Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mid-Year Review -- OHIO STATE

WOW was I wrong on that previous post. I will now embrace my inner politician and completely ignore that this ever happened, focusing instead on changing the subject and looking ahead.

I did a pretty simple statistical analysis based on the NCAA's numbers, and my conclusion is:

The offensive line is the weak link here.

This is not a completely original thought, but Ohio State falls in the middle of the road in most categories, so here are some standout numbers to back up my case (all out of 119 FBS teams from the NCAA website).

-OSU is 106th in sacks allowed, at almost 3 per game.
-OSU is 97th in tackles for loss allowed, at almost 7 per game.
-OSU is 94th in total offense, 108th in passing and 37th in rushing. This could lead people to say that the rushing is strong because of the line, but the disparity in these two aspects of the offense would leave me to believe the "Beanie Clause*" in this case.

You might say, Pryor runs around too much or doesn't make decisions fast enough. However, if you look at red zone offense, where the skill players need to come through, you see that OSU is 16th in the nation. And OSU is 19th in turnover margin, which we'd love to see better, but it could be much worse.

OSU is in the middle of the pack as far as penalties and yards lost on penalties. This is not an unskilled offensive line, which leads me to believe it's pure execution.

The defense has mostly been solid, with a few standouts positive and negative:

-OSU is tied for 8th in turnovers gained. Thank you defense.
-OSU is 12th in overall defense (23rd in rushing defense and 16th in passing defense), and 13th in scoring defense.
-OSU is 13th in pass efficiency defense.
-OSU is 2oth in first downs allowed.
-OSU is 90th in 4th down conversions for defense. This means that the team gives up 4th downs almost 63% of the time. No good.

This was fun for me. I hope it was the same for you. I know the team is working hard, and I'm extremely proud to be a Buckeye. But there's always room for improvement.

-RJ Bee

*The Beanie Clause is something I made up today that can be used to describe how Beanie Wells continues to put up great numbers despite the opportunities created for him being relatively low. This is all his size and speed.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Why This Year is Different

Every member of Buckeye Nation wants to replace this picture with a new one of Tressel holding the same trophy (mostly because the FedEx logo will be on there instead of bush-league Circuit City).

But another thing us Buckeyes should be thinking about is: why is this year different? As CFN most recently points out, lately the SEC, not Michigan, is our biggest weakness. Funny, but only because it's true. So why won't Ohio State go to the BCS Championship for the third straight year and get pummeled by Georgia or Florida?

I'm going to do my best to make an argument, either to convince myself, or to convince the masses. Ohio State football has less credibility than Brett Favre or Elliot Spitzer at this point -- but at least Favre could probably hang with the SEC. So, college football fans, why should you not fill your calendar with karoke on January 8, 2009? I'm not sure. But, here goes:

1. Returning starters

This year's Ohio State squad has 20 starters returning to play one more year of football. For those of you not good with math, numbers, or football, that's 91% of last year's starting team. In 2006, the first year OSU revisited the BCS Championship, there were 10 returning starters. Last year, there were 11. This should be good enough to get a perennial Big Ten powerhouse through most of the big games.

2. Beanie

If Beanie Wells leaves after this season, which would still be a year early, there's a decent chance he'd be the #1 pick. There's also a decent chance that he'll be OSU's 2nd Heisman winner in the past 3 years. Not only does he have an inhuman combination of size and speed, it allows Tressel to build an offensive gameplan around the running game -- which makes everyone sad except for Big Ten fans.

3. Tressel

There's just something about the guy. From his no-nonsense (and no smiling) interviews, to his recent revelation that if he didn't have to take a vacation, he wouldn't, you have to believe he knows what he's doing and that he's committed to helping this team win. The era has started in Columbus when people go to Ohio State to play for Tressel, as Terrelle Pryor showed when he committed to playing for the Buckeyes: "When I called Coach Tress he welcomed me to the Ohio State family."

There are plenty of other things the Buckeyes have going for them, but for now, I just hope even a couple people will avoid prematurely trashing the Buckeyes, at least until after the game under the lights in L.A. on September 13 .

But I realize this is a long shot.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Downloadable 2008 College Football Schedule

The College Football Excel love-fest is far from over! Behold AND DOWNLOAD the 2008 College Football Helmet Schedule. Tabbed by 1-A Conference and 'Game of the Week' it will be a handy reference for planning your fall. 

As in years past, I must disclaim any actual credit for this glorious resource and will once again put it out to the collective awesomeness of the Internet and ask that this hero of College Football Fans everywhere step forward to be recognized.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Son of College Football Helmet Quiz

This Tracy Nishibun is prolific with Excel-based quizzes and apparently lives somewhere in Hawai'i (where College Football was also taking off last we checked, sometime early in the 1st Quarter of the 2008 Sugar Bowl.) Not to pre-suppose he's a Hawai'i fan, but let's hope the program survives its Hundred-Year whooping by Georgia, and the departure of June Jones, and that Mr. Nishibun is still motivated to take advantage of his new-found viral College Football fame and keep pumping out quizzes. (NCAA, Historical, etc.)

In College Football Helmet Quiz Part II we see the same familiar, comfortable format with different helmets and, IMO, slightly more challenge than the first quiz.

Download Here.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

College Football Helmet Quiz

I'm unapologetic about my quest for the kitsch in college football. Whatever helps me better connect to the game is all good with me: trivia, blogs, coloring books and other bullshit, but particularly home-grown Excel quizzes by Tracy Nishibun with an assist from The Helmet Project.

Download Here

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Big Ten: The Next Coaching Powerhouse?

What we're witnessing (if Stewart Mandel's postulate comes to fruition) is the migration of coaching talent to the Big Ten and there following the ascendancy of the conference back to elite (read: SEC) levels.

Truth be told, with Ohio State the only truly elite program in the Big Ten, and repeatedly coming up short when it counted most, the SEC is better top to bottom right now. But the difference isn't the mythical 'Southern Speed,' it's coaching.

Look at number of household name coaches in the SEC last year: Phil Fulmer, Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Mark Richt, Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Tommy Tuberville (and, some might argue Houston Nutt).

Counting Bobby Petrino this year for a total of 8 elite level coaches, it is no wonder that with this embarrassment of riches, the SEC is College Football's most dominant league.

By comparison, the Big Ten had just three coaches worthy of mention in the same breath as the above: Lloyd Carr, Joe Pa and Jim Tressel. (Kirk Ferentz, Joe Tiller and Ron Zook deserve possible inclusion in the 'household names' category, but few would argue they are on par with any of the SEC bunch, save possibly Nutt.)

In this case, Joe Pa himself deserves special consideration as a coach who (almost everyone but the most shameless Penn State homers would agree) is well past his prime and in modern usage no longer 'elite.' So the prospect of swapping in Schiano for Paterno on the heels of the Rodriguez for Carr deal, in my eyes is a net win for the Big Ten in terms of coaching strength.

Some out there even think Zook has the tools to be elite, but one thing is certain, with the SEC as saturated at it currently is, young coaching talent will be looking elsewhere for opportunities and I think we'll see more of this stuff landing in fertile, Midwestern pastures.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lee Corso Kisses His Mother With That Mouth!

It's June. College Football is some 70 days away and I just wanted to get something out there to say I'm still here and thinking about blogging College Football. I know this is lazy, but I don't have real content to provide, but think people should see this if they haven't already. Somehow it gets me fired up for College Football (which we always capitalize around here).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pete Fiutak - Professional Journalist

Is Pete Fiutak the gold standard of good sports journalism or what? From his The Way-Early BCS Projections article on CFN from Friday:

"The early call, because of the experience, if a Buckeye win, but if USC wins, then put Jim Tressel and the boys here and Wisconsin in the Fiesta. Eventually the Badgers to break through and get to a BCS game again, right?"

Say what? After four or five readthroughs, I think I get his point. But what's amazing is that this counts as professional journalism. He gets paid (hopefully not much) to do this. And this isn't a jab at his insights or instincts, (a topic for another time, perhaps) mostly just his grammar. That and the copy editing at CFN.