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Why is this news?: Connor Cook on Ohio State fans, J.T. Barrett emerges as a leader

All the big Ohio State news in one helpful place.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

"For being a freshman and taking over the role at this university, (leading) Buckeye Nation, he's done an incredible job."

-Pat Elflein on J.T. Barrett (via BuckeyeXtra)

It's no secret that J.T. Barrett's freshman season at quarterback has been an impressive one. But where does it stand in the pantheon of Buckeye QBs in their first year as starters? As it turns's the best in the school's history. Art Schlicter, Mike Tomczak, Bobby Hoying, Terrelle Pryor, Braxton Miller...Barrett's numbers, and potential record, are better than any of theirs. His completion percentage, .650, is highest among them. His 21 touchdown passes? 8 more than what any other first year QB has thrown. Barrett's 1,689 passing yards, through just 7 games, also top the list. Barrett is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, better than either Pryor or Miller posted in their inaugural seasons.

Bobby Hoying's 1993 squad went 10-1-1. Barrett has a chance to post a better record than that. His team and his coaches are taking notice. "To see what he did in that game, in overtime in that environment...that was a tough, tough performance," said Urban Meyer after last week's victory over Penn State. Barrett stagnated in regulation, throwing for just 74 yards, but when it mattered (and on a bum knee, no less) the young quarterback got the job done. His 32 rushing yards and two scores in overtime proved to be the difference against one of the best defenses in the country.

"I just know they are extreme. They're not like arrogant or anything. Ohio State fans, their energy level, if there's one word I could use, it would be extreme, really."

-Michigan State QB Connor Cook (via

Connor Cook, last year's biggest nemesis, understands all too well the rabidity of the Buckeye faithful. Cook hails from Hinckley, Ohio, and grew up surrounded by Michigan hatred. As the Spartans' quarterback, he's had some continuity--Michigan State fans hate the Wolverines almost as much as Ohio State fans do. "Little Brother" has gotten the best of Michigan in recent years, including a 35-11 win last week in which Spartans coach Mark Dantonio purportedly ran up the score as a response to the "disrespect" the team felt from the Wolverines.

The Spartans play the Buckeyes in East Lansing next weekend in a matchup that will essentially determine which school represents the B1G East in this year's conference championship game. Thanks to conference realignment, Ohio State and Michigan State won't be able to face off in the championship game like they did last year, but Cook carries the memories of that contest (a 34-24 MSU victory) with him nonetheless. "I remember before the game, there was some crazy old man screaming something at me that I probably shouldn't say right now," Cook said.

Here's hoping the "extreme" Buckeye fans travel well to East Lansing next weekend and help erase the stain of last year's defeat.

"'The Best Damn Band In The Land' has a long track record of trying new things. Recently, stunning halftime performances have gained the band recognition beyond Buckeye Nation and throughout the rest of the world."

-Excerpted from Ohio State's "Behind the scenes of halftime magic"

As you may have heard, there has been serious political and organizational drama surrounding the Ohio State marching band in recent months. But sometimes, if I may paraphrase Pitch Perfect here, it's nice to shut your eyes, get rid of the politics, and enjoy the music. TBDBITL has continued their excellent on-field performance this season despite the distractions, and people everywhere are taking notice.

"Behind the scenes of halftime magic" takes the viewer into the process of creating such intricate performances week after week. It's a tradition that's been going on since 1930, when the band marched down the field in an anchor-shaped formation during intermission against Navy. Even back then, the artistry involved in the show made waves--The New York Times is alleged to have written a piece about the performance.

Just this season, the band has put Bart Simpson on a skateboard, celebrated 75 years of The Wizard of Oz, and honored the sacrifices made during D-Day. They have appeared everywhere from The Today Show to an Apple iPad Air commercial. And they're impressive in the classroom, to boot--the average GPA of TBDBITL members is a 3.5, and they major in every field from engineering to nursing to English. The short feature linked above is worth checking out for any Buckeye fan.

Things aren't looking great for the Ohio State women's basketball team in light of freshman forward Chelsea Mitchell's recent ACL tear. That makes two Buckeyes lost for the season to the same injury, as forward Makayla Waterman suffered the same injury several weeks ago. Waterman's injury came less than a week after last year's 2nd-leading scorer, Raven Ferguson, was dismissed from the team.

The Buckeyes have two transfers, Shayla Cooper and Kiana Holland, who will become eligible after the first semester ends in December. Until then, the roster is perilously thin. "The biggest challenge is that we're trying to play a lot faster and more aggressively over the entire 94 feet. This limits our ability to do that," coach Kevin McGuff told The Dispatch. The Buckeyes open the season November 14 at Virginia. It will be interesting to see how the team fares with just 7 healthy players heading into that matchup.