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Mr. B’s Keys + The Big Ten's Worst

May one? May one just say “Scoreboard”. Check it out and get used to seeing these websites up there with the winners!

Mayday Malone here, bringing you “Cheers” for the official dead time of Ohio State football. Each month, of course, is full of vital moments and even though we can be off-color or off-topic, we never truly believe there is an off-season for Ohio State football.

May is the month that tests that theory. There’s football from September through January and recruiting into the middle of February. The spring practice build-up (and early commits takes us through April. June is for camps and July is when the players come back and August they are practicing so…

That leaves May.

So…(other than the Tressel travails – and I have certainly expressed myself on that!)

Whose gonna play? How we gonna play? Each year, I set up a strategic plan for the Buckeyes to go undefeated. No – not just for them to field a winning team but to win them all. I have made this pretty public and am a little chastened that the coaches have never called me to follow up.

But that’s on them.

This is the 2011 plan (we’ll worry about the 2012 bowl exhibition game – hopefully in New Orleans - in a later edition):

Mr. B’s Keys

I'm back, baby! Albeit briefly ...

1) The horses gotta pull the chariot

Especially in the first five games, the running backs ARE the key. We have great defense and the offensive strategy (no matter who is wearing The Vest) will be played not-to-lose. Close to the vest. So the O-line and RB’s are critical. The bad news is that opposing coaches know that, too. The good news is they night not be able to stop our guys, regardless.

I watched Jordan Hall and he is special; shiftier and stronger and better vision than last year. And I watched Jaamal Berry and I think he is better than Hall! This might be the first time in his Buckeye career that he hasn’t been dinged and he is elite. Rod Smith? Passes all the message board tests but I haven’t seen enough to anoint him the next Beanie George (a combo back). But we do have a fourth horseman: Yes, you could pencil in Carlos Hyde, the forgotten back or you could put in ink the well-rested All-Big Ten Boom Herron; who will be back. With our backs? Yes, we will be back.

2) No-lose quarterbacks

If you could build a QB with Braxton Miller’s legs and Taylor Graham’s arm and Joe Bauserman’s experienced head, you would have the ideal replacement for Terrelle. But I checked - and you can’t. You might also note that no body parts from Guiton are on this list. Third and long? Braxton can get that with his feet. Graham can get that with his arm. Bauserman? We punt on the next down. You will see that a lot. We will play bottled up not-to-lose offense. We are experienced at playing that way (see: OSU offense, circa the last decade). Defense wins the games (and might have to score, as well).

3) Nobody gets hurt on the offensive line!

Really – I saw it in a memo in the locker room. Norwell, Hall, Mewhort, Linsley, and Brewster. Mike Adams? See you in Nebraska. JB Shugarts? The emphasis is what’s in his “Shu’s”. Can he play? If we can keep these guys healthy – and with our backs – we can grind some meat, fellas.

4) Lots of receivers looking at their hands

Jake Stoneburner

Yes, they gotta run routes. Yes, they gotta go over the middle. Yes, they gotta hang on to the ball. Our most gifted (by a lot) wide-out is Posey and he won’t be back until mid-season. Our next most gifted? Stoneburner. And expect him to be out in the slot. Because he has to be.

Four keys. But they unlock a lot of treasure if used right.

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From an article in GQ magazine…

My wife tries to force me to read this GQ magazine. What do you think she is trying to tell me? The article I did read was entitled “The Worst Sports Fans in America” and was described as “GQ's heavily researched, highly scientific accounting of the bleacher creatures, bottle-throwers, couch-torchers, sexual harassers, projectile vomiters, and serially indifferent bandwagon-hoppers marring our national landscape.”

No, OSU didn’t make the top 20 (and that certainly pisses me off…) but Wisconsin – there they are again - and Penn State fans did. Here are those descriptions, of a fashion:

#13. University of Wisconsin
“Boozehounds”

Drunken Badgers have amassed such a glorious history of harassing visiting fans—there was that time they threw glass beer bottles at a 7-year-old—that UW became the nation's first school to install Breathalyzers at the gate. With their "Show and Blow" program (again: their name, not ours), the university requires breath checks of any student previously booted from a game for an alcohol violation. And fans aren't the only ones blowing. The entire 300-member marching band was suspended for one game in 2008 due to repeated incidents of alcohol abuse and—wait for it—sexualized hazing.

#7. Penn State University
“Urine Tossers”

Behold: a group of fans so vile that the university had to adopt a resolution denouncing "negative cheering" all the way back in 2000. Loophole: They didn't tell the kids not to throw stuff! Thus students from the Princeton Review's 2010 top party school have pelted visiting players and band members with snowballs, mud balls, and bottles of urine. Lacking projectiles during the 2008 riots that followed a win over Ohio State, Penn fans uprooted small trees to hurl at police. And let's not forget the notorious 2007 incident in which a crowd of onlookers cheered as a student chased down two OSU fans and threw a full can of beer at their heads. Video of that assault was proudly posted on YouTube, tagged as "comedy."

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Orange you glad you are not the Fiesta Bowl?...

Following in the wake of the Fiasco Bowl incidents, the heat is rightfully turned up in southern Florida, which follows in the wake of the egregious money grab just discovered from an on-going Fiesta Bowl investigation in Arizona. As the BCS “system” continues to pile up money – for themselves - and as our university presidents and conference leadership continue to hoard the revenues – for themselves – the curtains are being pulled away from the sham of the exhibition games we know as “Bowl Games”. Not only is the non-playoff aspect of these games deeply and illogically flawed, but the games themselves are being shown to be transparent money-grab scams.

First it was the Fiesta Bowl and the top execs pulling in (and out) ridiculous sums. Now, it appears that the CEO of the Orange Bowl, Eric Poms, got a $150,000 raise to more than half a million after 2009. Here we go again. And what did he do to earn that “bump”? Well…

Plus, the game likes to portray itself as a “public charity” for tax purposes; but they happened to give their next three top execs pay boosts ranging from 24%-38%. Nice work if you can get it. They all got in the $200,000 range.

This is a bowl that was 9000 short in selling out last year’s game with Stanford and V-Tech but they seem to have sold out to their execs. They might have lost money last year but, as one of the critics pointed out, “It was a difficult economy for all events across the country”. Unless you are paid to run them, of course!

The Orange, Fiesta and Sugar Bowls were all sued by PlayoffPAC, which accused them of violating their tax exempt status. The Orange Bowl also pulled off another heist in that they received $627,000 in grants from the city of Miami to pay for those inflated salary packages.

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Facts and factoids, figures and figurin’…

Anon. And on and on. Since too much is never enough around here, I give you these disparate factoids to contemplate. Today? Let’s talk some baseball…And to show all the Tressel Faithful that some errors can certainly be rectified…

1) A quick Q&A with a former baseball player…

Q. Is it true that at first you batted cross-handed, holding your left hand over your right on the bat handle?

A. Yes. One day, I batted that way during batting practice before a game in Buffalo, and a scout was there to watch me. The scout walked over to me, told me to take my right hand and put it over my left. I did it and hit two home runs that day and I never looked back.

The hitter was…Hank Aaron!

2) It was 60 years ago today… No, not Sgt. Pepper, and not quite to the day, but it was in 1941 that Joe DiMaggio had his 56-game hitting streak. Remarkable? You betcha. But maybe even more impressive that year, he only struck out 13 times in 621 at bats. As SI subsequently pointed out, “Albert Pujols is lauded as being a tough batter now and he strikes out about 60 times a season”. And in less at bats.

3) More diamond studs… Only two players hit 47 or more home runs and struck out less than 47 times in a season; and did that twice: Lou Gehrig in New York and Ted Kluszewski in Cincinnati. Gehrig had the all-time best season ratio when he hit 49 homers and fanned only 31 times in his Triple Crown season of 1934.

As to DiMaggio’s fabulous 1941 season, Jumping Joe hit 30 homers and had only 13 K’s. Ted Williams hit .406 and won the triple crown the same year, but Joe got the MVP! That’s the equivalent to winning six straight Big Ten championships and never getting coach of the year honor, in my book. JT – never far from our thoughts…

4) The value of being a southpaw?... And where did that baseball expression come from, anyway? We know it refers to a left-handed pitcher. It goes back to the practice in baseball of arranging the diamond with the batter facing east to avoid the afternoon sun. A left-handed pitcher facing west would therefore have his pitching arm toward the south of the diamond.

And did you know: If you are right handed, you will tend to chew your food on the right side of your mouth. If you are left handed, you will tend to chew your food on the left side of your mouth. Chew on that tasty factoid…

5) Leaders losing to legends?... Talking about the new made-for-TV divisional tilts in the B-10; there are some new considerations for us to ponder. One is, if you lose a head-to-head game in our own division (like we did to Wisconsin this year), and then a Wisconsin loses to a team in the other division (like they did to MSU last year) and we both finish 4-1 in our own divisions, Wisconsin would end up in the Big Ten title game. So, we could have gone 11-1 and not gotten to the Big Ten title game (but probably have a good shot at a BCS bowl). Right now only the games against the teams in your division count in getting to the “championship” game.

6) FX is trying to fix Fox… Despite Fox’s deplorable coverage in college football, and despite losing all their important games to ESPN, Fox is dipping their toes into the water again through their channel-owned FX Network which – later this year – will carry 14 college football games. Primarily, these games will come from Fox Sports Net’s TV rights deals with the Big 12 and Pac 10 conferences. FX hasn’t broadcasted sports in five years after televising MLB and NASCAR but Fox envied the henhouse of TNT, which showed they could share broadcast rights (and ratings) during March Madness this past basketball season. The only expert they plan to bring to this broadcasting exercise? Cletus, the uniquely annoying animated robot.

7) And speaking of which… Fox and the Big Twelve signed a $60-million-a-year deal that might include a channel-specific conference TV deal. That wasn’t so much news (although it is quite a raise from the $20 million they used to get) as it was that both Texas and Oklahoma are excluded from the deal because they have their own singularly controlled channel! Who wants to bet on the upside of the Big 12? Or Regular Twelve and Big Two…

8) These close wins are killing me… From a medical item I picked up scouring the globe: A new study found that big games that have close scores trigger a sharp rise in traffic fatalities for fans of the winning team. Researchers at North Carolina State evaluated traffic deaths after 271 pro and college football games and basketball games from 2001 to 2008, and found that nail biters were much more likely to result in deaths than did the blowouts. But only the winning side’s fans saw the rise in deaths, which the researchers hypothesized is because of a surge in testosterone levels. So, thanks go out to Wisconsin (football) and Kentucky (basketball) for saving both my testosterone and maybe my life this year!

9) Mr. Smith goes to Columbus… With all the new players coming in, who might be the best athletic “catch”? Don’t overlook Devin Smith, the wide receiver. Two weekends ago, he got the North’s only TD in the state all-star game and then set a whole bunch of records in the Stark County track meet. Like: 100 meters; a 10.75 champion and new county record. Long jump; a 23' 6" champion and new county record. High jump; a 6' 8" champion. And 4 X 200 relay; 2nd place as the anchor leg.

Devin may be the best all-around athlete to come to OSU since, well…Teddy Ginn?

10) Gee – it’s Vandy!... We might not be playing Minnesota for four years (starting in 2013) but we replaced them with another football and academic powerhouse – Vanderbilt, Gordon Gee’s alma mammy. Wait – do we schedule Brown next? No? Peculiarly, we also won’t be playing Michigan State OR Nebraska in 2013-2014. But we do have plenty of open dates, and a made-for-TV Big Ten Championship. And Vandy. As a feudal lord, Dr. Gee has really added a lot of meaning to “competitive excellence”, no? No. And it all seems a bit more “futile” than “feudal” these days…

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It’s May, 2011. Time to look at the 2013 recruiting possibilities!...

So, I asked full-time recruiting analyst and part-time legend Duane Long to try to project an early bird look at a 2013 Top Ten. Here’s Duane’s precocious report on the equally precocious talent in Ohio:

1 - Jalin Marshall, WR, 6-0, 190, Middletown: The kind of game-changer every school in the country is looking for. He is not talking solely about playing quarterback. Smart kid.

2 - Kyle Kempt, QB, 6-4, 190, Massillon: Big kid with a big arm and a quick stroke. Better level of competition than Kyle Stahl and he is a little better athlete. Great feet in the pocket.

3 - Taco Charlton, DE, 6-6, 240, Pickerington Central: I will put him at defensive end right now but with his frame and the fact he is already 240 pounds, Charlton could grow into a three-technique tackle.

4 - Kyle Stahl, QB, 6-5, 200, St Henry: Rating them purely as pocket passers, Stahl closes the gap on Kempt. Both should be national quarterbacks.

5 - Billy Price, Lineman 6-4, 265, Fitch: Notice I list him as a lineman. We don't know where he is headed. As a Buckeye fan, all that should matter is he ends up at Ohio State.

6 - Cameron Burrows, DB, 6-2, 180, Trotwood Madison: Corner or safety, this is a big-time kid. If I was certain he would not outgrow corner, he would be higher on this list.

7 - Lovell Peterson, C, 6-3, 270, Wayne: Simply put, he is the best center to come out of Ohio since Nick Mangold.

8 - Kevin Gladney, WR, 6-3, 175, Firestone: The kind of big, physical, athletic receiver that goes at the top of the NFL draft.

9 - Dymonte Thomas, Ath, 6-2, 180, Marlington: I list him as an athlete because he is about as good a safety as he is a running back.

10 - Deveon Smith, RB, 5-10, 205 Howland: Highly skilled back with great vision and instincts. I am watching his body. He is awfully thick for his age.

So – who is following the freshman class? They are the next up-and-comers!

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Who covers the Buckeyes, anyway?...

In the halcyon days of sports coverage (some think that actually happened before the advent of the cyber-sports community cleverly taking over…), Ohio State football had real beat writers and guys that traveled with the team; kinda like the old baseball trains in the 50’s. Each town had their own guy(s) covering the Buckeyes with their own insights and perspectives. Here in Dayton, we had Hall-of-Fame writers like Si Burick and Ritter Collett. We still do get some bash-the-Buckeyes features from terrific Tom Archdeacon, but that’s on an irregular basis.

Dayton - and most other hometown newspapers – has taken the beat guy off the beat. Doug Harris was re-assigned and all our “local” stories here come from the Dispatch guys (like Tim May and Ken Gordon), or supplemented by some antics from Doug Lesmirises at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. No more Tressel stories from the Youngstown Vindicator or Centerville-loves-the-Bucks stories from the Daily News or here’s-what’s happening in northeast Ohio from the Beacon-Journal. It’s all been homogenized. And pasteurized.

That’s not to say that there aren’t selective human interest type stuff but it is few, far between and, well…a little shoddy. The news has been homogenized and it’s a cost-savings effort – not a journalistic advance. In fact, the journalism has suffered as print diversity continues to go to the great typesetting machine in the sky. The AP (once the bastion of fine journalism) is a great case in point. Rusty Miller is the writer that covers the Bucks for the AP and he appears – at best – haphazard about it and – at worst – semi-retired with no command of fact-checkers. As our own peripatetic Ramzy pointed out last month:

It was Braxton Miller who was unanimously considered to be the headliner of the class, even by AP writer Rusty Miller who still curiously began his signing day blurb with the news of Chris Carter’s arrest (along with numerous, lazy mistakes that gave his column all the hallmarks of a high school essay hastily written as the teacher was collecting papers).

It is too bad that “unique perspective” and “agenda” has replaced “diverse and factual coverage”.

But that’s just how we read it…

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Ramzy’s vacation is over…

We have big plans for the Ramzer. Read all about it in the next Bucket!

And if you have anything worth writing about, write it down in the spaces below…

  • O line has to get better or else we have THE best D line in the nation. Don't care how great the RB stable is or how promising the QB situation may be, it starts up front and we didn't look sharp in the scrimmage, so let me take a phrase from the coach, " we need to get better."

  • As you said, "It is too bad that “unique perspective” and “agenda” has replaced “diverse and factual coverage”." Sadly, how right you are. It is rare that anyone bothers to check the facts or do any actual reporting anymore. They take a tidbit that seems like it will make an entertaining/controversial/salacious story, and run with it. It doesn't require the writer to leave their couch or even make a phone call. This is what passes for "media coverage" today...

  • The only "peripatetic" quality in Ramzy's writing is the way he rambles from subject to subject.

  • I still think it is a sham that sanz wasn't drafted. I hope he gets a chance to be a Free Agent when the NFL richmen figure out how to share ther billions.

  • davebucknut said... (original post)

    I still think it is a sham that sanz wasn't drafted. I hope he gets a chance to be a Free Agent when the NFL richmen figure out how to share ther billions.

    Oh yeah, he's gonna be a steal for some team.

  • With the "upset apple cart", I will not be surprised to see the Buckeyes be downgarded in every poll that comes out and every pre-season listing of top teams. Basically Who Cares? We will earn are mettle on the gridiron. Only an idiot would down play this years Buckeye team after they have won 6 straight B10 crowns, played in a record 7 straight BCS games, etc....With present recuriting in place, an a top defense and a solid stable of running backs...they again will dominate th B10 even with a 5 game penalty. Miller will emerge from the pack and lead this team past the first 5 opponents(even Miami) and we will be in solid position for a TP return. Buckey nation Haters will down-play this season and play "chicken-little" all Fall, but a team consists of 100 guys not just 5...we will prevail even if Tressel is watching from a large screen retreat somewheere outside the stadium...take it to the bank!!!

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    The closest that I will ever get to a Buckeye ring or Gold Pants. Saw it sold on e-bay April 29, 2011 for $8500.

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  • The draft seems to be mostly about "measurables," the unmeasurable value of "talent ceiling," and "fit." With that in mind, it doesn't surprise me that Sanz wasn't drafted. He doesn't have imposing size or speed. No one believes he's a player with a high talent ceiling. Compounding the situation, he isn't a return man or a special teams "ace" (see: Browns' 4th round selection of Stanford FB/LB Owen Marecic). Lastly, when the average NFL team has 7 draft picks, they typically don't use one on a position player who has none of those qualities.

    Is he a skilled receiver? Yep. But last time I checked, the NFL teams spend millions employing people to train their players, so his skill won't provide him much of an advantage at the next level.

    Given an opportunity in a training camp situation, I hope he makes the most of it and gets retained. I would suggest that he tryout for the Browns seeing as they paid "wide receivers" last year that I think he could easily beat out and make the roster.

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    BIGBUCK20

    Bigjimmie said... (original post)

    With the "upset apple cart", I will not be surprised to see the Buckeyes be downgarded in every poll that comes out and every pre-season listing of top teams. Basically Who Cares? We will earn are mettle on the gridiron. Only an idiot would down play this years Buckeye team after they have won 6 straight B10 crowns, played in a record 7 straight BCS games, etc....With present recuriting in place, an a top defense and a solid stable of running backs...they again will dominate th B10 even with a 5 game penalty. Miller will emerge from the pack and lead this team past the first 5 opponents(even Miami) and we will be in solid position for a TP return. Buckey nation Haters will down-play this season and play "chicken-little" all Fall, but a team consists of 100 guys not just 5...we will prevail even if Tressel is watching from a large screen retreat somewheere outside the stadium...take it to the bank!!!

    Well said!!

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    GO BUCKEYES

  • Bigjimmie said... (original post)

    With the "upset apple cart", I will not be surprised to see the Buckeyes be downgarded in every poll that comes out and every pre-season listing of top teams. Basically Who Cares? We will earn are mettle on the gridiron. Only an idiot would down play this years Buckeye team after they have won 6 straight B10 crowns, played in a record 7 straight BCS games, etc....With present recuriting in place, an a top defense and a solid stable of running backs...they again will dominate th B10 even with a 5 game penalty. Miller will emerge from the pack and lead this team past the first 5 opponents(even Miami) and we will be in solid position for a TP return. Buckey nation Haters will down-play this season and play "chicken-little" all Fall, but a team consists of 100 guys not just 5...we will prevail even if Tressel is watching from a large screen retreat somewheere outside the stadium...take it to the bank!!!

    I love your optimism, but I can't agree with you. No matter what we prove on the field, every sportswriter in the business voting against us - on a weekly basis. If by chance we steamroll every team on our schedule (highly unlikely), and make our way to the MNC game, the networks won't want our "tainted" program on their docket. This team will be playing for self-pride only, this coming season. If the Bucks take care of business on the field, they will get a good bowl game, but there will definitely be a tax levied on their poll position all season long. I just hope Herbstreit finds someone else to complain about because the national media will be glad to take his lead.

  • Bigjimmie said... (original post)

    With the "upset apple cart", I will not be surprised to see the Buckeyes be downgarded in every poll that comes out and every pre-season listing of top teams. Basically Who Cares? We will earn are mettle on the gridiron. Only an idiot would down play this years Buckeye team after they have won 6 straight B10 crowns, played in a record 7 straight BCS games, etc....With present recuriting in place, an a top defense and a solid stable of running backs...they again will dominate th B10 even with a 5 game penalty. Miller will emerge from the pack and lead this team past the first 5 opponents(even Miami) and we will be in solid position for a TP return. Buckey nation Haters will down-play this season and play "chicken-little" all Fall, but a team consists of 100 guys not just 5...we will prevail even if Tressel is watching from a large screen retreat somewheere outside the stadium...take it to the bank!!!

    Let's look at the bright side, jimmie. Five of our starters will miss almost half the season, or maybe more. If the TatGate offenses go back to '08, we also may vacate, vacate, vacate. The Oline is very average but we can always point to our QB situation as a roll of the dice. And, while our WRs may be young, they sure can't catch the ball. But, not to worry, our kicking game is inconsistant. If all else fails, we can always fall back on our interim HC that hasn't game ONE under his belt. Let's just hope the RBs can step up. Life is good.

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    OttobuckMo

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    Planting Bucknuts in Mo and known as One Sneaky Bastard [cheers] [chug] [smoke] [buckeyes] [ohio]

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