Welcome back to Buckeye Bits, where we gather all of today’s best headlines and put ‘em all in one place. I’m going to work a little blue here to open up today’s column, so cover the eyes of any children reading along.
Hey, 2020! How f*cking dare you?!?!?!
Speaking of Columbus travesties:
Red panda Kora is still missing. We’re caring for her cubs, but really want her home. If you see a small red animal with a fluffy striped tail, please call us immediately at 614-582-1844. https://t.co/8d3WhPboqc pic.twitter.com/2U2TyRalWk— Columbus Zoo (@ColumbusZoo) July 23, 2020
Ok, with all of that awfulness out of the way, let’s talk sports.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Tia Johnston, LGHL
As expected, Tristan Leigh named Ohio State, LSU, Clemson, Alabama, and Oklahoma as his Top 5. If Ohio State lands the five-star offensive lineman, it would help get them closer to the highest-rated recruiting class in history. If the Tide get him, they could land the best offensive line haul of all time. I prefer the former, personally.
Also Tia Johnston, LGHL
The responses to this have been phenomenal, from guys like <Jon Gruden voice> Dane Sanzenbacher to the late, great Terry Glenn. Perhaps because I am old, I would probably go either David Boston or Ted Ginn Jr.
From around the gridiron...
Ohio State football starts phase two of summer access tomorrow. It's a 14-day period of up to a combined 20 hours of weight training, walk throughs (but no contact or speed drills), and team meetings. Locker rooms, showers, and the players' lounge remain closed. pic.twitter.com/ezdYmsQiVI— Lori Schmidt (@LoriSchmidt) July 23, 2020
Ok, this has been pretty confusing as schedules have shifted with no real communication on definitive plans. But, with walk-throughs starting tomorrow and fall camp-proper kicking off on Aug. 7, that means that Ohio State believes that they will still be playing their first game of the season on Sept. 5 as initially planned.
247Sports’ Bill Kuerlic reported as much on Wednesday, but no one yet knows who or where the Buckeyes will play. But, the fact that they are wasting no time and starting the season in the already-planned Week 1 gives them as much flexibility as possible, should things go off the rails and games need to be shut down.
While this doesn’t mean that we are full engines go for a fall season, I do think that this is the best-case scenario to something resembling a fall season happening. Of course, should things get moved to the spring, it’s likely that a number of the Buckeyes’ best players will choose not to play; Shaun Wade’s parents have already said that he would be “outta here, baby.”
Brandon Marcello, 247Sports
When Ohio State AD Gene Smith and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren talked about the league’s move to only play conference games earlier this month, they did so by emphasizing that the drastic step was made in order to ensure that the B1G has as much room to maneuver as possible if the situation on the ground gets worse than it already is.
That is essentially what Marcello is arguing in the piece, so it is confusing and frustrating that other conferences are game-planning schedules that go to 11 or 12 games. I’d probably be ok with going to 10, but if you’re going to play 11, why not just play 12, and if you’re going to play that many games, why cancel non-conference contests in the first place?
Look, I am all for having contingency plans, but — to me — this reeks of trying to have your cake and eat it too; cancel non-conference games to make it look like you care about the ongoing pandemic, but load up on extra conference games and try to squeeze some extra cash out of the networks.
I heard this yesterday about the Big 12 and almost fell over.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) July 23, 2020
Also, some talk the ACC could go 10 + 1.
Playing 11 or 12 games seems pretty ambitious but if you shoot for a big number and some get wiped out you don't have the need to reschedule.
IDK, man. https://t.co/GUmtvj8NYC
David Regimbal, Eleven Warriors
This is something that I haven’t spent much time thinking about yet. In a perfect world, of course a league taking measures in the time of a pandemic wouldn’t be held against its member institutions. However, we’ve seen how awful the Playoff Committee has been in sticking to any predetermined protocol and criteria in years past. So, I have very little faith in them being able to make logical conclusions in a world where the SEC and Big 12 play full seasons, but the B1G does not.
Alex Austin, Scarlet and Game
Can Chris Olave become a 1,000 yard receiver? Yes, he absolutely can, but there are two things standing in his way:
1) How many games will OSU play this year?
Will they stick to nine conference games? Will there be a B1G Title game? Will there be bowl games? A College Football Playoff?
That will obviously be a major factor in determining what stats players can wrack up this year.
2) There’s a lot of other really good receivers who are gong to need the ball as well.
Kamryn Babb, Mookie Cooper, Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr., Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson, and more.
Chris Hummer, 247Sports
A LOT OF MONEY! AND. THEY. DESERVE. EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY. OF. IT!
Speaking of deserving a poop-ton of money:
Washington No. 2 overall pick pass-rusher Chase Young has signed his 4-year, $34.56M contract with a $22.697M signing bonus, source said. He receives 100% of his signing bonuses up front. The highest pick yet to sign.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 23, 2020
From around the hardwood...
Bill Landis, The Athletic
Ohio State men’s basketball is on a roll in recruiting recently. With the Wednesday commitment of Malaki Branham, they have now earned the pledge of three top-100 players (all native Ohioans) and they are looking to add an elite big man to the class.
Retention of top players has been a bit shaky for Chris Holtmann recently, but this commitment shows that it does not appear to be damaging his ability to attract top-line talent.
The ’s new kit is :
From everywhere else...
Hey, Siri, show me how to properly unveil a new professional sports team name:
Hey, Siri, show me how not to unveil a new professional sports team name:
Effective immediately, Washington will call itself the “Washington Football Team”, pending adoption of a new name, sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 23, 2020
This is not a final renaming and rebranding for team; this is the name it wants to use until pending adoption of a new name in the future. pic.twitter.com/sBs0Uo0ICm
I actually don’t love the name The Kraken, it just feels like something you’d see from a Double A baseball team. But, the logos, the social media presence, and the eventual merch does look great.
And now for something completely different...
This is something that late Gen Xers and early Millennials need during this time of stress and uncertainty:
'Saved by the Bell' star Mark-Paul Gosselaar has never watched an episode of the hit Saturday morning series, until now! https://t.co/rWRdwHxFGr— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) July 23, 2020
This is something that absolutely no one needs:
No fans? Not on FOX Sports.— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 23, 2020
Thousands of virtual fans will attend FOX’s MLB games this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z9oQU0rYuC
If we’re being honest, having no one in the stands is actually much closer to reality for most regular season baseball games than having CGI fans in the seats.