.

This comes as a mild surprise due to Corp's recent fibula injury and Barkley's rapid progress in the spring and fall camps.

However, starting a true freshman at QB is an unprecedented move in the Pete Carroll era at USC. But no mistake, Carroll has not misfired much when it comes to starting certain personnel.

The early reports are that Barkley will start against San Jose St. in USC's opener, but it did not confirm whether he would start also in the September 12 rematch against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

So what does this mean if Barkley makes his second start in Columbus?

Alot of it has to do with the stable of running backs USC has in CJ Gable, Joe McKnight, and Stafon Johnson.

Expect USC to run the football early in games to give young Barkley some confidence and open up USC's great play-action offense.

And with a great offensive line anchored by Kristopher O'Dowd and Jeff Byers, they should give him plenty of time to get the football out to skilled playmakers Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson.

With the playmakers and offensive linemen the Trojans have at their disposal, Barkley might just be asked to play smart, simple football and just distribute the ball to let the playmakers do what they do best.

This now means that Barkley will be the starter for Saturday's mock game in USC along with the opener on Sept. 5. And unless he fails against the Spartans or is injured, expect his second start to come in the Horseshoe, not the most hospitable of stadiums in college football.

This no doubt is an interesting move by Pete Carroll, but if he thinks his freshman QB, the top prospect by many recruiting services in 2009, gives him the best chance to win, that is who he is going with.

So what does this mean for the Buckeyes if Barkley does indeed start at the Shoe in Week 2?

Ohio State features one of the best defensive lines in the country and a young, but fast and hard-hitting linebacker corps ready to fight for playing time.

Look for them to try to get to Barkley early and confuse the freshman in order to force turnovers.

More, no doubt, will be revealed after the scrimmage in Los Angeles this weekend and USC's opener.

But now, there is more than enough significance that both the top QBs from each of the past two recruiting classes, Barkley and OSU's Terrelle Pryor are on a collision course in Columbus.

OSU fans, be warned that just because Barkley is a freshman doesn't guarantee anything whatsoever. The fact that he beat out two upperclass QBs at one of the top schools in the country for football says a lot in itself.

Barkley has potential to be the next top pick from USC, and he is getting his indoctrination right away. But he has a lot of great talent that will help take a lot of pressure off of him with the USC offense.

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Ohio State Fall Camp Days—Players Say Camp Tougher, but Better

Posted by HD Handshoe

It was billed as Hell Week, but for Ohio State football players, it might have been Jell Week.

Last week, the Buckeyes were put through grueling workouts on the field and stripped of cell phones, televisions and other electronic gizmos off of it.

They had had no choice but to get to know one another a little more and get to know the game even better.

"We came together as a team," linebacker Ross Homan said yesterday. "It was just all football; sleep and football. It's been a very intense, very physical camp, and I think it's going to help us."

With the season opener against Navy nine days away, camp is almost over. And there were signs yesterday in practice that some things are on the upswing.

Left guard Justin Boren, who suffered a sprained knee Aug. 14 and had practiced little since then, took part in the entire session with the first-team offensive line.

Senior receiver Ray Small, whose start of camp was delayed until Aug. 14 because of academic issues, appeared to be getting farther removed from coach Jim Tressel's doghouse. Small took part in some plays with the first-team offense and still appears to be the No. 1 choice for punt returner.

On defense, end Nathan Williams went through workouts with the linebackers, helping shore up the ranks while one projected starter, Austin Spitler, recovers from a calf strain suffered last week.

When the first-team defense took the field, the linebackers were Homan, a returning starter, with Brian Rolle and Etienne Sabino. Defensive tackle Doug Worthington scooted down to end while Cameron Heyward recovers from a sprained ankle.

The practice, conducted in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, was considered light contact. Yet it still had the intensity that has been the hallmark of this camp, right guard Bryant Browning said.

"This is my fourth year here, and this has been by far the hardest camp," Browning said. "The guys are really laying it on the line every day, we're taking the coaching the best that we can, we're trying to apply it out here, we're really getting after each other, offense vs. defense.

"We're just trying to get each other better, because we both know what goals we want as a team."

When asked to define what "hardest camp" meant, Browning smiled and said, "More of everything. More running, more hitting, more full-pad practices, more scrimmages. I think they are just trying to get us game-ready as quick as possible because we have a real tough September schedule."

Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa agreed that this camp has been tougher, but "it's also been more fun. I don't know why, but it's been fun and tougher at the same time. So I guess it's been a good camp for me."

The defense has found a rallying cry for the season: no name, no blame. Homan said it plays off the absence of four Buckeyes taken in the NFL draft: linebacker James Laurinaitis, cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, linebacker Marcus Freeman and cornerback Donald Washington.

"We can go out there without all the pressure," Homan said. "We can go out there and play relaxed and confident."

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Photo Copyright:
Original article was written by Tim May of THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH and appears here.

Disdain for Gators Comes at Perfect Time for Ohio State

Posted by HD Handshoe

The decline of a rivalry is a rotten thing, which is why Ohio State should be happy to be mocked in Daytona Beach and laughed at in Orlando.

Just as Coke needs Pepsi and Fox News needs CNN, the Buckeyes need Florida to fill the rivalry void momentarily vacated by Michigan, which has been Joe Frazier to OSU's Ali, but is showing signs of becoming Jerry Quarry.

A continuing slide into mediocrity by Michigan would be a shame for both OSU and UM, much like watching Phil Mickelson fail to break 80 against Tiger Woods.

"It's the old saying that there's no rivalry between a hammer and nail," said Robert Carrothers, a professor at Ohio Northern University specializing in sports culture.

Florida, meanwhile, is a wrecking ball to OSU's hammer. The two schools' general dislike of each another is no typical rivalry; the two teams have played only once, but that was enough to set in motion a set of circumstances that has created a current of emotion both swift and deep.

The one-directional anger -- north to south -- and one-directional snickering -- south to north -- began with four numerals and a hyphen: 41-14. That's not only the score of Florida's victory in the 2007 BCS national championship game, but it also reflects a clash of cultures currently dominated by the Sunbelt.

Forget football. How does Ohio, ranked as the 10th fattest state, compete against bikinis, beaches and the 13th disciple, Tim Tebow?

And Florida fans never let Buckeye Nation forget it. It would be one thing if the Gators handled their superiority with grace. They don't. If obnoxious was a 100-meter race, UF fans would be Usain Bolt. And OSU fans would finish a close second.

Of course, Florida has reason to be unbearable, having won two of the past three national titles, not to mention the 2007 NCAA basketball championship (By beating you-know-who). Ohio State returns volley with, "Get back to us when you've done it for 60-plus years."

Now, the Gators are ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls; OSU is No. 6. It's no wonder some among the scarlet-and-gray faithful brought out the pitchforks and torches last week upon learning that linebacker Tyler Moeller was decked in Gators Cafe and Saloon in Treasure Island, Fla. The alleged assailant wasn't necessarily for Florida, but he was from Florida.

That bit of nastiness aside, the overall animosity between the two fan bases is healthy in a deep-fried Oreo sort of way.

"Hate has a way of making people feel alive," said Richard Lustberg, a licensed psychologist in New York who operates the Web site "Hanging onto a grudge for a long time gives people a feeling of being pumped up and energized beyond a humdrum day."

Lustberg further explained that rivalries are important places "where people can let go of their feelings of anger and frustration and thereby understand the rivalries in their own lives, whether it be boyfriend-girlfriend or whether that guy you play golf against."

I won't pretend to understand all that, but Florida making fun of Ohio State makes the heart beat faster. On both sides.

Carrothers continued the conversation.

"You identify with a team, sometimes because you grew up watching grandpa watching them," he said. "It reaffirms who you are as a person. So an attack on Ohio State is an attack on the whole family. There is a strong emotional component to it."

Knowing that emotional release is an important part of healthy living, Carrothers even does his part to keep OSU fans feeling fit.

"They don't like to be reminded of their losses, so I put Florida stuff up in my office to punk them," he said. "I had a lot of fun that year (2007) doing the Gator chomp."

The Buckeyes desperately want to bite back. Nothing like blood in the water to make a football fan feel alive.

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Original article was written by Rob Oller of THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH and appears here.

Musberger and Herbstreit: Big Ten Conference Championship Comes Down to November 7th

Posted by HD Handshoe

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ohio Stadium aka "The Shoe" Scoreboard, Signage Upgrades

Posted by HD Handshoe

The new backlighting of the retired player numbers and national championship seasons look sweet and were on display Monday night at the Buckeyes open practice.

See for yourself!

Wide angle view of The Shoe

National Championship years: East side of the North endzone

Retired player #'s: West side of the North endzone

Full view of the North endzone signage and new scoreboard

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10 Questions Swirling Around the 2009 Ohio State Buckeyes - Public Health and Expectations

Posted by HD Handshoe

1) How much depends on QB Terrelle Pryor?

Everything. He’d better be really good, because most of the Buckeyes’ alpha dogs on offense are gone: Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline at receiver, Chris “Beanie” Wells at tailback, a couple of linemen and the reassuring presence of backup quarterback Todd Boeckman.

2) Who’s the tailback?

Dan “Boom” Herron will get first shot at replacing Wells. Former high school sprint champion Brandon Saine is now seen as an uber-back, capable of giving Herron a break but also a distinct threat to catch passes out of the backfield. This looks like a potential platoon position.

3) Any freshmen who’ll play right away?

Despite his arrest on minor drug charges, it appears Jaamal Berry will be in the mix at tailback – particularly if Herron and Saine can’t get a firm grip on the job. It figures that Duron Carter’s bloodlines (he’s the son of legendary OSU and NFL pass-catcher Cris Carter) will get him on the field. Tyler Moeller’s season-ending head injury might open the door for an Adam Homan, Storm Klein or Dorian Bell to show what they’ve got at linebacker. It could also be the case that the injury will be discussed by public health programs around the country as the head injuries caused by playing football are a growing area of concern.

4) What are some problem areas?

The absence of the top two tacklers – linebackers James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman – means that somebody else will have to make up for the loss of 214 of Ohio State’s 901 tackles from a year ago.

5) If Tressel’s right, and the punt is the most important play in football, then how important is the punter spot?

Don’t worry about placekicker because Aaron Pettrey will be a quality replacement for the graduated Ryan Pretorius. Punter A.J. Trapasso is gone as well and he will likely be replaced by the unproven Jon Thoma, who has all of two punts since coming to Ohio State.

6) Will this be a running or a passing team?

Silly question. Unless Pryor has suddenly channeled Dan Marino, he’ll likely fall back on what he knows and does best – run, run and when all else fails, run. Even though he had a fine passing year as a freshman (61 percent, 12 touchdowns, 4 interceptions), Pryor was seldom put in a position where he had to complete a pass in order to avoid a defeat.

Tressel looks at his group of tailbacks, his young wide receivers and his big and fast quarterback and knows it adds up to a big rushing attack.

7) What drives this team?

For the vets, it’s the chance to make it five Big Ten titles in a row. Only once has Ohio State done that. Three consecutive Bowl Championship Series losses have moved the focus to taking care of business in their own backyard.

8) When will we find out how good this team is?

That’s easy: Sept. 12, around 11:30 p.m. A year ago, Southern California absolutely bamboozled the Buckeyes, 35-3. If the Trojans do it again, this time in Ohio Stadium, any Buckeye national title aspirations can be put aside immediately.

9) Any trap games to watch out for?

Not really. The schedule sets up really well for Tressel and Co. It may sound funny to say this because of the Wolverines’ record last season, but one game to watch out for is at Michigan on Nov. 21.

10) OK, what’s a reasonable expectation for the 2009 season?

Another BCS berth isn’t out of the question coming out of the mediocre Big Ten, although the 2009 Buckeyes appear to be a year away from making a run at the title game for the third time in four years.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Take the Field Tribute—Ohio State Buckeyes vs. the Navy Midshipmen: 9/5/09

by HD Handshoe

With less than two weeks before the Navy Midshipmen come to town to open the 2009 college football season, there's is something other than the game, players, coaches and match-ups that I'd like to share with you all.

I have a friend of mine whose daughter was very close to a classmate of hers. He signed up for the Army right after high school and he ultimately found himself in Iraq.

On August 4th, 2009 he lost his life, fighting for our country and for our freedoms. He was just 19 years old.

So please, in 12 days when Navy comes to Columbus, please support this great idea and welcome them into Ohio Stadium.

Please spread the word and send this to all the Buckeye fans you know.

Of course, we can still root for an OSU victory, but there are bigger things in life than football.

Supporting the men and women of our Armed Forces is one of them.

Please, whatever you do, don't boo Navy. Instead, treat them as you treat our Buckeyes.

Thank you!

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OSU Linebacker Tyler Moeller's Alleged Assailant Identified, Charge Upgraded

By Ken Gordon and Tim May

The questions of who allegedly assaulted Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller and where it occurred have been answered, but why it happened remains unclear.

According to police and court reports, Moeller was punched by Ralph G. Decker (seen at right) at Gators Cafe & Saloon in Treasure Island, Fla., early in the morning of July 26.

Moeller's head hit the floor, and he spent several days in a Florida hospital before returning to Ohio and undergoing surgery Aug. 8 at OSU Medical Center.

A 21-year-old junior from Cincinnati who was listed as a starting linebacker, Moeller will miss the season.

Decker, 27, of Kenneth City, Fla., was arrested at 12:20 a.m. and charged with simple battery—a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

He was booked into a Pinellas County jail and released after paying a $150 bond.

There are no details of the incident. The police report states only, "Male injured in fight with other male." According to Moeller's family, Tyler was punched without provocation.

A source close to the investigation told The Dispatch the charge might be upgraded to a felony, based on the extent of Moeller's injury.

UPDATE: 8/24/2009

As expected, Ralph Gray Decker, the man accused of punching OSU linebacker Tyler Moeller last month, now has been charged with felony battery.

Decker originally was accused of simple battery, a misdemeanor, after the July 26 incident in Treasure Island, Fla. Moeller hit his head, and ended up having surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. He will miss this season.

Prosecutors last week said they were pursuing a felony charge based on the seriousness of Moeller's injuries. And this morning, at 12:12 to be exact, Decker was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department.

He is currently in jail, held on a $20,000 bond. If convicted, the maximum sentence is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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Terrelle Pryor Throws a 65-Yard Touchdown Pass to DeVier Posey

A sure sign of things to come in 2009!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Starting D-Lineman Cameron Heyward Injured

by HD Handshoe

Lawrence Wilson may have a chance to get his starting job back, at least for a day or two.

Starter Cameron Heyward injured his ankle and could miss a couple practices, although at this time, the full extent of the injury is not known so don't take it to the bank yet.

It is also not known as of yet if there have been X-rays or an MRI, or if and when either test may scheduled.

What is known is that Heyward had to be helped off the field, had ice on his ankle the rest of the scrimmage, and left practice on crutches.

Coach Tressel said Heyward should be fine and doesn't believe the injury is serious.

The Buckeyes open the 2009 season in two weeks when they host the Navy Midshipmen and there are already several players nursing injuries, but Tressel expects them all to be ready by game day.

BlockONation will add any updates on Heyward's condition when they become available.

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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!

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

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