Credit to the Hoosiers: That was the most uncomfortable I've been as an Ohio State fan since SadUrbanPapaJohn.jpeg.
Still, I knew eventually Indiana's Hoosier blood would get the better of it. (That's why I laughed at Michigan fans hopping on that train. Expecting Indiana to close out the No. 1 team is like asking a Marionaire to house-sit and expecting it to not end with you buying your valuables back from area pawn shops.)
The most surprising thing to me was that Indiana fans are apparently jackasses. Maybe that shouldn't surprise me, however; we are talking about residents of a state where TGI Friday's is considered ceremonial cuisine.
Let the haters be seasick. Ohio State is No. 1 and 5-0. Survive and advance, baby, survive and advance.
OHIO STATE FLIRTING WITH DISASTER? Some fans and journalists prefer the cup-half-empty approach, which is my natural setting when talking about things that aren't coached by a man with a 43-3 record.
The Buckeyes lost the turnover battle (3-0) for the fourth time in five games and are minus-four for the season — minus eight if you throw out the 4-0 edge they had against Hawaii, a game that was only 17-0 midway through the fourth quarter.
That's a recipe for disaster and so is playing scared.
After Jones underthrew a handful of deep balls the previous week against Western Michigan, it didn't seem to be coincidence that a vertical attack was mostly missing from the gameplan Saturday. Almost curling up into a fetal position at the end of the game sent an even stronger message.
So why is Jones, whose biggest and maybe only asset is a strong arm, even playing? Why is Meyer so wedded to Jones when he has a 2014 Heisman finalist as another option?
Why are these questions framed as revelations unbeknownst to Urban Meyer? I don't know.
Jokes aside, that's the best Indiana team I've seen in my life, and I'm thankful they pushed Ohio State to the brink. Stands like that to end the game (poor Jake Reed is going to remember that botched snap for the rest of his life) are where champions are forged.
Compare the seasons of the 2002 championship team to that of the 2006 "runner-ups." One of those teams routinely got pushed to the brink in the regular season, and one was coronated before even taking the championship field. Give me the former season every time.
As for the "playing scared" stuff — I would posit that the scared team rarely wins in football.
URBAN'S REAL HEROES. Missed this one last week, but here's an excellent look at Urban Meyer's love for the United States military, and how he uses it to teach his team.
Before the Buckeyes departed for New Orleans, players received a postcard featuring a photo of a Higgins boat, the World War II landing craft built in the Big Easy and used by the Allied forces during the invasion of Nazi-occupied Normandy.
Like the men on those boats, they were instructed to write a note to someone close to them — a reminder of for whom they fought, or, in their case, played. Many wrote to their parents. Linebacker Joshua Perry wrote to Joshua Chambers, the 5-year-old son of Perrysburg native Jeremy Chambers, whose battle with leukemia had touched the team.
“We told them, ‘These were men just like you. Their mission was a much greater mission, a much more dangerous mission, a much more worthy one, but they were just like you,’” cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said. “Before we got on the plane, we collected all the postcards. We were going on a mission too.”
Remember when people thought Ohio State was going into the Sugar Bowl as the underdog? That was precious.
THE NEW CHEMISTRY. One of this team's biggest hurdles is that it's shackled to the bar set by three game that occurred seemingly a decade ago. Ohio State is still tinkering with its warhorses, but this isn't a team that's fractured like the fanbase.
“I don’t know one fight we’ve had internally that has separated us,” Darron Lee said this week in the locker room two hours before a practice leading up to the Big Ten opener at Indiana. “I can’t think of a major issue we’ve had among each other since we got here. Here, for some reason, that human nature is just nonexistent.”
Said Perry’s father, Jim: “Sometimes I see Urban Meyer’s persona come out in Joshua. Yeah. If something went wrong and I might say, ‘That’s okay, you’ll do better next time,’ Joshua will say, ‘No, that’s not okay.’ And that’s Urban. . . . Man, don’t ever make excuses around that guy.”
Do not intuit softness. The post-practice screed Meyer unleashed Wednesday — cautioning players about weeknight outings past 10 p.m. — might make anyone wish to refrain from going out on weeknights ever again. (“If you hear about something, fix it! ’Cause if I fix it, it’s bad [stuff]! It’s lockers cleaned out, moms and dads crying!”) At parents-association orientations in spring, Meyer mixes all the collaboration with a monocratic message along the lines of, “Don’t call me. Don’t tell me how to coach. If you think you can coach, send me your résumé.”
That last paragraph has me rolling. Urban Meyer's disdain for meddling parents (or "third uncles") is legendary.
SPENCE MOVES WEIGHT VS. KENTUCKY. Kentucky needed OT to knockoff instate rival Eastern Kentucky, but Eastern's Noah Spence has still got it folks:
EKU DE Former Buckeye Noah Spence has been far and away the best player on the field against Kentucky tonight. One man wrecking crew.— Kevin Weidl (@KevinW_ESPN) October 4, 2015
Spence finished with 3 tackles, 1.5 TFLs and 1.5 sacks. He keeps his axe to the grindstone and he'll be in the NFL in no time.
POOR D'ANGELO RUSSELL. Lakers are going to be a trainwreck this year, so please keep D'Angelo Russell in your prayers.
Kobe: "Havent played with point guards that are playmakers at heart. DAngelo is a ridiculous playmaker man. Id much rather catch & shoot"— Bill Oram (@billoram) October 3, 2015
Kobe: "You guys know I like scoring the ball, why the hell would I like setting the offense up?"— Bill Oram (@billoram) October 4, 2015
Yes, Silk is still silky, but notice how No. 24 is nowhere near this beautiful basketball play:
Makes u think, doesn't it?
THOSE WMDs. Call this the "Bosa" typeface judgment test... Bubba Sparxxx once stabbed his brother over an '89 Iron Bowl argument... Pets gather for annual blessing... A Michigan farmer found a wooly mammoth skeleton... American caviar comes from the Ozarks.