"We're officially less than two months away from what's going to be an interesting spring period for the Ohio State football team."
We're only two days off from football season, you already miss it. So do we. But good news is, we're less than two months from some Ohio State spring football. Practice will begin on Tuesday, March 8, and the annual spring game will be played on Saturday, April 16 at Ohio Stadium. This spring is sure to be an interesting one, as the Buckeyes lost nine players from last year's team that declared early for the NFL Draft. A total of 16 starters are gone from last season.
If you need something to hold you over until spring football, National Signing Day is February 3, where we could see the next Buckeye greats committing to the scarlet and gray. On February 23-29, the NFL Scouting Combine will take place in Indianapolis, where you can watch some of your favorite Buckeyes from this past season show NFL scouts what they have. Aside that, we hope you really enjoy watching some Ohio State basketball.
"That's a valuable weapon for the Buckeyes to have, but to be productive over a four-year career, [Jae'Sean] Tate was going to have to evolve his game."
Jae'Sean Tate has seen his numbers dip since conference play started. Tate went from averaging 11.5 points per game, to 6.8 per game. Ohio State has had a tougher time in conference play after seeming to find somewhat of a stride after beating Kentucky in Brooklyn, but that came to a halt after the Buckeyes fell down early and big in Bloomington against Indiana, losing by 25. Tate has had trouble in the post against the Big Ten's bigger lineups, but he has been working to change his game.
Tate is much more comfortable with taking mid-range and three-pointers this season, as he has tried to adapt his game to his 6'4 frame. Tate's success (and pretty much that of the rest of the Buckeyes) has come in the games where they have a complete team game. It allows for defenses to not zero in on him, and give him easier looks at the basket. But as long as Tate continues to work on his offensive game, and brings the defensive effort and intensity, things could look up for him. It just might take time, but the Rutgers game would be a great start.
"That drop has generated a lot of talk. Is part of it nothing more than the fact that the Buckeyes, almost inarguably the biggest TV draw in college football, weren't there?"
Alabama's national championship victory over Clemson Monday night received less viewers than the Ohio State-Oregon game last season. This year's title game drew in 25.7 million, whereas Ohio State-Oregon pulled in 33.8 million viewers. While the drop from the College Football Playoff semifinals was understandable, and mostly expected, the title game was not on any sort of holiday. Lesmerises believes a lack of Ohio State's presence is to blame.
It appears this could very well be true. In the regular season, there were only four regular season games that had more than 8 million viewers, and three of those were Ohio State games, specifically the Michigan State, Michigan, and Virginia Tech games. The only outlier was Alabama-LSU. So maybe Ohio State's absence had something to do with it. Clemson doesn't have quite the following that Ohio State does, and surely an Ohio State-Alabama national title game would have drawn a gigantic audience. Maybe we'll find out next year.
"Chris Ash isn't going to stray far from his roots when it comes to rejuvenating the football program at Rutgers."
Chris Ash's Rutgers program will be sculpted similar to what Urban Meyer has at Ohio State. That's a pretty good model to try to mirror. Ash said Tuesday that their focus will be to find ways to play better, which should be plausible, considering the Scarlet Knights went 4-8 last season under Kyle Flood, and a program that was a mess. But to turn Rutgers around won't be easy, but it's definitely possible.
Ash has a good start, though. Eight of his coaches and staff members have Ohio State ties. Ash told the AP that it was important to him because they would understand the expectations he had for the program, and understand how the day-to-day operations should be, and that "a lot of the things I'm going to do are going to be modeled by what we did at Ohio State." We'll all want the best for Chris Ash and his Rutgers, until they face the Bucks.