Your eyes (and calendar) are not deceiving you. I am not Jeremy, and it is still just Thursday.
If seeing my name up there led you to prematurely celebrate the arrival of Friday, I apologize. Particularly, if you did a little dance, or something equally embarrassing.
Perhaps now you've experienced just a glimpse of what Da U fans have been whining about for almost a decade, since that magical night in the desert. Kentucky understands too. Maybe you did something similar before Drew Basil lined up to kick the extra point in West Lafayette. Either way, maybe this will make you feel better. And, finally, my last attempt, before we get started.
MIDWEST-WEST COAST LOVIN'. In case you missed the big news Wednesday, the Big Ten and the Pac 12 announced they will be making a "collaborative effort to enhance long-term scheduling commitments between the two conferences across all sports amongst the 24 institutions."
The most exciting part of the news, was that the objective is to create an annual slate of 12 inter-conference football games between the two conferences, beginning in 2017. The conferences are giving themselves the coming months to come up with the exact details of how this will all work, but have said that there will likely be four such games, during each of the first three weeks of the season. Delany mentioned on the conference call, following the press release, that "competitive equity" will be a determining factor in coming up with the match-ups each year. It's also been noted that some of the games may be played at the collegiate stadiums, while others may be played at surrounding venues.
In case the announcement left you wondering (I was certainly curious), the B1G is 382-325-19 vs Pac 12 teams, all time.
UPDATES FROM THAT STATE DOWN SOUTH. The Ohio State Buckeyes have not lost four consecutive football games since 1943. On Monday, the 2011 Buckeyes will attempt to keep that streak alive against the Florida Gators in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl. The Buckeyes arrived in Jacksonville Tuesday, and got to work on Wednesday, preparing for Monday's game. They practiced for two hours yesterday, at the University of North Florida.
Some of the players met with the media after practice, and had some interesting thoughts to share. For starters, Andrew Norwell reiterated the importance to this Buckeye team to not end the season with a losing record. Reid Fragel echoed that sentiment, and gave Florida their due respect, saying, "We all want to go out on a winning note. Obviously Florida is a good team and a winning program so it's going to be a big game and we are looking forward to it."
Zach Boren discussed the team's expectations of Braxton Miller next week, especially given Terrelle Pryor's performance in bowl games recently. "I expect big things," Boren said. "The last couple of years our quarterback has come out and done huge things in the bowl game and we're expecting the same thing from [Braxton]. He's gotten better throughout the season and now he's seeing what the defenses are giving us pre-snap, and even after the ball is snapped he is making quicker decisions."
Brandon Castel spoke with Luke Fickell, who addressed the difficulties the team has faced this season, and the pressure of not becoming the first Buckeye team since 1988 to end with a losing season. “I think that’s what the season’s about," Fickell said. "It’s a grind. Winning brings out the best in everybody. When things don’t go your way, the adversity hits and does it make it tougher? Yeah. That’s all a part of growth for the coaches and players.”
A random, fun fact that the team discovered this week? WR Ryan Ross is apparently a very talented piano player, according to Steve Helwagen. On a related note, in case you weren't aware, DL Evan Blankenship is musically gifted as well. [Insert corny joke about the Buckeyes producing music-to-my-ears, in the form of a win and a taunting B-1-G chant on Monday, here]
BUCKEYES BEAT NERDWESTERN. As Chris pointed out, Ohio State kicked off their 100th season of Big Ten basketball last night, against Northwestern. The Buckeyes beat the Wildcats 87-54, extending their win streak to five games.
How good was William Buford? After the game, upon confirmation that Buford is a senior, Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody simply said, "Thank God." Buford scored a career-high 28 points, including five 3-pointers. Sullinger also praised Buford after the game, saying, "Will's doing a great job. He's more vocal. He's taking on a lot more of the leadership on himself this year."
Sullinger, of course, was a big factor in the win himself, scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds last night.
Next up, the Buckeyes take on Indiana, fresh off their first loss of the year at Michigan State. The Hoosiers, who knocked off previous #1 Kentucky earlier this month, lost to the Spartans 80-65. MSU sophomore Keith Appling was critical for the Spartans, scoring 25 points and helping Michigan State climb out of a nine point hole with 11 minutes to play. Ohio State welcomes Sparty to the Schott on February 11th with a trip to Breslin capping OSU's regular season slate March 4th.
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM. According to Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union Tribune (and no one else, at the moment) Rick Court, the Strength and Conditioning Coach at San Diego State, has been hired to join Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State. If the report is true, San Diego State will be embarking on a search for their third strength and conditioning coach this year. Court was originally hired by SDSU in January to replace Aaron Wellman, who had followed Brady Hoke over to Ann Arbor.
Court actually has a couple Ohio ties, having spent the two seasons prior to his SDSU stint with the University of Toledo and the six years before that on the coaching staff at Bowling Green.
Court, however, is also a Michigan native and Michigan State alum, having spent the time during Urban Meyer's Bowling Green regime as an intern for the MSU football, basketball and hockey teams. I'll go ahead and prepare the inevitably banal response from Michigan fans, when confronted with the fact that most legendary "Michigan Men" hail from the state of Ohio... "Ummm, well... you hired a Michigan guy as your strength coach!"
A BUNCH OF LINKS AND QUESTION MARKS. Remember this guy? ... Am I the only one who feels like this dude didn't want any help? ... How do you think this Penn State tshirt is selling now? ... Ummmm, is this real life? ... Have you seen UGA's 2012 schedule? ... How much do you like this kid?