Monday, October 31, 2011
10 Things we Learned from Ohio State's Win over Wisconsin - BCS Standings - Andrew Luck - NBA Lockout -
Luck is facing unrealistic expectations at next level
Last night’s stirring, sleep-depriving, triple-overtime, 56-48 win over USC has advanced even farther the legend of Andrew Luck (even though he threw a key pick-six that set the stage for a game-tying drive and that overtime victory). Regarded not only as the clear-cut best prospect coming out (assuming he comes out) of college in 2012 but also as the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning in 1998 or fellow Stanford quarterback John Elway in 1983, Luck faces expectations that will be hard to satisfy, much less exceed.
Six years ago, former USC tailback Reggie Bush was building similar hype as he rocketed toward the Heisman. Not even a less-than-stellar, performance in the 2006 Rose Bowl, which featured un-Reggie-like numbers and a boneheaded decision to try a downfield lateral, could derail his candidacy to be the first pick in the draft — and the presumption that he’ll be the next Gale Sayers. Even after the Texans opted to pass on Bush, which came not long after the first reports of his receipt of cash and other benefits while at USC emerged, we all expected Bush to have a dramatic and immediate impact, and to put together a resume that would make him a first-ballot entry into Canton.
Similar expectations await Luck at the next level. Regardless of whether it’s fair or unfair, it’s a product of Luck’s performance at Stanford, media attention, fan anticipation, and a name that fits perfectly into a catchy slogan that creates hope for the worst teams in the NFL this season.
But should the expectations be so high for Luck? As one league source explained it on Saturday, some scouts think that Luck may not be the franchise savior/multiple Super Bowl winner/sure-fire Hall of Famer that everyone expects him to be.
Even if those scouts are simply choosing a contrarian view without firm evidence to support it, Luck would benefit from more people sharing that opinion. Otherwise, once he gets to the NFL he’ll have nowhere to go but down.
10 Things we Learned from Ohio State's Win over Wisconsin
By Brandon Castel
To read more from brandon go to theozone.net (best buckeye website out there)
1. Winning is more fun than losing. All sports fans know this. It is obvious and self-fulfilling and yet nothing reminds us more of how true this really is than a few tough losses. Ohio State players and fans have become accustomed to winning just about every week, so this year has served as a little reminder of what the other side feels like. It also reminded us all of how sweet a redemptive win can taste for a team desperately trying to stay together.
2. This team has more heart than we thought. After the Buckeyes blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, I turned to a number of my colleagues and told them that this OSU team has no heart. It was the second time this season they blew a two-score lead in the fourth quarter and it looked like they were going to fall to 1-3 in the Big Ten when they could easily be 3-1. Heck, they could be 4-0 with a decent game plan against Michigan State. The fourth quarter of Saturday’s game just seemed to fit this team perfectly. They had found yet another way to create a spectacle and a new way to lose. Only they didn’t lose. With just over a minute on the clock after they fell behind, the Buckeyes battled back. Jordan Hall went 42 yards on the kickoff. Boom Herron fought for a big first down and then of course Braxton Miller saved the day. It was impressive to see this team fight back after all the reasons they have been given to quit.
3. Suddenly the Big Ten title goes through Columbus, again. How can this be possible? This team was done after just two games in conference play, and yet all of a sudden they are back in the race. They still don’t control their own destiny thanks to a missed field goal by Illinois on the final play of their loss at Penn State, but the Buckeyes almost have to be considered the favorites to win the Leaders division at this point. The Nittany Lions are 8-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play but they close out the season with Nebraska at home followed by trips to Ohio State and Wisconsin. If they win one of those they would be lucky. If they lose two of them, the Buckeyes could book a trip to Indianapolis by winning their final four games. Suddenly that doesn’t seem so unrealistic. They get Indiana and Penn State at home and Purdue on the road. The toughest remaining game is going to be in Ann Arbor to close out the year, but they will have DeVier Posey back for that trip.
4. Boom Herron is the soul of the offense. They will also have Boom Herron, who has quickly reminded us how good he was at the end of last year. In two games this year, Herron has racked up 274 yards on 56 carries and he has topped the century mark in five of his last seven games dating back to last season. He did a little too much East-West running Saturday, but it’s impossible to argue with his final tally of 33 carries for 160 yards. The Buckeyes should probably still find a way to get Carlos Hyde 6-7 carries a game, but it’s impossible to ignore the emotional lift Herron has given this team the last two weeks. He is putting his heart and soul into the rest of this season and in doing so, he has become the heart and soul of the offense. He can turn nothing into a big run and he does an incredible job of using his blockers.
5. Ohio State’s offensive line gives them a chance to win every week. Herron’s return coupled with that of Mike Adams has really started something special. It’s possible, if not probable, that this current offensive line is even better than last years—in large part because the three seniors are all better. Adams is playing at an elite level and Michael Brewster and J.B. Shugarts both played great Saturday, other than the obligatory false start for No. 76. Sophomore Andrew Norwell has fit right in at left guard and let’s not forget about some of the blocks thrown by Zach Boren, Adam Homan, Jake Stoneburner and Reid Fragel. Boren in particular just flattens people every week, but the way this group is starting to gel gives the Buckeyes a chance to be successful every time they take the field.
6. Braxton Miller is on the verge of stardom. Another part of that equation is Miller, who played the best game of his young career. He finished with less than 100 yards passing yet again, but there is no question that this kid is going to be a star if he can stay healthy. Forget the game-winning pass—which is impossible to forget because it was the signature play of his career and of this season—and Miller was still having a game to remember. He was running all over Wisconsin’s defense, picking up long third downs, and then he busted off a 44-yard touchdown run that looked more like Terrelle Pryor than anything he has ever done before. Miller is quick, he is elusive and now we know he can turn on the afterburners when he gets in the open field. The passing is still a work in progress, but Philly Brown and Jake Stoneburner didn’t do him any favors in the first half with those two big drops. As for the winning play, that is not something freshmen are supposed to do. They are supposed to make bad decisions, or at the very least commit to running the ball when it’s there. Instead, Miller kept his eyes downfield. He stopped just short of the line of scrimmage and heaved a pass to his buddy Devin Smith. It wasn’t a perfectly thrown ball, but it didn’t have to be. Miller’s scrambling ability had already sucked the defense in enough to leave Smith wide open. All Miller had to do was get it there.
7. The secret to success for Wisconsin’s offensive line. As it turns out, it’s pretty simple: hold all night long without a single penalty flag and then laugh when the referees call holding on the opponent. OK, so maybe that is a bit sarcastic, but it was almost comical that Ohio State had three holding calls against them while Wisconsin had nary a one. I have never been a fan of blaming umpires or referees for anything in sports, unless it is something so blatant that it warrants attention. That was definitely the case in this game, where Wisconsin’s offensive line mugged John Simon and Johnathan Hankins all night. Simon was tackled more times than Braxton Miller and Hankins nearly had his pads pulled up over his head on a few occasions.
8. Adam Bellamy arrived Saturday night. It would have been easy to write more about Simon and Hankins and how amazing they are because, well, they are that amazing. But we already knew that. It’s nice to be reminded week after week just how good these two guys are but Saturday marked the arrival of another member of the defensive line. Ever since Nathan Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener, the Buckeyes have been looking for a third guy up front to come alive. Michael Bennett has shown flashes for a freshman, but Bellamy came alive against Wisconsin and it turned OSU’s defensive line from good to great. With all the attention being paid to the two Johns, Bellamy was all over the Wisconsin backfield.
9. Christian Bryant is who he is. It is better to realize this now and stop hoping for him to be someone else. That doesn’t mean Bryant won’t develop into a better, more intelligent version of himself, but if you take away his aggressiveness you take away the thing that makes him Christian Bryant. He is young and he is going to make mistakes. Those mistakes have cost them, especially the missed tackle at Nebraska, but the reason Bryant is starting instead of Orhian Johnson is because he has no fear when it comes to making plays. That is why they like him. Sure, he missed some tackles Saturday. He also missed a big interception that led to Wisconsin’s first touchdown. He also had a devastating hit on third down that forced a punt. This defense has a lot of guys willing to “do their one-eleventh,” they need a couple guys like Bryant who can step outside that to make a big play.
10. Can’t say enough good things about Ben Buchanan and the specials teams. Somehow I feel like I’m writing about Ben Buchanan every single week, but it’s hard not to. Maybe I just didn’t give punters enough credit in the past, but it’s impossible not to notice the season Buchanan is having. Outside of Simon, Hankins and maybe Zach Boren, Buchanan has been OSU’s most consistent player this season, and certainly one of their best. He was at it again Saturday against Wisconsin. His ability to flip the field and turn bad field position into good has really masked some of Ohio State’s youth and inexperience on defense. He had another fantastic punt that pinned Wisconsin inside the 10 yard line and also hit a couple of bombs. His hang time is getting better too, which has allowed guys like Ryan Shazier, Nate Ebner and Zach Domicone to fly down the field and make big hits. Give Orhian Johnson credit for a few nice plays on special teams too. Of course no one made a bigger special teams play than Shazier, who blocked the punt that was recovered by Curtis Grant near the goal line.
.BCS Standings - October 30, 2011
Week: 8 | 9 | 10
Rankings: Select One Overall USA Today Coaches' PollAP Top 25Harris PollLegends PollConference Rankings ESPN.com Power Rankings ESPN.com Bottom 10 ESPNU Fan Rankings
1 LSU .9734 1 1 2853 .9923 1 1457 .9878 2 3 1 2 2 3 3 .940
2 Alabama .9591 2 2 2775 .9652 2 1434 .9722 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 .940
3 Oklahoma State .9310 3 3 2594 .9023 4 1314 .8908 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1.000
4 Stanford .8615 6 4 2552 .8877 3 1323 .8969 6 5 4 6 8 8 5 .800
5 Boise State .8522 4 5 2438 .8480 5 1237 .8386 4 4 5 4 4 6 4 .870
6 Oklahoma .7760 9 7 2158 .7506 7 1117 .7573 5 6 6 5 5 5 6 .820
7 Arkansas .7033 10 8 2015 .7009 8 1046 .7092 7 10 10 16 7 4 7 .700
8 Oregon .6916 7 6 2266 .7882 6 1175 .7966 13 16 7 15 14 13 13 .490
9 South Carolina .6177 13 11 1696 .5899 10 919 .6231 10 7 14 11 10 10 9 .640
10 Nebraska .6156 14 9 1918 .6671 9 973 .6597 12 13 8 9 16 18 14 .520
11 Clemson .5961 5 10 1697 .5903 12 779 .5281 9 17 11 7 9 9 8 .670
12 Virginia Tech .5683 12 12 1594 .5544 11 871 .5905 11 12 13 10 11 17 12 .560
13 Houston .4698 17 14 1320 .4591 14 679 .4603 13 8 0 8 13 23 11 .490
14 Kansas State .4600 8 15 1126 .3917 19 440 .2983 8 9 9 12 6 7 10 .690
15 Michigan .4512 18 13 1426 .4960 13 734 .4976 17 11 17 13 20 0 18 .360
16 Penn State .4022 19 16 1117 .3885 15 646 .4380 16 15 21 14 17 19 15 .380
17 Michigan State .3076 11 17 1049 .3649 16 528 .3580 20 22 12 21 21 24 20 .200
18 Georgia .2899 22 20 724 .2518 20 410 .2780 19 18 0 18 15 15 19 .340
19 Arizona State .2362 21 19 825 .2870 18 445 .3017 21 24 18 24 25 21 23 .120
20 Wisconsin .2159 15 18 960 .3339 17 463 .3139 24 0 20 0 0 0 0 .000
21 Texas .2117 24 24 323 .1123 25 122 .0827 15 14 0 17 12 12 17 .440
22 Auburn .1490 23 25 199 .0692 NR 41 .0278 18 19 16 22 18 11 16 .350
23 Georgia Tech .1276 NR 21 466 .1621 23 193 .1308 23 23 22 23 23 0 0 .090
24 West Virginia .1139 25 22 456 .1586 21 270 .1831 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
25 Southern Miss
Were Fisher, Kobe down with 50/50 split? Maybe, as some players are.
Everyone is not on the same page in the NBA labor negotiations. The owners are not a unified front and neither are the players.
I have heard from players willing right now to take a 50/50 split of basketball related income (BRI) — the league’s revenues — and get on with a season right now. How many players feel that way? There’s no way to know, but other media members have heard the same thing. There are also plenty of players — and virtually every NBA agent — who don’t want the union to go below 52 percent.
Is Derek Fisher among the group good with a 50/50 split? That’s what Jason Whitlock reported at FoxSports.com.
The belief that NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher has been co-opted by commissioner David Stern — and promised the commish he could deliver the union at 50-50 — caused NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and at least one member of the union’s executive committee to confront Fisher on Friday morning and make him reassess his 50-50 push, a source familiar with the negotiations told FOXSports.com Friday afternoon…..
According to my source, at least one five-time champion, NBA superstar with the initials K.B. was on board with Fisher’s push for a 50-50 split. Hunter is firm that the players should not accept less than 52-48. According to my source, Hunter and a member of the executive committee convinced Fisher to stand firm at 52-48 after they questioned the Lakers point guard about his relationship with Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver.
No doubt Whitlock has a source that told him this. Is it true? Who knows. That source has an agenda — he doesn’t want the players to go below 52 percent. Said source clearly fears things are going that direction, so the source leaks this stuff about Fisher hoping that it adds to the pressure on Fisher not to “cave.”
Reading between the lines of Fisher and Billy Hunter’s words, it sounds like Fisher told David Stern and the owners that if they really gave in on system issues — leaving the system of contract lengths and exceptions close to what existed in the old deal — then they could talk about a bigger share of BRI for the owners. But the hardline owners want both a system that reins in big teams and gives them a majority of BRI (even 50/50 is not an even split because the owners get expenses off the top).
Really, the two sides are very, very close to a deal. A deal that neither side is going to like, which is the nature of compromise. But as long as the hardliners like the Fox Sports source drive the bus we are not going to have a deal. We are not going to have NBA basketball.
Posted by just BS at 5:14 AM