See the glint in Urban Meyer's eyes? Mine will glean with that same intensity by 7 a.m. Saturday after riding a 72-hour FourLoko bender. Michigan playing for more than pride this week seems unnatural, but these are the times in which we dwell.
A few weeks ago, Michigan fans talked playoff match-ups. Now they're pinning their hopes on a Houston washout and praying they don't get waxed by 29 points.
My body is ready, though I'm already dreading the 8-12 window on Saturday. I understand the appeal for a night game, but I couldn't stay sane the whole day without doing a crime to pass the time.
Anyway, bring on the Michigan Wolverines, the alleged No. 3 team in the country, and its fifty fans with hearts strong enough to handle a trip into Columbus. They can get dumped along with their inferior team.
POINTS AT A PREMIUM. Well, Ohio State did the thing Saturday where every aspect of its passing game looked as out of place as a Warren Buffet residing within a communist commune.
It was Big Ten football at its finest on Saturday as snow and wind were prominently featured in Ohio State’s game at Michigan State and Michigan’s game at home against Indiana. Both top teams came out on top, though the conditions leveled the playing field against their respective overmatched opponents. With the wins, The Game officially becomes a playoff game as an Ohio State win all but ensures their inclusion in the final four while a Michigan win puts them in the Big Ten Championship game with a chance to secure a playoff spot with a win. While the conditions were certainly a factor Saturday, both passing games struggled as Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett posted a 55.9 passing grade and Michigan QB John O’Korn graded at 54.4 in his first start since QB Wilton Speight went down to injury. Barrett was able to make up for it with a 92.6 grade on the ground and his ability to create in the running game will be something to watch in what should be a defensive battle next week.
As assistant to the offensive coordinator, I corralled the tweets with play-calling suggestions and submitted them to my superiors. I can't make any promises, but I agree—Ohio State needs more good plays to top Michigan. (Can a brother get a few Noah Brown targets in his life?)
And folks, if you thought points were tough to come by in East Lansing, we could be in for another B1G banger in Columbus. The Game will feature the top four coverage cornerbacks in the country, per PFF:
|NAME||TEAM||SNAPS||TA||REC||% CT||YDS||AVG||YAC||LG||TD||IN||PD||NFL RATING|
If the coaches decide to use it, Ohio State's rushing attack could be the deciding factor. We all love to know the deep balls, but it'd be equally entertaining to watch Curtis Samuel and Mike Weber bash the Wolverines into submission.
LIVE BY THE SWORD. Like Brady Hoke before him, legendary Michigan State coach Mike D'antoni attempted the the ol' go-ahead two-point conversion against Ohio State. And also like Hoke's attempt, it ended with an Ohio State player clutching the ball in the end zone.
I always respect the call to go for two, but D'ino chased the points too early. (The decision to squib the ensuing kickoff wasn't wise, either.)
He would have made another choice if he knew the depth of Greg Schiano's preparation.
“Teams have a personality on two-point plays, and you try to gather as many [on film] as you can,” Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “They were a dropback team with their two-point plays, and they did that. You just don’t know what route combination they’re going to run, right?
“Those specialty situations, unless something really drastic has occurred during the game, those decisions were made in the meeting room on Wednesday morning or Tuesday night when we game planned the situation. It’s an immediate call. Everybody on our defense knows what it’s going to be, and we run it. That’s the stuff that you prepare for. That’s what game planning is all about.”
“I mean, it’s hard not to be biting your fingernails at a moment like that,” defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “But we have a really good red zone defense, and we have faith in each other to do our jobs, and we got the job done. I think the defense really stepped up in all phases.
I never thought the local team would lose, but my hackles stood at attention when Michigan State kept its offense on the field. One of these days a team is going to hit that go-ahead hustle.
Thankfully it didn't happen on Saturday because I don't think the offense would've scored on the rebuttal possession.
GOOD CONFERENCE, BAD MUSIC. Coaching a Division 1 football team is a time-consuming job that doesn't allow for the pursuit of other hobbies or interests.
Take Urban Meyer. The man was put on Earth to win college football games. Outside of football, however, he's as awkward as any other suburban dad.
According to the music choices of American college football coaches polled by ESPN, that hardly makes Meyer an outlier.
Top vote-getters: Kenny Chesney, Eagles, George Strait (five votes); Garth Brooks (four votes); AC/DC, Toby Keith, Dave Matthews Band, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, The Temptations, Led Zeppelin (three votes).
|COACH||SCHOOL||FAVORITE MUSIC ACT|
|LOVIE SMITH||ILLINOIS||GEORGE CLINTON|
|KEVIN WILSON||INDIANA||BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND|
|KIRK FERENTZ||IOWA||PAT GREEN|
|D.J. DURKIN||MARYLAND||RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS|
|JIM HARBAUGH||MICHIGAN||BOB MARLEY|
|MIKE D'ANTONI||MICHIGAN STATE||BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN|
|TRACY CLAEYS||MINNESOTA||DECLINED TO ANSWER|
|MIKE RILEY||NEBRASKA||GARY P. NUNN|
|PAT FITZGERALD||NORTHWESTERN||KENNY CHESNEY|
|URBAN MEYER||OHIO STATE||SISTER HAZEL|
|JAMES FRANKLIN||PENN STATE||JAY Z|
|GERAD PARKER||PURDUE||GARTH BROOKS|
|CHRS ASH||RUTGERS||FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE|
|PAUL CHRYST||WISCONSIN||PHIL VASSAR|
Honestly surprised every B1G coach didn't list Bruce Springsteen.
Tracy Claeys refusing to answer the question is the apotheosis of Minnesota football. He's probably one of those creeps who "doesn't do music."
How's Purdue's season going? Its interim coach is a big Garth Brooks fan named Gerad.
Jim Harbaugh wants all the cool 'croots out there to know he smoked a lot of dope back in his day.
Most of these other choices I don't know. I think I'd rather listen to cats fight over dumpster scraps than be subjected to a song by something called "Florida Georgia Line."
MORE ELFLEIN TALK. Pat Elflein opened up two weeks ago about his work with Tyler's Light in Pickerington. He spoke to a Pickerington North assembly as part of his fight against the opiate epidemic currently gripping America.
It's a personal battle after his older brother, Matt, fell into a hole that's claimed more athletes than you would think.
"That's when the whirlwind started," Matt said. "I was introduced to pain pills. I was in my dorm, living on my own and didn't really have anyone to hold me accountable. Don't get me wrong, I was an adrenaline seeker. I loved the adrenaline rush, an opium rush, any of that. Anything that made me feel good, I liked."
"Well, you know, everyone's rock bottom is different," Matt said. "Rock bottom is when you quit digging. For me, it was bouncing between those two jobs and sleeping in my car. Sleeping at the drug house, sleeping on the floor there -- it was bad. I mean, I couldn't go home. They heated the house with a stove. There were mice and everything. It was terrible, dirty, [like the kind of] place you see on TV you would never think you would be."
"There I was. I was f------ there. Sleeping on the floor, scraping change to get a dollar to get a cheeseburger. And I lost my family. They didn't want anything to do with me, they still cared, but it was from a distance."
I read Dreamland last week, which I recommend, and not just because it features the City of Kings.
Anyway, it detailed how Akron's football team, fresh off building a new stadium, basically passed around jars of Oxycontin and Percocet to injured players. Akron QB Chris Jacquemain got hooked. Two years later, after theft charges led to his dismissal from the team, he overdosed on heroin.
It's wild it took the medical industry years to put together that hey, maybe those magic painkilling pills they passed out like free candy were actually addictive like all other opioids.
HARDING 2020. Folks, I don't ask for much. But y'all are richer than me, and the City of Kings needs a slice of your wealth to restore one of America's greatest treasures.
The Ohio History Connection and Marion Technical College are working together to transform the Warren G. Harding Home Presidential Site. This collaborative effort, called Harding 2020, includes the complete restoration of the Harding Home, as well as the establishment of the Harding Presidential Center, which will serve as a visitor center, museum, archives and multi-purpose event facility.
The Harding Home will be restored to the 1920 era of Harding’s successful “front porch” campaign, which brought national attention to Marion and solidified his presidential victory. At that time, droves of people came to Marion to hear then-Senator Warren G. Harding speak. Countless Americans watched newsreel footage of the crowds from the comfort of their local movie theaters. Now, a century later, the excitement will return to the place where that famous campaign unfolded.
My friend, who is cool and good, is personally involved in the campaign. If you can help her out, head to the Harding 2020 donation site. If you can't help, please never read my columns again.
P.S. #BeatMichigan today, tomorrow, and forever.
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