"The championship marks the fourth time Ohio State has won a national title in open team competition."
It's starting to feel really, really unfair. The Ohio State pistol team just claimed its third consecutive national title, the eighth in program history. For those keeping score at home, that's two Buckeye teams currently boasting three-peats, with the pistol squad joining the women's rowing boats as the most dominating forces in their respective sports.
Look, when you're beating out schools like Army and Navy in shooting sports, it's hard not to be just a little bit proud. I'm beginning to think that if some sort of Red Dawn situation were to occur in the U.S., the invading force would be making a huge mistake coming anywhere near Franklin County. Ohio State students have mastered the arts of shooting and boating, and it'd be hard not to like their chances. (The only foreseeable problem would be an invasion originating in East Lansing. Not sure we'd be able to fend that one off.)
The national championship is the first for head coach Donna Knisley in her current role, although she was an assistant during all seven previous title runs.
"Who would be surprised if they ended up in the CFP next January?"
- Ted Miller, ESPN.com
Trying to project who will claim spots in the college football playoff is essentially a fool's errand. Still, that doesn't make it any less fun! ESPN.com took an early shot at its predictions this week, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly took Ohio State to fill the fourth spot. Writer Ted Miller drew parallels to last year's Alabama team, given that the Crimson Tide had big questions at a few notable positions heading into the 2015 campaign, a problem the Buckeyes will be intimately familiar with by the time the 2016 season kicks off -- Urban Meyer's squad returns just six starters, having lost just about every productive skill player outside of J.T. Barrett.
It's an enticing thought. You may remember Ohio State claiming the national title in the 2014 season despite having the proverbial snowball's chance for most of the season. Meyer's team seems to do a whole lot better with the chase than with the grind, and it's certainly more exciting as a fan to watch the team climb the standings than to spend a whole season biting fingernails hoping to withstand the onslaught and keep the top spot.
Miller's comparisons match the 2015 Tide with the 2016 Buckeyes, but he doesn't stop there. Auburn enters the 2016 season in a position similar to 2015 Oklahoma, while this year's Baylor might resemble last year's Clemson. Miller also thinks Ole Miss, with their veteran QB and questions at wide receiver, might just do what Michigan State did last season.
"When I meet with these teams, they always [say], 'We feel you were underutilized,' and I always smirk when I hear that, but we have so many threats at Ohio State."
- Nick Vannett, via Matthew Florjancic, WKYC.com
One of those talented skill position players that Ohio State will have to do without in 2016 is tight end Nick Vannett. Vannett, like so many Buckeye TEs before him, didn't see a whole lot of touches, but made the most of the ones he got. Now, as he preps for hearing his name called in April's NFL Draft, he's trying not to let his touchdown-less senior season bother him too much. Vannett felt that his workouts and interviews with teams during the NFL Combine and on Ohio State's pro day were a great chance to showcase his talents.
"Just to get to work out with them...that's what I've been waiting for," Vannett said, per WKYC's Matthew Floranjic. He's certainly got the measurables to succeed at the next level, standing 6'6 and weighing 220 pounds. Despite Ohio State's system not favoring big stats for tight ends, there's little doubt that Vannett will be taken in the first three or four rounds, given how much he's impressed during the pre-draft process. Recent history is on his side, too. Jeff Heuerman, to whom Vannett played second fiddle for a few years, was taken by the Denver Broncos in the third round of last year's draft, and while an ACL injury sidelined him for his rookie campaign, he's looking to break out this season. If he finds the right team, Vannett is more than capable of doing the same.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Smoking indoors in Ohio back???
- Some good music from PHOX, a band from B1G country.
- Ugandan mountain gorillas will brighten your day.
- Pope Francis will debut on Instagram tomorrow. The comments on his photos should get pretty interesting.