Random thoughts: Ohio State perspective, Bengals-Steelers reaction, baseball not dying, etc.

Credit: Jamie Sabau

Credit: Jamie Sabau

Apologies for not getting these posted last week. There were some gems that are sadly no longer timely (you’ll just have to take my word for it), but time marches on…  

  • Let's start with a little Ohio State football therapy: Worries about the Buckeyes right now are certainly valid, but it's not time to panic. Ohio State will probably be on extreme nationwide upset alert this week at Purdue, but with two major conferences practically out of the playoff race I'm not sure it even matters if the Buckeyes win Saturday night (Maybe keep it within 30, though…). Win or lose they have some things to shore up before they play Michigan. If they don't, they will lose The Game and nothing else matters.
  • I love a good scheme conversation, but I am not ready to give up on what the Buckeyes are trying to do defensively yet. It is designed to maximize Ohio State's talent advantage in most games. It does put people on islands and allow small problems to become big ones in a hurry, but the idea is that it creates even more problems for the offense.
  • The trouble now is that talent isn't all in place, which begs the question: Will it be by the end of the season? I still think it's worth betting the answer will be yes. No matter what they do schematically, the Buckeyes must be strong up front. Four of the top five defensive linemen were out or hobbled Saturday, and it showed. The good news is all of those guys could be back to full speed before Thanksgiving. One way or another, the defensive line will be the key to the rest of the season.

  • That Bengals loss to the Steelers was surprisingly undisappointing because I had no expectation they would win even when they were leading late. It was more annoying then anything just because it fed all those negative narratives that will never go away until the Bengals reel off their own winning streak in the series.
  • The Bengals showed great character coming back (again). The defense failed because the defense isn't good. They still are leading the division (with Baltimore, who they already beat), but it would have been nice to have a big cushion entering the middle of the season. Oh well... who's next?
  • That said, the NFL's response to the Steelers' clearly breaking the rules intentionally on their game-winning touchdown tells you all you need to know about why the league's officiating is a disaster.
  • While a complex rulebook seems to leave many officials guessing about what to do about what they see on a play-to-play basis, the director of officials puts out a video explaining what happened in a manner that doesn't even describe what happened. No wonder refs can't do their job effectively if the written rules aren't the real rules and their boss contradicts them publicly.
  • Meanwhile, someone else who knows the rules just as well and is no longer on the league's payroll confirms the Steelers should have been called for offensive pass interference.
  • A last thing on NFL officials: The most maddening thing about the league is that it is at once cracking down some ticky-tack fouls (like illegal contact and certain aspects of roughing the passer) while being lax on others (like pick plays) because it leaves one feeling like the officials are way too big a part of the game both in what they do and don't call. It's the worst of both worlds.
  • With college basketball's return around the corner, here's a reminder: preseason player of the year is still not a real award and should not be treated as such.
  • Baseball season might have started at different times of the year in Cincinnati and Cleveland, but it felt like it only lasted about four days in each Ohio MLB city.
  • Speaking of baseball: Still not dying.
  • However, I am starting to wonder if sabremetrics is doing more harm than good when it comes to the fan experience. Here is a good satirical column on that very topic. Of course the often self-important stats people are important to remind the rest of us how dumb we are from time to time, but maybe we shouldn't let them make too many fundamental changes to the game. (Just in case, should we put them and the lawyers who make the NFL's rules on the first flight to Mars?)
  • Do you think the scarers in Monsters Inc. look at everyone else as freeloaders?
  • If you have a big problem with "Talk about," you're probably too far down the sports media rabbit hole. As noted by The Big Lead, it's not ideal, but it's still better than too high a percentage of questions that are asked. What it lacks in creativity it makes up for in conciseness. It's also better than leading questions that are designed to get a certain response, especially since those questions are sometimes based on incorrect assumptions of the person asking…
  • Can you believe how many people have terrible tattoos?
  • Lastly, I can't help but wonder if all this judge's decisions are this nonsensical: NCAA show-causes no longer applicable to California schools following judge's ruling.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

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