As many of you remember I had categorically said that -- barring a Texas upset in the Big 12 championship game -- that OSU would be heading to the Fiesta Bowl to play Notre Dame. Now you might ask "Nevada, How could you be so sure?? Certainly this was unknowable info at that time."
Well, not really, and let me share why.
The bowls were set up initially by warm weather cities to attract visitors during the winter months, and to allow said communities to "showcase" all of the great things that they had to offer.
With this in mind, cities set up "bowl committees" to examine alternatives and to "select" the teams. Now over the years this has become a mostly ceremonial position -- and is, frankly, one of the great gigs of all time.
Basically, these committee members get to take all-expense paid trips across the country to watch college football games all season long -- not a bad deal. If I died tomorrow and were able to come back in another capacity, it would be as a bowl selection committee member.
Now over the years I have developed relationships with members of just about all the major bowl selection committees -- as these guys are jetting around the country watching football -- much like I do.
Hence, when it came time to "ask the question" about who the Fiesta was going to take, who the Orange was going to take and where the Buckeyes were going to end up it was really just a matter of working the phones. When you take what I was hearing and cross reference that with ABC's desires, you really had only one answer that made sense -- the Buckeyes vs. the Domers in the Fiesta.
Forget all the noise about Oregon. They were never a player. But the Pac-10 was making so much noise the Fiesta Bowl committee needed to appear to be "agonizing" over the decision. So next year, when you see the guys with the brightly colored jackets at games you now know that they are the few, the chosen, the lucky guys with the best job on the planet.
Sleepers: Those "under the radar", those yet "undiscovered"
You might have seen my posts referencing some "sleeper" recruits that OSU is tracking. Now how in this internet age could recruits fly "under the radar"--out of the gaze of the Buckeye nation?? Well it happens all the time---mainly with players that have transferred in from other schools (so they haven't been "tracked" for several years consistently) or if there just isn't very good "tape" on them out in the mainstream.
I can state unequivocally that OSU is tracking several sleepers right now--one of which is a prime candidate for an offer. Who is this said player? Now, if I disclosed that I would be forever on the "Naughty List" with OSU and probably would get sticks and coal in my stocking.
So, in my efforts to encourage domestic tranquility, but at the same time appease the unending appetite of the Buckeye Nation I will say that this player is a running back--but that is all that I will say...even if you submitted me to "Jack Bauer" type torture(for you "24" fans).
The next 7-1/2 weeks until signing day will be a roller coaster of emotions for most Bucknut recruiting junkies. Try to enjoy the process and the commitment of every single player and try to not agonize too much about those players that they lose (as you can't really "lose" something that you never really had).
I am more convinced than ever that the Buckeyes will finish with a top-five class nationally as they appear to be in good shape across the board -- actually in better shape than I can remember in recent years. The staff seems to have accomplished a "two step" process of initial evaluations and then further review and offers.
I also like Jim Tressel's strategy of focusing on fewer players but giving each and every one of them more attention. I think this is a strategy that will pay great dividends down the road.
You have to like the quality of young men that we are bringing in -- as evidenced by the large number of Academic All Big Ten players that we have -- as well as the cumulative GPA of the team--which would rank up there with any school in the country that plays competitive big time football.
We as Buckeye fans have much to be thankful for, like:
* Another Big Ten championship;
* Our fourth win over Michigan in five years;
* Our third BCS bowl invititation in four years;
* Three straight bowl victories(soon to be four);
* A team full of "team guys"; and
* A great man at the helm.
For all the disappointment that we may have endured as Buckeye fans in the past, these really are the "good times". So please sit back and enjoy them. Happy Holidays to all and Go Bucks!!
NevadaBuck is scheduled to conduct his first Chat on the Bucknuts site on Mon., Dec. 19. Stay tuned for the time and details.