- Ohio State's epic 2017 class got another brick last night; four-star Cincinnati DT Jerron Cage committed to the good guys.
- I also enjoyed Dr. Earl's uncomfortable yet needed read on concussions and the brutality of football.
CAN WE JUST GET THIS GAME STARTED TOMORROW? Only a petty 46 days remain between Ohio State opens its championship defense in the hills of Virginia.
Quarterback Michael Brewer and cornerback Kendall Fuller were peppered with questions about last season's victory over Ohio State and the season-opening rematch against the Buckeyes set for a Monday night in Lane Stadium. Coach Frank Beamer has told the players he expects "the best environment" of his tenure and Fuller added, "If anyone is going to class the next day ... well, kudos to them."
But while Lane Stadium will be rocking to "Enter Sandman" before the game, any hope of beating the Buckeyes again will rely on stopping whichever OSU quarterback is under center. Fuller said the defense will be ready for all three, and he already pointed out some differences between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett.
"He's bigger, he's got a better arm," Fuller said of Jones. "Might break more tackles. [We] still gotta stop the throws, still gotta be ready for all three of them."
Virginia Tech will prepare for all three quarterbacks? That sound you're hearing is Urban nodding in an "It's all going according to plan" fashion.
I suppose the Hokies have no choice though, especially considering Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, and J.T. Barrett are all beasts in different ways. If Barrett gets the nod then I think Virginia Tech might be surprised to witness his evolution firsthand.
Virginia Tech is 208-76-6 in Lane Stadium. It will be intriguing to see if Hokie fans can throw OSU off its cadence. It will be OSU's first game in a truly hostile stadium since its trip to East Lansing last November.
GO TO HELL, BIG 12. As director of the BCS, Bill Hancock acted like playoffs would tear apart the sport by the seams. Somehow, Hancock is now the executive director of the playoffs. I don't know how he swindled that, but that's damn impressive.
Tangent aside, Hancock said yesterday Ohio State was aided by its Big Ten Championship appearance, but that doesn't make it a trend.
“There’s no question that Ohio State benefited from getting a chance to play another game against another quality opponent,” Hancock said. “It enhanced their resume. However, you have to remember the risk of conference championship games. If two of those games came out different, the Big 12 would have had two teams in the playoffs and they would have looked like it had a room full of geniuses.
“Yes, it helped Ohio State. One year doesn’t make a trend … I think the (Big 12) is smart to be deliberate and thoughtful about (studying adaption of a conference championship game).”
To which I say: It better be a trend. The Big 12 not having a title game is the opposite of smart.
Conferences that play championship games should be rewarded if they play in them the same way pollsters reward wins over quality opponents as opposed to the likes of SMU, Northwestern State, or Buffalo (all of which played Baylor last season).
GO TO HELL, SEC. OSU 2016 DE commit Jonathon Cooper has terrorized the camp circuit this summer. A lot of Buckeye fans are drooling over a potential pairing of Nick Bosa and Cooper, but Ohio State already has another elite DE in the fold: Terrell Hall.
Hall, a four-star prospect, visited Alabama this weekend, and YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE HOW THEY PITCHED HIM.
From Drew Champlin of Al.com:
"(They said) basically this is the right fit for me and the perfect fit for me as far as playing the JACK linebacker and showing off my athleticism," Hall said. "I can pass rush and stop the run but I can also drop in coverage. Basically, they think that I belong in the SEC. They're trying to get me and a couple of other guys from my area, but they think I'm an SEC-type football player."
Hall was impressed by that stance.
"I liked the fact that they see that in me about being a good football player," Hall said. "If you think you're the best player, then you should play in the best conference. I see where they're coming from, so I liked that sales pitch."
At this point, I'm waiting for the corpse of the traitorous Robert E. Lee to climb out of his grave and howl, "ACTUALLY, I ONLY BENT THE KNEE BECAUSE I WAS TIRED."
My counterpoint to Alabama's pitch is thus:
MICHIGAN COMING FOR ATTENDANCE CROWN. Jim Harbaugh is at Michigan now, and its fans are acting like the Wolverine roster was replaced as well. (For a glimpse into the talent gap between the two rivals, look how many Buckeyes populate MGoBlog's Big Ten draft.)
Michigan will probably take the attendance crown back from Ohio State (it's a simple matter of math), but the Buckeyes are still sitting pretty.
From David Briggs of BCSN.tv:
The reigning national champions have already sold out their four Big Ten games, including a home finale against Michigan State that promises to be one of the biggest games of the college season. According to SeatGeek, tickets for the Nov. 22 showdown are selling for an average of $350 — $42 more than the going rate for passes to Ohio State-Michigan in Ann Arbor the following week.
Ohio State reported a season-ticket renewal rate of more than 98 percent — a shade better than last year — and brisk student sales. The school sold ticket packages to 26,967 students — 15,720 who paid $252 for all seven home dates, 11,247 who will attend only the Big Ten games. (Though that’s less than the 29,614 total student packages sold last year, Scarbrough said the decline was expected with the Michigan game on the road. OSU sold 26,304 packages in 2013.)
In all, only 13,100 tickets remain available to the public, mostly to the final two nonconference games against Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. [Ohio State assistant athletic director for ticketing Brett] Scarbrough said, “We’re very pleased where we are.”
Only 13,100 tickets left for the Northern Illinois and Western Michigan games! Better act quick if you want to attend a game that will be decided by halftime.
A BUCKEYE-WOLVERINE BOAT BANGER. Imagine going to Put-in-Bay for a romantic, alcohol-fueled getaway with your significant other but actually ending up in an Ottawa County jail cell. That's one happened to one criminal Wolverine couple on Sunday morning.
The fight between 25-year-old Ashley Artiaga, 31-year-old Ian Schuster, and complete strangers on the top deck allegedly began because of an argument over Michigan-Ohio State football.
"They were arguing, cursing at each other,” says Ben Freeman, a witness from Cincinnati who was in town for a fishing trip. “As the argument went on, the Michigan fan's girlfriend stood up, pulled the hair of the Ohio State's fan's girlfriend … the wife, actually. He tried to defend his wife by shoving the Michigan fan's girlfriend. The Michigan fan stood up and tried to defend his girlfriend. And after that they mutually started to fist fight and swing on each other. It was crazy.”
"It happens,” says Todd Blumensaadt, owner of the Jet Express. “They get very passionate about their teams."
Hair pulling? A Wolverine fan has never been accused of fighting fair.
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