Wednesday Skull Session

By Jason Priestas on December 1, 2010 at 9:00a
ALL GRINSNorthwestern did what?

Big Ten! Big Ten! Big Ten! Eh, there's really no way to chant that without sounding like someone you don't want to spend any time with, but boy did the Big Ten come up big on night two of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.  After getting off to an 0-1 start in the series thanks to the Gophers laying a home egg against Virginia Monday night, the league proceded to go 4-1 last night to take a commanding 4-2 lead in the series.

You know all about the Buckeyes' win over Florida State in Tallahassee, and that was expected from the nation's second-ranked team, but Illinois' 79-67 win over North Carolina wasn't a given (though Harrison Barnes going two-for-something is starting to be), nor was Northwestern throttling Georgia Tech or Michigan knocking off Clemson on the road.

The league was essentially a 25-footer in the waning seconds away from going 5-0 on the night (rough week for the Hawkeyes) and now need to take two of five tonight to capture the event for the second-straight year after that hellacious 0-10 start to the series.

Michigan State winning in Durham is a tall order, but not impossible for a coach like Izzo, so our best bet is Purdue rebounding to drop Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and Wisconsin taking out NC State at home. Penn State gets Maryland at home, but we're talking about Penn State basketball and Indiana is off to a 6-0 start, but I'm not sure they have what it takes to beat (a mediocre) Boston College on the road.

Cam Newton will win the Heisman and he probably deserves it. Trust me, I hate, hate, hate the fact that a guy that may have accepted six figures to play college football will capture it's most coveted award, but based on what we know right now, he deserves it.  Note the key word "know" in the previous sentence.  There have been a mountain of allegations, but ultimately we don't know anything more than we did at this time last month.  If the NCAA later finds that Newton violated rules, he'll be forced to return the award (as Reggie Bush would have before he voluntarily gave it up), but it would be a real tragedy if voters passed on Newton and the allegations later turned out to be unfounded. Granted, I think the smoke leads to some fire, but it's just not there yet.

Meanwhile, Auburn has shielded Newton from the media since the scandal broke, but he will have to speak at this weekend's SEC Championship game or the Tigers could get the fine-hammer from Commissioner Mike Slive. No worries, the ever-noble Gene Chizik declined to comment when asked whether Newton would be available to the media.

The story of Block-O, now with a happier ending. Pryor's tweet following the announcement of the all-league teams Monday night might have drawn all of the attention, but what really stood out to me was Mike Adams being tabbed by both the coaches and media as a first team offensive tackle. Here's a guy (boom, MADDEN'D) that came to Columbus as perhaps the most-hyped line recruit since the great Orlando Pace, yet he entered this season in a battle for his position with Andy Miller (a three star tight end coming out of high school) after struggling with some maturity issues in his first two years on campus.

Mike Adams, still snappin' necks.Save some necks for 2011, Mike.

After having a quietly excellent year on the field, he's now reaping some of the postseason accolades and will enter his senior season as one of the top tackles in the nation, joining fellow Brew Crew members JB Shugarts and Mike Brewster on a line that resembles what we imagined when the three of them were inked in 2008. Shugarts can probably stand to work on his, ahem, eagerness to get off the line, but the three of them will form the nucleus of what should be the Big Ten's best line next season. Kudos, Big Mike.

(Speaking of Twitter, does anyone have a good idea as to why the Athletic Director at Ohio State is tweeting from a protected account? Shouldn't Gene Smith be an advocate for the university through this medium instead of hiding behind a locked account? I guess I could understand somewhat if it was a private personal account, but when the handle is @OSU_AD, there's really no reason for it not to be public.)

The Big Easy is a partier's dream. With things looking more and more certain that the Buckeyes will be headed to New Orleans to play in the Sugar Bowl, there are some things you, as a good fan, should probably start to research.  First, naturally, would be flights and hotel rooms, but there's no need to stop there.  You must also plan how and where to drink.  After all, you'll be hanging in one of the few cities in the United States where there's no concept of open container violations.  To assist you is this handy-dandy flowchart: Where to Drink in New Orleans.  Your liver can thank me later.

Playoffs?! Don't talk about playoffs! You kidding me? The OHSAA will host football championships this weekend and while most eyes will be on the D1 final pitting Braxton Miller and Huber Heights Wayne against Kyle Kalis and Lakewood St. Edward, the other four five finals are sure to entertain as they always do. Lucky for us, The Buckeye Battle Cry has the action covered with a focus on Buckeye recruits or targets.


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robert goulet's picture

Did the OHSAA lop off a division after the semis?  Only 5?

original buckeye's picture

Jim Delaney and his amateur-hour network prevent me from being a fan of the conference as a whole.  Oh yeah, that school up north isn't helping anything either.

tomcollins's picture

I do it for selfish reasons.  The better the Big Ten is perceived, the better seed we get in March.

Bucksfan's picture

That's certainly debatable.  Conference strength in basketball really only comes into play with final at-large selections.  So, the Big Ten could potentially get one or two extra teams in if their mid-tier teams have high RPIs, but its effect on the seedings of the top teams is a wash with all the other major conferences.  The cream of the crop are almost always judged by record first and foremost, plus signature wins, and of course if they won their conference championship, how long throughout the season they were a top-5 team, shit like that.

To me, there is absolutely no reason to root for Minnesota basketball, or Michigan basketball, or Indiana basketball, or Michigan State basketball.  Those programs can kiss my ass.  Their effect on Ohio State's perception is marginal, and they want nothing more than to keep Ohio State from a #1 seed. 

tomcollins's picture

You've never heard of teams getting #1 seeds for being the "best team in the best conference"?  The #1 seeds are going to be the top conference champions, and if the conference is strong enough, a 2nd place finisher that possibly won its tournament.  If the Big Ten is looked at as the strongest conference, that helps considerably in ensuring we get that #1 seed even if we don't win the conference tournament or somehow slip to 2nd in the regular season.

Getting signature wins is going to happen if we beat MSU when they are good, Illinois when they are good, etc....

The bottom feeders don't help as much, but screw the ACC too.  I don't want Duke to get a #1 seed over us because the ACC was harder.  I want the easiest path and the highest seed.

btalbert25's picture

If Duke continues to play the way they are, regardless of conference they will be the number 1 overall seed.

tomcollins's picture

That's fine and dandy.  I want the 2nd #1 seed.  If Duke slips, I want the #1 overall seed.  If we slip, I want to make sure we get the highest seed possible.

Kasino Royale's picture

The better the conf. does as a whole the better our reputation is if were dominating it. The better our rep, the better tv exposure & media hype. The more exposure/hype, the more recruits take notice. The better recruits, the better the tOSU teams.  So I say do the SEC, errr, B10 Chant.

So your not really chearing for Minny or Mich St. your quietly yelling for tOSU. Its self serving.  ;-)

RBuck's picture

I agree with you to a certain extent. After the Big Ten/ACC challenge is when all those other Big Ten teams can kiss my ass too. I got really tired of the ACC domination in the past years.

Long live the southend.

btalbert25's picture

If Ohio State is a top 5 team come February, and they win 10 or a 11 of their last 12 games, they will be a number 1 seed.  The ACC is garbage this year, the SEC is barely better than that.  Pac 10 isn't looking great.  That means you'll have 5-8 teams in the conversation for number 1 seeds once that point in the season hits.  I can pretty much tell you right now which teams will be considered.  Duke, MSU, OSU, Kansas, K-State, and likely Kentucky(because they are the best in a terrible conference).  Also I would throw in 2 schools from the Big East  UConn and Nova for right now.  The RPI is a joke, teams with much lower RPI's get higher seeds than teams with high RPIs all the time.  If you are one of the Blue Bloods, you automatically get extra consideration for a number 1 seed if your team has a good record at that point.  Many times a team doesn't win the conference tourney and gets a 1 seed.  Hype and press a team gets makes a huge difference too.  Where strength of conference will come in is say Ohio State or MSU have pretty similar records, one is a lock for a number 1 and the other could get one as well.  SOS and conference depth may factor for the Big 10 getting a 2nd number 1 seed.  If Ohio State or Michigan State keep playing very well the rest of the year and end the season ranked high, then go on to win the conference, there is no way one of them doesn't get a number 1 seed. 

tomcollins's picture

Conference Championship tournaments SHOULD be ignored.  RPI SHOULD be largely ignored (although it's somewhat acceptable for judging opponents strength).  There's a lot less of the blue blood favoritism than you might think.  Teams like Louisville, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Villanova, and Washington have all been #1 seeds in the past 5 years.

You are right that there will be 5-8 teams in the conversation.  If you think it's so obvious now, you can choose 8 teams.  If any other team gets a #1 seed, you lose the bet.  If you get 4 of them in your list, I win.  Care to wager?

We will lose a few games.  Duke will lose a few games.  Michigan State will lose a few games.  It gets a lot messier.  Yes, we are in good shape and it likely won't matter this year.

But having the overall conference appear stronger will help recruiting and help us get even better for a long period of time.  Players like to play against top competition.  Look at SEC football.  They can use that as a selling point.  I want the best players to want to come to Ohio State to play in the premier basketball conference.

btalbert25's picture

I agree a strong conference helps, I just don't think it matters that much.  You are right there have been some non traditional powers with number 1 seeds as well.  I can also remember 4 or 5 years ago where Louisville looked like and played like the number 1 overall seed and I believe they ended up a 3 seed.  Point being if UK or Duke in a bad conferences have comparable seasons to Ohio State, Ohio State is the team being left out in the cold.

I also think SEC football has great recruiting because they have Florida, Texas, Lousiana, and Georgia in their backyard.  States that produce large numbers of top D 1 type talent.  But I do agree, the teams that make it on TV for big games all the time end up having luck luring kids from other places.  That's why UK, Duke, UNC, and Kansas can recruit virtually any place in the country and beyond for that matter.

tomcollins's picture

The SEC does have a recruiting benefit of having Florida and Georgia right there (and somewhat by Texas).  Texas is not in the SEC footprint (although close enough LSU and Arkansas can get recruits), but having that "we're in the SEC" sell to get recruits over Texas and Oklahoma helps.

I disagree that if there is a negligible difference between the teams that Kentucky and Duke would win out.  They would have to be superior in a few other ways being in much weaker conferences.  Normally the ACC is a great resume builder for pushing you over the edge, but the Big Ten winning the challenge along with an overall better pedigree of the Big Ten this year may make the difference.  If MSU beats Duke and we beat MSU, that's a huge case for us.  If they beat MSU and we do as well, it becomes more iffy.

Big Ten basketball has a reputation of being slowpaced and boring, and a lot of top talent kids will stay away due to that.  Having it become exciting and top level competition will only help.  With a record of 1-10 against the ACC, it becomes very obvious that the level of competition is not the same.  But times are a-changing, and winning this challenge is very meaningful for both this season and down the road.  Duke and UNC have that kind of sway now precisely because the ACC has been the class of the nation.  Having the Big Ten show its depth and strength is a way to get on a level with them.  They both have more deep histories than Ohio State, but we can get there.

btalbert25's picture

I don't know, I think the name on the jersey helps.  It's really easy for UNC and UK to recruit kids when they bring them to the arena and say look at those banners, you've got a good chance to land one if you come here, we've been doing it since the 1920's.  That being said, Ohio State and Michigan State have no problem recruiting great basketball players.  The last 5 or 6 years Ohio State has pulled some great recruiting classes.

flipbuckeye's picture

That flow chart is glorious.

Bobcat04's picture

Jim Delany is playing Gargamel in the Smurfs live action movie.

Colin's picture

In my completely homeristic opinion and in my hopes that he gets taken down eventually, I think it is just for the lack of evidence right now, and it just assures Auburn get's into the title game and not TCU which the BCS would hate. It's probably going to be many months post-heisman and post-championship that they finally take em down.

yrro's picture

Does anyone else *really* wish we did something like the Big Ten/ACC challenge in football? Maybe not with the ACC, but the same idea of matching up the top seeds from the year before and all playing a game. It seems to make for some great matchup early on.

Jason Priestas's picture

It would be a heck of a lot of fun.  The SEC, ACC and Pac-12, all with 12 teams would appear to make the most sense, but the Big Ten would probably avoid the Pac-12 because of the Rose Bowl and might avoid the SEC because of all of the bowl tie-ins between the two leagues, though that would bring the most cash.

btalbert25's picture

Well and the SEC would have to leave home once in a while for a non conference game.  No way Florida would be willing to come to Columbus and play a game.  You would virtually eliminate 3 or 4 BCS title contenders right off the bat, especially with TCU's and Boises of the world going undefeated every season.