Since all the talk of college football has devolved into a mess of LSU v Alabama hogwash, it is time to address the spectacular acting performance and one of the nominees for best acting for a fictional character in a leading leading role: Bill Hancock.
His portrayal of an honest, good-ol boy in awe of the greatness of the CFB regular season has been absolutely stellar. Every time he is asked about a playoff, Mr. Hancock responds with a, “Good Golly, I just can’t see why we would want to ruin the best regular season in all of sports, where every game matters,” Just thinking about the majesty of his craft, I get goosebumps, like when I watch Brando in On the Waterfront.
Lets visit that for a spell, “the best regular season in all of sports, where every game matters,” like, oh I dunno, the most recent ‘game of the century’, a 9-6 win by LSU over Bama. Although many morons who really are not CFB fans said the game was boring, I thought it was a masterpiece of defensive skill, a chess match, that constantly kept me on the edge of my seat. That being said, the more all the BCS lackeys at ESecPN tout an LSU-Bama rematch the less that game matters. In fact, if those two actually play a rematch in the championship, that game becomes the least important ‘game of the century,’ in history.
I can also say that since Ohio State has had no chance of making a BCS championship since they lost to the U in brutally ugly fashion, then not one of their games mattered either. The same can be said for every Big East, MAC, Sun Belt, WAC, or anyone not in the SEC west team. Granted, there was some drama until the brush fire in the top five this past weekend. Now, all the talk is about the probable rematch.
Hold your, “Bill Hancock is laughing all the way to the bank,” comments because they are stale and weak. All great actors make bank, at least in principle. My point, as in every other anti-BCS rant, is simply that for reasons that remain unclear to me, people who interview Bill Hancock never call him on his fiction, and worse, they oftentimes agree with his Christian-like logic in that Jesus said to love your neighbor except for the ones we hate (homosexuals and socialists, even though Jesus was pretty much as socialist as one gets.). Bill Hancock said that every game matters, except for the ones that don’t (almost all of them).
Just fucking fix the system already.
A disturbing trend has started amongst some of the national media and/or bloggers. It is the idea that Coach Fickell ought to be given a shot as the head coach even over Urban Meyer if he wins out this season. Respectfully, I disagree.
If tOSU finishes with 8 straight wins (which would include wins at Michigan, a Big 10 championship game, and likely a BCS bowl win) I will agree that though his resume would be short and impressive, it would also be wrought with the kind of delicious karma that makes great men make rash, usually poor decisions (see the Bill Stewart and WVU drunken phone call to Pitt Here)
Nevertheless, situations being a bit different, it does not mean hiring Luke Fickell as our next long-term coach would be bad, but really. What if Urban Meyer is available? Ohio State is run by men. It is a no brainer.
Let me put it another way: Lets say you went on a date with a girl that you weren’t too sure about. She isnt too bad looking, has some reputation of being somewhat like your awesome ex, Tress, but is terribly inexperienced when it comes to really getting freak nasty. Well, after some major wardrobe flaws (400 suspensions) and a few incidents of trying to give you a hickey (Bauserman), then trying to do it again, then grinding waay too hard against you on the dance floor only to somehow come out being sexier than you initially thought because she changed her outfit to a sleek, polished mini skirt that simply does the work for her (Braxton). Lets say that carries into the wee hours of the evening. She is way better that you ever thought she would be, and you simply just think it might be time to giver her a shot and settle down with her. That would be the sensitive, caring thing to do.
Wait one second. Perhaps the hottest chick you have ever had a shot with (Urban) comes to you and says, “For a fancy dinner and an expensive high-maintanance relationship, I will be your girlfriend. Although I cannot guarantee I will blow your mind, I have done it with every other boyfriend I have ever had,” Sure, she is hotter, more experienced, has the resume to back it up, and will most likely give you everything you want, but what about the brahsome one?
I mean really. As I said, Ohio State is run by men. Men make decisions based upon hotness, not feeling. Besides, Ohio State has survived the Woody Hayes debacle, 13 years of Cooper, the Tressel fiasco, and is on the verge of a big ten title game with probably the only coach in the world who would have taken a one year underpaid, insulting mess-of-a-program-please-help-us-even-though-no-mattter-what-you-do-we-arent-going-to-rehire-you contract. As men, we go for the hot one.
Hopefully Coach Fickell will get a nice offer from someone like an Arizona or maybe Mississippi, or any number of MAC or Sun Belt schools. He just is not hot enough for Buckeye Nation anymore.
Watching last year when both Florida and Texas took massive nosedives into mediocrity with absolutely superior talent than nearly every other team in CFB, I reveled in it like a naive spoiled brat. Since OSU had been so dominant and successful under coach Tressel, I, like every other Buckeye fan, felt we were simply going to sleepwalk our way to another ten win season and take our at-large BCS game in stride. Fail.
It has become abundantly clear just exactly how important coaching is versus pure talent, even and especially in the college ranks. I heard it once on some radio show about how you never want to follow a legend. That was in reference to Ron Zook following Spurrier. Accordingly, Zook’s tunure at Florida was never pretty and is generally referred to by UF faithful in a manner as if it was all just one big Ambien and Busch Light episode. Some other examples come to mind: Earle Bruce was a strong coach, who just never got us to the very top of the heap nationally despite his success against Michigan. Ray Perkins followed Bear Bryant and gave ‘Bama its first losing season in 28 years in 1984. I cannot think that many ‘Bama fans have fond memories of the Perkins era in Tuscaloosa.
The best part of all this for us Buckeye Faithful, is that all clues point to Fickell being a one year wonderous-catastrophe, a fall-guy, a Lee Majors, if you will. Besides, if we haven’t had more than enough Bauserman for one lifetime, then any good karma Fickell had wore off during the second half of the Nebraska game.
It was like watching your bro, making out with another, extremely unattractive girl on the dance floor while a much better looking broad is standing right next to him tapping him on the shoulder for a dance, and right before that his actual girlfriend (Miller) just left the club because she felt sick. We were all like, “Dude WTF are you doing? Bauserman is nasty! Didn’t you learn that when you were dating her earlier in the semester? Make out with Guiton for a while, he at least looks and acts like your new girl kinda (mobile, athletic, might not loft the ball into the stands on crucial third down plays)” And Fickell is all,” Brah I love her man, back the fuck off!” But. . . the next day he regrets it, only he wont show it, pretending like he meant it the whole time, and that it was not a mistake, even though he tried to get nookie off Bauserman before (Miami, MSU) and got blueballed, but got drunk and went back for more.
Anyway, I digress. Fickell will give way to our next great OSU coach. But to my original point about watching Florida and Texas suffer and feeling nothing but HAHA, I now have a different perspective. Because of the money and number of power players in big time CFB, it is tough to be on top for very long. We should never take for granted the greatness of Tressel, nor fail to see that success will always be fleeting. Minnesota was actually the premier program in the country at one time winning three straight MNCs from 1932-1934. In fact, they went 98 years between 10 win seasons (1905-2003) Then, they fired Glen Mason.
So, we play spoiler to a few of our slightly less-than-TSUN rivals this season (although I tend to want to beat Wisconsin as much as TSUN), enjoy not feeling like every game is a potential destroyer of our MNC hopes and wait til next year.
It has become clear that the Ohio State University’s days as the kings of the B1G are over, for now. Early predictions by experts all over the nation, saying OSU was going to finish 4-4 in the B1G and go to a lesser bowl were immediately scoffed at by me. Now, no longer do I scoff. Now, I simply accept it, as difficult as it is being the most dominant team in CFB for the last decade, but I do.
The Canes beat us fair and square. Not to take anything away from Miami’s defense, but our ineptitude at both play calling from the coaching end (do screens or slants or swings exist anymore?) and decision making at the QB position (throw it away, unlike a Baus) made their defensive unit look like world beaters. Our defense played below their capabilities, but not awful. They were on the field more than they should have been, but all in all it was a mediocre game for them.
I will say what every Ohio State fan in thinking: I suppose, as much as I hate it, that I will suffer through one season of mediocrity to get Urban Meyer or Bo Pellini here. Fickell is really in an almost impossible situation. One, he is following a legend which is never easy. Two, he is starting the season with a shitload of chaos and pressure. Three, some of the most important players are gone until game 6 or forever (TP). They only gave him one year which meant B1G championship, BCS or we replace you. Someone had to be the whipping boy. I hope after this season Fickell lands on his feet somewhere and gets a chance to prove he can be a great coach.
It just will not be at Ohio State.
How do I know I am getting older? Allow me this fine anecdote about the course of the latter part of the evening this past Saturday.
Saturday is, of course, college football day. Thus, I had been watching it all day. First, I was at home watching tOSU barely eek out a near catastrophic-LukeFickellDestroyer win against a decent Toledo bunch. Friends of ours had already wanted us to come over to initially watch Ohio State, but we, instead, met up with them after for dinner (at a sports bar, of course.) They chatted, as did I occasionally about life, while I kept my eye on potential upsets with Nebraska, closely contested battles in Athens and Austin, and in Ann Arbor, where in the first quarter Notre Dame is beating Michigan like a Roman soldier on Jesus prompted me to text an equally passionate CFB friend that Michigan was going to lose by half a hundred.
On our way home, which is about an hour from our house, I had the volume low on ND-Mich keeping my eye on the score, while my girl chatted and dozed in the passenger side. The score had not changed since early in the second quarter, and I figured it was over, so I turned to my girl and enthusiastically stated, “Hey when we get home lets get really funky tonight, like animals,”
She was game. She is always game.
So, within minutes she was getting herself ready, and I was also getting myself ready. Yes children, when you are 40, as a man, you have to get yourself ready for sex. Appropriately, I find internet euro porn to be the best way to get myself ready, so the laptop had that while I had the ND-Mich game on mute on the TV. Ten minutes later, I was almost ready to start the festivities. Then Michigan scores on that crazy fumble to Denard. 24-14.
Shit. My instincts say I may have to watch this now. She will not be happy about this. Keep the porn window active for illusory purposes.
Allow me to preface all of this by saying that my girlfriend is like a cat that REALLY likes catnip, except her catnip is sex. Not only does she REALLY like catnip, she is the kind of cat that attacks your hand as your are providing the catnip, as if to say, “Hey Motherfucker I ain’t got time for your slow-ass serving pace. Dish that shit up now!” Hence, when you tell her she is getting catnip. . .she is expecting catnip.
Now, I am beginning to stall. I am acting like I am still into the porn. She is pretending to sleep on the chair-and-a-half while I continue to “get ready” which for all intents and purposes is losing its attractiveness very quickly. She comes over to lay with me on the couch hoping to illicit a response from me which to everyone’s dismay does not work. Her patience is at an end. Storming upstairs, she calls the dog to come with her, and I know at that point that I have failed. This is a situation I need to fix immediately in order to avoid further backlash from the soon to be she-demon transforming upstairs.
I reach for the remote. Michigan scores again, 21-24. Motherfucker. Now I HAVE to watch this. I can hear her stomping around upstairs.
Notre Dame drives, eats up valuable time, both Michigan’s and mine. . .and fumbles on first and goal. Michigan ball. I think she put on her cowboy boots and is carrying a 50 lb weight in her hand as hard as her footsteps are.
Michigan drives. Denard is lofting the ball up like a Spurrier coached Florida team from the late 90′s. Interception in the end zone. This game is absolutely insane. I am terrified to make any noise lest I rile the beast anymore. It sounds like she is beating the floor with a rubber mallet.
Notre Dame fails and punts back to Robinson and the insanity. The Wolverines get another set of ridiculous catches and score on a screen play that should have gone for about 3 yards. 28-24 Mich. Jesus, this game is taking forever, but its awesome. I may have to go to my Oriental lick master mode to save myself. It sounds like she has a bowling ball. We don’t bowl. Where the fuck did she get a bowling ball?
Okay, this one is over. There is no way Notre Dame can do anything in 1:05. They haven’t scored since, like 13:15 of the first quarter, I think. I am holding the remote in my hand getting ready to dash on upstairs with a fire extinguisher and a massive intent. Bam! Notre Dame scores. Somehow, Michigan forgets to protect the endzone when it was absolutely essential to protect the endzone. Something tells me the ghost of Greg Robinson called that defense. 31-28.
30 seconds to go. My college football instincts tell me to just fucking watch the last 30 seconds because well, that’s why college football rules. Another defensive phale and ND gives up sixtyhundredteen yards on a pass play when Michigan has no prayer. Another idiotic, no-chance jump ball goes Michigan’s way on what might be the best one yet. I finally scream out loud some random series of expletives prompting the angry people in the house to storm downstairs and randomly grab a shirt they did not really need.
I greet her with an enthusiastic,”Baby! Lets get it on!”
She responds with a cold, “No, you chose your college football. Why don’t you fuck IT?” Well played.
I turn all of it off with 2 seconds left with a trace of trepidation considering what has already transpired. Bounding upstairs for emphasis, I make up for my transgressions. I mean we go AT it. The beast is soothed.
Afterwards. . .let me tell you how awesome my girl is. Afterwards, we are watching the highlights on sportscenter because I have already told her why it took me so long, but I knew she had to see it with her own eyes.
She sees the highlights and says,”Holy shit, that was a good game. I wish I would have watched it live,”
I am forgiven.
Inasmuch as I generally verbally criticize ESPN, I have to reverse my stance, somewhat. In week one, 2011 CFB season, after the most timultuous off season in Buckeye history seemingly led daily by a scathing ESPN story on the evil Buckeyes who represent everything unholy about the great sport of college football, ESPN’s choice to have both Chris Spielman and Urban Meyer on color commentary was an absolute olive leaf to all Ohio State fans telling us they have backed off.
There was no need to tell either Urban Meyer or Chris Speilman that it was ok, or even encouraged, to be pro-OSU in the broadcast (would you tell Spielman not to be pro-Buckeye in the staff meeting?) as clearly that was their aim. Of no small consequence is the obvious fact that they both love Braxton Miller and Luke Fickell. Spielman even went on record to state that he thinks, “Braxton Miller has the potential to be better than Terrell Pryor,” Meyer gave both the offense and the two quarterback system a positive endorsement lauding the skills of both Ohio State quarterbacks and ending by asking the rhetorical, “As a defensive coordinator, how do you prepare for both systems?”
The game, of course, was a standard ho-hum beat down versus perhaps the weakest team in the MAC. Nevertheless, it was a great start to what must be a new era in Ohio State football, as much as many of us are having a hard time accepting. The great Jim Tressel is gone who pulled us from being a top 25 team to a perennial MNC contender every year for a decade, something perhaps only equaled by Florida State in the 90′s or Miami in the 80′s. It was a hell of a run, but it had to end sometime.
I, for one, am ready to move on. If ESPN is on board. . .the more the merrier.
As the hearty deep aroma spread by controlled suburban iron-encased blazes of backyard cookouts wrought with tasty brats and cold beer loom in the near future, I know all those who invited me but never saw me there will understand. Similarly, as I explained to my girlfriend that Saturdays are going to be very precarious for the next three and a half to four months due to the absolute importance of even the minutest of FBS cellar-dwellers’ final scores. (Unfortunately, that argument is still “to be continued” in her eyes. She is still generally naive about college football as a whole, but rocks nonetheless because she is a Pittsburgh transplant who now roots for the Buckeyes)
Avoiding a huge glossy overture about all that has transpired, will transpire, ad nauseum (See ESecPN, SI) I simply say that the prospect of Ohio State no longer starting the season as the hunted is an awesome feeling. What all these experts have failed to see is that when every single team is gunning for you not only because you’re most dominant team of the BCS era and the last decade, but also because you are arguably the most hated team in the country, you get used to playing up all the time. Hence, when those types of players get to relax a little and play loose against some big time opponents. . . as in Sparty, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and TSUN can dismiss us all they want with words, the beat downs will come quickly and horribly. Even a wounded empire is still formidable.
And that brings me to another point: When the fuck did Michigan suddenly get good again? Did they not lose their last two games by a combined 300-15 or something? With the greatest offensive player in the history of sport? OK, anyway, that PCP-laden mentality will be surely humbled come November for their now annual ROFLstomp.
(B. Rolle v Denard: This may be the blackest sack of all time.)
Truly, I look forward to all of it. I must admit though that this off season although has not soured my taste for CFB, but made me less naive to idea of what is and is not cheating or what, exactly, in the hell purpose does the NCAA serve in big time college football other than to make it difficult for young, physically talented black men to get paid before they get to the NFL. But I digress.
This season, we shall attend some live: D2 games (Lake Erie College), some MAC games (Kent-Akron), and perhaps a B10 championship.
Let us all breathe easy. We are home boys.
My initial response to the Luke Fickell press conference was that not only was he very nervous (which was expected) but also that he was trying way too hard to answer every question perfectly. In doing so, he basically said nothing making him seem, for lack of a better word, unready, not unprepared, but unready, for all of it.
He spoke in abstracts like “respect”, “men of action”. We are in the midst of arguably the worst scandal in OSU football history. As a lifelong Ohio State fan, I do not want to hear about the rah rahs and how excited he is to be the coach. Quite the opposite, I want to know how you are going to approach the problem.
It could be that he was prepped by Gene Smith not to divulge anything of substance due to the constant new “uncovering” of potential NCAA violations by “investigative” reporting. However, He seemed somewhat unprepared to address the two elephants in the room: How are you going to move forward as Buckeye nation? How are you going to move forward as a football team? What about Michigan?
Coach Tressel’s first words, more or less, were about about the countdown to Michigan. We needed that at that time. It inspired us as a fan base. We immediately knew things would be different now.
Coach Fickell did not do that. Yes, it is his first press conference, in the midst of a brutal mess. As a first year coach, in his first appearance, I will cut him some slack. But please, Coach, try next time, to inspire us a little more.
I think I speak for the few, still loyal befuddled, worried, and downright stunned Buckeye fans regarding this entire Tressel/Tattoogate scandal. Accordingly, we wonder what Tressel was thinking during this process. Did he really simply think this would go away without incident? Did he truly act in a manner that somewhat shows his hope he was protecting his players from a dangerous man and a federal investigation? If he was going to lie about prior knowledge, why didn’t he delete the emails? Finally, in a nutshell, what the fuck, Coach?
We see and hear former Buckeye legends calling for the Vest’s head on eSECpn. They are supposed to seem like insiders who have a genuine love for tOSU and represent the “what is best for the institution as a whole” crowd. (This is completely contrary to what I think, of course.) And, yes, we all see their points. We all see that this is a huge black mark on tOSU. More, we all get that no other coach has survived this kind of scandal/situation in the past. Mostly, we see the ominous storm clouds moving in over the hills, hear the baying of the hounds drawing closer, feel the cannons’ thunder at the walls.
Through all this we understand about when we used to see our friends in ridiculous relationships that time and time again should have been over, and yet they simply could not say goodbye. College football is, if nothing else, about emotion. Our hearts rise with victory and subsequently feel wonderful throughout the following days. We think life is grand and other problems seem less important when the Buckeyes win a big game. Consequently, when they lose, we are inconsolable. Everything else appears worse or less important for a time, when we mourn our big losses. (MNC games in 07, 08 come to mind.) So much like a seasonal serious relationship, we are stoned or depressed with regards to the goings on of Ohio State football. There is a genuine love/hate. Is that disfunctional? To many, it would sure seem so.
As a once numb nut, I would have jumped on a Nick Saban or a Les Miles had this happened in their house. I would, accordingly be simplifying the argument, throwing around words like “cheater” and “liar”, calling for Coach Tressel’s head as all the Buckeye haters are now. Fortunately, this entire experience has given me insight into what can an clearly is an absolutely unclear situation. No one, and I mean no one, has a clue as to what Jim Tressel was thinking during any of the actions that led to this mess, except Jim Tressel. It is so very easy to look at it now and see the “wrong”.
Yet, if he had deleted the emails, this would simply be a Tat 5 issue to all the ignorant. That Tressel still lied to investigators would mean absolutely nothing, and all this would just be a bunch of Terrel Pryor is Cam Newton, blah blah crap. The point is that in the big, bad business of college football, everyone is dirty, as the letter of the NCAA law goes. It’s all an arbitrary witch hunt at any given poorly covered misstep. There are no angels or saints.
So, it really does not matter who coaches tOSU. They, along with all the players of the future, will be forced to do what has been done for decades: avoid getting caught. Chest thumping about Coach Tressel’s integrity is as hollow as defending an innocent, completely legit SEC transfer from a Texas community college is. Auburn just hasn’t gotten caught yet.
Pretend Coach Tressel was once pious and pure, oh suddenly high and mighty strangely turn coated Buckeye fans I hear all over the radio waves now. It was not Coach Tressel’s integrity that was tarnished, but your childish expectations of a man in a hard as hell profession.