DANTONIO TO UC?
If Mark Dantonio takes the vacant Cincinnati job (has not been offered; just rumors), look for former Ohio State defensive back Bo Pelini to take over as the Buckeyes' defensive coordinator.
Pelini is the interim head coach/defensive coordinator at Nebraska and is in the running for the Cornhuskers' head job. However, all indications are that Nebraska will look outside house for its next coach.
Ohio State linebackers Mark Snyder could also step in for Dantonio, but he is said to be in the hunt for the Akron job.
If all else fails, the Buckeyes should scourer the MAC for its best and brightest young coaches. They all must have aspirations to coach in the Big Ten and it seems like several talented assistant coaches come out of the MAC each year.
As for Dantonio, the guess here is that he stays at OSU for two more years. He can land a better job than UC, but in reality it wouldn't be that bad of a job for him. The Bearcats are said to be offering over $500,000/year.
Like many, I had the Buckeyes pegged for the Orange Bowl and a rematch with Miami. So, although the Fiesta Bowl news came as a surprise, it looks like a good fit for OSU. A rematch with the Hurricanes would have been fun, but I wasn't crazy about playing them in their hometown. The Bucks would have matched up well against Miami, but the same could be said for the Kansas State matchup. The Wildcats are a run-oriented team and that falls right into OSU's lap.
On one hand, it's easy to see why the Fiesta Bowl selected OSU over the likes of Florida State, Tennessee and Texas. Buckeye fans took over Tempe last year and pumped a lot of money into its economy. However, I thought the Fiesta Bowl would stay away from OSU this year in fear of fans not wanting to travel to the same site two years in a row, for a much less meaningful game. This just goes to show how attractive the Buckeyes are to bowl hosts. Most bowls do not like having teams two straight years. It's happened several times in bowls like the (former) Citrus and Outback, because there is a direct tie-in. (Big Ten No. 2 vs. SEC No. 2 for example). Those bowls cannot usually pick and choose who they want because they are restricted by contract. Therefore, they get a lot of repeat customers.
But the Fiesta had its pick of the "at large" teams this year and took the Bucks.
In more ways than one, they took the bucks.
I am convinced that every offense needs some form of the shotgun spread to be successful. We're talking three/four wide and one back. Many teams have proven you can still have an effective running game out of the spread, and it gives you several more options in the passing game.
Believe it or not, Ohio State ran more of the shotgun spread this season than ever before. The Buckeyes are always going to be a two-back team, but I would like to see more of the spread mixed in next year with Justin Zwick likely at quarterback.
NOTRE DAME PREDICTION…
The Irish will eventually join the Big East as a football member, with special considerations (i.e. bigger TV and bowl cut than the other schools). I just don't see ND wanting to join the Big Ten. It sees what happened to Penn State and doesn't want to become a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team. The Big East just seems like a good fit for the Irish. They'll be among the league favorites every year and they already have the tie-in with their other sports.
But why would other Big East schools allow Notre Dame to join with special considerations? Because having ND is probably the only way the Big East will be given an automatic berth in the BCS when the contract is renegotiated.
CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES…
Are lame. It's been said before and let's say it again: we should be glad the Big Ten doesn't have one.
In the SEC, LSU defeated Georgia earlier in the year… for the right to play them again in the conference title game. It worked out well for the Tigers, they swept the Bulldogs, but what if they would have lost Saturday? Georgia would have been conference champs, even though both teams had the same record, and beat each other once.
Same could be said for the MAC title game. Miami University had to beat Bowling Green twice. Just like LSU, the situation worked out well for the RedHawks, but that doesn't make the situation fair.
Last year, could you imagine Ohio State having to play Michigan again, after the Buckeyes 14-9 win? Or this year, as much as Michigan dominated in its 35-21 win, do you think the Wolverines would have wanted to face the Buckeyes again in two weeks? No. Why prove you are the league's best twice?
C-BUS GREAT SPORTS TOWN?
It's the opinion here that Columbus has evolved into a great sports town.
For years, the Buckeyes were the de facto pro sports team in town, but now there are several options.
The Blue Jackets, now in their fourth year, have struggled quite a bit in the win-loss department, but they have still been great for the city.
The Destroyers, who begin play in February, are going to draw very well in the AFL, especially with all the OSU connections in the front office (and soon on the field). There is no doubt in my mind this football-crazed city will eat up Destroyers tickets.
Not much of a soccer fan here, but the Columbus Crew is among the biggest draws in the MLS. And Crew Stadium is arguably the top soccer-only facility in the country.
The Columbus Clippers have been around for years and don't draw very well anymore, but all that could change with a new stadium (there are rumors of a new park downtown). And if you're going to have AAA baseball, a partnership with the Yankees – the most recognizable name in baseball – is the way to go.
Finally, Columbus has the feel of a great sports town because fans of Cincinnati pro teams (Bengals, Reds) and Cleveland (Browns, Indians, Cavs) can still follow their teams pretty close. It's not a bad drive either way and the local media does a good job of covering Cincy and Cleveland teams.
So, some might say Columbus can't be a great sports town with just one major professional sport, but with Cincinnati and Cleveland so close, sometimes it feels like there are several pro sports in town.
TOP 15 COLLEGE FOOTBALL JOBS
This is in no particular order, but with all the coaching changes, I wanted to give my take on the top 15 jobs in college football. This is based on everything (chance to win, fan support, recruiting base, money, etc…)
Once again, this is not in any particular order…
1. Ohio State
10. Florida State
13. Penn State
14. Notre Dame
PARCELLS ON ROSS
After Bill Parcells cut second-year cornerback Derek Ross (a third round pick in 2002), he had this to say about the former OSU player…
"He's a street player. He has problems when he runs into players with more ‘street' than him."
In other news, Parcells has not called Terry Glenn "she" yet this season.
It's a bit sad that there were only 13,000 fans at the Schott for the Georgia Tech game last week. It's really sad that it sounded more like 3,000.
It's amazing that OSU still hasn't done anything about this problem. The only way to correct this is to put all the students together and put them close to the floor. Yes, you have to take care of the donors, but don't tell me that the Schott was the only college basketball arena that was constructed because of donor money. Michigan State surely got a lot of donations for the Breslin Center, but it doesn't seem to have a problem putting its students on the floor.
Like has been mentioned several times, this is the only way for OSU to develop any sort of home-court advantage, but the higher-ups at the university want to do absolutely nothing about it.
Check out any major college basketball game on TV. Any one at all. Guaranteed, the atmosphere, noise and fan support will be much greater than at OSU. Yes, Ohio State is a football school, but there are a lot of basketball fans as well.
BOB KNIGHT IN OSU HALL?
I know it might sound crazy, but it deserves some thought. Yes, many view him as a traitor, but he's an OSU grad, won a national title under Fred Taylor (who Knight always mentions as the biggest influence on his life) and he'll go down as one of the best basketball coaches of all time.
Hey, not saying it should definitely happen, but it deserves some thought… Knight brings his Texas Tech squad to Columbus Jan. 4. It will be interesting to see what type of reception he gets.
BREWER/LAVENDER ACT OF '03
This is a new act, effective immediately, and hopefully we can get the Ohio state legislature to sign off on it.
It simply reads, "If any player, no matter the size, is named Mr. Football, or Mr. Basketball, in the great state of Ohio, he will be offered a scholarship by The Ohio State University."
I watched Oklahoma play basketball Saturday wondering how a kid like Drew Lavender from Columbus, who made the McDonald's All-American team, was not even offered a 'ship by the Buckeyes. And please don't tell me it's because Jim O'Brien already had a point guard in Brandon Fuss-Cheatham. O'Brien already had a backup PG in Fuss-Cheatham.
Simply put, if a player is the best in the state of Ohio, he deserves at least an offer from OSU.
SPIELMAN WAS RIGHT…
Radio talk show host Chris Spielman (Doesn't have the same ring as OSU assistant coach, does it?) predicted before the season that no college football team would go undefeated this season. Nice call there… Buckeye fans can take comfort in the fact that their team is the last undefeated national champion, at least for another year.
PRODUCT OF THE SYSTEM
In the name of Gino Torretta, don't you hate it when a "product of the system" quarterback wins the Heisman Trophy? For this reason, let's hope the much-overhyped Jason White from Oklahoma doesn't win the award this year. Is there any question that Eli Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger, are better quarterbacks?
Not sure who should win it, but WR Larry Fitzgerald from Pitt should also be somewhere above White on the list.
E-mail Dave at: firstname.lastname@example.org