We've got ourselves a little I-71 shootout to start the basketball season as the Buckeyes are heading down to Cincinnati to face the Bearcats at home for the first time since 1920.
I have no idea what to expect from this Ohio State team this season and have no idea how this game will go, but I do know that I'll be tuning in and it will be fun as hell however it turns out.
- Ohio State a 5.5-point underdog against Cincinnati.
- Brendon White and Shaun Wade are competing to start at safety.
- After Micah Potter's transfer, Kaleb Wesson is Ohio State's single most important player.
- Ohio State players were "pretty shocked" by news of Micah Potter's transfer from the team.
- The Buckeyes are still in it, but have ground to make up in the College Football Playoff race.
- Stock Up/Down
- Nebraska snap counts.
Word of the Day: Natiform.
WHAT TOOK SO LONG? Ohio State and Cincinnati haven't played each other in The Great State of Ohio since 1921 – nearly 100 years ago, though that will change tonight.
The schools are less than a two-hour drive from each other, but the matchup never materialized, mostly due to reluctance on the part of Ohio State. That's why Cincinnati was shocked when they received a call to set up a game.
From Bill Landis of The Athletic ($):
“I think they thought it was a joke in the beginning,” (Ohio State basketball director of operations) David Egelhoff told The Athletic. “I think they were taken aback a little bit.”
“There was never even a discussion,” said Berger, who’s been with the program for nine years and grew up in Cincinnati. “It would have been a waste of our time to call because it wasn’t going to happen. That’s how we always felt, to be honest.”
So, yeah, he was shocked when Egelhoff called.
Early on, the issue was that Ohio State held a grudge against Cincinnati because the Bearcats upset the Buckeyes in the national championship game in 1961 and 1962, denying them an elusive three-peat, and taking a repeat for themselves.
Later, it became more about perception and recruiting. Thad Matta saw playing Cincinnati as a no-win scenario, but Chris Holtmann is more than willing to give it a shot, especially if it's what people want.
When Holtmann took the Ohio State job in June 2017, he met with Smith to discuss some things Smith thought could help give the basketball program a jolt. Playing a game in the old St. John Arena was one (the Buckeyes will host Cleveland State there Nov. 23), and the other was scheduling Cincinnati.
Scheduling wasn’t at the front of Holtmann’s mind at the start. Recruiting occupied most of his headspace as he tried to turn things around, but he was interested in landing a marquee home-and-home opponent early. At a meet-the-coaching staff event two months after Holtmann was hired, a fan asked whether he planned on scheduling games against Cincinnati, Xavier and Dayton. The others in the arena started applauding before the question was through being asked.
“I think at that point I knew it was a big deal to certain people here,” Holtmann told The Athletic.
I love how Chris Holtmann genuinely listens when he hears the fanbase say, "wouldn't it be cool if..." instead of just tuning it out and going about his business.
So let's give this a shot: Wouldn't it be cool if Ohio State made the alternate gray uniforms its official home uniforms?
WAR OF (KIND) WORDS. Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio are getting amped up for Saturday's game the only way they know how – praising the other team profusely.
From Matt Wenzel of MLive.com:
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer lobbed a compliment at the opposition on Monday, saying the Spartans are "playing as good a defense as there is in the country."
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio countered during his Tuesday press conference.
"When you look at them offensively," Dantonio said, "it's a daunting task, I would say."
"If you look at productivity of their offense right now, it's a big task, it's a big challenge," Dantonio said. "So, we're getting ready for it."
So basically, this is the exact opposite of Mark Dantonio and Jim Harbaugh's petty press conference war from a few weeks ago. These dudes are just lobbing compliments back and forth like it's an encouragement circle in church.
Also, I feel like Dino is drastically overselling Ohio State's offense, particularly the past few weeks. But what do I know, I'm just a dude with a keyboard.
Regardless, you have to appreciate Dantonio trying to make my job easier by calming down a rabid and angry Buckeye fanbase.
Ohio State's Big Ten title and College Football Playoff hopes took a hit with the loss to Purdue. The lopsided defeat removed some shine for a program that faces top-level expectations each year but Dantonio provided perspective.
"Everybody is acting like, oh, poor Ohio State," he said. "They're still 8-1 and they're still ranked in the top 10."
Dino, you know damn well an 8-1 record, a No. 10 ranking and a loss to Purdue ain't going to cut it at Ohio State. They might be ridiculous and dangerous expectations, but it's our ridiculous and dangerous expectations.
THE ENEMY OF YOUR ENEMY... If Dwayne Haskins lights up Michigan State on Saturday, we might have to give an assist to a particular quarterback to the north.
Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins said he talked to Shea Patterson Tuesday about Michigan State. "I've known Shea since I was in eighth grade. We played in an All-Star game together, Elite 11. I hit him up asking about how they play defensively, and he gave me some tips."— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) November 7, 2018
This is made so much sweeter by all the Michigan fans melting in the replies about Shea Patterson not respecting the rivalry.
If this works Haskins should probably hit him up for advice before the Michigan game too. It's worth a shot.
MIKE LEACH LOVES LIVE MASCOTS. Washington State is heading to Colorado this week to take on the Buffs, and Mike Leach is hitting all of the important talking points.
Mike Leach, big fan of Colorado Buffalo mascot Ralphie and other live mascots: pic.twitter.com/EUZVap1G7e— Femi Abebefe (@SWXFemi) November 6, 2018
Mike Leach is the sort of dude I love everything about, but from a safe distance. I think he's hilarious, quirky and I sincerely appreciate that he exists, I just want him nowhere near my football team.
I literally cannot imagine Urban Meyer discussing or answering questions about live mascots, and I think it's best if things stay that way.
HIDE YOUR GRASS. Speaking of coaches I like to enjoy from afar, it looks like the Mad Hatter may be making a comeback to college football.
I don't know if this is really the right move for Kansas, but I'm not confident they can do better and know it will have me intrigued to watch Kansas football next season, and the last time I could honestly say that was 2007.
I don't think he'd ever make Kansas consistently good – nobody will – but he'd absolutely have them good enough to dump a few teams like Oklahoma or Texas from time to time, and I'm absolutely here for that.
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