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Comment 23 hours ago

No question, the Big Ten is bad this year.

Usually, though, the Big Ten looks weaker than it really is. And, ironically, this quote from Patterson indirectly supports that concept. Patterson is worried about SMU because that in-state rival has played above its weight class against TCU in the past and therefore, in his mind, SMU is a better program than Minnesota. Yet this SMU team has been outscored 88 to 6 in its two games so far and they went 5-7 last year. Heck, Minnesota could handle SMU.

Comment 16 Sep 2014

When jobs look like they'll be available, I like to go to Coaches Hot Seat Ranking and work my way backwards from those coaches most secure in their jobs to those in the hottest seats. Most of the highly secure coaches wouldn't be interested in the Michigan job, but some of them would be willing to listen (i.e., entertain secret discussions via their agents).

Here are two names that might "fit" from that list, based on their current salary and circumstances, age, backgrounds, etc.: Paul Chryst (Pitt) and Steve Addazio (BC).

If we're not worried about "fits" per se, two other interesting possibilities might be Bronco Mendenhall or Gary Patterson.

Comment 16 Sep 2014

At first, it seemed that Hoke was using circular logic. Now that I think about, though, it's more convoluted than that. Hoke's brain is like a rat maze that has no exits. 

Comment 16 Sep 2014

Yes, as I mentioned, it's way premature to gauge - whether by using a computer or not - the relative strengths of teams like Cincy and Navy versus Rutgers, Maryland, or Minnesota. Navy, VT, and Cincinnati were or will be about as jacked to play Ohio State as any teams could be.

I agree that many teams improve through the course of a season, but I expect/hope Ohio State will improve at even more rapid rate than their opponents. If you go by returning starters, Indy, Mary, ILL, Rutgers, and PSU are all pretty veteran teams. All of OSU's Bug Ten opponents except MSU have more returning starters than this very young Buckeyes team had going into the season. Now, veteran teams can improve during a season, too. Yet I feel that Ohio State has a lot of room for growth whereas I'm not sure how much upside potential teams like Minnesota have.

So, I'm still not sure that Minnesota will be tougher than Navy or Cincinnati or that MSU will be tougher than VT. We'll see. Actually, I don't know which side to "root" for on that question. If MSU steadily improves this season, they'll be very tough to beat in EL, no matter how much the Buckeyes improve. On the other hand, you'd like to see the Buckeyes face reasonably tough opposition.

Comment 16 Sep 2014

. . . as teams get tougher [later in the season] 

Not to pile on the woeful Big Ten, but will the teams get tougher? I realize that it's way premature to put much stock in computer model rankings, but current FEI rankings of Ohio State's three main non-conference opponents = VT 16th, Cincinnati 38th, Navy 51 compared to their Big Ten opponents = MSU 14, PSU 41, Mich 44, Indy 52, Mary 58, Rutgers 59, Minn 76, Ill 80. 

Comment 16 Sep 2014

. . . Ohio State's plethora of young offensive options. 

El Guapo's vocabulary lessons are finally paying off! It wasn't enough for El Guapo to use "plethora" in a sentence. The young banditos needed to see the concept in action. Then again, how were the men supposed to understand this concept of superabundance, when there could only be one El Guapo?

El Guapo: Would you say we have a plethora of offensive weapons?
Philly: A what?
El Guapo: A *plethora*.
Philly: Oh yes, you have a plethora.
El Guapo: Philly, what is a plethora?
Philly: Why, El Guapo?
El Guapo: Well, you told me we have a plethora of offensive weapons. And I just would like to know if you know what a plethora is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has *no idea* what it means to have a plethora.
Philly: Forgive me, El Guapo. I know that I, Philly, do not get even one fourth the number of offensive touches that you get, so how am I to grasp this idea of a plethora? But could it be that once again, you are angry at the defenders, and are looking to take it out on me?   

Comment 15 Sep 2014

It's an interesting question, which might have some validity, but a lot of other variables come into play. I won't tediously list them all, but three major factors might include: 1. bad coaching hires by Big Ten schools; 2. national population/demographic trends, 3. the SEC schools gradually found better ways to cheat, while Big Ten schools are okay with creating "football factories" but not outright cheating.

Comment 15 Sep 2014

Yeah, ideally, you'd like both. When/if your offense runs into an elite defense that has DBs capable of locking up your receivers one-on-one and can thus commit extra guys to stopping the run and getting pressure on the QB, you can trump all that if you have a freak athlete at QB. DBs can't turn their backs to the QB, playing man coverages against vertical routes, against freaks like Mike Vick, Vince Young, Terrelle Pryor, or Braxton Miller.

That raises the question, though: Have we yet to see a freak-of-nature QB that's also an elite passer? Maybe Steve Young in his, what, 7th year as a pro?  We've been hoping that Braxton will be that ideal combination between freak and passer, but it's not happened yet.

Comment 15 Sep 2014

Yes and no. When the Pats won three Super Bowls between 2001/02 - 2004/05, they did have a pretty solid running game, but did not have a "feature" power back until C. Dillon in 2004/05. I remember they would use 5-WR sets against big smash mouth defenses like Pittsburgh, but then would switch to emphasize more run-friendly formations against other defenses.

The 2007/08 team did have an awesome offense (16-0 in regular season), so that's probably the best example of what you're getting at, with powerback Maroney, who sometimes even ran behind a FB, Heath Evans, and with deep threats like Moss and Stallworth complementing the underneath passing game (Welker, Kevin Faulk, Evans, etc. But, if anything then, this 2007/08 "power" + vertical-oriented offense seems like an anomaly for Belichick offenses at NE.

Whereas the constant of Belichick's offenses seems to be their variability - being able to switch between power and 5-WR and everything in between.

Comment 15 Sep 2014

So, of course, I then had to ask: What was the result of said punt? Sure enough, Hagerup promptly drilled the ball into the EZ for a touchback, giving Michigan 12 yards "better" net field position in that exchange. Why didn't they at least try an arm punt, you ask . . .?   

Comment 15 Sep 2014

. . . [Michigan has had] several great recruiting classes, we have talent on this team...just no one to develop it.

Not to toot my own horn, but I said when Hoke was hired at Michigan that he was a career +/- 0.500 coach who made his name largely on the strength of his last season at San Diego State. That program had been a down period before Hoke got there, so he deserves some credit for turning them around. But if you look back at SDSU's schedule in 2010, the Aztecs had better talent than most of the teams they faced that season. Chuck Long (9-27 at SDSU) had a good recruiting class in 2007 (e.g., Ryan Lindley and Vincent Brown) that were seniors in 2010. Hoke inherited other key players on that team as well. One could argue that a lot of head coaches would have gone 9-4 or better with SDSU's talent against that 2010 schedule.

Comment 13 Sep 2014

If you grew up during the Woody era, then you'll remember that Woody - who was an awesome coach nonetheless - served up some of his own huge s--- sandwiches in the 1950s, the 1960s until 1968, the 1969 version of The Game, several Rose Bowl games during the 1970s, during the regular season and bowl games of the late 70s, etc.

Comment 12 Sep 2014

Sorry, my comments weren't very clear. I meant to say that it's a somewhat "gloomy" prediction (or assessment) to say that the team could make significant improvement and still end up being only pretty good, not very good. Whereas, in my mind, if this team makes significant improvement, they will be a very good team that would be a dangerous opponent for even top teams to play at year's end.

We'll have to see whether the team does end up making significant improvement. Most college football teams do NOT improve significantly from their second game to their twelfth game (now I'm being gloomy).

Now, if the Buckeyes do improve significantly and become a very good team by the end of the season, they're probably still unlikely to make the Final 4. I get that. Heck, on the way to becoming a very good and dangerous team by November, they might lose another game or two along the way (although I don't expect that to happen). At this point, I just want to see this team get better. I think they'll be really fun to watch when that happens, even if they're completely out of the national picture.

Comment 12 Sep 2014

Maybe, but we wouldn't have good feel for how long it takes to teach all the various concepts and points-of-execution that go into all the potential various play calls. Urbz/Meyer run a varied, complex offense and so it probably takes a lot of time to install different elements. In contrast, a hurry up, no huddle "Air Raid" offense is supposedly predicated on running a few basic plays really fast, out of different formations. One advantage to that approach is the team can practice the same stuff over-and-over again and get good at it.  

I got the impression that the basic "bread and butter" stuff that Urbz and Herman needed to teach the offense first turned out to be a bad misfit against what Bud Foster schemed just for this game, but what were the staff to do?  

For example, I'm not sure if they've had time to practice (JT and the offense) roll out passing concepts that might have helped against VT. 

Comment 12 Sep 2014

Actually, like you, Chris was also essentially talking about the potential of the team to improve and then become good:

Chris: Yes. Because the B1G is garbage and while many are piling on the coaches and players right now, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that areas such as the offensive line and wide receivers show enough improvement to make Ohio State good enough to win a mediocre league.

If anything, you're more bullish on the team - assuming that they make significant improvement - than is Chris. By implication, Chris is suggesting that the best case scenario is Ohio State becomes a pretty good - not very good team - but that should be enough to win a crappy league. His somewhat gloomy best case scenario is underlined by Chris also suggesting that a lot of the kids on the team are a product of the OSU hype machine. 

One could argue that much of Chris' current brutal realism is warranted after the bad performance against VT, especially inasmuch as Chris is wearing his objective "beat reporter" hat.

The question I want to ask, though, which isn't just directed at Chris . . . if Ohio State does make significant improvement this season and becomes a very good team (which is your best case scenario), will he take ownership of his September gloomy prediction? Or, will he say that he was merely describing what at the time (in September) was a bad team?

Comment 12 Sep 2014

I can see that, but then it goes back to (a different type of) expectations: I don't expect anything but non-stop hater-ade toward Ohio State from non-Ohio State fans and I've learned to tune out much of what the "mainstream" sports media say about Ohio State/Big Ten, etc. Whereas I expect to read really smart, level-headed comments on 11W.

My advice to you is that, if it's an incredibly frustrating experience for you to tune into mainstream sports media and/or mass social media after a Buckeye loss, don't tune into that stuff, then. The point of reading or listening to any of that it's supposed to bring us enjoyment, as consumers. On days when consuming such media is far more annoying than pleasurable, why put yourself through that?

Instead you should be able to come into this awesome refuge called 11W . . . oh wait, you used to be able to do that . . .Maybe I should take my own advice on Monday/Tuesday mornings after a loss. 

Comment 12 Sep 2014

I do think we'll see a lot of Raekwon in this game. In addition to being an athletic freak and naturally gifted football player, the dude really appears to have "it." Curtis Grant has made great strides the last couple of years, and he's reportedly been a very positive presence in the locker room in recent months, but Raekown is about to impose his will. 

Comment 12 Sep 2014

Kyle: Some of you need to re-adjust your ridiculous expectations. 

That's probably true. Virginia Tech put my cognitive dissonance into overdrive.  

Yet ridiculous expectations are not the primary cause of the crazy reactions to last Saturday's loss. After all, many of the folks who reacted with "Fire Meyer/Warinner/et al!" tantrums are now predicting 3, 4, or 5 more losses on the season. So, they have adjusted their "ridiculous expectations," yet aren't becoming more level-headed as a result  Also, if the recent five game slide (Michigan 2013 --> VT 2014) brought out of the woodwork a latent anti-Meyer contingent, well those folks didn't have sky high expectations for this team to begin with (I was vehemently anti-Earle in the mid-to-late 80s and so - no - I did not have "ridiculous expectations" for the teams going into 1985, 86, 87, etc.).

Buckeye fans should have ridiculously high expectations almost every season. The question is how do they respond when a team fails to meet those high standards? Semi-rationally would be a good start.

Comment 11 Sep 2014

Yep, the fans sitting in Fear_The_Nut70's section of the stadium - along with 11W commenters like TexasNut, DCBuckeye33, and Wojodta - are just loaded with play calling expertise. Let's see if we can get all of you guys on Tom Herman's speed dial and we'll have the offensive woes fixed in a jiffy.

Comment 11 Sep 2014

Patrick quotes Bennett saying:

“Our goals are still there, we’ve gotta keep getting better each week. We don’t have time to really worry about who says what about us because we’ve never really been the crowd favorite so we’ve just gotta keep chugging along, keep getting better and then just whatever happens, happens and they can say whatever they want.”

That's right. It's fun for us to talk Buckeye football here at 11W, but on the field talk is cheap. Either the team gets better or it doesn't. What the team can control is winning the Big Ten championship. It cannot control how other games or the selection committee process shake out. 

Right on cue, though, in the very next paragraph, Patrick writes:

But the other thing about that loss to the Hokies isn’t just that it forces Ohio State to redefine what reasonable expectations are: it also offered a slew of reasons for why the Buckeyes might only be the second or third best team in a watered down conference.

Obviously, the coaches and players have no business pondering whether they're only the second or third best team in a crappy conference, so I assume that Patrick is addressing the fans here. But, to me, the same principle that Bennett so eloquently captures also applies to my expectations for the team - ignore all the outside "narratives" and instead focus on the team's on-the-field improvement (or, if it so happens, lack thereof).

I expect the team to win the rest of their games and thus win the Big Ten championship. What's the point in lowering my expectations to those of third-rate programs? To make for a softer fall if they fail again? No, lowering my expectations won't make it any easier for me to stomach lack of improvement, whereas if this team does improve, they should beat every team remaining on their schedule.    

Comment 10 Sep 2014

I still adore Tress to this day. I never cared that he fed the big mainstream sports media non-stop "coach speak." As far as I remember, it was mainly the press that whined about that. The media like to complain about players and coaches giving stock cliched answers, but when players or coaches speak freely and say something "juicy," the media exploit the gaffe for all its worth.

No, I loved Tress, as a coach (he's also a great man, in my book) because he was one of the top 5 coaches in the college game. Meyer is also one of the top 5 coaches in the college game. Just like when the program was run by Tress, Meyer can feed the media all the b.s. they want and I won't care.

The thing is, though, even top 5 coaches don't always win 12 or 13 games every year and/or always have a national champion-caliber juggernaut. Saban has come about as close to that as any coach, but even he might get skewered by the crowd we have in here these days.

Comment 10 Sep 2014

What about Purdue? Tress had about 3-4 games like the 2012 Purdue game seemingly every season. Thanks to Tresselball, he usually managed to avoid OT, unlike the 2012 Purdue game, though. 

Don't get me wrong. I adore Tress to this day. It's just that, more often than not, when a team loses, it got beat in the trenches, and Tress lost plenty of games, too.