My Football Year

My football year was kind of disappointing. This is the first year in about 10 years that I didn’t play fantasy football. This was for a couple of reasons. One, even though I know there are free leagues out there, the one I normally play in has an entry fee and we’ve been broke ever since my wife has gone on maternity leave. Two, I just haven’t had the time since Baby E has been born. Continue reading

Penalties Handed Out to Ohio State

Due to the infractions committed by Jim Tressel, the NCAA has added additional penalties to the Ohio State football program. The university put itself on two years of probation and cut back on 5 scholarships, hoping that the NCAA would be happy with that. They weren’t. The NCAA put the Buckeyes on a one year bowl ban, meaning no post season bowl game, no conference championship game, and no chance for a national championship. They also took away 3 more scholarships over the next 2 years.

I’m not going to argue that they don’t deserve it. They do. They broke the rules. They got caught. They deserve to get punished for it. I’m actually surprised they didn’t get a more severe punishment.

The hiring of Urban Meyer put high expectations on the program, but with a bowl ban in his first season, those expectations are obviously tempered. I wasn’t expecting a championship season next year, anyways. I was expecting them to do better than they did this year, but I didn’t think they’d contend for the national championship. They had a good chance at the Big 10 championship, but that’s gone now.

There is something I don’t understand about this. After the Reggie Bush situation, USC got a two-year bowl ban. The Ohio State scandal involved multiple players, plus their head coach, but they only get one year? Not that I want the Buckeyes to be more severely punished, but shouldn’t the penalties at least be equal? If the NCAA wants to be taken seriously as a legislative body, they need to punish schools evenly. I just don’t get it.

Most Fun Players To Watch

Any time you make a list like this, it’s always subjective. What I think is fun to watch might not be what you think is fun. I’ve also included both pro and college players on the list. As most of the college football I watch is Ohio State, they, of course, are all Buckeyes. Like I said, this list is subjective.

10. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

When drafted in the 3rd round in 2001, not a lot was expected from Smith, who many thought was too short to play WR. In fact, during his first 2 seasons, he was mostly used as a returner. After returning 5 kicks (2 kickoffs, 3 punts) for touchdowns during that time, the Panthers realized how big of a weapon he could be and began to increase his role in the offense. In his first season starting, he caught 88 passes for 1110 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also plays a lot taller than he actually is. Smith routinely makes catches that someone his size should never be able to make.

9. AJ Hawk, LB, Ohio State Buckeyes

While AJ has been a decent pro, he’s not as good now as he was in college. At Ohio State, he dominated games. In the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, he won the game’s Defensive MVP award, sacking Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn twice, also stopping him on another play from converting a crucial fourth down attempt.

8. Randall Cunningham, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Cunningham was the first truly mobile quarterback the NFL ever saw. He made plays with his feet that no quarterback before him could even attempt. Plus, he made it look easy. He was also pretty good when throwing the ball, a true dual-threat.

7. Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes

Troy hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do in the pros, but he was awesome as a Buckeye. Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, was another dual-threat QB, throwing for 54 touchdowns in his two-and-a-half years as the Buckeye’s QB, while rushing for 14 more. He cemented his status as a Buckeye legend on November 18, 2006 in the #1 Buckeyes 42-39 victory over the #2 Michigan Wolverines. He threw for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns.

6. Eddie George, RB, Ohio State Buckeyes/Tennessee Titans

George is one of the greatest running backs in college football history. He also had a stellar NFL career until he made the mistake of going on the Madden cover and falling victim to the curse. He’s also victim to his own running style. He ran over defenders, causing each carry to take a toll on his body, but watching him run people over was something great.

5. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Yes, Manning has had some great receivers (Harrison, Wayne), but he also has made decent receivers look awesome (Garcon, Collie, Stokely). Some people claim that he chokes in the playoffs, but if the Colts had a defense that was above average, he would have more than one Super Bowl ring. In my opinion, he’s the best QB to ever play the game.

4. Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay Packers

With all of his, “I’m retiring, just kidding, I’m coming back” nonsense, and the fact that he played like crap in 2 of his final 3 seasons, it’s sometimes hard to remember how much fun it was to watch him play. He was fearless on the football field, yet he played the game as if he was a child in his backyard. His ability to improvise when a play broke down was truly exciting to behold, and the smile on his face when he turned a sure 5 yard loss into a 10 yard gain made you forget that he was being paid to play the game.

3. Cris Carter, WR, Minnesota Vikings

During his career, it was said about Carter that he only caught touchdowns. Carter caught almost everything thrown his way, including balls that nobody thought it was possible to catch. When he retired, he had 1101 receptions with 130 touchdowns, both second only to Jerry Rice. The fact that he’s not in the Hall of Fame right now is a travesty.

2. Lawrence Taylor, LB, New York Giants

Lawrence Taylor, in my opinion anyways, is the best linebacker to ever play the game. He revolutionized the position. Linebackers today owe their careers to him. Taylor dominated games. He was probably the first defender that offenses had to game plan specifically against. Of course, I’d recommend not watching his sack of Joe Thiesmann, because it’s kind of gross.

1. Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions

You never knew what you were going to see when you watched Barry run. He made ordinary runs look extraordinary, and turned bad plays into great ones. Had he not abruptly retired when he did, it would be him that holds the all-time rushing record, not Emmitt Smith. Emmitt is nowhere near as good a back as Barry was.

Pulling an Upset

Last night the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the 15th ranked Wisconsin Badgers 33-29 in Columbus. I’m not going to say this was the biggest upset in college football this season, but it’s probably the biggest upset in the Big Ten this season. When you consider how badly the Buckeyes offense has been playing, this was a huge shocker.

Ohio State’s defense held Wisconsin’s run game, which was averaging 231 yards per game, to 89 yards. The Badgers were still able to move the ball through the air, but with their rushing attack (which is what Wisconsin is known for) stalling, it threw them out of their rhythm.

Once again, the Buckeyes offense remained mostly on the ground. They ran the ball 58 times, while only throwing 12. Even rushing that many times, Ohio State averaged 4.6 yards per carry. When you can do that, you can control the clock and have a very good chance to win the game.

Ohio State’s next two games are against opponents with a combined 5-12 record. If they can play those games like they’ve played their last two, they’ll go into their final two games (at home against 8-1 Penn St, and at the Big House against 7-1 Michigan) with a 7-3 record with momentum on their side.

I know that, barring a miracle, the Buckeyes won’t be playing for the Big Ten Championship this year, but I still want them to win out. This is a team that is loaded with freshmen and if they can get into the winning mindset, they will be a very dangerous team for the next few years.

Buckeyes beat a ranked team

Illinois, while ranked, is still Illinois. Yes, they were undefeated before yesterday, but they played a bunch of nobodys, with the exception of Arizona State (which is currently ranked, but that will change as they were spanked by Oregon yesterday). Even their Big 10 games were against a couple of the weaker teams in the conference (Northwestern and Indiana). Even so, I was still expecting Ohio State to lose this game. They have played like crap all year.

They won the game 17-7 and they did it in a way that you don’t see too often these days in college football. They ran the ball almost every play. They only had 4 passing plays all game. Even the option teams, like Georgia Tech (who rush for more than 300 yards per game), pass more than 4 times a game.

They also played really good defense. They intercepted 2 passes and kept them scoreless until the Illini scored a junk-time touchdown in the fourth quarter. Granted, for the most part, the Buckeyes defense has played pretty well all season. It’s the offense that’s been horrible. Dan “Boom” Herron came back from his suspension and rushed for 114 yards on around 5 yards a carry. Hopefully, he can stay out of trouble for the rest of the season and keep up this pace.

Being the Black Sheep

I’ve long known that I’m the black sheep of my family. I’m the only one in my family (including aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) that isn’t a Michigan Wolverines fan. I’m an Ohio State Buckeyes fan. I’ve gotten all kinds of grief over this, but I don’t care. I love the Buckeyes. I don’t know why. I just do. Sure, they’re playing like shit this year. I still love them.

I’m also a black sheep among other Ohio State fans, mainly because most of them creep me out. As much as I love my team, I’m not going to go up to strangers and start talking to them just because they’re wearing clothing that has my team’s logo on it. They will and it annoys the crap out of me. Leave me the hell alone.

One guy, the reason I’m writing this, creeped me out more than most. I have an Ohio State hat that I’ve had for years. It was, until I washed it, really dingy-looking and smelled like sweat. I was wearing it when this guy walks up to me and says, “I like your hat.” I say thanks and try to walk away. He starts to follow me, still talking about the hat. I say, “Yeah, I need to wash it.” He says, “No, you don’t. Wear it with pride. Blah blah blah, Woody Hayes.”

I nod and tell him I have to go. Then, I walk away from him as quickly as I can. The way he said “wear it with pride,” scared me. The tone of his voice was something normally reserved for females and only heard by lonely guys after giving their credit card number.

For any Ohio State fans out there, listen closely. If I don’t know you, don’t come up and talk to me. Just because we like the same college team, doesn’t mean we’re friends.

Buckeyes get rolled

Going into Saturday’s game against Miami, I knew that this game would be the best one to tell how this season would play out for Ohio State. Their first game, against Akron, was nothing. They might as well have been playing a high school team. Their second game, against Toledo, was at least against a team that’s not horrible (while they lost to Boise State this week 40-15, Toledo played a much better game than the score indicates). Granted, the Buckeyes needed a last-minute defensive stand to beat the Rockets, but they at least didn’t look like complete crap.

The offseason for the Buckeyes was horrendous. They lost 4 players to suspension and another to the NFL due to the “tattoos for memorabilia” scandal. Their head coach resigned because of the stupidity he inflicted on the program. Then, right before the season, 3 more players were suspended for accepting less than $300 at a charity event. All of these players were either starters, or players that were going to play big roles. I’m not going to say that these players didn’t deserve to get suspended. They did. If you break the rules, you should be punished.

With all of that going on, Buckeyes fans knew that this probably wasn’t going to be a good year for the team. We were hoping that they could make it through the first five games, until we would get our top rusher and top receiver back. They managed to make it through the first two. Miami, having offseason problems of their own, got their players back from suspension, including their starting quarterback, in time for this game.

I started watching this game, but after seeing how badly the Buckeyes were playing, I stopped watching right before halftime. Just seeing the highlights doesn’t tell the story of this game. You have to look at the stats to see how badly Ohio State played.

The Buckeyes used two quarterbacks, which I absolutely hate when coaches do that. How do you expect a QB to get into a rhythm if you keep switching them out? The quarterbacks went a combined 4 – 18 for 35 yards and an interception. The poor play of our quarterbacks wasn’t completely their fault as our receivers had many drops. Our defense, which is usually stout, gave up 240 yards rushing with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. You can’t win games when you play like that.

There were some positives for Ohio State in this game, but only a couple. Their running game was pretty good, rushing for 174 yards on 4.7 yards per carry. Their passing defense only allowed 123 yards and had 2 interceptions (although they did allow 2 touchdown passes).

Our next game is against Colorado, which has looked bad so far this year. Hopefully, they will work on their passing game and rushing defense this week and gain some momentum before facing Michigan State the following Saturday. Get it together quickly Fickell, or this season is over.