I love thinking how Sam Hubbard will get a year in the rotation before taking over at SDE for Bosa in 2016. Guys like Jonathan Cooper are going to continue to make DE one of the Buckeyes' deepest, most athletic positions in the future.
I have trouble conjuring hate in my heart for Sparty. Maybe it's Dantonio's lovable irascibility, or his Buckeye roots. Maybe it's because of my grudging respect for Tom Izzo, Mateen Cleaves, and Draymond Green. Maybe it's just that I love so much how UofM can't have nice things--losing regularly now to Little Brother, too.
Still, on 11/21/2015, there will be blood in the 'Shoe.
A bit of context on the Michigan ticket situation. A friend of mine works on UofM's staff, and I was with him when he checked his phone and said, "Well, they're giving tickets away again." The administration did it before in the non-conf schedule, plus the Coke debacle. So I took the opportunity to wear my OSU beanie and gloves and go to my first game at the Big House, vs. Maryland. Great venue, but it was cold and damp and the stadium was largely dead. Big swaths of empty seats, and the conversation was all about whether or not they'd nose above 100K in announced attendance, which they barely did.
Surprisingly, I got only one bitter comment all afternoon on my Buckeyes hat! I think the Maize & Blue fanbase had been totally neutered by that point. I'm glad they've got their mojo back with the Harbaugh hire; it's always more fun to puncture a bloated balloon than a sagging one.
Totally agree. Noah Brown and Sam Hubbard both were designated for other positions. Baugh may develop into a pass-catching weapon, but I'm not sure he has the physique to be a mauling blocker like Heuerman and Vannett. Just another reason why the offense in 2016 is going to look a lot different than 2014-15.
Such a stellar coaching staff. I know a championship makes everything look rosy, but in the postseason run there wasn't a single position group that graded out below average, right? Which means that every coach on Meyer's staff did a salutary job prepping their players to deliver stunning performances against three top-15 teams, away from the 'Shoe (four if you include MSU a few weeks before that).
Neither the coaches nor the players are perfect, and there will undoubtedly be some bumps in the road in 2015, but it truly was a perfect blend of coaching and talent combining to make Ohio proud last season.
When the Buckeyes signed Johnston, I had visions of a rugby player coming up and laying a hit on a befuddled returner who thought he just had a typical punter to beat. But our athletes + scheme + Johnston's kicking prowess = no long returns, so no opportunities for him to hit (has he even tackled anyone in the last two years?). Also, Johnston's not very big--that may be part of the reason why Meyer hasn't utilized him much in fakes.
Do you mean potential to have the greatest career at OSU? Then I'd agree. Tate will endear himself to the fanbase as a hardworking, athletic glue guy, but he probably won't be 1st-team all-B1G, let alone an All-American. The NBA is salivating over Russell, but like Mike Conley, Jr. or Greg Oden vs. David Lighty or Aaron Craft, 4 years' contribution to winning Buckeyes teams (probably) trumps 1 transcendent year.
Bates-Diop could very well grow into a star at Ohio State over the next couple of years. He's going to be dueling Marc Loving for minutes the next two seasons, which might be the governor on both players' potential.
Does he have the size and chops to be a true "plus" blocker? Heuerman and Vannett may not have ever been the big-play threats that Baugh could be, but they both were capable blockers so the defense never knew what if they were going to stay in and protect, or go out for the 8-yard flare.
Other than Wisconsin and Maryland, the rest of the B1G has powers like Virginia, Kansas, Arizona, and <gulp> Kentucky waiting in the round of 32. So yeah, I can see how 5 might be a realistic worst-case scenario. But...Iowa is long and athletic and deep--they could possibly knock off Gonzaga to reach the Sweet 16. Sparty at least knows how to beat Virginia. Wisconsin is flat-out impressive. Give me the Badgers in the Final Four and that's 4 wins there. My best guess is 8-9 wins for the conference.
If Iowa somehow knocks off Wisconsin, they're talented enough to take the whole thing. If Sparty can knock down some shots, they could ride Dawson & Valentine to the B1G title. I'd love to see Russell put his stamp on the season (and on his top-3 spot in this year's NBA draft) with a crazy kind of 23-7-7 run in March, dragging the Buckeyes to the Elite Eight or so. But I can't assume Scott & Thompson & Loving & K. Williams will suddenly catch fire from outside--and that's what it would take.
Or, for some of us, that's ideal because the chilluns have gone down for the night. But yeah, if you get up at 4:30 AM then that stinks, bro.
I can't add much that hasn't already been said, but back in January I pored through Phil Steele's 2014 game scores for comparison. He assigns a number based on not just yardage or quality of opponent but total efficiency & dominance in a single performance. The Buckeyes' blowout of Wiscy was by far the highest score of any team all season, and the Oregon game was also in the top 5. Just amazing to watch!
I love how the burning hunk of wreckage near the end has the UofM logo. Never caught that before.
I can't be the only one Googling "Ohio State" "drugs" "suspension" etc., within the last 24 hours. It's disappointing, and I agree that it's one more indication that this team is one year away from being a true championship contender. Even if MSU takes the Buckeyes down up in E. Lansing on 11/8, they can still go on a roll to end the year like the 2009 team did, to set up momentum for 2015.
I can't complain with a #20 rating. What does irk me is how MSU and Michigan are ranked at #18 and #23, respectively. Those teams lost a LOT of talent and aren't bringing in any top-20, one-&-done type of superstar recruits, right? Izzo and Beilein are great coaches, and those squads might be peaking by tournament time, but the rosters sure aren't flush with elite talent right now.
Shortly after the video chop of Braxton getting stuffed early in the 3rd quarter was the muffed punt by Philly Brown with tOSU up by 9 in the 3rd. Ugh...I had forgotten how close we were to taking control of that game, and then a SR kicks the door open for Clemson's comeback! I wonder how different the tone of this spring and summer would have been--both in the Buckeyes' camp and on the national scene--if tOSU had finished with, say, a 42-33 win?
The 2014 tOSU D-Line will be awesome, but the 2015 one will be pretty great, too: Bosa and Diesel Washington at the height of their college powers, plus Tommy Schutt or Michael Hill blowing up the interior, and probably Tyquan Lewis at the other DE. And LOADS of hungry, athletic youngsters behind them.
Reeves could still surprise us as a functional starting CB. But what we saw of him last year was someone who was not NFL draft material. At tOSU, especially under Meyer, the starter at every position ought to be getting a real sniff at playing on Sundays. And cornerback especially is a position that puts a premium on athleticism and speed--neither of which Reeves displayed much of (from my limited perspective, compared to other top-level CB's).
Let me put it this way: who's more likely to blossom into an all-B1G stopper at CB for the Buckeyes in the next year or two: Reeves, or Apple/Conley? If Apple and/or Conley even have a chance at being Roby 2.0 (big impact in RS Freshman year), then why not give one or both of them a chance at starting and make Reeves the extra CB for passing downs?
Really, Hazell and Purdue are exactly where Boeckman and Illinois were last summer. Two former MAC coaches shellshocked after an inaugural season even more wretched than anticipated. Illinois improved some in 2013, but not enough to make everyone think Boeckman is the answer. Purdue will probably do the same in 2014--winning 3-5 games and turning Hazell's hot seat down to "simmer" instead of "roast." This is the season of reckoning for Boeckman, and 2015 will be the same for Hazell, if they can't drag their team to a .500 record and a depressing bowl game in Memphis or Albuquerque or someplace like that.
With the push to the playoffs and other factors, it's easier than ever for us who are fans of contending, name-brand schools to show undue contempt to these second-tier schools. Even the mighty SEC has its Kentucky and Vanderbilt. I'm not saying Minnesota and Purdue and Illinois and Indiana and Rutgers shouldn't expect success; we just need to properly define what success is there. Remember, James Franklin won 8 games a couple of times at Vanderbilt and everyone fell at his feet in awe. Now, that doesn't excuse mediocrity at Iowa or Michigan or Nebraska, and it doesn't give MSU or Northwestern or Wisconsin a pass if they retreat from their recent success...but we just have to understand that it's not really fair to mock Purdue when they're actually content with going 7-6 and winning that bowl game in Memphis or Albuquerque or someplace like that.
He's a world-class curmudgeon, too, who seems incapable of seeing an issue from anyone else's point of view. Probably my least favorite Detroit sports radio jockey, and I listen to them all up here. At least Mike Valenti owns his Sparty bias and makes his sardonic points in a humorous way.
Agreed, especially when facing a B1G defense for the third week in a row, in 40-degree weather. Dunn will see his touches, but he needs to be able to block and catch safety-valve passes, as well, or Meyer & Herman will restrict him to short-yardage situations.
I thought the same thing - different types of players. And for returns, how about Dontre running back kickoffs (smaller holes to slip through, less unblocked hard hits) and Jalin taking punts?
The line would have to truly dominate the B1G in order to get 3/4 of its members on the 1st-team. Part of me thinks Spence is not going to be as productive as Bennett, but at the same time, opponents might give Spence some space in order to double-team Bosa. I say Bosa is a lock, and whichever of Bennett or Spence gets the sexier stats (sacks, TFL, FF, etc.) will get another 1st-team slot.
I hope Christian Bryant makes an NFL squad - he's got some talent that could translate well to the next level, now that he's healthy.
My gut feeling is that Devin Smith, Jeff Heuerman, and Dontre Wilson (and Evan Spencer to a lesser degree) are going to get most of the snaps and most of the targets. There's probably only room for one other pass-catcher to get even close to 20 catches. Will that be a bigger guy like Greene or Thomas? Or an all-around receiver like Corey Smith or Johnnie Dixon? Or a slot type like Jalin Marshall or James Clark? I know my categories aren't perfect, but bear with me--I'm generalizing here.
One of those guys is going to complement the Buckeyes' scheme in 2014 enough to warrant some throws from Braxton...but I don't have a good handle on who that will be yet. Do you?