All week long, we sports media types brought up the 1998 OSU/MSU debacle. Rory Nicol even said that the seniors were "really stressing it". But this is not 1998 and a Cooper-coached team.
All week long, the media talked about the Michigan State game from last year. And last year, the Spartans had 27 first downs and 456 yards. The Buckeyes had six fumbles, as well. This, friends, is not that team.
All summer long, the stalking heads of the various anti-OSU media horde shook their wizened heads and shuddered when they said: "OSU and road games? Hey – they have Texas, Iowa and Michigan State, all on the road with a young defense. Ain't no way". Now, it's mid-October and OSU spanked Texas by 17, beat up Iowa by 21 and thrashed MSU by 31. Any other questions, boys?
In the early days of the Tressel regime, we used to just hope for a TD. A touchdown. Now we look for a different "TD" – Total Domination. And we got it again Saturday. I tried to find faults so that I could maintain my cynical reputation. All I could come up with was:
- This was the first game in which the Bucks struggled with kickoff coverage. Perhaps it was the switch to Pretorious. Perhaps it was the wind (but from both directions?)
- The punting was so-so, except for the one coffin-corner kick.
- The coaching staff is still torturing Maurice Wells by forcing him to run between the tackles. Did he show up late to practice or what?
- The Buckeyes are never going to get to practice their "close game" strategies because, well… they don't have any close games.
It was a fun watch and a lot of players played. Some stuff has become so "every week" that you almost hate to bring it up again. Like Quinn Pitcock being one of the greatest college D-tackles ever. And how about those "G-Men" – Ginn and Gonzalez? No, they aren't feds. It's just every time they touch the ball, you wanna say, "Gee!" You think the coaches aren't having fun when they run – first – a reverse to Gonzo. Then – on the next play – run a reverse to Ginn? Or having Ginn throw on a reverse just to put that play into the Michigan scouting tapes.
Finally, Troy had more Heisman moments and was as cool as the other side of the pillow, once again. To widen the voting gap for Troy, Adrian Peterson had a great game and then broke his collar bone, so he is out for the year. Drew Stanton had a miserable game and almost broke his "cooler bone" in a Murphy's Law moment over on the sidelines.
And the beat goes on for Coach Tressel and his super staff, as well. This was JT's 70th game as the head coach of the Buckeyes. The only coach's with more? (Honest…): Woody Hayes with276, John Cooper with 158, John Wilce with 120 and Earle Bruce with 108. After the Michigan State win Saturday, Tressel's record is now 57-13. And, fans, that is the best record among that aforementioned group of coaches getting to their 70th games: leading Bruce was 55-15, Wilce was 52-15-3, Woody was 47-19-4 and John Cooper was but44-22-4.
It is not only a great time to be a Buckeye, but the trend is certainly our friend, as well…
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"Don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt"…After John L. Smith completed his quad-fecta of collapses against Notre Dame, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State, it got the fans to thinking: What if JLS (is that a wasting disease?) hadn't imploded against those Fighting Irish in the last eight minutes? Well, the Ires would be 4-2 and would have finished their Big Ten schedule by having beaten a mediocre team (Penn State) and a truly awful team (Purdue) while having been mutilated by a good team (Michigan) and humbled by a mediocre team (Michigan State). In other words, they would finish their "conference run" in the middle of the pack of the Big Ten; they would be rated about 18th in the nation and the phrase "BCS Bowl" would join traditional ND jargon like "Wait until next year". Unfortunately, MSU swallowed the bit and Domers everywhere can continue their delusional existence.
This is a team that shouldn't be ND but rather NoD. Until Charlie McButterpants realizes that football is composed of defense and special teams as well as offense, these South Benders are barely a Top 20 group. In consecutive games, the two Michigan teams scored 84 points on them, or 21 more than OSU has given up in seven games! And against the lowly Boilermakers, the Frightening Irish defense gave up 500 yards, including the most yards in Notre Dame history to a wide receiver (234 to Selwyn Lymon).
I know you Irish fans take offense at some of my comments. Once you start considering defense as part of your team concept, we will let up a bit…
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Dragging around the old mail bag…Steve Helwagen says I don't get paid unless I can knock down 4000 words or more for these columns. Since I look forward to those large weekly checks, well…I have found a way to puff up the number of words without working any harder! Just like last week, I am publishing excerpted e-mails I received in this whole Hatfield-McCoys or Mr. Bucknuts-Charlie Weis border war. This week, I have focused in on Ohio State responses to the Notre Dame responses. Read on:
Thanks for the laughs by your inclusion of the ND/UM, etc. letters. While UM and ND fans alike fall all over themselves trying to top each other's arrogance, they seem to be running nose to nose in the department of 'let's talk about the past/you just wait 'til next year' when the topic of the #1 Buckeyes enters the conversation. Ironically, instead of focusing on the positives of their own schools, they resort to digging up anything they can on negatives from scarlet and gray past. For such supposed scholars, you would think they could dig up something better than Big Kat, MC13, or Coop stories from yesteryear. Besides, you don't see many OSU fans bringing the stories of the ND booster in her mid-life crisis who spent large amounts of money on gifts for Irish players or the O'Leary hiring or the UM football player who seemed to be more interesting in 'himself' than the UM football team or the fact that Lloyd Carr looks like Droopy from the Tom and Jerry cartoons….even though we could. It's all about jealousy. Why on earth would an OSU fan waste time on UM or ND's football sites? They don't have anything we want. We have everything they want…The team, the coach, the fans, the band…so they reach for anything trying to bring us down, but just like the boys in scarlet and gray, we stand strong. It's a great time to be a Buckeye!
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FIRST TIME WRITING. I AGREE WITH YOU. ND HAS FOOLS GOLD FOR THEIR SCHOOL COLORS. THEY ARE RATED IN THE TOP TEN EVERY YEAR SO WHEN THEY LOSE THEY CAN STILL MAKE IT TO A BCS BOWL GAME. THE HIGH RATINGS ONLY CONFUSES ND INTO BELIVING THEY ARE BETTER THEN THEY REALLY ARE AND THEY THEN GET BLOWN OUT.
DO ND A FAVOR AND RATE THEM 20 SO THEY CAN EARN THEIR WAY UP THE LADDER AND THE PLAYERS LEARN WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A CHAMPION ON SAT.
IT TAKES MORE THAN A `SIGN OR A TOP 10 RATING. BUT THIS GOES ON EVERY YEAR. AND YES THEY ARE EVEN MORE SCARED OF LEAGUE PLAY AFTER WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN MIAMI.
I WISH THEM WELL BECAUSE COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS GREAT. THE PLAYERS CAN'T WISH A CHAPIONSHIP, YOU EARN IT.
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Mr B –
I enjoy your comments although I do not think you are hard enough on the "Baby Tuna".
The Ohio State vs. Notre Dame bowl game was proof conclusive who the real coach is and who the pretender is! I thought Brent Musberger was going to strangle every time he said "Coach" when mentioning the Tuna in the Bowl game earlier.
I am glad Ty Willingham is coaching elsewhere - He has more class than Tuna and is a much better coach on any day.
Buckeye Fan in Exile--South Kakalakia
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Thank you for putting to words what Ohio State fans, and most other fans (Weis thoughts) want to say. I'm tired of the ND talk, their coach has no self control and the team is over rated. Time for the NCAA to put a little pressure on them and NBC, get rid of the TV contract and make them join a conference. Maybe the leader of their D, Zbikowski, should have spent more time working on his speed this winter and less time on his punch.
Thank you, and looking forward to the next Bucket of Bullets!
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Bravo on the latest Bucket of Bullets and in regards to the comments like "I GUESS THAT'S WHY PLAYERS LIKE KATZENMOYER CAN`T EVEN PASS A CLASS ON "GOLF"!"
First off, didn't Katzenmoyer pass golf? So that's irrelevant....haha
I'm in my 5th year as a Pharmacy major and I took golf as an elective...so you know, it's a nice class to take. And isn't college supposed to get a person ready for his/her career after school? Katz just wanted to make sure his football days didn't end too soon via a disease like AIDS (see: Magic Johnson) and what is the sport most played by old people in retirement? Yes, exactly...Golf.
Lastly, as a little FYI.... I am roommates with 1 Michigan football fan and 1 Notre Dame football fan (which replaced another notre dame football fan in our household from last school year) and the Michigan football fan and I were talking.... We came to the conclusion that Charlie Weis kinda looks like a tourist...only he wears his fanny pack UNDER his pants... that's the only thing we could figure that could give him that nice pouch....and it was nice to agree with the Michigan fan for once.....
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I am loving the Notre Dame feud. I can understand the Michigan fans firing back some shots, they cleaned our clock enough to deserve a few shots. But where are these Notre Dame fans coming from?
A program that had trouble making January Bowl games for a decade, finally makes a BCS game and proves they don't belong.
And as far as head to head competition, there really hasn't been one since 1936?
I think the response to the Domers should just be "Scoreboard"
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Thanks for writing your article every week. As another life long OSU fan, I think I need to point out a couple of things to you. I thank you for telling the truth about Mr. "not so weis", but you really need to be a little more on the ball when it comes to the big 10 coaches. LLLLoyd deserves much more than what you give him along with there fans. No need to take it easy on him unless you are saving it for later on, but why waste the weeks between then? I know you spend a lot of energy on ND (and rightfully so), but I have not heard hardly a thing about the other teams in our conference. Yes, you might get a little dig here or there, but I believe you could do so much more. And yes, I know that they don't give you much to work with, but a little slam every week would be nice! And be prepared for the media love fest that Urban and his team are going to receive. They will get so much attention that Mr. Weis will probably drop 15-20lbs sweating the fact that they have another coach that will get there attention more than him. Look for Mr. Weis in the local donut shop putting down, say 3-6 dozen boxes of crème filled donuts per day this week just in case.
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Love your articles as always. I hate Notre Dame with a passion and am Sick of them getting a free ride in the polls. Please point out in your next Notre Dame blast that the mighty Irish have not won a bowl game since 1993!! IT HAS BEEN 13 FRICKING YEARS!!! Only Indiana and Northwestern have a drought that long in the Big Ten. But Notre Dame was too good to join the conference??
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Nice article. Finally an educated person who knows what's up in college football.
As a Midwestern Irish Catholic myself, I take great offense towards the entire institution of Notre Dame. Something to tell the Notre Shame fans when they suffer from delirium and such from the heavy metal poisoning (that much gold in your diet isn't healthy), is that Notre Dame is not as good a school as they think. Well, not that what they think is so important, it's usually erroneous in some way (way to extend Charlie Weis's contract longer than his belt!) I looked up the stats by US News and World Report. It seems the Lame Dame graduate program is virtually nonexistent. In fact, the only graduate program I could find that ranked higher than Ohio State's was the law program. So yes, pay $40,000 for a degree that won't get you very far. I'll pay a quarter of that and actually succeed.
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When I read your column, I don't know whether to laugh for cry (tears of joy, of course). It's hilarious that so many from the other side come to you for wisdom. I wouldn't know how to find an Irish or Wolverine site even if I wanted to. It's clear you've hit a nerve and I'm hoping you stay on it for additional entertainment after I've finished reading about another Buckeye victory. Keep up the good work!
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Dear Mr. B,
I was surprised yet highly entertained with your publishing the hate mail. Your column is always an entertaining read, but the hate mail section left me with more giggles than usual. Please keep it up!
To paraphrase Ann Coulter; If you haven't reduced your detractors to a raging pile of babbling goo, you aren't doing it right.
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You are right on about Weis. One other difference between him and the "fat fans" at the Shoe is the fact most of them didn't have gastric bypass surgery and then sue the surgeon when things went south only to become the bloated self-important Irish false idol.
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Maybe we should have a little compassion and understanding for the Domers; after all, it's them getting stiff necks from looking up to Ohio St. in the rankings and still smarting from 3 recent ASS whoopins' from the Bucks! But then again, they give no respect so they deserve no respect. Domers may get some degree of intelligence along the way but they don't get wisdom. If they were wise they would not be Domers to start with! Ohio St. showcases the talent that comes from Ohio. Domerdom showcases talent that has no loyalty to any roots. GO BUCKS!
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Mr. Bucknuts -
You're a funny guy. I love your stinging jabs. You're also an insightful football analyst. But you seem to just lose yourself over Charlie Weiss. He brings out your very worst columns (last week's and this week's). Straight-up offensive insults are not funny. Get over him. Move on. And as much as I love the Bucks, in my own opinion, the Irish cannot be accused of any more arrogance than the Buckeyes. It's what college football is all about. Love your team!!! So if you're inspired with an insightful, funny jab, use it. Otherwise, I would suggest you return your column to its previous class.
Thanks for the, well… nice parts of your e-mail.
I received about 100 e-mails in the past 24 hours and yours is one of only three suggesting that I am off base. Interestingly, most thought I should pick up the "Whale on the whale" pace! I don't. But that's why we can all agree to disagree.
I appreciate you taking the time to write.
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Lineback-back-back-ers come in waves of three…Over the winter, those of us that project the rosters noted that there were 12-13 linebackers in play. So to speak. In retrospect, we can look at those fellows in "platoons" of three and see how quickly – and materially – those prospective rosters can change.
The first platoon was composed of three guys that never made it to the party at all. Both Mike D'Andrea and converted DB Curt Lukens retired from the college game due to recurring injuries. Then, Chad Hoobler (once thought to be the future of the linebacking corp), transferred out to Ashland College. Twelve suddenly became nine…
At the other end of the spectrum, three of the super frosh have been red-shirted: Mark Johnson (rehabbing an injury), Tyler Moeller and Thaddeus Gibson. The coaches rave about Moeller and he will be making a lot of noise in subsequent seasons. Gibson? Simply a matter of time for the athlete that Duane Long thinks is superior even to Ross Homan. And, thus, the nine becomes six…
Of the six remaining, senior John Kerr, sophomore James Laurinaitis and soph Marcus Freeman have gotten the majority of the starts. But it's also just a matter of time until Ross Homan supplants Kerr for PT and "perennial long-shot" Curtis Terry seems to be getting the run-stopping snaps now. JUCO transfer Larry Grant is backing up the middle and will play more on the outside as needed.
Finally, there's Austin Spitler, who is looking for time and looked great on one play against the Spartans Saturday. And I still think he would make a terrific fullback.
So, 12-13 became six, really. And the overwhelming depth became not-so-overwhelming. And next year (2008)? We will probably be looking for yet another new platoon…
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The dark science of recruiting…Just when you think you have that whole recruiting thing figured out, you realize all of us recruitniks (and hapless coaches) are left in the arbitrary and capricious hands of 17-18 year old kids; that are, themselves, left in the wake of some truly shaky advice. Case in point: I am also a University of Dayton basketball fan, so I follow the adventures of the Flyers. UD's new outstanding coach, Brian Gregory, is slowly turning around the local fortunes and is in on some national names (Chris Wright and Devon Searcy have already committed for next year). He wanted a super point guard out of Chicago: Jacob Pullen, who committed – instead – to Bob Thuggins' new Kansas State program. So what, you ask? Pullen had visited UD, spent time with the players and coaches but said in the final analysis, "It was a real tough decision. But me and my family sat down for a long time and decided where I would be most comfortable. I went with my heart".
All that said, Pullen has yet to visit the Kansas State campus.
So…when you wonder about the mis-adventures of a Richard Washington or a Derek Morris or a Stanley McClover, remember the back stories and know that you don't know what you don't know…
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True-isms that just aren't true…Yes, Colerain is a Michigan pipeline. Right? Michigan got Cobrani Mixon from there last year, right? And the Cincinnati area doesn't go for OSU, anyway. And – of course - when the Big Tuna comes a'calling, Notre Dame will whip Ohio for the big players. They have Ben Martin all locked up, right?
Wrong, wrong, and wrong, tuna breath. Colerain has now sourced for the Buckeyes Connor Smith, Ty Moeller and Eugene Clifford – all within about nine months. Plus, last year's other big "Michigan from Colerain" haul – Mister Simpson, has already left that Program From Up North. And I predict that Tressel will take Ben Martin away from the forces of leprechaun evil. Between Clifford and Martin and Saine, we have committed the three best players in Ohio. Again. And Cincinnati? Check out where the best of the best are going. Give or take one Aaron Brown, JT has Cincy covered for who the Buckeyes really want. And he's covered most of our bets, as well…
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(Yet another) modest proposal…Well, somebody has to say what needs to be said and I nominate myself – once again. What needs to be said? The rotation of teams in the Big Ten coming on and off the schedule is asinine. Or ass-in-ten, as this case may be. Some years we play Wisconsin, some years Illinois. Or maybe Purdue comes back around or, well…you get the picture. And it's not a pretty picture. Especially when two teams could tie for the championship of the conference, yet not get the opportunity to play each other. It's one thing to forego a conference championship game, it's another thing to select your champion based on some administrative wonk's picking and choosing.
How to solve the issue. Simple. Have the Big Ten go back to being – ten. Everyone will play three out-of-conference games and then everyone will play nine conference games, which include (surprise!) everyone. How to get there? Eliminate one school from the conference and I nominate: Northwestern.
Someone has to go, just like it made so much sense at the time to add Penn State. Northwestern doesn't "fit" with the academic profile or the state-oriented profile of the rest of the conference. And we really need to get the Big Ten back to Ten.
I know, I know, here comes the hate mail from Wildcat fans. Just throw it on the stack with all the Irish and Wolverine unopened letters.
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And let's write off Florida, too…Remember when we loved to hate Miami? And remember when Florida State provoked fear in the hearts of Buckeye fans? Well, last week marked the first time since 1982 that neither Florida State nor Miami were ranked in the top 25 in the country. The University of Florida is the last of the Big Three that still represents. Of course, their previously unflappable QB, Chris Leak, flapped on Saturday night at Auburn. And – from a state that's known for its fair weather – the fans are notoriously fair weather, as well. For the game against North Carolina two weekends ago, the total attendance at the Orange Bowl for Miami was 29,000.
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Give it to me stat…I have a sickness of looking up all the meaningless drivel we know as "statistics" each week after a Buckeye victory. And I find such things as:
- If the third string Buckeye defense hadn't given up a meaningless MSU touchdown with a minute to go, they would lead the nation in scoring defense. As it is, the team is third behind Rutgers and LSU.
- OSU is now 29th in total offense, a huge leap forward from previous teams in the Tressel era. (And 15th in the nation in scoring offense…)
- If Chris Wells hadn't coughed up the football on the first series against the Spartans, the Bucks would lead the nation in "turnover margin" As it is, they are second.
- Following that up, Ohio State has had only five turnovers all year – two Chris Wells fumbles, two Troy Smith INT's in bad weather against Penn State, and just one other fumble lost (Zwick?).
And for those people interested in such numerical minutiae, there you have it…
If you have meaningless information that can be quantified, or if you want to talk about Notre Dame (same thing?), e-mail Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com