The Airing Of Grievances

Happy Holidays! In honor of Festivus, Buckeye Sports Bulletin staff writer Ben Axelrod holds an Airing Of Grievances to get all of the issues that he has with you people off of his chest. Later: The Feats Of Strength.

Well here we are, December 23rd. Or as you may know it as: Festivus.

Created and maintained by Frank Costanza, Festivus was created for the rest of us. And while other Festivus traditions, such as The Feats Of Strength will take place later in the day, I figure what better way to observe this holiday on this website than to post my Airing Of Grievances.


1. People who still doubt the Ohio State basketball team
This might be the group that I have the biggest issue with.

Do I think that the Buckeyes are going to win the national championship this year? No, I don't. Do I think that they're one of the three best teams in the country? Not really. Do I think that they're a top five team? I'd say it's debatable.

But for people to have a doom and gloom outlook over one stretch of bad basketball against Notre Dame -- in a game that Ohio State wound up winning no less -- is outrageous. Basketball isn't football, you can't take too much away from one game. The Buckeyes probably played their worst game of the season against the Fighting Irish, still found a way to win, and for some people, that's still not enough.

I don't know what this team's ceiling is or if it's better or worse off without Deshaun Thomas. It's still too early and Ohio State hasn't played enough quality opponents for me to know. But what I do know is that the Buckeyes are undefeated, have a proven leader in Aaron Craft, and one of the best coaches in the country in Thad Matta. At a place like Ohio State where basketball success is far from guaranteed, you'd think that'd be enough for a positive outlook. But judging by the way my Twitter timeline looked at about 9 p.m. on Saturday night, apparently it's not.

2. People convinced that there's an anti-Ohio State agenda in the national media
There simply isn't one. And until somebody can bring me proof outside of Mark May trolling, I won't believe it.

Did some outlets flock here during the Tatgate scandal looking to uncover every wrongdoing ever committed by a Buckeye? Of course. But that's not an anti-OSU agenda. That's pro-money-making agenda. It happens at every big time school in the country, and guess what? They all believe that ESPN is out to get them too.

If ESPN really hated Ohio State, it wouldn't have ever aired the Training Days series last summer, which was basically a month-long infomercial for Urban Meyer's program. What do you think? That ESPN holds meetings asking how it can hold Ohio State down? Do you think that's really how big business works?

The attention that the Buckeyes get -- good and bad -- from the national media just means that they are relevant. And there are worse problems to have.

3. Armchair quarterbacks in the pressbox
My viewing of the Big Ten Championship Game was peppered with sounds of "RUN IT!" and "COME ON BRAXTON!" coming from a couple of elderly sportswriters to my left.

Their unprofessional demands, of course, were directed toward Braxton Miller, who is only the two-time reigning Big Ten MVP. With the benefit of an aerial view and years of watching high school quarterbacks engineer the offenses that they cover more regularly, these homers felt as though they had a better grasp on what Miller should've done than Miller did himself. Did they think Miller didn't want to win the game? Did they think that they knew more than the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year? Actually, don't answer that.

4. The "disinterested defense"
I saw it last year during the Purdue football game and again on Saturday when the basketball Buckeyes were losing to the Fighting Irish. Rather than blame a poor OSU outing on another team playing better or the Buckeyes just being off, the assumption automatically became that Ohio State was simply "disinterested."

Like, what does that even mean?

I know it's hard to imagine a team with less talent beating the Buckeyes, but that happens in sports sometimes. Even with both teams trying their hardest, sometimes the lesser one wins, for whatever reason it may be. But that doesn't mean -- and usually doesn't mean -- that the better team is disinterested or lacks focus. Sometimes that's just the way the ball rolls and you don't need a psychological reason to explain it.

5. Coach of the year criers
Ohio State hasn't won the Big Ten's Coach of the Year award since 1979. And if all remains well in Columbus, it shouldn't win another until at least 2079.

And that's a good thing for the Buckeyes.

The coach of the year award has never gone to the best coach. It just hasn't. Otherwise Ohio State would have won a few more since before the Reagan administration started. Rather, it's gone to the coach who has done the best coaching job, or what's perceived to be "having done more with less."

At a place like Ohio State, the Buckeyes shouldn't ever have less. And thus, they are essentially disqualified from winning the award, even if the irony is that the No. 1 job of a college coach is to recruit.

In other words, don't get bent out of shape over an award you had no chance of winning anyways. Meyer doesn't care and isn't going to lose any sleep over it. And what were you going to do? Buy a t-shirt?

6. The phrase "score the basketball"
What else can a basketball player score with, other than groupies?

7. The woe is me attitude of Cleveland sports fans
I'll even admit, I'm guilty of this at times too. But the "only in Cleveland" responses to things like the ending of the Browns-Patriots game that do only happen in Cleveland have to stop.

Yes, there's been some bad luck over the years, but do you know why the Browns, Indians, and Cavs aren't contenders for championships right now? Because they suck.

The Browns haven't had a competent quarterback since they cut Bernie Kosar on my fifth birthday (I'm 25 now), the Cavs had the No. 1 overall pick and used it on Anthony Bennett, and the Indians treat a season where they lose a play-in game to get into the actual playoffs before losing their best pitcher to free agency like it's winning the World Series. Raise your standards, Cleveland! And knock off the "please come home, LeBron" crap. Respect yourselves.

8. People who are upset with the Duck Dynasty guy
Do I agree with what he said? No. Does it fall under free speech? I don't even know. But I refuse to treat a reality TV star like he's some sort of moral authority or somebody whose opinion we should take seriously, regardless of what he's saying.

This is the kind of stuff that made this guy famous. They hired a redneck bigot to be a redneck bigot, and when he started acting like a redneck bigot, he got in trouble. That doesn't seem fair to me.

I couldn't care less about people's political and personal views, but we need to move away from treating entertainment stars like authorities. I don't remember this kind of outrage when Jessica Simpson confused chicken for tuna.

9. The phrase "it is what it is"
Even I've used it before, but when you think about it, it really doesn't mean anything.

I once met a girl who had these words tattooed on her back. She would've been better off getting a literal red flag inked on her body.

At the end of the day, it sounds cool, but it really doesn't mean anything. I try to avoid quoting athletes and coaches who say it, but even if I do, whatever. It is what it is.

10. People who are going to complain about this
Inevitably, this column of sorts is going to rub people the wrong way.

"How can you write an article insulting the people who pay your salary?" some of you will ask. "I'm going to cancel," some of you will threaten. "Can he actually say what he said about the Duck Dynasty guy here?" most will wonder.

Just know that it was all done tongue-in-cheek. It's the holidays, and with the basketball team on a bye and the Buckeyes limiting their media availability before the bowl, we don't have a lot to work with right now. I thought I'd have a little bit of fun, and don't have any problem with you airing your grievances toward me, which you inevitably will do.

Happy Festivus!

Now, onto The Feats Of Strength!

Buckeye Sports Top Stories