Our long national nightmare is over... Almost. You still have another two hours to kill before you can, legalistically speaking, make a clean break for the door, and another hour after that until actual, tangible, real, non-video game football becomes a reality once again. Either way, you've got some time to kill. What better way to make it go by even faster than normal than with a collection of the best reads in and around Ohio State athletics for the day?
ON ECONOMIES OF SCALE
Ohio State was big. But what if it got even bigger? Doug Lesmerises probes just that, along with an unexpected guest contributor -- former Ohio State walk on turned rapper, Mekka Don. While on paper such a column would feel seemingly unnatural or forced, the results make an interesting look at how the program once thought too big to fail could be getting even more ominous in scope.
Cleveland Plain Dealer Doug Lesmerises Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes -- college football's biggest program just got bigger
Urban Meyer together with Ohio State.
If this was a wedding, it would have been on the cover of "People." And Ohio State needed that kind of pub.
"Now it's like Jay-Z and Beyonce," Mekka Don said. "They're two megastars individually, and when they came together people were, like ‘Oh, my God. They're going to take over the world.'
"If you're a casual fan, or an Ohio State fan or an Ohio State hater, I think you can see what he's going to bring to the program. For the people who don't like Ohio State, I think people fear what this could mean for Ohio State football."
We mentioned yesterday (and to be fair, today also) that the Big Ten, from both an overall football quality as well as a national perspective standpoint, was very much a work in progress. The league has leaps and bounds to go before it's uttered in even the same breath as the SEC by the most shallow level college football followers, but bringing in a high profile coach of the nature of Urban Meyer might help kick start that progress.
Columbus Dispatch Todd Jones College football: Big Ten's image gets early test
The Ohio native understands the SEC fatigue plaguing the Midwest, but he can't argue against that deep-fried league's superiority with its streak of six consecutive national titles.
"College football is very cyclical," Meyer said. "The Big Ten for many, many years was without question the No. 1 conference in America. Right now, we're not. But there's a lot of coaches and players right now very intent on making it the best conference in America."
The Big Ten could begin gaining ground on the mighty SEC on Saturday night if No. 8 Michigan upsets No. 2 Alabama, the defending national champion, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
That clash of traditional powers follows a game on Friday - No. 13 Michigan State at home against No. 24 Boise State - that also could polish the Big Ten's national image, even though the SEC isn't involved.
ON RESPONDING TO CHALLENGE
Travis Howard's career arc as a Buckeye hasn't been how many envisioned it might have after the now senior broke out a season and a half ago. Many recall his heroics against Penn State (in a now vacated by the NCAA affair) and had visions of Howard following in the foot steps of many of the Buckeyes' great defensive backs during the 2000s. While it hasn't come as quickly as many would've hoped, that doesn't mean it's not going to happen yet.
Columbus Dispatch Tim May Ohio State football: Howard responds to the challenge
A few days ago, Meyer mentioned Howard when listing players who had made big moves in preseason camp headed toward Saturday's opener against Miami University.
"Travis Howard is a much better player than he was," Meyer said.
He praised the working relationship Howard developed with new cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs, a boisterous taskmaster who can be heard going about his job from hundreds of yards away.
"Travis has really done a nice job. ... His work ethic and work habits, and footwork (before might have been the) result of being a little lazy," Coombs said. "I see him much improved. I really like coaching him right now. He's a lot of fun to be around."
Urban Meyer arrived on campus with one principle mission in mind: developing an angry, motivated team. He's said that he believes that he now has that end product, but until the uniforms get put on and helmets meet helmet, we're still left with the same line of thinking Meyer himself probably falls into at this juncture in time, that seeing is believing.
The News-Herald John Kampf Ohio State football preview: 'Buckle your seatbelt'
Urban Meyer had just been named the head coach at Ohio State when Linsley's phone sounded off, notifying him of an incoming text message. The message was from D.J. Ogilvie, Linsley's coach when he prepped at Youngstown Boardman.
Ogilvie played at Bowling Green when Meyer was just beginning his successful head coaching career.
"Buckle your chin-strap," was the text.
Have any great reads you've come across you'd like to see included in tomorrow's edition? Send them along to @lukezim or e-mail me below.