Sunday, October 30, 2005

Murphy's Law... Fantasy version

11:45 am: I check my fantasy football team and see that Antonio Gates is listed as questionable. I pull him out of my lineup as a precaution. After all, he hasn't done much for a couple weeks and my backup (some pile from the Titans) has been okay.

7:45 pm: 10 catches, 145 yards, 3 TD. Hint: This was not the final stat line from the POS I started.

Also my fantasy hockey team, which completely dominated the first three weeks (a breakdown record of 30-3-0), totally fell apart this week, finishing DFL in the entire league. It was like a nasty flu bug swept through my make-believe locker room. It wasn't a case of starting the wrong people. Every single starter and backup dropped off significantly this week.

What. The. Fuck.

6-2... still more to do...

The Buckeyes win a share of the Big Ten title if...

1) OSU beats Michigan State
2) OSU beats Indiana
3) OSU beats Minnesota
4) OSU beats Illinois
5) OSU beats Northwestern
6) OSU beats Michigan

The Buckeyes earn the automatic BCS berth with 1-6 plus...
7) Penn State loses to Michigan
8) Penn State loses to Wisconsin OR MSU
9) Wisconsin loses to PSU OR Iowa

The Buckeyes win the Big Ten outright with 1-9 plus...
10) Iowa loses to Michigan OR N'western OR Wisconsin OR Minnesota

Jean shorts for all!

The highlight of the ugly shitfest that was the Cocktail Party had to be this sign.

That's a little behind the one of the LPGA player kissing her rather phallic trophy on the list of "how did someone publish that" pictures.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A potpourri of miscellany...

The highlight of Game 2 of the World Series had to be the conversation between Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the bottom of the ninth inning.

In case you're like most Americans, and are avoiding this series like the plague, Buck was asking McCarver if he agreed with the thought that the Astros should have thrown their closer Brad Lidge into Game 6 of the NLCS to "get the taste of the Pujols homer out of his mouth."

McCarver responded, "I don't think there is a taste." As he was saying that, Lidge was in the process of delivering a pitch that Scott Podsednik deposited over the right field fence for a walk-off home run.

Is it too late to legally change Lidge's first name to Byun-Hyung?

*************

I'm still not done seething about the idiocy of the coverage of the OSU-Indiana game on Saturday. It was on ESPN across the nation, but because of contractual issues, it was blacked out in Big Ten country. That left us with the magic of Wayne Larivee and the steaming pile of a crew that calls ESPN-Plus home. It was easily the worst telecast I've seen in years.

They threw back to the studio for an update, we heard Mike Gleason describing the action of Georgia and Arkansas, but no highlights. The "up" camera looked like someone smeared Vaseline on the lens, the same way highlights look when TV stations "stretch" the video to get rid of a crawl. Larivee was terrible (missing spots, stupid comments, talking about "getting good leverage" every time someone kicked the ball), the color guy (Kelly Stouffer) was bad and uninsightful, and they both spent most of the day calling guys by the wrong name, giving wrong spots, and doing everything they could to make it unenjoyable.

Do everyone a favor and just tell ESPN-Plus to go fuck itself next time they don't have a game to show, rather than pissing everyone off by putting a game in the hands of a D-minus team.

*********

I fucking hate work. I wish I had three months worth of sick days left. I can't stress this strongly enough.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

There's still work to do

The Buckeyes win a share of the Big Ten title if...

1) OSU beats Michigan State
2) OSU beats Indiana
3) OSU beats Minnesota
4) OSU beats Illinois
5) OSU beats Northwestern
6) OSU beats Michigan

The Buckeyes earn the automatic BCS berth with 1-6 plus...
7) Penn State loses to Michigan
8) Penn State loses to Purdue OR Wisconsin OR MSU
9) Wisconsin loses to Illinois OR PSU OR Iowa

The Buckeyes win the Big Ten outright with 1-9 plus...
10) Iowa loses to Michigan OR N'western OR Wisconsin OR Minnesota

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The High Holy Day

Early second quarter

It's another glorious football Saturday, and I'm clearly turning into a Penn State fan. [Sarcasm, but not as much as you might think] There's clearly a conspiracy against my team today. [/Sarcasm, but not as much as you might think]

Here's a synopsis of the first quarter-plus of the OSU game.

1) OSU has good field position on their first drive, but the offense gets called for a clip, turning it into a 1st-and-25, and the drive stalls. Crucial penalty call #1.

2) Indiana's returner muffs the punt, OSU recovers and scores three plays later.

3) OSU has good field position on their third drive, but the offense gets called fora clip, turning it into a 2st-and-23, and the drive stalls. Crucial penalty call #2.

4) Indiana gets the ball in good field position thanks to an interception, but OSU stops them on fourth down. IU gets another chance thanks to a roughing the passer call (not shown on replay). Crucial penalty call #3. They kick a field goal.

5) Ted Ginn returns the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but it's called back for a personal foul "hitting a defenseless player away from the ball." WTF? They're Indiana! They're all defenseless! Crucial penalty call #4.

To be fair, the replay guy blew an easy one, overturning an Indiana reception despite clear evidence that the guy caught it, so IU has gotten screwed once, too. However, that turned a 3rd-and-2 into a 3rd-and-7 and it was deep in their own end. Not exactly the same as taking a touchdown off the board.

I've been watching a little of the Iowa-Michigan game (I'll watch it for real later), but so far it looks like Michigan is struggling to run it with Hart gimpy, they're moving it thanks in large part to penalties on Iowa, and Albert Young is slicing through the Wolverines like a hot knife through a crappy defense. But like I said, I've only seen bits and pieces, so I might be way off base.

Early third quarter
I guess I have to take back the basis of my first half post, which was the anti-OSU conspiracy between the officials, the conference office and black helicopters of the government.

It turns out the officials are just incompetent, not crooked.

Indiana recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half, but an official inexplicably blew his whistle in the middle of the play, giving the ball back to OSU. Later on that drive, a holding call brought back a 33-yard run by Antonio Pittman, and Ted Ginn's forward progress was clearly stopped for over a second before an IU defender stripped him, but the officials let the play go on, and IU returned it for a touchdown.

This is quickly turning into a three-way race between the officials, the ESPN-Plus TV crew (easily the worst non-local college football broadcast I've seen in years), and the Buckeyes' offensive playcalling (run it into the line on third-and-goal from the eight, then run it into the line on 3rd-and-15 from about the 32. Settle for two field goal tries--one of which was missed-- instead of exploiting the mismatches on the outside. Awesome!) to see which can ruin this game the fastest. The officials and TV crew are neck-in-neck right now.

It's great to see those resilient Spartans at their best today. It might be a horse race between MSU and UM to see who gets the Sun Bowl/Music City Bowl bid for the Big Ten.

End of games

It looks like Ted Ginn and Steve Breaston might both be finally joining us this fall. From the little bit of the Michigan game I saw, Breaston looked like he's starting to become a part of the offense. Ginn had a punt return for a touchdown, plus a kick return for a touchdown that got called back on a ridiculous penalty that had absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the play. Yes, it's just Indiana, and yes, Iowa's defense is a little thin right now, but if one or both of those guys can turn into retro-versions of themselves, it should really help.

Both teams have dicey road games next weekend. The Buckeyes should be able to win against Minnesota because that offense is somewhat one-dimensional and the defense isn't great. Of course, given this team's proclivity for turning the ball over and pissing away chances to score, you never know.

I'm really, really glad the Buckeyes have Northwestern at home this year. They're probably not nearly as good as they looked today (I didn't see much, but can only assume that it had at least something to do with the Spartans being the Spartans), but with Michigan's somewhat shaky defense, that is a dangerous game, especially at night on the road.

Getting Long back in the lineup should make a huge difference for Michigan. It's not going to fix all of the problems on that line, but even at 80% (or whatever he is because of rust/injury), he's going to be a huge step up from the dynamic duo of Riley and Kolodziej.

This makes two weeks in a row that Carr has had that shit-eating grin on his face after a game. He really makes it easy to hate that whole program. I'm not going to be a happy camper if we see that on November 19.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Death, taxes and...

Anyone want to bet that a certain ESPN.com columnist writes a column about this piece of news?

[Simmons]Vegas has taken "Sports Guy writes about Dale Sveum leaving Boston" off the board. My buddy Hench says it's more inevitable than the ending of Karate Kid 2. [/Simmons]

Monday, October 17, 2005

Splitting Harris

I'm assuming that this means some of the geniuses with Harris Poll ballots are now voting in the hockey poll as well.

Minnesota loses one and ties one at home against Alaska-Fairbanks, and still garners a first-place vote? After such an (apparently) impressive weekend, UAF gets a first place vote, but so many other people leave them off their ballots that they're only 19th? WTF?

Still, you've got to love two CCHA teams in the top 3, three in the top 10, five in the top 20, and six in the top 21.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rule 9, Section 3, Article 2b

Colorado and their fifth down and Nebraska and their kicked pass may have some company.

On Leinert's touchdown on the last play of the game, Reggie Bush clearly pushes Leinert into the end zone.

From the NCAA Rule Book (page 116)
SECTION 3. Blocking, Use of Hands or Arms
Who May Block

ARTICLE 1. Players of either team may block opponents, provided it is not forward-pass interference, interference with the opportunity to catch a kick or a personal foul (Exception: Rule 6-1-2-h).

Interfering for or Helping the Runner or Passer
ARTICLE 2.
a. The runner or passer may use his hand or arm to ward off or push opponents.

b. The runner shall not grasp a teammate; and no other player of his team shall grasp, push, lift or charge into him to assist him in forward progress.


Now, we've all seen it happen in goal line situations before, but it's usually more of a scrum, rather than one guy just outright pushing the other into the end zone. Does this cheapen the win? I don't know. But it'll be really interesting to hear whether the talking heads chalk USC's "winning streak"* to OMGSoGood! or getting the benefit of a questionable call on such a key play.

(References to the 2003 Fiesta Bowl will be viewed sternly, as there actually was pass interference on that play, and Miami got a little help to even get that far.)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

To-do list

The Buckeyes win a share of the Big Ten title if...

1) OSU beats Michigan State
2) OSU beats Indiana
3) OSU beats Minnesota
4) OSU beats Illinois
5) OSU beats Northwestern
6) OSU beats Michigan

The Buckeyes earn the automatic BCS berth with 1-6 plus...
7) Penn State loses to Michigan
8) Penn State loses to Illinois OR Purdue OR Wisconsin OR MSU
9) Wisconsin loses to Purdue OR Illinois OR PSU OR Iowa

The Buckeyes win the Big Ten outright with 1-9 plus...
10) Iowa loses to Michigan OR N'western OR Wisconsin OR Minnesota

In-game thoughts...

At halftime

1) I can't imagine OSU playing worse than they did in the first half. They basically handed MSU seven points on the fumbled kickoff return that gave them the ball first-and-goal, then the stupid late hit by Bobby Carpenter that negated a third down stop and gave them another three cracks from inside the five. Add on the other Holmes fumble on a kickoff, the Ginn fumble on the punt, the Pittman fumble... they're minus-3 in turnovers in the first 30 minutes, and could easily be minus-4.

2) Obviously, MSU could not have screwed up that field goal at the end of the half any worse than they did. Spike the ball on third down and give your guys time to get on the field. Duh. I loved how Musberger just got done talking about how John L. Smith has the whole new perspective, then two minutes later he's blowing up like Vesuvius over a blocked field goal.

3) Ted Ginn needs to just find a seat on the bench for the rest of the game. He's not contributing anything right now. Give him some time to think, then bring him back next week. get the ball thrown to him on the first possession of the second half. He's OMGfast and will score a touchdown.

4) If OSU falls behind again and Troy Smith keeps short-hopping his receivers and misreading defenses, I would love to see Zwick get some meaningful snaps today. I don't think it's going to happen.

5) Losing Tyler Everett is bad, but it makes me really nervous to see Ashton Youboty dinged as well. This is not the team you want to be facing without your good DBs in there.

After three quarters
1) I'm starting to think that this defense needs to force a turnover to win this. They just can't seem to get off the field against that spread offense. That would also give the OSU offense a short field to work with, which certainly won't hurt.

2) If I see Troy Smith tuck it and run only to come up 7 yards short on a third-and-12, I think I'm going to murder someone. Just throw the ball downfield. The worst-case scenario is it gets intercepted, and they probably end up with the ball about the same place they're going to get it after a punt anyway.

3) Drew Stanton is g-o-o-d. He's throwing it a lot better than I expected-- I thought they'd be able to pass it against this defense, but he's been superb. That's starting to open up the running game a little bit, and I'm very, very concerned about the fact that the defense has already been out on the field more than they are in most games. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised to see them wear down and give up a late touchdown.

End of game
1) That's the second year in a row where MSU has looked like they had the Buckeyes on the ropes and gave up a couple late scores.

2) The game stats (MSU with 28 first downs to OSU's 14, the time of possession which ended up something like 39-21, the turnovers which ended up 4-0 MSU) all point to a blowout loss, but the shitty MSU secondary managed to make up for all of it. To call their tackling piss-poor would be an understatement.

3) Everyone's going to be totally amped up about how OSU put 35 on the board, but they really scored 14 legitimately, plus the two missed tackle touchdowns, plus the blocked field goal touchdown. And one of those "legitimate" touchdowns came on a drive of about 20 yards. The offense still has quite a way to go, but it was nice to see them at least taking some shots downfield.

4) I forgot to add after the third quarter that on third-and-long, Troy Smith also has this annoying tendency to throw it to a guy who's tightly covered 10 yards behind the sticks. That's not ever going to do the job unless the defense misses about four tackles.

5) A screen pass? I thought ABC's feed accidentally switched to another game. Amazing how those work when you run them occasionally.

6) I'll take it all. Now, the Bucks just need five more wins, one Wisconsin loss (fucking Gophers), and two Penn State losses to go to the BCS, and one more Iowa loss would make it an outright conference title.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Call me "Scoop"

Not to go all NAACP on you, but does anyone else detect a little bit of a double standard in Rick Reilly's reporting?

A couple years ago, he wrote this article about Bill Romanowski. It's beyond positive, about how hard he works to keep himself in tip-top shape. He's not an asshole. He's just misunderstood.

Of course Romanowski who now admits that yes, he used steroids from BALCO.

The mere suspicion of Barry Bonds' steroid use has kept Reilly busy for years. He hates Bonds here, here, here, here... you get the idea.

Of course Bonds is/was on steroids. Just like of course Romanowski was on steroids. And Sammy Sosa. And Ken Caminiti. And Jose Canseco. And Mark McGwire. They're all lying, cheating pieces of shit.

But Reilly has singled out Bonds repeatedly, and Sosa most famously (the "get tested right now" article), but I don't remember a similar treatment for the other guys. Maybe it's just a coincidence that the two guys he singled out most notably are both black, while all the other guys I named are not.

I can't wait for Reilly to prove that it was just a coincidence when he writes a follow-up column, ripping Romanowski as a disgusting, dirty, cheating piece of shit.

The wayback machine

Once every month or so, I'll get an e-mail from someone asking "why don't you update your site any more?"

They're not talking about this site of course. Even when I go weeks at a time without posting anything, I don't think anyone notices or cares. They're talking about this site about the OSU-Michigan rivalry.

I put it together when I was in school-- dedicated a little too much time to it, then lost the password and forgot which made-up e-mail address I used to put it together, so I couldn't get it back. So there it sits, a testament to my disgracefully bad late-90s web skillz (Spelled with a z! Get it!) as well as how much free time I used to have.

I got another one of those e-mails last night and started thinking about actually doing something about it (buying a relevent domain name rather than geocities.com/something/number, actually putting together some kind of decent photoshopped banner instead of text, putting together a somewhat interesting format, updating it to include all the game recaps from the past, etc.).

I'll probably need to learn some actual html (beyond underlining, bold, italics, posting pictures and links) to do it.

It could happen at some point...

If anyone wants to throw together some kickass banner with pictures and stuff (although without school logos, which they get all finicky about these days), I'm all about it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Back to business.

I've been neglecting you, dear reader, all week long.

It comes from a combination of me not wanting to think about the Buckeyes for a couple days, as well as me being busy with all the other stuff (two-plus jobs, family stuff, etc.) that keeps me too busy for my own good.

Brandon asked in a comment field below what I thought about the status of the Michigan program right now, vis a vis (I used to know how to spell that-- now, I'm not sure that's right) Lloyd Carr's job status.

Basically, outside of the occasional disaster (you had a couple in the mid-90s), and the occasional spectacular season (1997), Lloyd has been good for winning about nine games pretty much every year. He and his staff are good recruiters and have enough talent on campus that they don't need to do anything too crazy to win nine games and play in a New Year's Day bowl game pretty reliably. (They'll lose that game pretty reliably, too... but that's another story.)

OSU, by comparison, has had a few more peaks and valleys in its recent history. Michigan hasn't had a year like the 1999 Buckeyes (6-6) in more than two decades (although this year isn't over yet), but they haven't put up a one-loss season in quite a while-- I could dig up a media guide when I get home, but I don't remember one since at least the early 90's, and that's only if you count the 9-0-3 thrill ride that passed for a 1992 season. Since that year, the Buckeyes finished with one loss in 1993 (plus a tie), in 1996, in 1998, and a perfect season in 2002.

Lloyd's teams seem pretty consistently "good", but almost never "great."

I think it's very, very unlikely that Michigan will change that pattern unless they go outside the program (and I'm including "Michigan Men" as part of the program). Everything is very ingrained in that program, from the kinds of kids they recruit, the kinds of plays they call, etc. Yes, things change (4 wides!), but they do so on a glacial scale-- witness the still non-existant use of the shotgun formation. That's a result of the almost cult-like loyalty that's displayed to those in the program, which tends to keep everyone on the same page, but which can sometimes look like an almost xenophobic view of outsiders.

There are times (during weak moments during seasons like 1999, 2001, 2004) when I think I would rather have a Michigan-like consistency. But Earle Bruce did that at OSU, and look where it got him.

This year's Michigan team was not nearly as good as their preseason rank would have indicated. That created some unreasonable expectations, which isn't really fair-- this was a 9-2 team from the get-go (the defense is not good... at all), and would have needed to catch some serious breaks to finish the regular season 11-0. Unfortunately, the breaks have been almost exclusively bad. I can't remember a year when a team got violated by the injury bug as severely as this year's Michigan team has been. To get back to where they were, they need to get a little more speed on defense and do a better job of developing their offensive linemen, and they'll be fine.

I guess the answer to the "should Michigan fire Lloyd" question is, "it's irrelevent because it will never happen."

If I was in the position, I would have a hard time canning him right now. You're coming off back-to-back Rose Bowls, and at least a share of five Big Ten titles in eight years. No matter how this year ends, Lloyd should get another season if he wants it (and I can't imagine him leaving off of this debacle). If you're looking at another 4 or 5-loss season in 2006, then you can talk about applying pressure to get him to retire.

Michigan and Ohio State didn't get to where they are by canning coaches after one crappy season.

(Dear Holy God, this was a rambling diatribe. Sorry it's all over the map.)

Scandal ahoy!

Turns out that Fred Smoot supposedly paid for the boats used in last week's Minnesota "Sweet! We're 1-3!" Bangboat Extravaganza.

This of course, is the same guy who ripped off an old line about Garry Maddox, saying "64% of the earth is covered by water and the rest is covered by Smoot."

Makes you wonder what Smoot is covering the water with.

My favorite line in the initial article comes courtesy of Mewelde Moore, who admits he was there, but offers the defense, "That's crazy. Sex? Come on."

Football players? Slutty women? Like oil and water.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Poop.

I don't have any idea what this post is going to say. I've just spent the last 40 minutes or so wandering aimlessly around my house, zoning out and grumbling incoherantly like some sort of mental patient. This will likely have no real shape, format (or likely coherance). Consider yourself forewarned.

Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck.

I think the worst part of this was that I could see it coming from a mile away. Before the season (when PSU was still picked in the middle of the Big Ten pack), I pointed to this game as one of the ones that scared me most of all. Then all day today I found myself thinking "this is setting up so well for OSU!" Wisconsin and Michigan lost, meaning that even if OSU and Michigan both ran the table going into their game, OSU would be guaranteed no worse than a share of the Big Ten title. A crapload of other teams OSU needed to lose also lost (see post below for details). When stuff sets up like that, it often falls apart. I went into the game thinking "it's going to be close, but as long as they don't turn it over and hand PSU points, they should be okay. And they did. Fuck fuck fuck.

How the hell does Penn State's right tackle not get called for holding once all game? He got beat around the corner on virtually every pass play and basically tackled Kudla. Not one fucking call. I don't mean to go all Lloyd Carr on you, but when the officials bring back a 19-yard Troy Smith run on a holding call, it's obvious they know what it looks like. Robinson's big scramble to set up their first score was particularly flagrant.

Troy Smith holds the ball too long. I didn't have a stopwatch, but I would guess that on the majority of his sacks, he was in the pocket for 6-8 seconds. If no one gets open, either tuck and run or throw it away.

I'm starting to wonder if Ted Ginn should really be playing on every down on offense, especially at receiver. He doesn't block downfield particularly well, has not been running good routes a lot of times, and the coaches have not found a great way to get him the ball consistently (outside of the one toss-sweep tonight which went for five yards and then was promptly shelved for the rest of the evening). Frankly, he didn't look particularly explosive on the kick returns, either. His career is following Breaston's track pretty closely.

I should have taken notes during the game, but was too busy trying not to get physically sick. I'm sure there was other stuff. I just can't remember what it was.

A completely meaningless post...

These lists now mean nothing, since the Buckeyes can't make it to the Rose Bowl without winning out and getting help in about 87 games. I'll change this to a "what needs to happen to win the Big Ten" in a couple days.

Unbeaten BCS Conference Teams OSU doesn't play (8)
Florida State (Won)
Virginia Tech (Won)
Nebraska
Texas (Won)
Texas Tech (Won)
Wisconsin
California
UCLA (Won)
Southern Cal (Won)
Georgia (Won)
Alabama (Idle)

Unbeaten BCS Conference Teams OSU plays (1)
Penn State (Won)

Unbeaten Non-BCS Conference Teams (None)

Once-beaten BCS Conference Teams OSU plays(3)
Minnesota (Won)
Indiana (Won)
Michigan State (Idle)

Other Once-beaten BCS Conference Teams (15)
Georgia Tech
Miami (Won)
Boston College (Won)
Virginia
Colorado (Won)
Kansas
Kansas State (Won)
Iowa State
Oklahoma State
Texas A&M
Baylor (Won)
West Virginia (Won)
Rutgers
Connecticut (Won)
Louisville (Won)
Notre Dame (Idle)
Oregon (Won)
Washington State
Vanderbilt
Florida (Won)
Tennessee
Auburn (Idle)
LSU (Won)
Wisconsin (new addition to this list)
Nebraska (new addition to this list)
Cal (new addition to this list)

It's only fair to give some props to Kirk Herbstreit, who not only picked Northwestern over Wisconsin, but also named Tyrell Sutton his "Old Person Car game changing performer of the day."

Sutton done blow'd up for 244 yards rushing and three touchdowns, plus a receiving score.

Anchors aweigh...

Navy beats Air Force again. (Ooh! Pretty pikshures!) Now an Army win against the Falcons or a Navy win over Army will give the Middies the CIC trophy for the third straight year.

As our first Commander-In-Chief, George Washington was known to say, "Bitchin' sweet!"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

See ya in '06, bitches!

OSU announced that it will host Bowling Green this time next year at the Horseshoe in the new 12th game on the schedule.

This might end up being the best chance BG ever gets to beat the Buckeyes, since OSU will be replacing almost everyone on defense and about half of their offense. Plus, the cooler temperatures should negate whatever depth advantage OSU would have enjoyed if they played the game in early September.

If Omar Jacobs comes back for his senior season (I'm assuming that he will), it could get a little scary.

Does this mean Tony and I can't be friends any more?

Game. Blouses.

I think I found my halloween costume.

Ditch the guitar and add in a basketball, and it's one of the greatest of all time. All for 25 bucks.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The grass is greener if you don't suck...

In a word: Hilarious.



You can read the full story here, although I suspect you can probably fill in most of the blanks without bothering to read it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Pots, kettles and common sense...

I repeatedly promise myself that I won't get sucked into idiotic on-line arguments, but time after time I fall face-first into one.

This time it's over a post made by Brian over at MGoBlog.

He opines that Chad Henne's resurgence was due entirely to the repair of a mechanical issue in his throwing motion, and dismisses any link to Michael Hart's reappearance as "total fantasy."

This, of course, is stupid.

Yes, it probably had something to do with the change to Henne's throwing motion. I will willingly admit that. Why was it not in the initial article? Because I didn't know about it.

Here's how I write that column every week: I watch the game, taking notes and Tivoing plays when necessary (big runs to see the blocking, sacks to find the breakdown in protection, etc.). Then, immediately after the game (or after the conclusion of whatever interesting games follow the Michigan game), I sit down and write it. The idea being that I don't want others' opinions to impact the piece. I wait to submit it until Sunday, when I can read through the entire Freep sports section and maybe an AP article to see if I missed something particularly noteworthy and get specifics on injuries, etc. Then I send it in. The Freep didn't mention the Henne thing, at least as far as I saw, so therefore I didn't know about it.

Back to the original point, which was Brian's assertion that any link from Henne's improvement to Hart's reemergence is "total fantasy."

I would suggest (call me crazy) that having a strong and dangerous running game that you are clearly willing to rely upon in almost any situation forces the defense to respect that running game a lot more than if you clearly have a "I don't trust these guys to not fumble, god, why do they suck so much" thought bubble over your coaches' head. (Review Wisconsin game tape when Grady/Martin are carrying the ball for examples.)

I would suggest that when the opponent recognizes this willingness to run it, and the abilities of your runner that it forces the opponent to deploy extra resources to prevent you from running it on every play (playing eight or nine guys in the box, which MSU did quite a bit).

I would suggest that this, therefore, opens up the passing game quite a bit, as it leaves your opponent vulnerable to deep passes (as there is often not a safety back there) and especially to play-action.

I would suggest that this, in turn, would lead to receivers getting open, facing less double coverage (and likely less tight coverage since there's no safety help deep), and therefore making it easier to complete passes.

Of course, this chain of supposed-logic is "total fantasy." Because it was just Henne's mechanical issue.

It also had nothing to do with things like MSU's defensive backfield being a steaming pile of crap or the fact that the guy playing opposite Avant can suddenly catch the ball, since it's no longer an injured guy named Steve Breaston.

While I'm being an asshole, let me also ask Pete Holiday (see comments section of same post) if bloggers (and commenters on the same blogs) really had a clue what's really going on, wouldn't they be able to find someone to pay them for what they're doing rather than just doing it as a hobby?

Of course, this is the standard MSM response to blogs, and the mere suggestion drives bloggers to fits of dog-kicking rage. But it's apparently cool to do it the other way.

Frankly, either way, it's a gross oversimplification that really boils down to (wait for it...) douchebaggery on the writer/speaker's part.

In this case, Pete likely has not ever worked as a sportswriter, and therefore doesn't necessarily know that at many schools, as many as seven or eight players can be conducting interviews at the same time, so unless you have seven or eight people from your organization in the interview room (and no one does), you're going to miss things. Maybe the Freep and other media outlets weren't there when Henne explained it. Maybe Henne didn't repeat it when asked a second time. There are a number of possible explanations that go beyond "OMG MSM so lazy!!1111!!! Blogz rule!!11!"

I enjoy Brian's blog (and others) quite a bit, and am constantly trying to find subtle ways to rip off their best material without getting caught.

This is not a dig on blogs. This is a dig on people who don't know what the fuck they're talking about.

(Angry "you're mean! You hate blogs!" responses in 3... 2...)

P.S. Wouldn't Douchebaggerie be an awesome name for an upscale boutique-style version of The Jerk Store?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

War of attrition

Plenty has changed in the weeks since I made this post detailing the teams that needed to lose to get the Buckeyes into the Rose Bowl.

Unbeaten BCS Conference Teams OSU doesn't play (11)
Florida State
Virginia Tech
Nebraska
Texas
Texas Tech
Wisconsin
California
UCLA
Southern Cal
Georgia
Alabama

Unbeaten BCS Conference Teams OSU plays (1)
Penn State

Unbeaten Non-BCS Conference Teams (None)

Once-beaten BCS Conference Teams OSU plays(3)
Minnesota
Indiana
Michigan State

Other Once-beaten BCS Conference Teams (23)
Georgia Tech
Miami
Boston College
Virginia
Colorado
Kansas
Kansas State
Iowa State
Oklahoma State
Texas A&M
Baylor
West Virginia
Rutgers
Connecticut
Louisville
Notre Dame
Oregon
Washington State
Vanderbilt
Florida
Tennessee
Auburn
LSU

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