Flyers Keep NCAA Hopes Alive

February 12th, 2009

After losing to arch-rival Xavier 6 consecutive times in the last 2 seasons, the Flyers added a marquee win to their resume by finally beating #14 Xavier at home Wednesday night at UD Arena 71-58

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This game was critical and one of the marquee games on their schedule.  Dayton now has two marquee wins against ranked opponents.  The Flyers defeated #14 Xavier and then #15 Marquette 89-75 at the Chicago Invitational back in November.  They have other quality wins against St Joes, Duquesne, George Mason and Miami.  I am proud of the Flyers performance against Marquette and Xavier.  They really took it to both of these top 25 teams. 

The Flyers are 22-3 with 6 games remaining on their schedule and can’t afford any bad losses.  They have two bad double-digit losses on their resume against Charlotte and UMass. The only teams that would be bad losses left on their schedule are Richmond and St Louis.  The rest of the schedule is against quality teams.  In my opinion, I think the Flyers will need to win a minimum of 27 games (including the A-10 tournament) and no more bad losses to be in good shape before Selection Sunday to get an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.  Anything short of 27 games, or another bad lost to Richmond or St Louis, the committee will overlook and past on Dayton for an at-large bid. 

I hope the Flyers can give what the city of Dayton and all the other Flyer Faithful what they deserve, a bid back to the NCAA tournament that we have been waiting for since last time in 2004.

Columbus Ultimate Disc Association

January 1st, 2009

Do you know of a sport that combines the best features from basketball, football, and soccer, and is played with a “disc”? If you’re looking to play a sport that has exciting aspects from all of these activities, then the Columbus Ultimate Disc Association (CUDA) is for you.

The CUDA is a non-profit organization that was created in 2000 to help promote the sport of Ultimate Frisbee. CUDA organizes and offers Ultimate Frisbee co-ed leagues in the spring, summer, and fall for players between the ages of 20 to 30.

Ultimate Frisbee is a sport played with two teams of 7 players on the field. The object of the game is to score points by receiving a teammate’s pass in the opponent’s end zone. The attacking team attempts to pass the frisbee across the field and tries to score in the opposing team’s end zone. A team’s possession is over when a person drops the frisbee, the frisbee is intercepted, or the thrower misses his target and the frisbee hits the ground. The team that wins the game is first determined by a set number of points before the match begins.

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The CUDA Summer League offers two types of leagues: a Recreational League and a Competitive League. Both leagues play their games at the Park of Roses (Whetstone Park) from the end of May through the beginning of August with over 300 participants. The Summer League is the peak time and most popular of the three leagues. The Summer League is a draft league where players sign up and describe their playing ability. Team captains then go through a structured process of drafting players.

“In other sports, women get marginalized,” remarks CUDA Summer League coordinator Jamie Lynch. “One of the best things about co-ed is that there is not a disadvantage having women on a team.”

Players can sign up for one or even both leagues if they opt to. Sign-ups for the two Summer Leagues are from late March through early May. If someone signs up early, it is only $15 for Monday Night Recreational League and only $30 for the Wednesday Night Competitive League. If you sign up late in May, the price is $40 for Monday Night Recreational League and $55 for Wednesday Night League. The fee to play gives you a full season worth of Ultimate Frisbee, as well as a disc and a t-shirt.

The Monday Night League is more developmental play and a relaxed league for both new and experienced Ultimate Frisbee players. The Monday Night League games start at 6 pm starting every Monday from early June to the end of July with the finals played in August.

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The 2008 Monday Night League tournament concluded earlier in August with the Bronx Cheer crowned as the champion. Bronx Cheer finished the regular season with a 3-6 record before entering the tournament where they defeated number 1 seeded Kelly (8-1 regular season record) and number 2 seeded Mac N D’s (6-3 regular season record) on their way to a championship.

The Wednesday Night League is for more competitive players that participated in college or have previously played in competitive tournaments. The league consists of 14 teams and the games are played at 6:00 pm every Wednesday in June and July. The 2008 competitive tournament ended in August with Star in Stripes winning the tournament.

Nineteen year old Andy Ball from Monroeville, Ohio, who plays on the Club team for Ohio University, came for the first time to the event because some of his Ohio University buddies told him about the event and he thought it was a good cause. “It is a laid back sport, competitive, great spirit and a great feel,” said Ball. On anything he disliked about Ultimate Frisbee, Ball remarks, “Once you start getting into higher levels, I don’t really like the self-officiating.”

The Fall League is close to starting up. The games are on Sunday’s beginning at 12:30 pm beginning September 7th through October 19th at the Park of Roses. The league is co-ed and is open to all levels of experience. CUDA expects that 6 to 8 teams will participate. The cost is only $5 to play. Unlike the Summer League, there is no tournament because of NFL Football on Sundays.

CUDA held its 10th Annual Andrew Starinchak Memorial 24 Hour Ultimate Charity Event on August 15th and 16th at Fred Beekman Park. The event is named after Andrew Starinchak, a former Ultimate Frisbee player who was hit by a car, while riding his bicycle. There were almost 300 Ultimate Frisbee players from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee that came to the event and played one big game of Ultimate Frisbee. Food and drink was provided all night, and all proceeds from the event went to the Boys & Girls Club. Jamie Lynch noted, “This is a fantastic event, unique, a lot of fun, and builds a lot of camaraderie.”

If you want to try Ultimate Frisbee in a low-pressure scenario, there are pickup games for any skill level every Sunday from 3:30 to 6:00 pm at Whetstone Park.

Columbus Kickball Leagues

December 30th, 2008

During your days in elementary school, do you remember playing a game where you kicked a ball and ran around the bases? Almost everyone has childhood memories of playing kickball in gym class, but did you ever imagine playing kickball as an organized sport?

Kickball is played with four bases – but instead of someone pitching a ball to someone at home plate – the ball is rolled and the “batter” uses his or her feet to kick the ball and run around the bases to score runs. It’s similar in many ways to baseball, but with some different rules to maximize enjoyment instead of competition.

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The Columbus Arena District Kickball league is an 18 and up co-ed summer league that begins in June and with the playoffs continues through Labor Day Weekend. The league games are played on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights at McFerson Fields between McFerson Commons, the three acre park anchored by the Union Station Arch between Nationwide Boulevard and Spring Street. The league’s age range is for young adults’ between the ages of 23 through 38. The league is about 50% competition and about 50% fun.

The league consists of 39 teams divided into 3 divisions that play on their division day of Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday night. The playoff format this year is a sweet 16 single elimination tournament. The top 5 teams from each division and the team with the best record remaining make the playoffs. The first round games of the playoffs start on Tuesday, August 26th, Wednesday August 27th, and Thursday August 28th. After the first round of the playoffs, the 8 teams that won will advance to the second round games on Tuesday, September 2nd. Two days later, on Thursday, September 4th, the final four will be played followed by a championship game as well as a consolation game. The winner of the playoffs for the Arena District League receives a trophy and plays the winner of the playoffs from the Statehouse Lawn League.

Thirty-three year old Joe Polshaw, a corporate recruiter for American Electric Power from Grandview Heights on team R-BAR, has been playing kickball for three years. He noted, “I continue to play because it is convenient and it is near social hot spots. I would only play in the downtown league.” Assistant Commissioner Steve Levert, remarks, “It is a great activity for people after work.”

People come together and organize their own teams. Many of the team names are humorous, such as “Drunk Again & Looking to Score”, “Saved by the Balls”, and “Stoned Pizza.”

Twenty-eight year old Ryan Garrison from Hilliard has been playing kickball for three years with the Saved by the Balls team. When asked if there was anything he disliked about kickball, Garrison said, “I don’t like the can’t slide rule.” The rule is that if any player intentionally slides, it will result in an out.

Over last few years, the team members on Saved by the Balls have stuck together. Before playing kickball, most of the team members knew each other during their days as students at Ohio University. The team has only lost two games in the last three years, but has never won the playoffs.

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Any team in the Arena District Kickball League can have up to a maximum of 24 players on a team. There are a total of 10 players on the field. The minimum number of players on the field is 8, and 4 of those players must be female. The kickball league games are either 7 innings or 45 minutes. Five innings is a complete game. The kickball games have a minimum of at least 1 umpire from the Arena Club staff. There is a limit of 20 runs per inning per team, except for the last inning. If a team is winning by more than 20 runs after four innings, the “Mercy Rule” applies and the game is concluded.

When a team wins, it receives 3 points in calculating the standings. If a team ties it receives 1 point, and a loss results in 0 points.

This Arena District Kickball League began in 2005 with 16 teams. The league has expanded substantially this year with 39 teams playing on three fields. Some of the games this year have been rescheduled and played as make-up games in August.

In the standings, the current first place leaders are Killer Balls of Tuesdays League, Stoned Pizza of Wednesdays League, and undefeated 8-0 R-Bar of Thursdays League.

Columbus Cricket Club

December 21st, 2008

It looks a little like a cross between baseball and field hockey, but it is one of the most popular sports in India (a nation with a population 5 times that of the United States). You probably won’t read about it in the Columbus Dispatch, but right here in central Ohio there are actually competitive teams playing cricket, such as the Columbus Cricket Club, Gahanna Cricket Club, and Ohio State University Cricket Club.

“Most people don’t know about it and not enough advertising on TV and paper,” states Bharat Jataprolu, one of the founding members of the Columbus Cricket Club. “If it gets more exposure, it will become more popular and people will pick up on the rules.”

Founded in 1998, the Columbus Cricket Club (CCC) is a competitive men’s league that begins in June and ends in September. Most of the players are aged from the mid-twenties to early thirties. The club practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 pm at Emerald Fields in Dublin, Ohio. On weekends, they travel to play other Cricket Clubs in different states and cities. The CCC has performed well thus far, winning 7 of 8 league games.

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The quickest explanation of cricket is it’s a game with two teams of 11 members each that is played on a field having two “wickets” 22 yards apart. The objective is to score the most runs by batting the ball far enough so that one is enabled to exchange wickets before the ball is recovered. Cricket games are played in two innings, but the (CCC) games typically last 5-7 hours.

A wicket is a set of stumps and bails; the pitch; or the dismissal of a batsman. A batsman is a player on the batting side, or a player whose specialty is batting. This is a more detailed explanation for the rules of Cricket.

There are people that have played Cricket, such as Hari Sundram, captain of the team, who has played Cricket since he was four. “I love Cricket and it is comparable to soccer in Latin America, asserts Bharat Jataprolu. It’s like a religion. People skip work, school, etc.”

There aren’t many American adults that play Cricket. The Cricket Club teams are comprised mainly of people from Indian and Pakistani heritage.

“Most American adults are reluctant to pick it up because they didn’t grow up with it,” states Jataprolu.

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When asked why they continue to play cricket, instead of picking up baseball, Suhas Londhe, president of the Columbus Cricket Club answered, “Most of us are from India and grew up with Cricket. We are really passionate about Cricket and didn’t grow up with baseball.”

On the other hand, Bharat Jataprolu and several others have tried playing softball. “I tried playing softball and wasn’t good at it, exclaims Bharat. I didn’t grow up with baseball.”

                       

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A cricket bat, front and back.                                           A typical cricket field

        

Columbus Tour de Cure Cycling Event

December 18th, 2008

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In June this past summer, the Tour de Cure cycling event took place in Columbus, Ohio. The start and finish line for the Columbus event was at Westerville Central High School. The Tour de Cure is a series of fundraising bicycle rides in 40 states for individual riders and teams to help benefit the American Diabetic Association. The tour in Columbus featured over 43 teams, sponsors, and different riders to help raise funds for finding a cure for diabetes.

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Registration for the Tour de Cure

In only his first year, Jarrod Weiss, the Tour de Cure director, said “We met our goal with 380 riders. Some of the teams are pretty big.” The Tour de Cure would not have been successful without all the volunteers, planning committees and sponsorships.

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Members of Team Think Urban

Roy Burnhm, a Columbus Outdoor Pursuit Bicycle leader who has been on the Tour de Cure Committee since 1999, did the logistics and route planning of the event. Not only has he volunteered, but has rode in a few tours such as Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo, New York; St Louis, Missouri and Madison, Wisconsin. Roy remarked, “The tour has really helped people with this particular disease and challenged them by exercising. The tour helps people live better lives by riders.”

Burnhm and others fulfill the advocacy role for newly diagnosed diabetics. They talk to Senators in Ohio and try to make health-care affordable for all diabetics under State mandated plan called the Diabetes Cost Reduction Act (DCRA).

Scott Herman and Sharon Cotter, members of team Starbucks, completed the 30 mile tour in a little over 2 hours. Herman and Cotter commented, “The money raised goes to diabetes and Starbucks matches. We would do it again but start training earlier because were pretty tired. The wind kicked up a few hills and made it tougher. The layout of the tour was nice, nice scenery and not a lot of traffic.”

The Tour de Cure offered different length rides for the each type of rider. The lengths of Saturday’s rides were 12, 30, 60, and 100 miles. The tour started at Westerville Central High School, went through Gelena, Sunberry, Centerburg, Johnstown, and all the way back to Westerville Central High School.

Frank Hall, a member of Cops and Westerville Bike Club — in his 7th year riding –said, “This year it was hotter, well marked, well supported, and got a lot of volunteers. It was flat and hilly and a good challenge.”

The people who came out to participate in the Tour de Cure Saturday were different type of riders. Some of the riders were avid cyclists, some were recreational, some came out because it was a local event, and others just came out to ride with their families.

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The Vergara Family after the Tour de Cure

The Vergara family decided to do the Tour de Cure because they wanted to do something as family and grandpa had diabetes. The Vergara family remarked, “It was a good fun family ride. It was a big adventure.”

Avid cyclists like Frank Daughtery, captain of the 45-member Team Roll, rides about 3,000 miles a year. He is a member of the Westerville Bike Club and on the Planning Committee, and he completed the 60 mile ride on a fixed gear in only 3 hours and 30 minutes.

“I am shocked at the donation of money to sponsor me and I am shocked with the impact of diabetes. I did it on a fixed gear and it wasn’t anything easy,” asserts Daughtery. “Having food and a tent is a huge improvement and is making it to the next level. The long term goal is making it a health fair day.”

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Cute young girls on the ride as well

Flyers Off to 2-0 Start Before Chicago Invitational on Sunday

November 22nd, 2008

The Dayton Flyers began the 2008-2009 season Sunday night as 17 point favorites in a low scoring game barely beating Wofford 52-49 at UD Arena. 

The game was neck and neck with more than several lead changes in the game.  Wofford was up at one point by as many as eight points, while the Flyers biggest lead in the game was only 5 points. A win is a win, but this game was a concern and definitely a disappointing win considering how bad Wofford is.

On Wednesday night, Dayton regrouped and played to their potential blowing out Delaware State 62-42.  The team played well enough that even their walk-ons got to see playing time. 

It appears the current go-to player is sophmore Chris “Flight” Wright, who is averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the first two games.  He is the difference maker and this year’s Brian Roberts.  In his freshman season, Wright made the All-A-10 Freshman team, despite only playing 8 minutes in only one game in the A-10 opener before his leg injury.  When games come down to the wire this season, you will probably hear the two UD commentators Bucky and Larry saying, “Get the ball to Chris Wright.” 

What is the reason OSU has performed poorly in these three big games on the national stage?

September 14th, 2008

Ohio State brought a perfect undefeated 2006 regular season record into the title game before getting blown out to Florida 41-14.   The following year, Ohio State lost to Illinois in the regular season, but somehow made it back into the title game before getting whipped to LSU 38-24.  This season the #5 Buckeyes played their third regular season game at #1USC where they were embarassed 35-3.   These three games were not close or respectable losses, but were just humiliating losses for the Ohio State football program.

What is the reason that OSU has performed so poorly in these three games? The list of reasons to question are the player personnel, Tressel and his coaching staff being outcoached, the Big 10 Competition weaker than other BCS conferences competition they face, or is it just plain bad luck?

Is it the player personnel?  Does OSU not recruit or have the same type of talented players as Florida, LSU, and USC?    Perhaps these teams have better football players than Ohio State.   Maybe Ohio State recruits great athletes, but not as great of football players as these three teams. Since Tressel and Carroll became coaches at USC and OSU, it appears that USC has been able to produce not only better college football players, but those college players have become better NFL football players, such as Carson Palmer and Reggie Bush than probably any current OSU NFL player.  Watching the game tonight, it obviously appeared that USC’s quarterback was a much better QB than both Boeckman and even the #1 recruit Terelle Pryor, their running backs seemed to be more elusive and tougher to tackle than our running backs (including Chris Wells, even though he didn’t play and the score would have still been similar).

Perhaps it is not just necessarily the talent, but the core problem is the offensive line.  In all three games, the offensive line looked slow and sluggish, allowing the three teams to make our QB’s life a living hell. Hence, Troy Smith was running for his life when he was QB against Florida, Boeckman and Pryor couldn’t escape if their life depended on it because of the other teams defensive pressure on the quarterback. Maybe we need to recruit offensive linesman that can actually block and are faster and more mobile han these slow 300 plus pound guys. All three teams just blew right by the OSU’s offensive line. I think Ohio State should concentrate on recruiting faster and better offensive linesman in the future. Maybe our running backs and quarterbacks would have better protection to throw and run the football if we had better offfensive linesman.

Not only on the offensive side of the football, but also the defensive side as well. The defensive linesman seemed to have trouble pressuring the quarterback and getting sacks or stopping the run.  Florida, LSU, and USC all were able to pressure the offensive front and make it tougher for the quarterback to throw or the running backs to run.  Why couldn’t OSU’s defensive line do that against Florida, LSU, and USC?  It all starts up with the defense up front to get by the offensive line to let the linebackers and cornerbacks make plays.  Maybe it is not the defensive line, but the defense in general on the national stage. After all, the defense gave up 41 points to Florida, 38 points to LSU and 35 points to USC.

Has Tressel and the coaching staff been outcoached against these three top teams?  After taking over as head coach at Ohio State, he has beat Michigan 6 out of 7 times, won a national championship in his second season, but now his record and reputation is starting to tarnish a little because of these three big embarassing losses.   Did Florida, LSU, and USC’s head coaches come up with a better game plan and better on game coaching than Tressel?  Does Tressel not come up with any second-half motivation for the Buckeyes?  Is Tressel to soft as a head coach?  Maybe, these coaches know how to maximize their talent on the field better than Tressel can.  Kirk Herbstreit even made a comment during the game it looks like USC is playing a junior varsity team out there.  Maybe its not all of Tressel’s fault, but the other coaching staff, such as Heacock and Bollman’s poor coaching for the offense and defense.  

Is the Big 10 competiiton just weaker than the other BCS conferences competiton that they face?  Maybe if Ohio State was in the SEC or PAC 10, they wouldn’t be winning conference championships and would truly convey the type of football team they really are.  The rumor is some of the SEC teams have faster players than Big 10 Players. When Florida played OSU, they looked much faster on the field than Ohio State. Perhaps if they were in a more competitve conference, they would be better prepared to play teams that were just as good of teams on the national stage.

Is it bad luck? Does Ohio State just have trouble and choke in big games on the national stage? Their player personnel could possibly be equal to USC, Florida and LSU, their coaching just as good and the conference competition just as good as Florida, LSU and USC conference’s competiton they face. Could Ohio State in general just have bad luck and can’t win big games when they are on the national stage?

What do you think is the reason OSU has performed poorly in these three big games on the national stage?

Buckeyes Win Ugly Against Ohio University

September 13th, 2008

The other Ohio school called the Ohio University Bobcats came to Columbus wearing shirts that said O-S-WHO?  

Although the final score was 26-14 Ohio State, they certainly made a point as the #3 Ohio State Buckeyes needed to come from behind in the fourth quarter to win against the 35 point underdog Ohio Bobcats Saturday afternoon.  Ohio University was not victorious, but they definitely had a moral victory and played with more heart than the Buckeyes did on September 6th.  

Here is a breakdown of how the Ohio State Buckeyes quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offense overall and defense performed Saturday afternoon.

Quarterbacks – Todd Boeckman played most of the game throwing 16-of-26 for 110 yards for 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.  Definitely not a very impressive performance by Boeckman against a MAC team.  His longest pass in the game was 25 yards and he only averaged 4.2 yards a completion. He will need to play much better and bring his A game against #1 USC.

Terelle Pryor only played two series resulting in a three and out with a punt and no result as he came in the last series to runout the game clock. In the two series, he threw 0-for 2 and rushed 5 times for 37 yards. It was a suprise that Pryor only saw the field for two series. In his first two games playing quarterback, Pryor’s first natural instinct is to run the football before throwing a pass. This is okay in certain situations, but he will need to improve on looking more for the open receivers before thinking about running the football. Pryor is the best quarterback if Ohio State runs the spread offense. This gives Pryor a chance to be more dangerous while getting outside the pocket and having the ability to confuse opposing teams’ defenses.

Running Backs – The three running backs Herron, Wells, and Saine rushed 26 times for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Daniel Herron carried the ball 12 times for 50 yards and 1 TD, Maurice Wells rushed 9 times for 48 yards, and Bradon Saine had 5 rushes for 15 yards and 1 TD. One of the running backs quoted that he gave their performances as running backs a B-. I would agree that they did decent overall and I don’t know if the outcome of the game would have really made a signficance difference if Beanie Wells was able to play.

Receivers – The two go to receivers, Brian Hartline and Brian Robiskie combined only had 5 receptions for 22 yards. Hartline was not afraid to speak how he felt to reporters after the game remarking how pathetic their performance was and that Ohio University should have won the game and didn’t know how they came out winning. Besides the 25 yard catch by tight end Jake Ballard, the longest pass reception by a receiver came from Dane Sanzenbacher for 12 yards.

Offense – The offense overall struggled and played poorly and I would give them a D grade. On third downs, the Buckeyes only converted 5-of-15 times overall. One series in the game, the Buckeyes gambled on 4th and 1 and were stopped. The other turnover was a high snap that went over Boeckman’s head that Ohio University recovered in the end zone. Boeckman had trouble throwing passes longer than 10 yards. In fact, the only two passes greater than 10 yards were Sanzenbachers 12 yard reception and Ballard’s 25 yard catch. The offense combined for 272 total yards on offense. Ohio University turned the ball over 5 times in the game, but the Buckeyes could only score 19 points on offense (excluding Small’s touchdown punt return).

Defense – The defense played a little above average and I would give them a grade of B-. They forced Ohio University to turnover the football 5 times, and 4 of those 5 turnovers were interceptions in the game. They defense only gave up 7 points, while the offense gave up the other 7 points. The only cause of concern would be Ohio’s 9-of-17 third down efficiency. The Buckeyes will have to step it up a notch on third down when they play USC. Sometimes, when Ohio ran the spread the Buckeyes looked a little lost and they reminded me of how they played against Illinois. They also had a few key missed tackles and a few missed sacks in the game.

The next game against USC will be a challenge. This game is a similar matchup with Texas during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. If the Buckeyes lose, their chances are more slim than last year that they still have a chance to make it to the national championship game. Ohio State comes into the game as 11 point underdogs. The last time I can remember Ohio State being a double-digit underdog was when they won the national championship against Miami in 2003. If the Buckeyes bring their A game, I see them either winning by less than 10 points, or I see them getting blown out by at least 2 or 3 touchdowns in the Coliseum. Let’s hope they bring their A game and beat #1 USC.

Buckeyes Shutout Youngstown State

September 1st, 2008

The Buckeyes opening game against subdivision Youngstown State was what was expected – a 43-0 shutout – except for two things: Chris Wells leaving the game due to his injury and the inefficiency to score in the Red Zone. 

Before Chris Wells hurt his foot and left the game in the 3rd quarter, he rushed 13 times for 111 yards and 1 touchdown.  On the Buckeyes opening posession, on 4th and short, Wells conveyed his explosiveness by scoring his touchdown on a 42 yard run.  When the Buckeyes were in the Red Zone in the third quarter, Wells seemed to have slipped and messed up his footing and immediately fell down fumbling the football.  Now, the news and talk from Buckeye football fans is about how bad the injury is and what week will Wells come back?  

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If the Heisman contender is gone for the whole season (I don’t think he will be), is the Buckeyes season over and do they not stand a chance against USC?   No, the Buckeyes are still loaded with talent and just have to work around it.  The other running backs like Saine, Herron are still solid, but the built and explosiveness of a guy like Wells cannot be replaced. 

In the Red Zone, the Buckeyes struggled to score touchdowns and found themselves relying on special teams to kick field goals.  After Chris Wells touchdown on the opening posession, the next two series, the Buckeyes failed to score touchdowns and kicked two field goals.  All the Buckeyes touchdowns – except Pryor’s TD Run –  were big plays from outside the Red Zone (Wells 43 yard run, Robiskie’s 31 yard catch, & Posey’s 25 yard grab).

Hopefully the Buckeyes can improve their Red Zone performance and do better in the Red Zone next week against Ohio University and future opponents.  Also, let’s hope Chris Wells will be back on the field soon.  USC will be a lot tougher to matchup against and their defense will not give up big plays and scores like Youngstown State did on Saturday.

2008 Ohio State Football – Is this the year?

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.

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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.

 

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