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Comment 14 Jul 2015

I was in St. Petersburg in 2011, and saw a Terrelle Pryor version then.  Also saw versions for Jim Tressel, a couple Michigan players, European soccer stars, etc.

I don't think it's the necessarily case that these folks are all that popular in Russia.  The ones I saw were in a shop geared to serving cruise-ship tourists -- meaning, it's probably "some Russians' idea of what is popular elsewhere."

Comment 07 Feb 2015

After the end of the previous play, #81 had run to the OSU bench and someone (Marshall?) came in for him.  The rule is that if the offense substitutes, then the defense is given an opportunity to do so as well, so the official stood in the way preventing the ball from being snapped until Alabama's substitutes came in.

Alabama's players walking pretty slowly on and off the field.  I'd assume that there's some limit on how long the officials will hold up play, and Alabama was pushing that limit.  But the stoppage of play with the clock running was OSU's fault.  If they didn't want the officials holding up play, they should have made do with the same players they had on the field for the previous snap.

Comment 23 Sep 2014

That seemed odd to me, because you'd expect an even number of teams (since each conference game has two B1G participants).

But I worked it out: 1&2: Maryland and Indiana; 3: Northwestern (but not their opponent Penn State); 4&5: Iowa and Purdue; 6&7: Minnesota and Michigan; 8&9: Illinois and Nebraska.

Rutgers (playing non-conference) and Penn State (playing Northwestern) don't count since they played each other to "open conference play" already.  Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan State are still playing non-conference opponents.

Comment 06 Jun 2014

The analysis of "the gauntlet" also has to include an analysis of the ease of getting into the playoff.  It's a natural reaction to think that an MNC recently became twice as hard to get (win B1G title game) and will become twice harder yet (win first round of 4-team playoff).  But that's not so, in my view.

Let's say that Ohio State has a uniform 10% chance to finish each of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (in the BCS rankings or selection committee's view) after the B1G title game.

Under the old BCS system, they'd have a 20% shot to get into the final game, since 1st and 2nd always get straight into that game and 3rd and 4th are always left out.  In the new system they'd be 40% to get into the 4-team playoff, and if they had a 50-50 shot of winning the first round, they end up with the same 20% to get into the final game.

Unless one hypothesizes a fairly strange probability distribution (e.g., "much more likely to finish 1st-2nd than 3rd-4th, but at the same time less likely than 50-50 to win the first round game") the size of the playoff is pretty much irrelevant to the odds of winning the title.  In the end there's still exactly one MNC per year, so they haven't become any scarcer.

As a tangent:  Similarly, the B1G title game may seem like it makes it hard to win B1G titles, but it depends on how you look at it.  It is now easier to win outright B1G titles (there is now one every single year, so they have become less scarce).  There's no longer a straight equivalent to a shared B1G title, though based on total number of co-champs over the recent pre-Nebraska years, a berth in the B1G title game could be considered roughly equivalent (and "division co-champ" far easier) if you're trying to compare success across eras.

Comment 16 Apr 2014

Even if looking at it from a money-only angle, how much concessions profit is there for the extra 40,000 people?

Comment 22 Jan 2014

I look at it differently.  I don't see it as "bashing" a school to note they they received an outsized share of preseason hype.  As you note, that's not their fault.

Being on covers of preseason magazines, and appearing in the top-ten list beside the glossy picture... that's a benefit that perennially good teams get.  Maybe because they're safer bets to be good, maybe because it sells more magazines.

I don't think it's unreasonable to see how well teams live up to that.  For a team as good as they usually are, Ohio State is actually rated pretty well (~1.1 poll spots too high per year since 1992).  Contrast with Miami (~2.8), Florida (~3.2), Florida State (~3.5), Notre Dame (~3.6), Oklahoma (~4.0), Michigan (~4.0), Nebraska (~4.0), Southern Cal (~4.3), and Texas (~5.1).

Comment 04 Sep 2013

Great article, but I'm not sure I buy the "never in doubt for a second."

With the score 30-20 and Buffalo about to take possession at the OSU 1, mid third quarter, there were a lot of OSU fans holding their breath.

On the penalty that negated the fumble, it looked to me like both players had their hands on the other's facemask.  That is typically called on the defender, but what if it hadn't been?

Comment 12 Dec 2012

Just for the record, in 1994 Penn State lost the #1 spot the week they blew out Ohio State (63-14), not the week that Indiana scored late to make a game look closer than it was.  Here are the details:

Also, it's not really the case that people "dropped Penn State behind Nebraska."  What happened was really that Penn State was NOT behind Colorado on as many ballots as Nebraska was, and then when Nebraska beat Colorado, just the removal of Colorado from the top of the ballots gave more points to Nebraska than PSU.

Comment 11 Dec 2012

PSU was at least in the MNC mix until November in 1997 and 1999 (the latter was especially embarrassing because a great team dropped its final three games).  And their 1994 team deserved a share of the title.  Their 1986 team did win one with a decent schedule, and their 1985 team was undefeated until losing to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Heck, PSU even had an undefeated season in 1968.  But they weren't taken seriously as a title contender.  Prior to about 1980, they were the eastern version of BYU (or Boise State would be a more modern analogue):  won all their games but played nobody.  Around 1980 they started up long-running series with Alabama and Notre Dame, and earned some credibility.

I always thought PSU was a bit of a paper tiger, but they did win a legit title in 1986 and should have won another in 1994.  Probably they have been in the mix of the MNC discussion around bowl time at least as often Ohio State has been since the mid '60s, though at least in part that's due to weak scheduling.

Comment 12 Nov 2012

For what it's worth (and as your Joe Beale noted in "Deep Threat" on May 23 of this year), Galloway suffered a knee injury early in his soph year that took him out for the remainder of the season. 

His sophomore totals were indeed low, but not because his play was subpar.