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Buckeye fans!


Who were you rooting for? Did you want Michigan, your co-Midwesterners, to redeem the conference and avenge last year's national championship loss? Or were you cheering on Florida to add yet another humiliation to your greatest and vilest rival's miseries?

This is, of course, a rhetorical question, as I know Buckeyes everywhere are mourning even this minimal level of success achieved by the Wolverines.

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What Was That?!!?


Suffice to say: this should explain my sour mood today.

All I can say is: you can talk all you want about Florida's speed, the "SEC style" of football, and their dazzling play calling, but this game came down to three things:

  1. The front lines: This game was won and lost on the lines. The OSU offensive and defensive linemen got owned for the whole game. Florida manhandled them on both sides of the ball. They never put serious pressure on Chris Leak and Troy Smith never got to be comfortable in the pocket.

  2. Bad Play-Calling: This was the worst game the Buckeyes played offensively all year. They ran when they should have passed, passed when they should have ran, and they definitely ran when they should have punted. You can conjecture that the loss of Teddy Ginn cost them their play-maker, but they were just plain flat all around. Half of the credit goes to the FU defenseive line for being in the backfield every freaking play, but OSU was clearly running bad plays.

  3. Troy Smith's refusal to flee: Troy Smith is a very mobile quarterback, which is what makes him so dangerous. Yet almost every time a Florida lineman or blitzer was in the backfield, he ran... backwards. Many, many times, he had a lane open to run and gain yards, but instead he retreated and ended up making bad passes or getting sacked (five times).

So there it is: bad play calling, an inability to execute those bad plays due to disruption by the FU line, and Troy Smith's refusal to leave the pocket led to OSU not scoring while Florida's offensive line gave Leak all day to find the open receiver and gave ther runners wide open lanes.

And just to make the bitterness complete: Teddy Ginn's fiirst quarter injury was caused.... by his teammates. After he returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a score, he was mobbed by his teammates and broke his foot. Congratulations Buckeyes!

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The outcome was never in doubt, but congratulations anyway to Troy Smith for winning the Heisman Trophy!


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The Bucks edged out Michigan 42-39 to send the Wolverines home with heads low.

I have to say I was surprised that it was a shoot-out as opposed to a defensive game, but it ended up as close as I thought it would be. It didn't have to be though. I hesitate to give Coach Tressel advice, but Teddy Ginn dropped no less than three balls, and at least one of them would have kept a drive alive. I'd have him doing some extra work before the FIesta Bowl.

By the way, here is the play of the game:


Click on the photo for a caption.

Michigan came out in the second half and made it a seven point game. Ohio State needed to score, and my favorite Buckeye, Antonio Pittman, exploded through the middle and blazed a trail through the secondary, scoring practically untouched. There were some tense moments after that, but it was the second big touchdown run for the Buckeyes and it made Michigan respect the run the rest of the game.

Some folks are talking about a re-match on January, but I can't see that happening. As far as I'm concerned, Michigan had their chance and the winner of next week's USC-Notre Dame match-up should get the next shot.

By the way, is it me, or have their been an incredible number of huge match-ups this year? The Buckeyes have already played two #2 teams (Michigan and Texas), next week's USC-Notre Dame game is huge. LSU-Auburn and LSU-Florida were both huge this year. And I know I'm forgetting one.

Anyway, as far as I'm concerend, we saw the national championship tonight, so let's send the Wolverines home with a song:

We don't give a d*** about the whole state of Michigan
the whole state of Michigan
the whole state of Michigan
We don't give a d*** about the whole state of Michigan
We're from O-HI-O!

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So, today is the big OSU v. Michigan game.

For those who live in a closet, the Buckeyes and Wolverines are ranked 1 and 2, respectively. Both teams are undefeated and are the only undefeated teams in the NCAA except for Rutgers (which should give Illini fans a reason to hold their heads a millimeter higher since their thrashing at the hands of Rutgers earlier this year seems bit more understandable). But Rutgers is not a serious championship contender, which makes tomorrow's game roughly the equivalent of the national championship (which surely the folks at the BCS don't want to hear).

This couldn't be more exciting. The stakes are ordinarily high for this game, but I don't know if this has ever happened before. The undefeated 1-2 teams who are also the biggest rivals in college sports and are facing off in the last game of the regular season. It's the stuff legends are made of.

The only problen is, I'm fully expecting Columbus to burn to the ground. This video is from 2002 and things have only gotten worse since then.

Adding fuel to the fire, legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler died yesterday, meaning Michigan will be even more fired up, meaning they might actually win, meaning more riots in Columbus.

Oh well, as long as Westerville stays intact...

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On being a Buckeye

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OK, here's the deal. Mama-Lu and I, upon the arrival of our first-born, struck a number of compromises. Fortunately, we're both Catholic, so there was no need to debate that matter. Sports, on the other hand...

I grew up on the north side of Chicago, about a mile away from Wrigley Field, so that was a no-brainer. Our boys will be raised Cubs fans. I don't give a rats rear about any other professional teams*, so no problems there.

College, on the other hand, presents a problem. We're both U of I alumni, but Jenny is a sort of "first-generation" transplantee from the world's greatest football town: Columbus. The compromise was suprisingly easy to strike: the Buckeyes will get the boys for football, but we will be an Illini basketball family. I think this will be a nice way to bring the boys up in the winningest tradition in each sport (and hopefully make up for the emotional scars that rooting for the Cubs will inflict upon them).

So yes, I am a Buckeye fan. And rooting for them this past week was surprisingly easy. It's been a long time - all my life - since I had a winning college football team to root for.

Stuff like this, though, gives me pause.

Couches and mattresses were set on fire outside houses in Ohio State University student neighborhoods and three people were struck by a car following the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes' 24-7 win over No. 2 Texas.

There were 35 to 40 fires set in student neighborhoods Saturday night, said Columbus police Sgt. David Howson, whose department arrested about 17 people, five of them on arson charges. A trash bin also was set ablaze, burning two nearby cars, he said.

Battalion Fire Chief Kevin O'Connor said he was treated for bumps and bruises after he and two others were struck by a car that came through a temporary command post set up in the driveway of a student union building.

What the freak goes on over there? Is there something my wife and in-laws aren't telling me about Buckeye sub-culture?

* Once, a long time ago, I was a rabid Bull's fan. But when the first season you ever follow the sport, your team wins the first of six championships in eight years, unreal expectations are created. I might have hung in there, but the NBA has become an embarrasment. If they want to have a future, they need to stop drafting teenagers.

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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