"A guy is going to get a first-round grade, a second-round grade, or a stay-in-school grade."
-Nick Saban, Alabama football coach
A big change is coming to the pre-draft process for undergraduate NFL prospects. As stated by Saban at SEC Media Days, the impartial grading system will change beginning this season. Previously, an undergraduate draft hopeful could receive a grade of first-round, second-round, third-round, post-third-round, or undrafted.
No doubt this change stemmed from a growing tide of college players declaring early who didn't hear their names called during the three-day draft process. In 2014, a record-breaking 98 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft. 36 of these players were without a team at the end of the draft process. The overall number of underclassmen who declare early has nearly doubled in the last three years alone.
Additionally, teams will only be able to designate five non-senior players to receive pre-draft grades. Previously, no limit existed--Saban saw eleven of his 2013 underclassmen receive pre-draft grades as they considered their next moves. Les Miles' LSU squad saw eighteen players do the same over the last two seasons. It will be interesting to see how these changes impact the Buckeye teams of the next few seasons, as highly-touted young players look to make an immediate impact for the Scarlet and Gray.
"It's an honor to play in a World Cup...Nichelle and I hope to do the Buckeyes proud."
-Lindsay Agnew, Ohio State Women's Soccer Forward
It's been barely two weeks since the USMNT was eliminated by Belgium, and the wounds still feel fresh. Fortunately, the world soccer stage doesn't sleep. The Women's U-20 World Cup kicks off on August 5th in Canada. Ohio State, not satisfied with domestic athletic domination, is sending two delegates to the tournament.
Nichelle Prince and Lindsay Agnew will represent Team Canada in next month's showcase. Agnew, a forward, was hampered by injuries last year, but still finished tied for second on the Buckeyes in goals scored. Prince, also a forward, was the only player to finish ahead of her countrywoman in scoring. She tallied an absurd twelve goals on the season, her first in Columbus.
Team Canada opens the U-20 WC against everyone's favorite team to hate, Ghana. They will close the group stage with matches against Finland and Korea DPR.
"The most anticipated game on the Big Ten's schedule in 2014 is Nov. 11 when Michigan State hosts OSU at night in East Lansing."
-Pat Caputo, The Oakland Press
No one in Columbus seems to be talking about a rethinking of the Buckeyes' rivalry situation. The story is a little different in East Lansing. Per this story in The Oakland Press, many in Spartan country consider the B1G paradigm to have shifted. It feels inevitable, really. The OSU-UM-MSU menage has undergone a power shuffle in the last few seasons, as Brady Hoke's Wolverines have faded to the background despite annually cosmic projections. Mark Dantonio's Spartans and Urban Meyer's Buckeyes, on the other hand, have surged ahead in-conference and on the national stage.
There's little doubt that the Buckeyes and Spartans are the class of the B1G heading into the 2014 season. But will this severe imbalance of power ever be enough to make OSU stalwarts jump ship for the greener pastures of a more competitive rivalry? Caputo seems to think so. Personally, I don't see a single Buckeye fan giving up the ghost until we're at least one game ahead in the all-time head-to-head standings against TTUN. That's another fourteen years from now, assuming current trends continue.
"A journey to Oz is in store for the Ohio State marching band."
-Kevin Joy, The Columbus Dispatch
Michael Jackson's moonwalk. Jurassic Park's T-Rex. Flying Monkeys and the Yellow Brick Road? According to sources (#sauces), TBDBITL will put on an homage to The Wizard of Oz this season, in honor of the iconic film's 75th birthday. The theme was in part decided by a student vote, which helped the band winnow down 100 potential themes to a final seven.
TBDBITL director Jonathan Waters tells the Dispatch that the show will start with a "tornado" that picks up Dorothy's house, but that she will be trying to get back to Ohio, not Kansas. Fittingly, the Wicked Witch will "hail from Michigan," rather than the West. Waters says that he has also been in talks with new university president Michael Drake to make a star turn as the Great and Powerful Oz.
It has yet to be announced at which game the Oz show will take place. The band will play at halftime of each of the Buckeyes' seven home games this season, as well as at M&T stadium against Navy and at two other away games.