"Time and change will surely show…".
You want to get a grasp on how fast time moves (and at an accelerating pace…)? Let me introduce you to the files at our Parallel Universe of Sports Reports:
["Yes, fans, it's the spring of 2005 and Maurice Clarett's final spring practice. Who can forget that just four short years ago, the loveable lug left high school early to attend his first OSU spring drills; talking about his affection for the university and eagerness to be part of the new era for the Buckeyes. Way back then, who would have thought that Ohio State would be the odds-on favorite to win it's third national title in four years or that Clarett would be going for back-to-back Heismans? It was just January past that Mo-Mo shocked Columbus by announcing that he would forego a certain #1 pick in the NFL draft to return for his senior season, further cementing the love affair that this native Ohioan has with Buckeye fans throughout the nation"]
Meanwhile, back here in the real world…
We can't change time but we can time our changes here at Bucknuts. And just as the team changes from year-to-year, we are always looking at ways to upgrade the Bucknuts Experience. We have a great monthly magazine, an unusual weekly radio show and a singular focus: content. Bucknuts is driven to provide the best, the most, the freshest and the most entertaining Ohio State football content of any media outlet in the universe.
Not a small task, there.
And this goal dovetails nicely into the changes we plan to make with Bucknuts.com, the website. Some months back, Scout.com (our national network) changed the look of its format and front page to gain some consistency amongst its hundred or so sites. That worked well with many of the smaller sites, but ran against the grain for Bucknuts. We often have six or seven feature stories in any given day and we also have "timeless' features that need to stay up for a couple of days. So we have re-designed the front page to make it easier to read, provide more pictures and graphics, pile on more content and – basically – just improve the whole look and feel of the site.
I said, years ago, that as we succeeded we would continue to improve our coverage and our value to you. This is further proof of that pledge. Let us know your thoughts and ideas as you peruse the new look of Bucknuts!
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Pardon our dust…We are always trying to construct a better website for you here at Bucknuts. Sometimes our limits are self-imposed while often we run into barriers imposed by our network (Scout). The Scout people are working with us now to make the Bucknuts site both more entertaining and more user-friendly. No, we haven't been successful at getting the ads removed from the front (something about generating revenues…) but we have struck pay dirt in a number of other areas:
1) You will be able to "mouse over" the message board icon on the control panel and go directly to the message board of your dreams.
2) We will present you with more feature stories on the front page and with more pictures and graphics
3) We will have a permanent box on the front (with some cool tabs…) so that you can go to "The Bucknuts Radio Hour", "Bucknuts the Magazine", the Bucknuts store and other creative locations.
4) We are going to choose and then bring you the "Post of the Week" from our often-hilarious and always-entertaining premium "Ask the Insiders" board. Take a look – if you are not part of the party, feel free to join in!
5) We are going to excerpt some of the fine feature articles from our "Bucknuts the Magazine" and tell you where you can find the most current issue.
While some websites talk about new gimmicks and past achievements, Bucknuts always has been and always will be about content. We want to bring you the most facts, figures, insights, news and opinions on your beloved Buckeyes of any site in the world.
These new changes should help us do just that…
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And another thing…We have a very active audio and video function here at Bucknuts. As to the videos, through Duane Long we receive hundreds of player videos during the year. We don't show you all of them but we bring you the ones that are the best quality and have Buckeye implications. As to the "audio", we have two recording studios; one in Dayton and a larger studio up near campus in Columbus. We tape, we produce and we put together two full radio shows for statewide distribution (our almost-famous "Bucknuts Radio Hour" and the nearly-perfect "JJ and Jerry High School Sports Show"). To add to our audio presentations, we are going to bring you sound bites of interviews and features done purely for audio.
Jerry Rudzinski has already started to tape "audio articles", the first two of which detail his feelings on special teams and playing in night games. Give them a listen and tell us what you think…
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The quicks and the dead…I will set the stage for you: It is third and five, Ohio State driving. They break the huddle with Troy Smith at quarterback, Ted Ginn lined up in the backfield as a flanker, Maurice Wells as the tailback, the two wide-outs are Santonio Holmes and Tony Gonzalez, Roy Hall is the tight end. Man, talk about match-up problems! Holmes, Ginn and Gonzalez might be the fastest triad in the country. Conley described Wells as one of the quickest backs he has ever seen. Roy Hall is steady as a wide receiver but will be hard to cover as a tight end and Troy Smith has football speed that is much more effective than track speed.
Coming soon to a stadium near you: the Buckeyes have the quicks, they have the dead…
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And speaking of which…I remember writing a squib a few years back with the prefatory title being "An Embarrassment of Riches". I was describing the state of wide receivers at OSU with the group in mind of Chris Vance, Chris Gamble, Drew Carter and Michael Jenkins. Quite a group, eh? But, as mentioned above, do you think that group will stand up historically to Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn, Tony Gonzalez, Roy Hall, Devon Lyons et. al? And the "et. al." part of the group might be just as impressive. First off, don't discount the young Devon Lyons, a big and flashy kid whose high school nickname was "The Hope". Secondly, Albert Dukes is back in play and no less authority than Dustin Fox has compared him favorably to Santonio Holmes. Word is out that Albert is tearing up spring practice. Plus, don't forget Devin Jordan and the new batch of Brian Hartline, Andre Amos and any other potential position-switcher.
Ahh, an embarrassment of riches, indeed. If we only knew then what we know now, maybe we wouldn't have felt quite so bad when Dwayne Jarrett reneged on his commitment and Fred (Who) Davis got lost on his way from Toledo to Columbus…
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Who put the "fan" in fanatic?…We pride ourselves on the support and fanaticism we have for our beloved Buckeyes. That emotional investment is mirrored by other teams' support of course but we always feel that our support is, well…special somehow. New empirical studies are out and making the rounds of academia, trying to attribute the evolution of sports fanaticism and how it impacts society. One plausible explanation describes the Darwinian essence of this behavior and how it enabled our ancestors to reproduce, survive and thrive. The roots of sports' fierce passion lie somewhere in the ancestral drive of "coalition based aggression" that enabled the winning groups to collect the most crops and the coolest women. A book that is cited in this over-the-top study of over-the-top fan behavior is "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer", a seasonal account of fans that follow the Alabama football program. When one long-time Bama backer was chastised because he missed his daughter's wedding (when it conflicted with the Alabama-Tennessee game), he said innocently, " You know we made the reception".
Now, that's what we're talkin' about…
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How good is Chris Wells…If you watched the Bucknuts' videos of Chris, I wouldn't have to say another word. Duane Long has had Beanie Wells at the top of his class in Ohio when he was a freshman, when he was a sophomore and – in the soon-to-be-released Ohio High ratings, now as a junior. And CW won't be 17 years old until this August, so he's still developing. To quote Duane again: "The back I saw as a freshman and sophomore was more like Eddie George, but as a junior, I saw a back that reminded me more of OJ Simpson and Eric Dickerson. But more than any back, he reminds me of current Oklahoma star Adrian Peterson". Whew – that's a lot to choose from and you can't go too far wrong with any of those choices…
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If ya can't beat ‘em…Get ‘em the hell off the schedule, I say! Let's face it – the Buckeyes have problems with Purdue and Wisconsin. And the first step toward solving a problem is admitting it. Purdue could have beaten OSU the last three years and – last year – they did. Wisconsin seems to have their number lately and last year they ran up a big number on the Buckeyes at home. What to do? Trade the two of them for some other teams that OSU can beat consistently. So this year coming up, we got Wisconsin and Purdue off the schedule and added Minnesota and Illinois. While the Gophers might not be a bargain, Illinois seems like a breather compared to either the Badgers or the Boilers. In the Year of the Buckeye, the aspect of scheduling cannot be understated…
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Looking farther down the road…There are some that think Ohio State shouldn't schedule a big-time home-and-home series like they are facing with Texas this year and next. I think it's great. I think it is the essence of college football. Anyone that was at the pounding the Buckeyes gave Notre Dame a few years back will certainly agree. Part of the big mess of the BCS is that it discourages regional rivalries since you can lose one game and be out of the hunt. A playoff would cure that, just like March Madness. Schedule them tough and often and interesting, I say! And to that end, let's look down the road: Next year, OSU is at Texas. In 2007, Syracuse comes to Columbus; the Buckeyes go there in 2010. That same year, OSU also plays the Miami Hurricanes at home before going down to Florida to face them in September the next season (talk about your hot games…). And you want bigger and better? OK: the Buckeyes play USC in 2008 and 2009. That will be a good follow-up to them beating USC next January in the Rose Bowl for the national championship – wouldn't you say?
If you have something to say, and you want to address it to Mr. Bucknuts, drop him a line at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com