“No one is beating Ohio State consistently in the Urban Meyer era, but Michigan State has been the best or worst matchup for the Buckeyes because of their stubborn, ponderous pace, steady tackling, and their willingness to punt on every possession.”
-Spencer Hall, SB Nation
For the most part, college rivalries are deeply ingrained in school history and petty (yet awesome) moments that will live forever. For example, Ohio State fans held no substantial ill will against Oklahoma... until Baker Mayfield planted OU’s flag in the middle of Ohio Stadium in 2017. Now, it’s pretty safe to assume that the Sooners are no longer be perceived as any old, neutral blue-blood program when they next face-off against the Buckeyes.
In Spencer Hall’s newest piece for SB Nation, he used pie charts to illustrate the make-up of some of the newer rivalries in college football, and what all goes into two teams and fan bases disliking each other to such extremes. Hall talks about the OSU vs. Michigan rivalry in his article as well — with another pie chart — but the real interesting rivalry to make the list is the other feud with a B1G team from the Mitten State.
Hall makes note that the 2017 edition of the Michigan State-Ohio State rivalry didn’t do much to add fire to the flame — with the Buckeyes claiming a commanding 48-3 win. But, with conference and national implications on the line almost every time they compete, not to mention enough surprise outcomes to keep things interesting, the rivalry has more than enough legs to stand on.
I figure, there’s a reason that Buckeye fans sing, “We don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan.” That has to include the Spartans, right!?
“I think Ohio State at 9.5 feels strange simply from the perspective of “they’ve been under 10 wins once since 2004,” and Oklahoma at 10.5 seems shaky even for someone who doesn’t think of the odds of a huge drop-off are very high.”
-Bill Connelly, SB Nation
The college football betting lines were released this week, which led two of SB Nation’s writers to have a chat about some of the crazy predictions and which bets seem like sure things. The over/under for the Buckeyes next season is 9.5 wins, which Connelly thought was a bit low considering the team’s track record, going back to even before Urban Meyer took over.
It should come as no surprise that Ohio State is expected to have a pretty solid 2018 season, especially with most of the offensive talent — aside from quarterback— having considerable experience playing in Meyer’s system. The team will also welcome an impressive group of incoming freshmen, so a 10-win season from the Buckeyes isn’t unreasonable by any measure.
The 2018 season non-conference slate includes Oregon State, TCU and Tulane, followed by an early season matchup against Penn State. Back in the rotation for the Big Ten contests, the Buckeyes are set to face Rutgers, Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue, Nebraska, and Maryland this season — in addition to Michigan State and Michigan.
While I could understand Ohio State notching up two losses this season, it’s hard to imagine that they drop three, considering the strength of schedule they’re facing. Sure, the team will rely on first-time starter Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, but he’s had the world on his shoulders for the Buckeyes before, and didn’t let it hold him back.
“I’m looking to be there four years, turn this program around, take us to some Big Ten titles,” Ahrens told cleveland.com. “That’s what’s on my mind. I’m definitely gonna be up to something, and yeah I think I can be a leader on the floor for my guys.”
-Justin Ahrens via Bill Landis, cleveland.com
With high school basketball season now over, and AAU underway, the incoming 2018 recruiting class is gearing up for their first taste of college ball. Incoming freshman Justin Ahrens has been using this time to talk to players that have made the transition before him, and try to be as ready-to-go as possible once he hits the court in Columbus.
In Landis’ article, he talks about the fact that Ahrens has had multiple practices with Luke Kennard — who just wrapped up his rookie season with the Detroit Pistons — and is taking advantage of any advice he can get. Despite being the lowest recruit in this year’s Buckeye class, Ahrens will bring much needed stability to Chris Holtmann’s squad, and should be someone who eventually becomes a pillar of the program by the time he’s out of eligibility.
Ahrens initially committed and then decommitted from Ohio State— thanks to the firing of Thad Matta—, but while he was taking visits to other schools, he told Landis that the Buckeyes were still in the back of his mind. Holtmann wouldn’t commit to giving Ahrens a set number of minutes each game, but did assure the incoming freshman that the team needs shooters, and if he earns that playing time, he’ll get it.
One of the best aspects about the Landis interview and profile, is that Ahrens seems like a guy who isn’t living in a fantasy world with regard to his potential. His feet are firmly on the ground, and he’s not afraid to put in the time and energy it’ll take to become the contributor he envisions for the Buckeyes.
STICK TO SPORTS
- Michael Keaton delivered the commencement address at Kent State, and ended with “I’m Batman” because, why not.
- The marketing team for Deadpool 2 is not here to play.
- The Royal Wedding is this weekend, and here’s a good feed to follow for everything you’ll care to know about it — if you’re into that sort of thing.