So here is one man's opinion on what Ohio State's recruiting "wish list"
should look like. And just to keep it simple, I'm going to stick with Ohio guys only.
1) Prescott Burgess, strong safety. Pretty obvious choice for a few reasons: He's the consensus top player in the state and the Buckeyes will need a strong safety following the graduation of Mike Doss. Thomas Matthews will be a junior in 2003, so at worst the Bucks will need a backup for him.
2) Brady Quinn, quarterback.
3) Todd Boeckman, quarterback. To me, the question isn't, "Should the Buckeyes take both Quinn and Boeckman?" It's, "Will they be lucky enough to land both?" I realize with limited scholarships, many of you will think this is a waste, especially considering OSU took two QB's last year. But if you believe that quarterback is the most important position on the field, this is a no-brainer. There is no guarantee that Justin Zwick is going to be great, or even good, and no one knows how Troy Smith will develop... The problem is how do you have the guts to take one of these guys and not the other? If the Bucks decide on Boeckman, but let Quinn get away to Michigan, they'll be looking pretty silly in a few years if Quinn ends up the better of the two. The safe bet is to take both, if they can.
4) Donte Whitner, cornerback. Another obvious choice. Whitner is ranked as the top cornerback in the state and one of the best in the nation. And we all know that there is a definite need for corners at OSU.
5) Louis Irizarry, tight end. Not a big need position for the Buckeyes. They landed RJ Coleman last year, Stan White might be moved from LB to TE and OSU also has young players like Jason Caldwell, Ryan Hamby and Redgie Arden (who should still be at LB). That said, Irizarry is one of the best in the nation and will be a priority for Bill Conley and Tressel.
6) Sian Cotton, defensive tackle. The Buckeyes are recruiting a lot of large-framed linemen who can run, but they don't have an abundance of big run-stuffers in the middle. The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Cotton is just that.
7) Brandon Maupin, defensive tackle. Maupin (6-6, 270) isn't huge right now, but his frame can definitely hold an extra 25-30 pounds. Cotton and Maupin would give the Bucks a couple more true D-Tackles like Marcus Green and Quinn Pitcock.
8) Mike McGlynn, offensive lineman. McGlynn is big (6-5, 315) and is one of the state's best in an unusually weak year for Ohio O-Linemen.
9) Andrew Crummey, offensive lineman. Crummey is not especially big (6-5, 280), but I give him the nod over Ty Hall, who doesn't appear to have a Big Ten body to me.
10) Shawn Crable, outside linebacker/defensive end. The 6-5 1/2 Crable is down to 215 pounds and his stock is falling nearly as fast as his weight. Crable is still being lured by several top schools, but OSU doesn't have a burning need for edge rushers with young guys like Simon Fraser, Mike Kudla, Jay Richardson, Joel Penton (who will probably be moved to DT) and Tim Schafer already in the fold.
But if you really want to know what the Bucks should do this recruiting season, ask someone like Duane, Mr. Bucknuts, or anyone else that works at Bucknuts.com. They all follow the high school scene much closer than I do.
ANOTHER PLAYOFF THEORY
Who cares that the BCS eliminated margin of victory as one of it's components? The only news I want to hear about the BCS is when they decided to get rid of it for good and go with the system used by every other form of football: A playoff.
And it's not just that pee-wee leagues, high schools and professional leagues use a playoff, it's that every division of college football — except I-A — uses a playoff. I mean, how stupid is that? The NCAA decides that a playoff system is just right for Divisions I-AA, II and III, but thinks that the crusty old bowl system is perfect for the big schools?
Let's imagine that a miracle happens and the suits at the NCAA decide to get rid of the BCS. Here's my playoff/tournament concoction...
The tournament would be made up of the top six schools in the nation (how you decide the six teams is a topic for a different day; but no computer
polls please). First off, the top two teams would get a first-round bye. The No. 3 and No. 6 seeds would play each other in the first round, as would the
No. 4 and No. 5 seeds. The winner of the 3/6 game would play the No. 1 seed in the semifinals and the winner of the 4/5 game would play the No. 2 seed.
Finally, you have the national championship game, which could be played as early as Jan. 8 if you begin the first round around Christmas
(semifinals on New Year's Day).
Here's the reasoning behind this: You could just go with an eight-team tournament and forget about the byes, but I would like to see some type of reward for the top two teams in the land (without just placing them in the title game like the BCS does).
And this also allows the NCAA to keep their bowls. The 3/6 game could be played somewhere like the Cotton Bowl and the other four games could rotate back and forth between bowl sites. For example, in year one, the 4/5 game could be played at the Fiesta Bowl (Sun Devil Stadium), the semifinals could be played at the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl (Superdome) and the title
game could be played at the Rose Bowl.
As for the other 3,753 teams who qualify for bowls these days, those games can still exist. The Big Ten's second place team can still square off against the SEC's No. 2 in the Citrus Bowl, Cincinnati can still play some team you've never heard of on a blue field in Idaho and 800 fans can still show up for the Liberty Bowl.
Of course, this plan isn't perfect, but it's not nearly bad enough for the NCAA to adopt it.
One final thing this week: If they have it their way, both Harlen Jacobs and Maurice Clarett will wear the No. 13 jersey this year. It is legal to do so as long as they are not on the field at the same time. With so many players on collegiate rosters, shared numbers have always existed. But one of the players is usually a walk-on who never plays. I think it will look sloppy for OSU to have two key players, two possible starters, with the same number. And it can't be good luck to have two guys wearing the No. 13.