Archive for December, 2010

28
Dec
10

weak.

Even after the last two seasons — when we wrapped up a home-and-home against Southern Cal and started one against Miami — I continue to hear about Ohio State’s weak football schedule.

There are two things to point out here. First, the Big Ten finished the regular season with three Top 10 teams, and the conference has eight teams playing bowl games, seven of which will play on New Year’s Day or later. Like any conference — including the SEC, which plays more than its share of 1-AA opponents every year — we have our weaknesses, but that’s a good sign that the conference schedule is becoming solid.

And then there’s this, the apparent announcement of a home-and-home series with Georgia down the road. For anyone who’s not keeping track on their own, here’s what the non-conference schedule offers for the next decade or so:

  • 2012-13: Cal
  • 2014-15: Virgina Tech
  • 2016-17: Oklahoma
  • 2018-19: Tennessee
  • 2020-21: Georgia

Also consider that starting this fall, Nebraska (No. 17 in the AP, playing in the Holiday Bowl this week) is added to the conference schedule.

And then if you want to talk about weak schedules? Feel free to kiss my ass.

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24
Dec
10

ok, that’s funny.

Our beloved Coochie Doctor gave me the one and only chance to laugh about this shit all day, via a text she sent earlier tonight:

Wait til u see the fabulous gold pants I got (Matlock) for xmas. They were so cheap!

23
Dec
10

blame to share.

I’ve heard plenty more discussion — more than I wanted to, anyway — about the suspensions today. There seem to be a couple points people are making, both of which deflect at least some of the blame away from the players and the athletics department. Both points are worth taking a look at:

The NCAA’s rulebook is a mess. Well, yeah, I can’t argue with that. The rules are numbingly complex and enforcement is infuriatingly uneven. The NCAA had an explanation about why the suspensions weren’t starting with the Sugar Bowl, but that explanation is a beautiful example of what exactly the underlying problem is:

The decision from the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff does not include a withholding condition for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The withholding condition was suspended and the student-athletes will be eligible to play in the bowl game Jan. 4 based on several factors.

These include the acknowledgment the student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred, (NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs Kevin) Lennon said.

NCAA policy allows suspending withholding penalties for a championship or bowl game if it was reasonable at the time the student-athletes were not aware they were committing violations, along with considering the specific circumstances of each situation. In addition, there must not be any competitive advantage related to the violations, and the student-athletes must have eligibility remaining.

The policy for suspending withholding conditions for bowl games or NCAA championship competition recognizes the unique opportunity these events provide at the end of a season, and they are evaluated differently from a withholding perspective. In this instance, the facts are consistent with the established policy, Lennon said.

Uh, yeah. That is technically an explanation, but I’m not sure it’s one that going to make the questions — the ones about television ratings and postseason money — go away.

The rules put scholarship athletes at a financial disadvantage. I don’t remember whether I’ve said this here or at Uncle Crappy, but the system that forbids players from holding jobs while their university makes bucketloads of money selling everything from tickets to jerseys with those players numbers is ridiculous.

In my mind, the solution is pretty simple — pay them. Give them a stipend. It doesn’t have to be much, but it should be enough that it helps remove some of the temptation to, I don’t know, sell championship rings or Gold Pants for pizza money.

There’s a whole sociology dissertation behind this question; it encompasses race, social and economic status, idol worship and a host of other factors. A stipend wouldn’t solve all those problems, but it would ease the disparity between the athletes and the institutions that are making all that money.

Those are both legitimate problems and without a doubt, they both contributed to the suspensions. However, I’m still having a hard time getting past the university’s admission that it did not do enough to make sure its student-athletes had a thorough understanding of NCAA compliance rules. As I said, those rules are baffling and, in many cases, stupid — but they are still the rules. And if Ohio State wasn’t doing everything in its power to provide its scholarship athletes know those rules, that’s the first place we have to point the finger.

23
Dec
10

furious.

The first half of the 2011 season ain’t going to be pretty.

That’s because five boneheads thought they could cash in on Gold Pants, championship rings and game-used jerseys and shoes. And more importantly, because Ohio State’s athletics department apparently didn’t do enough to let those boneheads know about the ins and outs of improper benefits.

AD Gene Smith is going over the NCAA’s findings at a news conference right now, but the release from the NCAA pretty much says all I need to hear. The facts:

  • Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, Mike Adams, Devier Posey and Solomon Thomas all must sit out the first five games of the season, for selling Gold Pants — the gold charms team members receive from the university when the team beats Michigan — Big Ten championship rings, and stuff they wore during games.
  • A sixth player, linebacker Jordan Whiting, must miss one game.
  • All six players have to make financial restitution, ranging from $150 to $2,500, to an NCAA-approved charity.

Let’s recap: Pryor. Posey. Herron. Adams. What do you think the offense is going to look like through September of next year? Sure, as Jim Tressel will say, we’ve got some guys, but those four are all-conference performers with all-American potential. The first two games of that stretch are Akron and Toledo; the last three are at Miami — and not the one in Oxford, Ohio, boys and girls — and against Colorado and a Michigan State team that very badly will want to prove this year was not a fluke.

Anyone else cringing at the thought of a 3-2 start? And if Colorado is better, howsabout 2-3?

Bottom line No. 1: The players should know better. Yes, many of these guys were in junior high school when Troy Smith had to sit out a couple games for taking improper benefits in 2005, but that’s still a shining definition of “improper benefits” and what the consequences should be. And it happened just five years ago.

Bottom line No. 2: Check this quote from AD Smith:

“We were not as explicit with our student-athlete education as we should have been in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years regarding the sale of apparel, awards and gifts issued by the athletics department,” Smith said. “We began to significantly improve our education in November of 2009 to address these issues. After going through this experience, we will further enhance our education for all our student-athletes as we move forward.”

I have questions, Gene.

  • Why wasn’t the athletics department doing comprehensive compliance education in 2007, 2008 or 2009? That’s just one season removed from Troy Smith’s suspension; it seems to me there would have been a need.
  • Is there not a class on what student-athletes can and cannot do? I would think that’s something that every scholarship athlete should have to sit through the minute he or she first sets foot on campus — and then again every single fall.
  • Why the change in November 2009? Did something else happen? Should we be waiting for worse news?

I don’t want to leave Tressel out of this either. It’s unrealistic to expect a coaching staff to know the comings and goings of 100-plus football players. It’s not, however, unrealistic to expect that a coach like Tressel — who is know for meticulous, thorough preparation — would make sure his players know the specifics of what is acceptable under the NCAA rules and what is not.

The suspensions don’t take place during the upcoming Sugar Bowl — and I’m not sure I give a shit. I wrote on Uncle Crappy a couple days ago — half-jokingly — about the conflict I’m feeling about the Winter Classic hockey game in Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day and the Sugar Bowl.

I was excited about both, and my superstitious side has been growing uncomfortable with mixing mojo as the games approach. This could change, but if you were to ask me right now, I’d say watching the Sugar Bowl doesn’t seem especially exciting.

 

17
Dec
10

legendary leadership.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Let’s get caught up:

  • Ohio State beat Michigan. That’s seven in a row for those keeping track. Which we definitely are.
  • Ohio State also won a share of its sixth-straight Big Ten title, for those keeping track. Which we definitely are.
  • Ohio State’s basketball team is crushing everyone.
  • Mrs. Crappy and I still haven’t bought a Christmas tree.
  • I’ve started wearing bow ties to work.
  • The Big Ten came up with the dumbest possible names for the football divisions.
  • So — How’s your Christmas shopping coming along?

Actually, there a little more I wanted to say about the division names, which will be called Leaders and Legends.

Sigh.

Yes, the conference has leaders and it has legends (as we’ll discuss in just a minute with the list of 443,678 trophies to be handed out each year). Maybe we could have named the divisions after a couple of those guys (Hayes and Schembechler)? Or perhaps we could have chosen geographic features (Lakes and Plains)?

Meat and Cheese? Cold and Almost As Cold? Beef and Pork? Lennon and McCartney? Franks and Beans? Jagger and Richards? Eggs and Bacon? Abbott and Costello? Gin and Tonic? Stoicism and Work Ethic? Rocky and Bullwinkle? Smoke and Mirrors? Siskel and Ebert?

Or perhaps just something completely obvious, like East and West?

Howsabout anything — anything — except Leaders and Legends?

There was more stuff involved with the announcement of the name. For example, we have a new logo:

Underwhelming. Although I kind of like the shortened version:

 

No outside food or drinks, sir. We're going to have to confiscate that bottle.

 

And as I mentioned before, we have trophies. Dozens of trophies. I think we need more trophies. Named for every single leader and legend the conference has ever had. We shouldn’t stop adding trophies until every single player who’s ever played in a Big Ten football game has a trophy named after him. And then we can start on the fans:

 

The Buckeyeman Wooooo I Got On TV Fan Of The Year.

 

Let’s stop for a minute and think about something. The Big Ten reported revenue of $222 million for fiscal 2009. It can afford expensive and talented design and marketing agencies. It has the money to pay for focus groups and studies. I have no idea whether it did these things or not, but I’m guessing it didn’t.

And if it did, it should probably ask for its money back.

—-

OK. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit to not minding the trophies too much — and at least they’re named for actual people. The logo? It’s shaky, but I’ll get used to it. But the conference completely missed the mark on the division names; if I’m a player — which I am not — I am not getting excited about putting on a Leaders Division Champions 2011 hat at the end of the season.

(Conference folks, pay close attention here:) And if I’m a fan who regularly spends too much money on football-related gear every season — and I am definitely one of those, boys and girls — I am not spending a dime on Leaders Division championship T-shirts, hoodies or hats.

The good news? Conference Overlord Jim Delany admitted this week that the division names are unpopular, that the conference might have missed the mark and that it might consider a change:

“I don’t think you make a judgment in 48 hours or 72 hours. Eventually, we’re going to have to address the issue of whether or not it’s sustainable, but I don’t think that’s a decision for today. We have to listen and we have to be humble about the reactions we’ve gotten.”

Good thinking, Mister Delany. I hope you’ll have those Pork Division championship shirts ready by the end of the 2011 season.




2017 schedule

Aug. 31: vs. at Indiana, 8 p.m.
Sept. 9: Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 16: Army, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 23: UNLV
Sept. 30: at Rutgers
Oct. 4: at Maryland
Oct. 7: Maryland
Oct. 14: at Nebraska
Oct. 28: Penn State, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: at Iowa
Nov. 11: Michigan State
Nov. 18: Illinois
Nov. 22: Indiana
Nov. 25: at Team Up North, noon
Dec. 2: B1G Championship, 8 p.m.

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