Archive for the 'Football' Category



I’m pretty much beside myself over tomorrow’s trip to State College. We’re going to have an awesome time — even if the weather isn’t quite so awesome — and the game promises to be one of the best ones of the season.

Part of the fun is going to be seeing a patented Penn State White Out in person. And that should work out well for those of you watching on TV, especially if for some reason you want to see Mrs. Crappy and me.

It should be pretty easy, actually, especially with the white out. This shot is the same angle that you’ll be watching at home. The red star is our approximate location — and we should stick out like sore thumbs (bright scarlet ones) in the sea of white.

We’ll be sure to wave.



Hi. It’s been a while. Let’s get caught up, shall we?

  • By a narrow margin, we have decided that Ohio State plays in the Pork Division. Excellent decision, you guys.
  • Boy, the Nebraska game was fun. I didn’t feel like there were huge defensive lapses — in spite of Nebraska’s 38 points — and the offense … hooboy, the offense. The weather was gorgeous, the halftime show — that was the video game theme show, the one that went viral in the days that followed the game — and with the exception of Mrs. Crappy’s absence for illness, that was a great time all the way around.
  • Boy, the Nebraska tailgate was, uh, even funner. We had a huge crowd for the all-day party, and we had two excellent meals. Suzanne was the star of the lunchtime show; her Mexican tarts — known to Juan as “our special guests” — were delicious, and the corn I made to go alongside turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. For dinner, we went through about 18 pounds of the family sloppy joe mix. Everyone went above and beyond the call of duty in bringing along snacks and sides, and our other special guests — all part of Lovely Rita Meter Maid’s entourage — were awesome people to hang out with all afternoon.
  • We got home from the night game and finished unpacking around 2 a.m. Sunday. I love night games, but I’m glad they happen just once a year.
  • Recipes? We have recipes. Specifically, the recipes for Suzanne’s tarts and my corn will be coming soon.
  • Bud and Pat visited Pittsburgh for my birthday weekend, which meant we watched the Indiana game at home, accompanied by pizza from our favorite local place. That part was good; Ohio State’s defense was not. But I knew that might be the case when I saw a tweet from Tim May, who saw that Zach Boren was warming up with the linebackers. My folks went to bed with about five minutes left in the game, and joked about me coming to get them if Indiana came back. And they didn’t believe me when I told them the final score on Sunday morning.
  • If you’re ever looking for pizza on Pittsburgh’s North Side, look up Pizza Pescara. Seriously.
  • And now we’re in Columbus, watching the weather and eyeing an early bedtime, so we can be ready to do it all over again in the morning. It’s a little difficult to believe that there are just three more home games this season, but there you go … Purdue, Illinois and our bowl game for the season against the Team Up North. That’ll make for a good finish, boys and girls, even without postseason play — and it’s time to get ready for the 2012 Pork Division Championship.

a good trip.

You should expect going into a season with a new head coach — even one with a excellent reputation — that you’re going to see some rough edges, some things that aren’t quite clicking on Saturday.

And yeah, we’ve seen those. Uneven, inconsistent offense. A defense that looked to be soft on the edges. Awful, awful tackling. And even some glaring special teams errors.

What should we expect to see as the season progresses? Improvement.

And that’s what we saw on Saturday.

We still have a problem with relying too much on Braxton Miller to carry the offense, and that resulted in a couple of scares; he wasn’t on the field when Ohio State scored its first-quarter touchdown, after he was run into an equipment box on the sidelines, and I thought his second-half injury — the one where he also fumbled — looked especially scary.

But Miller is getting his arm dialed in, and in the second half, he seemed to do a better job of making a quick read and following that with a quick decision; if he’s able to cut back on indecision, we’re going to see fewer plays where he’s running for his life.

Even better: the offensive line was outstanding. Pass protection was solid, especially in the face of nearly constant blitzing, and the run blocking — especially in the second half — was better than we’ve seen all year. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that the O-line won us the game in the second half, as Ohio State’s run game held the ball and ran the clock.

But the best part was the defense. It was pretty clear that shutting down Michigan State’s monster tailback Le’Veon Bell was the focus … and Bell had no space to run all afternoon long. And the pass defense, while still suspect, didn’t give up the kinds of big plays that allowed Cal and UAB to stay in games they shouldn’t have.

And then there was the tackling. Yes, there was one horrible play, when attempts to strip the ball instead of making a solid hit and wrapping up Keith Mumphery, who scored on the play (Mumphery’s run was an outstanding effort, by the way, one that should be acknowledged). But after spending several weeks of griping about poor tackling, that was pretty much Saturday’s only lapse.


We’ll need to see more on Saturday. Relying too much on Miller is still a concern. And Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has improved his throwing motion and can make defenses look stupid when he pulls down the ball and takes off.

Ohio State can get better. And will. Week by week. As we’ll see on Saturday.

Photo source.


anxiety unfounded.

All three of us in the truck were a little anxious when we approached campus around 7:30 Saturday morning. We had settled on giving the lot behind Campbell Hall a try with the 12th and Cannon lots as our rather unpleasant backup option.

We cruised past our old space — or, rather, spaces — on Herrick Drive, approached the lot we saw the day before … and saw orange cones blocking the entrance.


But. There were guys taking money for the adjacent parking garage at the end of the street that runs behind our desired home; we drove up and asked.

The answer? On football Saturdays, the lot we scoped out was a public disability lot. All you needed to park there was a handicapped hang-tag and fifteen American dollars.

And we had both.

It’s possible that I did a jumping happy dance after I parked the truck in the corner space, under a broad tree and next to a wide expanse of grass. I might have done that again when Mrs. Crappy wandered two blocks away — a short stroll past Mirror Lake — and found the William Oxley Thompson Library, with a coffee shop and large, clean restrooms. In a library. Which will always be open. As in, never closed. And then I might have danced a third time, when Bud asked and was told that Neil Avenue Parking Garage, just next door, was also public, save for spaces reserved for media. No more walks from 12th and Cannon lots for our fellow Killer Nuts Tailgaters.


It’s all right there. It’s all available to all of us, with only the possible hindrance of making sure we’re there early enough to get the spaces we want.

To summarize: We’re set, boys and girls. Unless the OSU Medical Center decides to swallow another chunk of campus, our parking worries are over.


Toward the end of the first quarter, there might have been a little anxiety about the football as well. Two breakdowns in pass coverage had given Miami two long gains; decent defensive recoveries — along with a missed field goal and a dropped pass or two — kept the Redhawks Redskins from building the 14-0 lead they probably deserved.

But the defense wasn’t the problem. It was the offense — the power spread we’ve all been dreaming about — that was. For the game’s first 15 minutes, it felt a lot like 2011. Running backs going nowhere. Braxton Miller scrambling. And nothing that resembled a drive, because there were no first downs. Ohio State finally started to move the ball towards the end of the quarter, and just a couple minutes into the second, the Buckeyes broke the ice in spectacular fashion.

And, really, that’s when the game was over. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert is a good one, and he rolled up 313 passing yards on the day — but got just one touchdown to show for it. After taking the first quarter off, Ohio State’s offense had a 500-yard day, and Braxton racked up Nintendo numbers: 161 yards rushing, with one touchdown; 14 of 24 yards passing for 207 yards and two touchdowns. We got a decent look at how the offense is going to work, as well. Miller’s targets were everywhere — receivers, tight ends, backs — and most of the passes were short routes, with potential for long gains after the catch. And especially after Miller’s 65-yard touchdown run at the start of the second half, play-action off an option look is going to be a killer play as the season progresses.

We started Saturday — both the tailgate and the game — wondering what was to come. By the time we were headed home in the afternoon, we had a much better idea.



First: As was the case two years ago, I am still not pleased with the names chosen by the B1G for its two football divisions. I am therefore making a Killer Nuts Tailgating style ruling: On this blog, the divisions shall be called the Pork and Beef Divisions, and Ohio State plays in the Pork Division.

This just became important today. I had assumed that with the postseason ban in place for this year, that even if Ohio State were to win whichever B1G division the team plays in (the Pork Division, as we now know), the actual division championship would go to the next-best eligible team.

And I was wrong. According to ESPN (and apparently confirmed by the conference), both Ohio State and Penn State are eligible to win the Pork Division championship this season (that goes for Penn State for the next three years as well); we’d get the trophy, but the next-best eligible team gets the berth to the conference title game.

Pork Division Champions. I like how that sounds.



I haven’t yet seen more than highlights of Saturday’s spring game. But I did come across this:

And that, boys and girls, is more than enough to get me thinking about football.


an unpleasant end.

The Season of The Unpleasantness is done.


tastes great. less filling.

I have this conversation with my Ohio Stadium seatmates all the time — when you have a freshman quarterback, you’re going to have to put up with some ugly football along with the good stuff.

We’ve seen a bunch of ugly football this season. But if anyone had any doubts about Braxton Miller, Saturday’s game against Wisconsin should come as a great relief.

See this:

And, of course, this:

I remember screaming after the first play — my voice is still sitting somewhere near my seat in 14C, by the way — but after the second, my dad and I just sort of looked at each other while bedlam erupted around us.

Stunned. And overjoyed.

Dad’s seen more than his fair share of Ohio State football over the years, and he couldn’t come up with a game that finished the way that one did. We both thought of this play…

…but that came at the start of the fourth quarter, and we ended up scoring two more touchdowns before the game ended to turn what had been a tight game into a beating.

I’m stuck too. I’ve seen some close ones, but to win that way — a crazy scramble, a long touchdown pass, 30 seconds left in the game? Maybe the final drive at Michigan in 2005? I don’t know. I can’t think of anything else that compares.

So when the offense is plodding against Indiana or Purdue in the next couple of weeks, remember these plays. Don’t dwell on the bad stuff. Think about potential. We saw it last night. We’ll see it for four more games this year. And for at least a couple years after that.


because we have to laugh.

Thanks, Eleven Warriors.


out of control.

As I said at the beginning of the week, I’m not going to get myself to wound up over what will or won’t happen on the field for Ohio State. We play who we play, and we end up with the record we deserve. It may not be especially happy, but learning now will make for much better football later.

I’ve having a hard time maintaining a similarly rosy outlook over the continued presence of The Unpleasantness, however. It poked its head around the corner earlier this week, when we hear that Posey, Herron and a couple others were being suspended for getting paid for no-w0rk jobs over the summer. The Unpleasantness did more than tiptoe around in the background today, though — it stomped on Posey, who got himself another five games off the field because of his “employment” this summer.

And I don’t care what the experts say — this looks like “failure to monitor” or, worse, “lack of institutional control” to me. And given that the NCAA has yet to rule on Ohio State’s previous problems with memorabilia and tattoos and the rest of that fun stuff, I can’t help but think that this is bad. Very, very bad.

Think about it. Just a couple months after the starting quarterback, starting left tackle, starting tailback and staring wide receiver were suspended because of Tatgate, two of those players — and two others — apparently thought it was OK to take some cash from a shady booster over the summer.


And then add to that the other three players who took money from the same shady booster to attend a charity outing. They were suspended as well.

I’ve never been so hot with math, but: five players suspended because of Tatgate. Three because of the charity thing. Another four — including two WHO WERE ALREADY ON SUSPENSION — for their summer “jobs.” Twelve suspensions for ten players.

We’ve been told by AD Gene Smith and university President Gordon Gee this week that Ohio State doesn’t have compliance problems. Gee even said OSU is the poster child for NCAA compliance.

Ohio State is the poster child for something, yes, but I don’t think the rest of the country shares Gee’s view. I know I don’t.

After some consideration, I was willing to give the Tat Five the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they were unaware of the rules. Perhaps economic circumstances made the sales of Gold Pants, jerseys, helmets and trophies necessary. I get it, and because we’re talking about 19 and 20 year-old-guys, I’m willing to write off one of these things as a mistake, albeit a costly one.

But given the attention — the scrutiny — that the university was under from the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl on, I’m not sure that we can gloss over another seven suspensions. I’m certain we can’t do so in the cases of Herron and Posey, who definitely should have known better than to put themselves in this position a second time. And — AND — given that the head coach was fired and the quarterback left school — I don’t think it’s a stretch that the university itself should be expected to make an extra to ensure the program stays clean, at least until after the NCAA makes a decision.

Did it? Is OSU the poster child for NCAA compliance? I know the university has self-reported more violations than any other DI school in the last decade. At this point, I’d be willing to bet we have more suspended players on the roster than any other DI program at the moment as well.

And if this is a concern to me, I’d have to think the members of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions might also have noticed.

Here’s what we do. Herron and Posey should be dismissed from the program. They were on suspension and took shady money from a shady businessman anyway. Once is a mistake. Twice is a problem, one that effects not only them, but the program as a whole.

The administration’s claim that Jim Tressel was solely responsible for the initial issues is … possible. More importantly, the NCAA seemed to accept that explanation. Will the members of its infractions committee continue to believe that athletics department administrators — and I’m thinking specifically of Smith here — still had no knowledge of problems now that there have been another seven suspensions since Tressel left Ohio State? At a minimum, Gene Smith needs to go as well.

I was happy a few weeks back, when the NCAA said that it appeared — at that point — that failure to monitor or lack of institutional control penalties weren’t necessary at Ohio State, because the university had managed to place the blame for its problems exclusively on Tressel.

Look at everything that’s happened since Tressel was fired. Think the NCAA might be having second thoughts?

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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