A Bucket of sooth…
While most sports websites bob and weave when it comes to predictions, Bucknuts likes to take the big pronouncements and the glib soothsaying head on. Hey – that's why guys like Duane and Gary and Nevada and Bill Greene work here! As we describe ourselves: "Frequently wrong but seldom in doubt".
We leave it to our weak-kneed brethren to coin such soothing phrases as "It is likely…" or "There is a probability in my mind…", or even "I have a tendency to think…" (that's a straight line looking for a punch line, right there). We have a tendency to just say what we think and live with the consequences. That's how it should be. Well, according to us, at least…
So, as others are mired in the throes of soothaphobia (1), Bucknuts blunders on, spouting predictions that vary between profound and absurd, from pompous to glib. Living up to that reputation takes leadership and I am just the man for that job. While you can't expect anything quite as momentous in this column as "This she wolf is a reward to my kinsman" (2), I will delve into ten delve-able ideas that are meant to provoke discussion, and probably an all-out meltdown on the Free Boards (3).
All that unnecessary preface notwithstanding, here are: Ten Mr . Bucknuts predictions for the 2006 season:
1. Ted Ginn will play cornerback
2. The three early reporters this spring will be early stars this fall.
3. OSU will miss Santonio Holmes – for his blocking ability. OSU will miss Ashton Youboty – for his tackling
4. You needn't worry about depth on the defensive line; this year, OSU will have the best recruiting haul in ages. You needn't worry about depth on the offensive line; we will have the best recruiting haul ever – next year.
5. Scout, Rivals, Fox, Bucknuts and BSB; you are about to see some substantive changes.
6. When we all look back in five years, this small recruiting class that's coming in (2006), which was ranked 10th-12th in the nation, will have proven to be more appropriately ranked in the top three.
7. The mid-season defensive starters will all end up being early NFL draftees.
8. Academic casualties seldom – if ever – make their way back to the team. If you are in Tressel's doghouse, you seldom make it out in the same year.
9. A few games (Texas, Penn State) that are supposed to be struggles won't be; a couple games that aren't supposed to be struggles (MSU, Northwestern) will be, and the rest will go true to form.
10. Michigan will be a game unto itself.
(1) From the Celtic and Welsh meaning "a fear of predictions"; also see "arachnaRphobia (fear of the Richmond Spiders) and arachibutyrophobia (fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth). This might be my most educational and informative Bucket ever…
(2) Allegedly, the first sentence in the English language
(3)Named after the Lynyrd Skynyrd song
Now, to bat around those points and attempt to make them appear rational:
1. Ted Ginn
Ted's future income depends, in part, on proving that he is the world-class cornerback that we all (somehow) know him to be. Otherwise, the NFL dollars will diminish. The Buckeye current season prospects rise and fall on that "other" CB position opposite of soon-to-be-All-World Malcolm Jenkins. Remember Chris Gamble? So does Jim Tressel.
2. The early reporters
No, I am not talking about Steve Helwagen, Dave Biddle and Charles Babb (who are all compulsively prompt); I am talking about Ross Homan, Kurt Coleman and Chris Wells. Homan and Wells are already in the two-deep. But I am projecting Kurt Coleman there, too, and for Kurt to be your cornerback of the future. What's not to like in a guy that is super athletic, very fast and loves to hit?
3. Holmes and Youboty
If you watched replays of "big plays" last year, there's Holmes laying out someone in the secondary to spring Ginn or Pittman. When you look at opposing running backs getting snarfled at the line, there's Youboty laying on the lick. I hope OSU doesn't miss that run support this year…
4. Offensive lines/defensive lines
I project that OSU will get two out of the three following defensive tackles this year: Joseph Barksdale, Antonio Jeremiah and Josh Brent. I project that we will get two out of the three following defensive ends: Ben Martin, Solomon Thomas and Martez Wilson/Devon Still. While none of this is breaking news (individually), the sum total is terrific news (collectively).
For 2008, OSU will get commitments from four Top 100 O-linemen, any of whom could be amongst the best in the nation. I think they are Mike Adams and Zebrie Sanders (both from Ohio) and Michael Brewster (FL) and Kyle Long (VA). If that occurs, you would have to look at any team anywhere any time to have a better class than that!
5. Rivals and Scout
There will be a sea change in the way these national college site networks work. Bucknuts is voluntarily part of Scout, which sold out to Fox last year. Buckeye Sports Bulletin is part of Rivals, which is changing their overall strategy this year. Look for big changes as the national networks worry more about their tactics and the websites themselves (the guys doing the work!) worry more about being great web sites.
6. The 2006 recruiting class
This is already looking like a superior class. Talk about quality versus quantity! OSU has the three super "early reporters" (see above) who all have the marks of "superstar" on them. Then you have Robert Rose and Ray Small from Glenville, both of whom could start for 3+ years. They have one O-lineman (Connor Smith) that could be a great one and one (Bryant Browning) that could eventually start. The Buckeyes have a great fullback prospect (Aram Olson), two good tight ends (Ballard and Miller) plus three more DB's that will play their position as well as special teams (Grant Schwartz, Chimdi Chekwa and Aaron Gant). Defensive line? Walter Dublin and Dexter Larimore will both be in the two-deep mix as long as they are eligible. Finally – the linebackers. Are you kidding me? Homan and Thaddeus Gibson and Larry Grant and Tyler Moeller and Mark Johnson. A great class. Case to be fully closed in five years…
7. Mid-season "D"
Pitcock and Patterson will both have long careers at the next level. Lawrence Wilson, too. Pick from either Gholston, Richardson and Rose. Two of those three will play Sundays. Freeman, Laurinaitis and Homan? All Sunday guys. Super Jamario, Anderson Russell, Malcolm Jenkins and Coleman/Ginn? Count on paying to watch them all play. A great collection and they will be collecting great big bucks after their time with these Bucks.
8. Casualties and doghouse denizens
As to the academic side, the Underwood family is gone. Many of the kids that the Bucks took a chance on are back home: Hiley, Sirjo, Reggie Smith, Brandon Maupin and Sian Cotton. Those guys were on the ropes and never got off. As to the "doghouse", think Redgie Arden, AJ Trapasso, Jonathan Skeete and Andre Tyree. Then think Erik Haw and Marcel Frost. There were no more talented guys on the entire roster; if anyone could crawl out to the end of the chain, I thought it would be the two of them.
9. Surprise games going both ways
Plus or minus the unanticipated injuries and those dreaded turnovers, I think OSU lays one on Texas in front of a national audience. There's payback. There's the surprisingly good "D". And there's that freshman Longhorn QB. I also think that Penn State comes in with an empty suit. Plus, that payback thing. Plus, we owe Posluszny just for tarnishing the Butkus award…
As to the unexpectedly scary games, Michigan State is the Sybil of college football with more personalities than players. How to prepare? And Northwestern, up in the gloom and cold of Evanston in November…well, I remember that horrid home game there a few years back. Whew.
10. The Michigan game
One of the famous dead poets (1) once famously said "Man's love is of man's life a thing apart. ‘Tis woman's sole existence". And so it goes with the Michigan game. It is a thing apart. Too many of us can remember too many Michigan games in which we should have kicked their ass remorselessly and just, well…didn't. 1996 and 1995 spring to mind. And – fortunately – we can remember a few games in which we weren't supposed to show up (2001 springs to mind) that we kicked some of that same ass. Michigan-Ohio State. Just thinking about it makes the blood chill…
(1) I think it was Tennyson. But it could have been Golfson or Cricketson or another of those British sports-related poets.
* * * *
Some more offensive lines…For those of you hanging on every word of every Bucket, you know that a) You need help and b) I am still reviewing, position-by-position, the team from a recruiting perspective. We have covered all of the so-called "skill positions" on offense, which brings us to the Big Uglies, the guys that allow those skill position players to operate.
If you ask some analysts-in-the-know, they would say that OSU has its best O-line in many many years. If you asked me, I would say the same thing. Plus, that line is gonna get even better.
With Boone and Rehring on one side, you have Two Tons of Fun, and both are sophomores. Datish has become a polished gem at center and Downing (senior) and Barton (junior) are both NFL-bound. Next year, the Two Tons will be back, Cordle is penciled in at center and Skinner or Person or Mitchum or Connor Smith will replace Downing. As backups, there's still the veteran Tim Schafer (senior), newcomers Bryant Browning and Josh Kerr (both expected to red-shirt as true freshmen) and everyone loves walk-on center Tyler Whaley.
All that said, the only issue is the depth in waiting. It seems that two or three big bodies are needed in this year's recruiting net (one – Evan Blankenship – has already been snared). The other 1-2 should come from a great group that includes Nick Claytor, Kris O'Dowd and Anthony Davis. At least thus far. But, for those of you hanging on every word (1), you know that the real mother lode comes in the next recruiting class with 2-3 offers for that class; offers probably coming as early as this September!
So, relax, you worrisome quarrelsome fans. The line is great. And it's going to get better…
(1) Check out "Defensive lines/offensive lines" from above before you check out altogether.
* * * *
You can hold the mayo…But only for so long. OJ Mayo postponed (again) his press conference on Sunday to announce what he has been announcing for the past three weeks - that he will become the second famous OJ to attend USC. In his planned one-year tenure there, it is likely that he might more closely resemble another Ohio miscreant, Reecie; of (unfortunately) more vintage infamy. I'm not sure that this juice is worth the squeeze as OJ Mayo seems to fall into the category of "The accident that's waiting to happen"…
* * * *
Every move you make, every breath you take, every Twinkie you inhale…That's right, Little Tuna, we'll be watching you. As Charlie Weis outs himself, this year, to the rest of the world as 1) Mortal 2) Obnoxious and 3) Unbelievably arrogant, we will take every opportunity to let you in on the case slowly being built to take off the emperor's clothes (1). Such an opportunity presents itself again this week as Charlie turns loose the Leprechauns for practice and this report was filed:
Good Charlie, stubborn Charlie, a fact of life
This story ran on nwitimes.com on Monday, August 7, 2006 12:19 AM CDT
It's Charlie's way, or the
closest you'll get to Irish football is the car radio. Behind the scenes, away
from cameras and tape recorders, we're told he's got the people skills of a
prison guard. And a temper to match.
What's so frustrating is that Weis can be genuinely charming one moment, a tyrant the next. He had that split personality as an NFL coordinator with the Jets and Patriots, and continues to irritate other coaches at Notre Dame with his moody nature and short fuse.
A large number of alumni reportedly are upset by his behavior. As long as the Irish win, they'll bite their lip. But if the program struggles, his critics will multiply like roaches.
Notre Dame's Football Media Day was Sunday morning, not Saturday, if you can believe that. The media turnout could've been better. We have a Catholic university, on a church day, a traditional family day, basically forcing some to work.
It didn't take Charlie long to flex some muscle. Former Times Sports Writer Jeff Carroll, now working for the Irish Sports Report, was informed by school officials that he could not ask questions of Weis, his staff or players during the three-hour session. It seems Weis and senior associate athletics director John Heisler weren't happy with some of Carroll's reporting endeavors.
Here's an idea: Have someone ask the questions for you.
Not a pretty picture to contemplate, that…
To give your opinions on whether all the academic looking footnotes actually make a typical Bucket of Bullets column seem even more intelligent and insightful, feel free to contact Mr. Bucknuts on this (or any other) subject (1)