Yeah, I was using hyperbole...I obviously know it doesn't hold 1/3 of the capacity. But it does not hold 2000 more fans than Progressive. That is false. I've been to Fenway. It's old and feels very small. I've been to Progressive, it's not nearly as small. Capacity at Progressive has been reduced significantly in recent years. About 5-10 years ago, Progressive had the capacity for about 8,000-10,000 more than Fenway. Fenway also went through an expansion throughout the aughts. When we set the record (which, has since been broken a couple of times) for most consecutive sellouts from 1995 to 2001, we easily had Fenway beat in capacity (and in those days had greater capacity than an expanded Fenway does today). Regardless, this isn't about Fenway. This is about, if ownership actually shows signs of giving a damn, Indians fans do show up.
Are we claiming causality there? Because some might say that people stopped showing up to a shit product after fans were given the impression the ownership was more concerned with pinching pennies to support their bottom line than both the short and long term success of the team. And baseball, more than any other sport, is one where if you're penny pinching (be it on the roster, on parking on concessions, etc), the fans will stop showing. Lets also not forget that this fanbase at one point set the record for the most consecutive sellouts in MLB history. Like, how can Boston not sell out every game ever? They claim that Red Sox fans are the greatest fans in the world. Their stadium holds about 1/3 of the people of Progressive. It'd be disappointing if they didn't sell it out every game, being the greatest fans in the world and all.
I mean, we're not awful. We've definitely gotten a lot better over the last 20 years, but we've seemed to regress since the '14 World Cup. There was a ton of optimism about the direction of the team going into it and coming out of it. We made it out of what was probably the group of death...and were one Wondolowski whiff in front of the goal from knocking off a Belgium team (that a lot of people had as their darkhorse to win the tournament) and advancing to the final 8. A bunch of our big name players came back to play in the MLS, most notably Michael Bradley, who has been in perpetual shit form for the US ever since. We're seeing an unprecedented amount of young US players moving abroad and some of the better ones even getting into some of the best and biggest name club systems and youth academies, so that's becoming pretty exciting.
You should get into it, it's really really infectious, fun and never ending. It's always evolving and the sport really goes year round. You start seeing some of the US players playing abroad and you start getting some interest in those leagues and teams and you've got an addiction. I always passively followed soccer, but when I decided to take the plunge into being a full on Arsenal supporter after a few years of mulling it over, I've been sucked into club soccer abroad big time.
Yeah, there are a lot of debilitating, systemic issues that are preventing the US from really having a good developmental system. It has gotten much better and it is one of the reason I was in favor of Klinsmann as a technical director, because he has a great knowledge of trying to take the steps to slowly start building the right infrastructure over time. The good news for US soccer is that European clubs are starting to make a scouting presence in the US and more and more youngsters are getting opportunities to go abroad to youth academies and major clubs' systems.
I've heard Pulisic linked with just about every team out there, because tabloids and silly season in soccer come with the craziest, most baseless rumors. But it is true that everyone is taking notice of Pulisic. He's one of the best attacking prospects in all of Germany...which is saying he's one of the better attacking prospects in the world. The only real, true rumor about the pursuit of Pulisic that I believe is that of Liverpool. That one has been backed up a little more and it makes sense because Jurgen Klopp is the one who first brought Pulisic up into the Dortmund first team before he took the Liverpool job. He's not going anywhere though. Tuchel has made it perfectly clear that he has no intention of selling him. Dortmund reportedly publicly said recently that Liverpool need to not waste their time chasing Pulisic and that they'd be asking for an over $31M transfer fee at a minimum. He's forced Tuchel's hand to continue to play him as a rotation player. He's got a ways to go to be a regular starter...like you said Dortmund has a lot of depth, particularly at the wing spots. He's been fortunate to get some time due to injuries, but now players are coming back, most notably Marco Reus, and I could see his playing time diminish and go back down to less important matches again. But he's really forced Tuchel's hand to give him time, because he's exceeded expectations and delivered every time he's been given the opportunity. Really, I think Tuchel is best served to keep him as an energizing super-sub to come in whenever they need instant offense late in games.
We're at the first point ever that US players are playing on major European clubs. And young US players are being scouted and pursued as prospects at major European clubs. We have u21 players that have gotten first team minutes at places like Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Bayern, Dortmund and another several who have or are getting minutes at various 2nd tier clubs. Not to mention US teenagers that teams like Liverpool, PSG, Manchester United, Schalke, Fiorentina, etc have brought into their systems in the last year or so. It's kind of nuts. I've even read stories in the last year or two about a couple of American kids that have been scouted and brought into La Fabrica, the Real Madrid youth academy.
We've had some solid young players who have done well at middle of the road type of clubs since the 80s. We haven't really had players make major impacts on a major European team. We had some players that looked good by American standards that went abroad and were pretty middle of the road over there and therefore never really amounted to much.
Yes, he's a person. Go on...
I hate to admit it, but realistically, it's true. The only way would be if collectively they all decided to stay home and that would take like 2 generations even still, before we started churning out top notch prospects. That's obviously not going to happen. Players are going to go to the best academies and youth setups abroad and more power to them. It means we have a better chance at churning out top prospects, but at the expense of our domestic league.
It's always tough to say with the youth set ups. Brazil and Portugal could just legitimately have a wealth of great 17 year olds who they have playing up on their u19 squad instead of u17. But u17 is typically that age group where you start finding out if you have a legitimate prospect on your hands or if he's just a uLifer.
I was going to say, Weah is the only one I've heard anything about prior to this post. Basically just because he's a prospect at PSG and because of his dad. Would be awesome if he pans out.
With regard to Zelalem, I think it's just disappointing only because there was legitimate expectation that he could break into the senior squad this year. Obviously, not as a regular...but getting spot duty here and there in domestic cup matches. Thus far, I think he's only really made it into one cup match this year. Last update I heard on him was that he was being seen up and training with the senior squad in late October or early November or so. Maybe the expectation was set too high...but the fact that even the English soccer fans and Arsene Wenger himself have been so high on him and excited about him led to the little bit of the let down with him going into radio silence all Autumn long. I'm hoping he gets a loan spell again next month. Kid is supremely talented and skilled, but he's just so tiny and thin and not exactly an athletic freak by any means. When I watch him, I really, honestly see a young very very poor man's Ozil in the way he plays. He has great vision, skill, creativity and calmness about him. There's aspects of his game that I'd even put above Pulisic (not apples to apples, I know...they're two very different players playing two very different roles...and I'm definitely not saying he's as good as Pulisic) but he just doesn't have legit first team experience...which is also why he hasn't broken through with the USMNT senior team, because Jurgen always wants in-form guys who are getting quality minutes, understandably. He's stuck in limbo, where he's good enough that Wenger wants him up training with the senior squad, but we don't see any foreseeable scenario at Arsenal (one of best and deepest central mid teams in the world) where he can really break into quality minutes.
As far as Arena...I wasn't really that thrilled with the hire at first. But I've come around to it a little bit. Being pragmatic, what big name manager were we really going to bring in? Bruce has proven he can be pragmatic as well and just go get results based on the personnel he has to work with. And that's exactly where we find ourselves right now...in desperate need of some results. It's why I think they dumped Jurgen when they did. We can't afford to have another match of Jurgen's experimental lineups and experimental formations. I'd been the biggest Jurgen defender for a while, but it had started to become indefensible. His questionable tactics were costing us crucial matches and the Costa Rica match seemed indicative of a team that had just given up on him. I wish Jurgen could just be our technical director, because he definitely knows how to find talent and he knows the best practices of nurturing talent, having spent so much of his life in German soccer, but he was never ever going to be on board with that. I don't think Arena is the long term solution, but he's also labeled as interim for now, I believe...so I think they really are bringing him on board to get some results and qualify for the WC. And, honestly, I'm kind of excited to see a fresh set of eyes and a pragmatic mind work with some of the young talent that I think can take this team places like Pulisic and Bobby Wood (and many other youngsters that I think can have an impact).
I would be beyond shocked if he played a single down. It's not a question of whether or not he's eligible, it's more a question of, he can't possibly be ready. The kid hasn't even played one single snap of a live football game in 2 years that I'm aware of. Even if he was totally cleared, it'd be hard to imagine him just walking out there and making an impact on the biggest stage. I wouldn't even want them to take a chance on it. He's never even had to play a snap at WR with tens of thousands of people in the stands around him. How do you have any idea how he'd react in a crucial, pressure filled situation? Will he score a touchdown? Will he run the wrong route? Will he forget to block can he effectively block? We know none of this. Why take a chance on it unless you're desperate and he's done things head and shoulders above anyone else on the team in practice. I would have to imagine that some of the freshmen receivers like Austin Mack of Bin Victor would be in a better position to play and make an impact more than Gibson. They've actually played snaps in a college football game.
Any notable youngsters? The excitement around some of our younger (but older than u-17) talent has satiated my US soccer development interests and I haven't paid as much attention to guys this young in the last couple of years. I remember back when Pulisic was still in the States and just playing for the u-17s and there was still a huge buzz about him back then being the future face of US soccer. And being an Arsenal supporter, I've tried to closely follow the progress of Gedion Zelalem, but that's been underwhelming this year. We really have a wealth of players playing all over the world right now that are under 24-25 years old.
I think the high expectations are okay. I definitely appreciate it. I'm still awestruck week after week. My thing is don't take it for granted and don't be smug about it, because if there's one thing we all know about college football....everything can come crashing down when you least expect it. But that brings me to one of the other major things we, as Ohio State fans, have been spoiled by is an incredible run of stability. Not even the very top flight programs in the country can sniff our sustained success and stability over the last 25 years. Even when things have come crashing down for us, we've been fortunate to not only land on our feet, but come out the other end in better shape than we were previously. That, I think, is one of the more underappreciated aspects of Ohio State that has just grown into an expectation. We don't realize how lucky we are to never really have down years or down periods ever.
Let's not lose sight of the fact that Penn State beat us on 2 weeks preparation, in a primetime night game at their place. We were still licking our wounds from a tough, physical Wisconsin game (whom we faced under the exact same circumstances the week before) while PSU was resting up, and gameplanning specifically for us for two weeks. And even with all of those circumstances, it took everything including two blocked kicks, one returned for the winning touchdown, a BS horse collar call that wound up leading to a score and a terribly missed pass interference no call when we tried to answer. Look, they beat us that night. I'm not making excuses, if we'd played well enough to win, we would have. My point is, they don't have all of these circumstances going for them, when they'd get equal team specific preparation and gameplanning time as Bama, it'd be at a neutral site and this isn't just another game in the middle of the schedule...this is a CFP game, that Bama will be just as up for as them.
I think I recall Urban and Wilson being friends in the past, but maybe my memory is just making things up. I think Wilson di a solid job at Indiana with their offense, considering what he had to work with...But I would have to say that his firing and all of the controversy is far too fresh. I don't think it'd be a good idea and I definitely don't think Gene Smith would thing it's a good idea.
I believe, based on our resume, we have a solid 70-80% chance of getting in. Thing is...and this has been my problem with the 4 team playoff and "committee" all along...they're fickle humans and can potentially dismiss your entire season's resume. And, honestly, I can't blame them that much. I've hated that human factor about this process and the mass controversy it creates (which is why, if we have to have a playoff, I am much more in line with a 5+3 format), it opens up a late win to feel more important than other wins, and at that point allows PSU's late season win, when compounded with that the fact that they beat us and are B1G Champs (best conference in football this year!), when you put that in perspective as a human voter, it makes it hard to leave them out. Then you start bringing the CPU elements of it back into play. Ohio State had the more impressive schedule, less losses, more wins vs top 10 teams....but we lost head to head with PSU...then maybe the tie breaker of them being B1G champs starts creepin back into voters' heads as the tie breaker? I hate leavin' shit up to chance. Here's part of my argument for a 5+3: we're both considered worthy, and we specifically are considered the 2nd best team in the country, yet maybe not the most "deserving" team to make it in. In a 5+3, that accounts for that and the conference champ wins a spot in, while the "committee" can pinpoint the 3 teams they think that are best as at-;larges and the seeding can go in a number of different opinionated directions.
This is one of those times I laugh when people say, "oh, the early season rankings don't matter!" Of course they do. They shape the perception of the entire season.
Amen. We had things and we had calls that we found questionable in that game, but when it came down to it Penn State won. Calls come and go, if you're the better team you should prove it and win. We didn't take command of that game and we let them take their chance to win, just like ttun did us...though, they're shitty and delusional enough that they're still actually rejecting the fact that they lost (literally, if you go to Xgoblog.com, they seriously in the comments continuously claim they won. Talk about burying your head in the fucking sand). We should accept that we're not an infallible team and we should be far more graceful about it than them. Or we could just happily accept a bid and destroy everyone with it! Either way, let's not be classless shitbags like our "friends" up north.
Conference Champ should really only be a tie breaker. Problem is you look at overall record...we win barely. You look at head to head...they win barely. Tie breaker could come into play here. I still think we have 70-80% chance of getting in based on overall resume, like I said before...but I don't like to make any assumptions. And what's annoying is we'll have to politically defend it forever if we do make it in. If just ONE team got us a favorable result this weekend, it wouldn't even be a conversation.
In fact, I remember most analysts saying after that Wisky game that year saying, "I don't know how you leave Ohio State out after that." That was pretty definitive, but you had a few detractors, naturally because they're going to support their own team. This year is going to be much much different.
I recall that as well. Until we put up the most impressive win of the season, that was and is still mind blowing, that made everyone say, "shit, they must be in." Before that win we were still considered outsiders, but that win was SO impactful that no one could really argue it.
I think there's probably a 70-80% chance we're in as well. Even if we do make it in, which i'm still skeptical to make assumptions because that's just the way I am....what probably pisses me off the most is now we're now going to still have to deal with nat'l backlash and debate on whether or not we deserve to be in. Even if we wind up somehow winning the nat'l title, we're forever going to have to debate people that are going to try to asterisk it with a "well you shouldn't have even been there in the first place" argument. I feel like this is karma for '07, when we needed like 7 things to happen in our favor and each one of them fell into place and we found ourselves ranked #1 at the end of the regular season. We just needed one favorable outcome this year to make us getting in an inevitable lock, and each one went the wrong way.
But even in '14 the consensus was that we should be in because we massacred Wisky so hard that it blew everyone's mind. Even with us jumping a couple of teams, it was pretty well accepted that we should be included pretty definitively. Even if we'd just barely beat Wisky that year, I think we'd have still gotten in, but there would've been a lot of controversy over it. But considering we absolutely demolished them as hard as any important game in the Meyer era, there was almost no way they could leave us out.
But you can't just assume you're going to win the conference every year. Playing more quality teams is boosting your resume in the event you stumble and don't win your conference so that you can try to make it in as one of the 3 at-large bids. Why would you only schedule cupcakes in OOC? Then you're just putting all of your eggs in one basket and can't stumble at all in the conference. And I know people will scoff at it, but seeding would be huge in this scenario if you're trying to avoid having to play an Alabama at the top in the first round...particularly if you add in the incentive of giving home field advantage in the first round instead of playing all 3 rounds at neutral sites. And it's not like it makes things that much different with importance placed on OOC games and them feeling like playoff games in September. We know we could've totally lost to Oklahoma, taken care of business from there and been A-OK with a playoff berth in a 4 team playoff. Hell that's how we won the nat'l title two years ago. If you think those games won't matter in a 5+3 format,,,how much more do they even mean right now with a 4 team? If we lost to OU and even with the stumble at PSU included, we'd still be looking at a solid shot at finishing in the top 4 this year. We have an argument over ttun and Wisconsin if Wisconsin wins the B1G and we'd just need Washington or Clemson to lose, which, crazier things happen every year.