"The Buckeyes have all the talent in the world back here, but there's just no telling how this unit will perform. In 2015, it could be spectacular; in 2014, though?"
-Bill Connelly, SBNation, about the Ohio State defensive backs.
You might have seen it on the homepage, but Bill Connelly's Ohio State preview finally dropped today. Bill uses a variety of advanced explosiveness and efficiency statistics as well as depth chart analysis to preview the 2014 Buckeyes and you'll mostly like what he (and the numbers) have to say. Mostly.
Like: "They had probably the best running game in the country and an insanely efficient offense overall" and "Meyer has recruited circles around the rest of his conference," or "This is still easily the most high-upside batch of skill position players in the Big Ten."
Dislike: "When Meyer says 'The offensive line, we've got a lot of work to do,' he's probably not just blowing coachspeak smoke" and "No matter how good blue-chip freshmen Raekwon McMillan and Dante Booker might be, they aren't going to be as productive as Shazier was last year."
The thing is, he's right about everything. It's honestly hard to put Ohio State among the top 2-3 teams entering the 2014 season both because of the high number of unknowns (offensive line, defensive backfield, and linebackers) and the poor play from the secondary. As Connelly concludes, while Ohio State is probably the class of the Big Ten, it's premature to say that they're a sure-fire playoff winner.
Then again, 1. the Buckeyes may not have to be given the two-game(ish) schedule, and 2. neither was Florida State last season.
"I think everyone won. The university is doing very well...So this particular story is a much different one from many that could have been written."
-Gordon Gee, Cleveland.com, via Doug Lesmerises about Ohio State and Tatgate's legacy
Doug Lesmerises is his back with the second part in his series closing the book on Tatgate. Honestly that book can't be shut fast enough.
One interesting thing about Doug's article is where Gee took the phone interview - Gee's president emeritus office at Ohio State. While two (and three if you include Pryor) members of the Tatgate fiasco are no longer employed or play at Ohio State, both Tressel and Gee are still beloved members of the Buckeye community.
It's hard to know what to make of Gee's comments about Ohio State being better off - quick one-liner or carefully considered analysis? On the one hand, Ohio State has Urban Meyer as head coach, Tressel and Gee are happily employed elsewhere, and the former players are doing fine too. It's hard to quantify the effects of the bad press from Tatgate too. However, the 2011 football season also happened as a direct result of Tatgate.
"After all, if the same educational opportunities are not available to them, how can they be considered a member of the student body?"
-Lori Schmidt, Fear the Hat
Lori Schmidt takes a look at the majors that Ohio State football players cluster in to based on this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The general idea is that many student athletes choose the same major - or have it chosen for them.
If there are any clusters at Ohio State, they're probably Consumer and Family Financial Services and Communications, with African American Studies and Econ close behind. However, isn't Communications one of the most popular majors nationwide anyway? Difficult to say whether that's a cluster for student athletes or not without some regression analysis.
"However, Redding also said that College Football Officiating, LLC...was in the process of building a long-term strategic plan...potentially opening the discussion of whether officiating should be managed from a centralized national office instead of conference by conference."
-Dan Wolken, USA Today, quoting national college football officiating coordinator Rogers Redding
Wolken's article on potential changes to officiating is mostly just pre-planning and ideas for the officiating in the playoff era, but the potential for centralized, nation-wide refs sounds interesting.
One of the book Scorecasting's most famous arguments is that home field bias is a result of referees' involuntary motivations to please the home crowd. In that book (which you should all read), the problem is when refs "assimilate the emotion of the home crowd."
If the goal all along is to prevent officiating bias during the playoff, I'm not sure a centralized national office has too much of an effect - the refs were already going to be from different conferences than the teams on the field. Regionalization or centralization might help on the back-end, organization side of things for refs, but it might not really affect the calls we see on the field.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Are you a student? Then you should consider taking notes the ol' fashioned way next semester.
- Apple's WWDC conference was yesterday, and not only are they turning your computer into a cell phone, but escalating the war with Google. Meet the new Apple, while you're at it.
- Awesomely detailed satirical map of Western stereotypes.
- It may be banned, but it will still destroy your eardrums at the World Cup.