Inside the Privileged Yet Underachieving Confines

By Jason Priestas on August 19, 2008 at 7:30 am
Our spread. It's phenomenal.

I was disappointed when Comcast announced they would be flipping the switch on the Big Ten Network on 8/15, ten days too late to catch the Ohio State practice and associated footage in the network's "Buckeye Day". (What was so wrong with August 1st as a go-live date?)

After having the BTN for a couple of days now (review: decent, but the constant parade of university promos are driving me nuts) I finally get a chance to catch a televised practice and as fate would have it, the first team day I'm treated to is Michigan's.

It was the first time I'd ever seen the facilities in Ann Arbor and my first impression was that it looks like they practice near a barn by an airport. And a municipal airport at that. I think I also caught a glimpse of a Shell oil refinery tank, but I'm not 100%. Forgiving their setup, here's what else I took away from the event:

  • Rodriguez kept his F-bombs and other curse words to a minimum, which was impressive considering how steamed he appeared to become at least once during the practice.
  • They have tackling dummies with the Buckeye logo on them. McGuffie may or may not have been knocked out cold by one.
  • When Gerry DiNardo said Michigan needed their offensive scheme to be a talent neutralizer, it put a smirk on my face for the rest of the night. I've been harping on the talent disparity for years now and it's nice to see that meme repeated in the wild (although it's pretty obvious to everyone these days).
  • MGoBlog held a live blog for the practice and if the fact that they talked about everything but the practice means anything, seven wins may now be the upper bounds of expectations in Ann Arbor these days.

Interestingly, as I was composing this post, we received an email from a I Want My BTN, "A blog dedicated to pulling the plug on cable companies that won't listen to Buckeye fans." No idea if this is legit or the network getting crafty guerilla/viral on us, but anything to put the heat on Time Warner can't hurt. We're staring at 12 days and counting, gentleman.

The University finally has the Pryor profile page turned on and dude looks good in that tie.

All old news, but the symmetry from his prep days is a thing of beauty: 4,328 career rushing yards and 4,340 career passing yards. Senior season: 1,899 rushing yards and 1,889 passing yards.

We're resisting the urge to post about him non-stop because he's going to be one of those once-in-a-generation type athletes. The more we hear, the more we're convinced that his impact will be felt in the opening weeks of the season. Is series one too quick? Who knows, but we haven't heard Tress gush about a rook since, well, Dirty Mo was bustin' up Washington State.

The talk has shifted to him as a thrower, because that's what he'll have to work the most on. The natural skills take over the running attack, but you can't just jump in and begin completing passes against top-notch college defenses.

Still, you have to be encouraged when you see plays like this (the 2nd one) against the top players in the nation.

We have winners for our trick play contest. At first we had planned to only hand out one DVD, but quickly raised it to two and after combing over the entries, we've decided to bump that up to three (the quality was there for about ten winners, frankly). Without further delay, the three future owners of Woody DVDs:

If your name wasn't called you'll get another chance shortly. There's another contest right around the corner.

The ailments and troubles keep piling up for USC. First, starting quarterback Mark Sanchez dislocated his kneecap, then Joe McKnight had his fingers mangled in a dorm room door accident before bouncing back to hyperextend his elbow in the team's scrimmage on Saturday.

McKnight, who battled some academic issues in the spring, has had a bumpy year, to say the least. His explosiveness and playmaking ability are unquestioned, but his knack for getting injured has to be of some concern to Carroll, who still doesn't know who his starting quarterback will be for the opener or when Sanchez will even see the field again, for that matter.

All the breaks seem to be heading Ohio State's way, but I don't like seeing the most talented Buckeye team of Tressel's watch heading into a redemption-ready game where the foe has so many excuses available should things not go their way.