Here is something to help you break up your time finishing your Christmas shopping online:
- In hindsight, Urban Meyer ended up being exactly what he was expected to be when he was hired: A cross between Jim Tressel (micromanaging Ohioan) and John Cooper (free-wheeling national recruiter). Meyer also mixed in some grandpa and undertaker tendencies to keep things interesting.
- I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all that both of Ohio State’s national championship teams in the last four decades were comprised of players recruited by two different coaches. Will be interesting to see if that trend continues. I expect Day to continue to recruit more like Meyer than Tressel — or at least to try to. The No. 1 question with every new coach at a Power 5 job who hasn’t had a Power 5 job before is if he can win recruiting battles against other Power 5 teams. That will determine Day’s success or failure.
- Last week Ohio lost a national championship football coach and gained another unnecessary soccer stadium. Tough way to end the year.
- I’m sure the Bengals will continue making the same dumb, undisciplined plays when they have a new coach, but it won’t be as galling. At least for the first year.
- Should the Bengals blow it all up and not even try to win next year in hopes of coming back even stronger in 2020? Unless they joined the NBA or MLB without my noticing, I would lean toward no. Tanking in the NFL isn’t essential to getting superstars as it is in the NBA, and having superstars is more essential to winning in the NBA than the NFL where there are three times as many guys on the roster and almost all of them are important at some time or another. Meanwhile, the only way for small-market teams to build in MLB is through the draft (and hitting when you have to trade your expensive veterans away, which tends to necessitate being bad once they are gone, at least in the short term).
- If you want to make the case you have to pick in the top five to get a franchise quarterback, I would argue that is not true and that you can trade up to get your guy, as the Chiefs and Texans did for Patrick Maholmes and Deshaun Watson, respectively, at 10 and 12. You can also be smart and aggressive at the same time like the Ravens were last spring in getting Lamar Jackson after using their first-round pick and trading back in at No. 32.
- Bottom line: You can get good without being bad more easily in the NFL than the other major leagues (although I’m not sure if there is a reliable formula in the NHL anymore since the salary cap is so tight and good players get big raises after being in the league for like five minutes).
- I was indifferent about Harold Baines getting into the Hall of Fame until I saw how angry it made the stat worshipers. Now I’m pretty happy about it.
- My advice to anyone graduating from journalism school this month is to try as hard as you can to remain more interested in news than content.
- The Eurostep is traveling.
- At any rate, when it comes the unnecessary new soccer stadiums, Columbus is running far ahead of Cincinnati. While FC Cincinnati is set to begin disrupting a neighborhood where they may or may not be welcomed, the vocal minority who worked to keep the Crew in town are at least just going to get some currently unused land redeveloped for the relatively few people who care. More importantly, the plans for redeveloping the old stadium by the fairgrounds actually sound both cool and practical, amazingly enough. Also if the latter project is where most of the public money goes, that would be a win.
- Can you believe how many people have terrible tattoos?
- Mike Breen and Doris Burke are about the most-listenable broadcast team out there.
- Remember when lots of people thought Michigan was a College Football Playoff team because they spanked three overrated Big Ten teams without quarterbacks? Good times.
- I have not been getting on Twitter much during press conferences this year, and Tuesday was a great reminder why. What a cesspool that place was as the transition from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day was announced.
- I know the first change I would like to see Day make is obvious: Move the Monday press conference back to Tuesday.
- Second: Make it a point to use the full-house backfield every game. (Yes, the diamond formation counts.)
- Apparently people are down on Greg Schiano as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator. That’s fair since the defense was bad this year, but I’ve also seen this spun into he is simply a bad defensive coordinator and/or he is the reason the Buckeyes have missed the College Football Playoff the last two years. That’s a pretty silly conclusion considering Oklahoma made the playoff with a significantly worse defense. How did the Sooners do it? Well their offense answered the bell every week, unlike Ohio State’s offense. If the Buckeyes had lost 49-45 to Purdue instead of 49-20, they might be preparing for the playoffs as I type this. The offense also poured a lot of gas on the fire at Iowa the year before. That’s not to excuse the defense for its failures but simply a reminder both of those games were total team failures.
- If you have a defensive scheme that can sustain players repeatedly blowing assignments, committing penalties or just flat losing one-on-one matchups and still work, I would love to see it. Of course the coaching staff is responsible for those mistakes, but that’s a different issue. Greg Schiano is a good defensive coordinator and Greg Schiano made some costly mistakes this season can both be true.
- I’d been down on Kevin Durant lately, and then he went and totally redeemed himself! His quote about fanboy beat writers fawning over LeBron James might be one of my five favorite ever, but the entirely of Ric Bucher’s story, “Why Doesn’t Anyone Want to Play with LeBron Anymore?” is worth a read. Remember, kids, Michael Jordan made role players stars and LeBron makes stars role players (while winning half as much).
- Wow, watching “an inning or two” of postseason baseball made noted genius Joe Maddon realize the pace of play is slow enough maybe something should be done about it. Welcome aboard, Joe. READ MORE: Stark: What would happen if baseball killed the shift?
- West Virginia's Will Grier is the first notable quarterback to skip bowl game. This seems like this is a much worse look for a QB than anyone else since they are supposed to have more of a leadership role, but everyone’s gotta do what’s best for them I guess. Nonetheless, the PR person who wrote or at least approved Grier’s statement that ends by thanking various folks “who taught me the true meaning of TEAM” should probably be looking for a job in another industry.
- SI.com warns, "Beware, college football: Bigger isn't always better," in a column would be a lot more useful to people in 1997 than it is now. The writer’s complaints about how things have changed in regards to local versus national focus are valid, but also irrelevant for arguing the merits of a four-team playoff versus eight because that is all stuff that already happened. We’re either deciding it on the field or we’re not. The field of teams needs to be large enough to include all the plausible best teams if we are. Eight does this. Four does not because it leaves out at least one power league every year.
- Here is a ranking of most desirable number of teams to make the postseason championship round: 8, 0, 4, 2. Yes, just voting on the winner was better than forcing two teams into the BCS title game when there was no guarantee there were two and only two teams who qualified (it was often more but sometimes less).
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