Babb's Bits

Charles Babb checks in today with some thoughts from the stands during the Purdue game as well as some opening thoughts of the OSU/UM game.

A Sea of Scarlet

Looking out at the stadium during the game on Saturday I was struck by the sheer volume of Scarlet I saw, and others I spoke to were as well. The few Purdue fans were as easy to pick out as a country bumpkin at a black tie affair. I used to watch games of programs like Tennessee or Nebraska on television and wonder why Ohio State fans could not get as organized and wear team colors to games.

Apparently, though no memo was sent out, a memo has been received. Buckeye fans did their team proud in wearing their colors and created an imposing vision for their opponent.

Being Will Smith

Ok, how cool would it be to have been Will Smith for just five seconds late in that game? For those who were not there at the stadium or did not catch it on television, the crowd noise was impressive to say the least. When the Buckeyes had Purdue backed up against their goal line (thanks to B.J. Sander), the defense was all for getting the place loud enough to crack the cement supports.

In particular, Will Smith did his part to make sure everyone understood what was needed. On multiple occasions, Purdue would be lined up and getting ready to snap the ball in a few seconds, the crowd was seemingly at a fever pitch, and then… Will Smith, down in his stance, raised his arms and beckoned to the crowd to get louder. It was like watching a maestro conduct his orchestra. Ever the faithful fans, the place would go bonkers at that point with the noise crescendoing to a whole new plateau.

John Cooper's most Brilliant Statement

John Cooper has received a good deal of grief over the years for some of the comments he has made to the media. Some of it he deserved and some of the hubbub was simply created to sell papers.

I would like to pay him a compliment.

Early this season in discussing what playing at home meant for Ohio State, Cooper noted that it was not that other teams were not as good as Ohio State. It was not that the crowd mentally intimidated their opponents. It was simply that the noise level and the stadium atmosphere as a whole helped the Buckeyes and hurt the other teams when it came to turnovers and penalties.

While the Bucks have seen precious few bones thrown their direction this season by referees who have obviously torn out the page discussing offensive holding, consider the turnovers created by the Buckeye defense. On the season, the Buckeyes have forced 13 fumbles, recovered nine, and have 10 interceptions for 260 return yards. They have also scored three touchdowns – one on a blocked kick (Whitner), one on a fumble recovery (Kudla), and the third on Will Allen's 100-yard interception return.

Away from the friendly confines of the Horseshoe in three games, the Buckeyes have forced one fumble, have one fumble recovery, and have two interceptions for five return yards.

Television Timeouts and Icing the Kicker

Purdue apparently did not need any of its timeouts to ice Ohio State's Mike Nugent this week.

ABC did that for them.

Television timeouts are a necessary evil. In order for the stations to broadcast the game to fans around the country, they need advertising dollars. I understand that. What I do not understand is who in the world made the decision to get in one last ad spot while Ohio State was trying to go for the winning field goal as time expired.

Those at home did not see it, but Mike Nugent was on the field for at least a good 60 seconds and probably longer waiting for the play to resume. Ohio State's timeout was long over before the television man waived his arm and motioned for play to resume. Meanwhile, Purdue was given a free "ice the kicker" moment.

It was an incredibly poor move on the part of ABC. Whoever made the call to cut to a commercial and STAY at a commercial when players from both sides were standing in the middle of the field waiting for the go ahead to start playing should get their rear end treated like a rottweiler treats a new bone from the local butcher.

Michigan Week Started Saturday

Ahh…

Michigan week. It is what the season at Ohio State and Michigan is played for.

Fans for most programs would be reveling in the moment, not a care in the world who was next on their schedule. A win like that is a signature statement and for Purdue, would have been the best moment in the decade for them aside from the Rose Bowl (which was a result of a win over Ohio State). They would have celebrated for at least a day or two before even thinking about their final game of the regular season.

However, those programs do not have a rivalry even close to that of THE Game.

It took less than a minute after the game was over for the fans in the stadium to announce to the world that Purdue was simply an appetizer. What they really wanted was a shot at that team up north. The sea of Scarlet and Gray clad fans in the South section of the stadium began singing one of the several songs the Buckeyes have about Michigan.

Breaking News Bulletin: Offensive Holding is Apparently no Longer a Penalty

I for one hope that referees revisit their standard mode of operations in the off-season when it comes to calling penalties for offensive holding. What has been allowed to happen to Will Smith, Darrion Scott, Tim Anderson, and Simon Fraser this season is borderline criminal. Anderson and Smith in particular are grabbed on most every play. When they can get away with it, offensive lines are even tackling them in some sort of WWF ringside move.

Referees just blandly look on and do nothing.

For those watching at home, your television set does not begin to do it justice. As a football fan in general, I find myself appalled. By refusing to call obvious penalties, the referees are failing to do their job.

This is not fair to teams with great defensive lines like Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, etc. All of them have suffered this year from lazy referees who refuse to call penalties. By allowing the opposition to hold the front seven of those programs (and others like them), the referees are changing the outcome of the football game. They are negating the advantage some programs have slaved for years to create while allowing another team to ‘legally cheat'.

To be blunt, it is wrong and is damaging the game.

Here is hoping people will find it in their hearts to send their local college referees a few dollars this winter so they can buy a clue.

Purdue against Michigan

What people remember about the game between these two teams is the final score. While Ohio State squeaked by with a 16-13 win, Michigan blew out the Boilermakers by a final score of 31-3.

Looking at those numbers, one would be tempted to assume Michigan's offense was just much better than that of Ohio State against the Purdue defense. They might be wrong. Purdue did much to help out that Michigan offense with 2 interceptions and 4 fumbles (just one was recovered by Michigan).

Comparing Ohio State and Michigan against a common opponent:

Team

1st downs

Net yards

Avg.gain

Net rush

Avg per rush

Net pass

Avg per pass

UM

19

345

4.7

105

2.8

240

6.7

OSU

15

351

4.7

125

3.2

226

6.5

The only real statistical differences between the two teams above are that Michigan managed 4 more first downs and 20 less yards rushing.

What does that mean?

Honestly, it probably means little to nothing as a predictor of the upcoming football game. However, it does say a great deal about the surface analysis many are giving the Ohio State (and Michigan) offense.*

*My thanks to the person that pointed this out to me but wished to remain anonymous.

 


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