Archive for August, 2008

2008 Ohio State Football – Is this the year?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

After losing two consecutive times in the national championship game – a 41-14 meltdown two seasons ago to Florida and a 38-24 whipping last season to LSU  – the Buckeyes are poised to go back to the National Championship Game in Miami this season.

In fact, cornerback Malcom Jenkins, linebackers James Laurinatis and Marcus Freeman decided to return to school and try for a national championship – instead of playing in the NFL. The team returns 18 starters – 9 on offense and 9 on defense. Since the Buckeyes return most of their starters, the expectations are high this season. Ohio State has been selected by the media as the Big 10 preseason favorite and will be aiming for their fourth straight Big 10 Championship.


In Sports Illustrated, the Buckeyes are ranked #2 and in USA Today #3 with 14 first place votes.  Georgia is ranked #1 in both polls.  According to ESPN Bowl Game Projections, Georgia is predicted to play Ohio State for the National Championship Game.

Before the Buckeyes can think about playing again for a national championship, they will need to worry about the teams on their schedule.  The season kicks off on August 30th and the first two games of the schedule are both noon home games against Youngstown State and Ohio University.  The first two games should not be a problem and I expect the Buckeyes to win by at least 2 or 3 touchdowns. 



Date Opponent Location Time (ET) Results Media
  Sat, Aug 30  Youngstown State Columbus, Ohio   12:00 p.m. Alumni Band Day Big Ten Network
  Sat, Sep 06  Ohio Columbus, Ohio   12:00 p.m. Hall of Fame Day ESPN/ESPN2
  Sat, Sep 13  USC at Los Angeles, Calif.   8:00 p.m.   ABC
  Sat, Sep 20  Troy University Columbus, Ohio   12:00 p.m.   Big Ten Network
  Sat, Sep 27  Minnesota * Columbus, Ohio   TBA    
  Sat, Oct 04  Wisconsin * at Madison, Wis.   8:00 p.m.   ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
  Sat, Oct 11  Purdue * Columbus, Ohio   TBA    
  Sat, Oct 18  Michigan State * at East Lansing, Mich.   TBA    
  Sat, Oct 25  Penn State * Columbus, Ohio   8:00 p.m. Homecoming ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
  Sat, Nov 08  Northwestern * at Evanston, Ill.   TBA    
  Sat, Nov 15  Illinois * at Champaign, Ill.   TBA    
  Sat, Nov 22  Michigan * Columbus, Ohio   TBA    


The first real test and possibly the make or break of a third national championship appearance will be at Los Angeles, September 13th against #2/#3USC at 8PM. After playing at USC, they will return home to play two games – one to closeout their non-conference schedule against another patsy football team called Troy and then play their Big 10 Opener against Minnesota.  The home non-conference schedule looks like cake, but I should watch what I say becauase Youngstown State, Ohio U, or Troy could become the next Appalachain State.


After the home confernece opener against Minnesota, the Buckeyes have a night date with USA Today preseason #12Wisconsin at 8 PM on national television.  Ohio State lost to Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium back in 2003 in an ugly 17-10 primetime television game where frustrated Buckeyes LB Rob Reynolds choked the throat of Wisconsin QB Jim Sorgi. 


After Wisconsin, the Buckeyes play Purdue at home and then travel to East Lansing and take on Michigan State.  Purdue and MSU are not ranked and I don’t see OSU losing.  Penn State will get a chance at revenge when they play at the Horseshoe in a nationally televised 8PM  game.  Last season, OSU routed Penn State at Beaver Stadium in a prime time television matchup. 


After Penn State, the Buckeyes will get a rest with a bye week before traveling on November 8th to Northwestern. Following Northwestern, OSU will have a chip on their shoulder and will want revenge when they play at Champaign against the Fighting Illini before heading home to take on Michigan.   Can Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez be like Jim Tressel and upset his rival in his first year as head coach?  I doubt it.  He has not made any type of promise like Tressel and it will be a tough rebuilding season for Michigan.  Next year in Ann Arbor will be more of a realistic chance for Michigan to beat Ohio State.


I predict Ohio State will have a solid season and be either outright Big 10 Champions or share the Big 10 Championship with another team.  However, I am against the consensus of OSU playing for a third straight title game and see the Buckeyes losing against USC and against 1 other Big 10 team and end up playing in the Rose Bowl or a different BCS Bowl.



Will Ohio State be National Champions like they were in 2002?

Job Shadow Day with Veteran Sports Writer

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

On Wednesday, July 23rd, I job-shadowed Marc Katz, a 38-year veteran sportswriter for the Dayton Daily News. Marc received his degree in Journalism from Ohio University (“Harvard on the Hocking”). He has covered many sports such as Dayton Flyers basketball, Ohio State football and basketball, high school sports, among others. For the last 6 years, Marc has been a beat-writer covering the Dayton Dragons and Wright State Raiders. 


Marc picked me up at my house at 3:45 pm and drove us to the Dayton Dragons baseball game. We parked in the press lot and walked to Fifth Third Field box office where we picked up our press credentials. We entered the stadium, and headed to the Dragons clubhouse where Marc introduced me to the Dayton Dragon players and coaches. He was carrying on small talk with various players, while researching another article about the Dragons. At around 5:00 pm, we walked out to the Dragons dugout to watch the players taking batting practice. At roughly 6:00 pm, we headed up to the press box where Marc setup his Macintosh laptop computer to start formalizing his notes. Marc used the time before the start of the game to finish writing another article about the Dragons. At 6:30 pm, I took the press coupons and picked up food for the both of us from the concession stand.

Before the start of the 7:00 pm game with the Peoria Chiefs, Marc reviewed player statistics and other pertinent information about the game. Between innings, he took the time to write portions of his article. After the Dragons hit a game winning walkoff home run in the 9th inning of the 4 to 3 victory, we went down to the clubhouse to interview the player that hit the home run and the Dragons manager. We then went back up to the press box — after the stadium had cleared out and the field lights were turned off — where Marc finished the article about the game and edited the leads. While in the press box, he submitted the article over the Internet to beat the deadline. We left the press box at 10:30 pm and headed back to the parking lot.

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to observe a veteran sportswriter like Marc Katz in action. This was an interesting experience to really learn the process that a sportswriter uses to provide readers with first-hand insights.