Saturday, May 30, 2009

Buckeyes, Irish to Play "Game of the Year"

Week 15 Just Got A Bit More Interesting

Buckeyes, Irish will be a yearly thing for quite some time.

In a stunning move for both schools, the Buckeyes of The Ohio State University have just signed a long-term deal with the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, a deal that will end each season with a game between perhaps the two most storied programs in the nation.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this deal is the fact that no one saw it coming. When asked about the deal, Ohio State coach Archie Griffin said, "Well, we just felt it wasn't anybody's business. We want to play the best, and they're the best, or pretty close to it, at least."

Some call the agreement a bit of a swipe at the Buckeyes' traditional rival, the Michigan Wolverines, since Ohio State's decision now places Notre Dame as the final game of the year instead of Michigan, a team that has struggled of late. When asked about it, coach Griffin said this:
The game happens when it happens because we couldn't find any other way to get it done. And anyone who says Michigan is no longer the primary game on our schedule ... well, they just don't know (expletive) about Ohio State football.

Coach Griffin: "Notre Dame is now a part of our season, but Michigan is the season."

While the home and away details have not yet been worked out, the two schools both seem committed to the idea of a long term agreement. For the Buckeyes, this likely means a lighter early schedule to compensate for the tough late schedule, and for the Irish, it probably means getting rid of one of its other Big Ten rivalries. While some believe Michigan State will likely be replaced by the Buckeyes on the Irish schedule, some insiders feel it is time to sever ties with in-state rival Purdue. But there is a strong contingent of Irish faithful who believe none of these games should go, so no one can say right now what will happen. However, we will watch the situation with interest.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Buckeye Great Makes the Hall

The most recent selections for the College Football Hall of Fame included one of my favorite Buckeyes from back in the day, linebacker Chris Spielman. He's a bit of a local celebrity here in Columbus, partly because of his radio show on 97.10 The Fan, and partly because of the work he does as part of The Stephanie Spielman Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting breast cancer. Spiels isn't exactly the most talented radio personality, and his ESPN work is sometimes hard to listen to, but he's easily one of the most down to earth celebrity-types you are likely to come in contact with. I'm not always proud of the guys who come out of the Buckeye program (Santonio Holmes is the source of my most recent shame) but Spiels is a good dude.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Little Tradition

Ohio State is a tradition-laden football program, but some of the more interesting traditions for players and fans are not as well known as, say, Script Ohio, which every football fan is aware of. One of my favorites is the singing of Carmen Ohio, which happens at the end of every home game. Win or lose, the players gather in front of the band and sing. And the fans, well, let's just say there's still a pretty packed house to sing to after the game. The rendition you will see below is sung by Buckeye linebacker Cie Grant at the 2003 National Championship celebration. I have witnessed this tradition many times, and I simply refuse to leave the stadium without seeing it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pryor Airs it Out in Spring Game

The annual Spring game signals the official beginning of the college football season in Columbus. With early polls ranking the Buckeyes anywhere from #3 to #10 in the nation in the preseason, excitement levels are high. However, after Columbus hears about Terrelle Pryor's new found passing skills, things are bound to get downright feverish in the Buckeye state.

Pryor and his scarlet-jerseyed teammates flat-out stunned the opposing gray team, the fans, and sports writers around the nation as they managed a whopping 340 yards of offense through the air. 285 of those yards came off the arm of Pryor, who connected on 16 of 20 passes, scoring two touchdowns, and throwing no interceptions. Ray Small was the primary beneficiary, catching 5 balls for 98 yards and a score. Junior Dane Sanzebacher caught six for 80, as he worked under the linebackers and between the safeties. Sophomore Lamaar Thomas made a case for more playing time by taking his only catch 43 yards for a score, breaking what looked like a dozen tackles along the way.

The Spring game is more of a glorified exhibition game than anything else, so fans should be careful with their optimism, but one thing is for sure - Pryor has the arm to go with the legs. If he can get both going at the same time, the Buckeye offense might just be unstoppable.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The "New" Hit Squad

There was never any question who anchored the Buckeye defense in 2008. There was Laurinaitis in the middle, Jenkins on the edge, and then there were nine other guys. Now, with Jenkins and Laurinaitis making the leap to the NFL, the defense has some new anchors, guys whose names are not familiar to most college football fans. However, by season's end, it's likely that names like Austin Spitler, Anderson Russell, and especially Kurt Coleman, will be mentioned among the best defensive players in the nation. Those who believe the Buckeyes will be down in 2009 are sadly mistaken.

2009 Spring Game Depth Chart

DEFENSE (Three Deep)
1. Doug Worthington (6-6, 276, 5th)
2. Garrett Goebel (6-5, 280, RFr.)
3. Willie Mobley (6-3, 265, RFr.)

1. Dexter Larimore (6-2, 300, Jr.)
2. Todd Denlinger (6-2, 292, 5th)
3. Tom Ingham (6-1, 243, 5th)

1. Thaddeus Gibson (6-2, 240, Jr.)
2. Nathan Williams (6-3, 245, So.)
3. Soloman Thomas (6-5, 240, So.)

1. Cameron Heyward (6-6, 287, Jr.)
2. Rob Rose (6-5, 285, Sr.)
3. Keith Wells (6-5, 210 So.)

Weakside Linebacker
1. Ross Homan (6-0, 229, Jr.)
2. Brian Rolle (5-11, 221, Jr.)
3. Andrew Sweat (6-2, 220, So.)

Middle Linebacker
1. Austin Spitler (6-3, 234, 5th)
2. Etienne Sabino (6-3, 232, So.)
3. Adam Homan (6-4, 235, Fr.)

Strongside Linebacker
1. Tyler Moeller (6-0, 216, Jr.)
2. Tony Jackson (5-11, 227, So.)
3. Storm Klein (6-3, 225, Fr.)

Free Safety
1. Anderson Russell (6-0, 205, 5th)
2. Aaron Gant (6-0, 194, Sr.)
3. Orhian Johnson (6-2, 178, RFr.)

Strong Safety
1. Kurt Coleman (5-11, 188, Sr.)
2. Jermale Hines (6-2, 210, Jr.)
3. Nate Oliver (6-0, 210, So.)

1. Andre Amos (6-1, 183, 5th)
2. Travis Howard (6-1, 180, RFr.)
3. Taylor Rice (5-11, 171, RFr.)

1. Chimdi Chekwa (6-0, 188, Jr.)
2. Devon Torrence (6-1, 193, Jr.)
3. Donnie Evege (5-11, 189, So.)

Place Kicker
1. Aaron Pettrey (6-2, 199, 5th)
2. Ben Buchanan (6-0, 200, RFr.)
3. Devin Barclay (5-11, 195, Jr.)

1. Jon Thoma (6-2, 201, 5th)
2. Ben Buchanan (6-0, 200, RFr)

Long Snapper
1. Jake McQuaide (6-2, 219, Jr.)
2. Patrick Howe (6-2, 204, Jr.)
3. Gar Chappelear (6-2, 250, RFr.)

1. Jon Thoma (6-2, 201, 5th)
2. Dane Sanzenbacher (5-11, 175, Jr.)
3. Joe Bauserman (6-2, 220, So.)

Zach Boren LB; Lawrence Wilson DL.

Ross Homan started all 13 games in 2008, his sophomore season.

Big hits are what the Silver Bullets are all about.

Buckeyes Looking for Revenge

After another disappointing bowl season for the Buckeyes, spring practice has taken on a new kind of tone. With 28 seniors graduating from last year's team, many of the newer, younger players feel it is up to them to recapture and polish the somewhat tarnished reputations of Ohio State, and the Big Ten as a whole. Whether or not they have what it takes to accomplish this remains to be seen, but if the intensity of the spring practices is a sign of what's to come, then I think we're all in for a real surprise.

Hartline and Robiskie are gone. Who will step up?