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Buckeye Bits: Gene Smith confident in Ohio State’s safety, but why didn’t they bubble?

All of the latest Ohio State news from around the beat and beyond.  

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NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

Welcome to Thursday, Buckeye Nation. You survived the #Sportsageddon that occurred amongst Ohio teams on Wednesday (Cleveland did hold on to win 6-1 in Pittsburgh, though).

As nearly everything in the Buckeye state sports’ world came crashing down yesterday, there was some new news today, so we will run you through all of it in Thursday’s edition of Buckeye Bits.

From around Land-Grant Holy Land...

Ohio State offers 2022 cornerback

Tia Johnston, LGHL

There’s been a lot of handwringing over how the Big Ten’s cancelation will impact Ohio State recruiting, and let me put your mind at ease, it won’t. Even if the other conferences don’t eventually follow suit (which I think they will), no one is considering the Buckeyes because of the conference leadership. Ryan Day and company are safe.

Nike drops the new Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Ohio State shoe!

Also Tia, Still LGHL

I am not a sneakerhead, but these shoes are pretty nice.

Crew SC are ready to fill the sports void in Columbus

Brett Ludwiczak, LGHL

I am old enough to remember when the Crew played in Ohio Stadium. So, if you really need to watch a football team this fall that has a history of playing in The ‘Shoe, at least you have one option.

How would you feel about a Big Ten football season in January?

Gene Ross, LGHL

I mean, this is the absolute No. 1 option for the Buckeyes to play in the 2020-21 academic year. Playing a season that begins in January gives them the best chance of keeping NFL-bound talent in the fold. Starting in late February or March would mean Justin Fields, Wyatt Davis, Chris Olave, and potentially others would almost certainly be gone in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.

P.S.: I am assuming based on previous comments from his father that Shaun Wade is gone either way.

From around the gridiron...

Gene Smith confident in Buckeyes protocol, ready for winter

Austin Ward, Lettermen Row

I don’t doubt that Ohio State had as good of a health and safety set up as any football team in the country, if not better. I also think that they had a pretty decent shot of getting through a fall, conference-only season without an outbreak, or perhaps even a single positive test.

But, you know how I could have nearly guaranteed that? If the Big Ten had implemented some sort of bubbling system. At this point, most of the schools that are still currently planning on playing this fall are reverse engineering that exact thing now anyway. Of course, it’s not going to be the same kind of bubble that the NWSL had in Utah, or that the NBA and MLS has/had in Orlando, or that the NHL has in two Canadian cities, but it can be done on college campuses.

As outbreaks happen with students returning to school across the country, universities like Notre Dame, UNC, N.C. State, etc. are either going to remote learning temporarily or for the entire semester. In doing so, the football players are remaining in their dorms or apartments, not going to classes with other students, and venturing out only for practices and other team events.

That is a form of a bubble; it’s a fairly loose bubble, but it is a bubble nonetheless. Back when these shutdowns began, I talked about how a bubble was the only way that sports can safely happen in the middle of a pandemic, but that universities would never allow football players to be completely bubbleized, because it would disrupt their carefully crafted illusion that they were just like other students.

But see, the thing is, everyone already knows that they aren’t like every other student, and they haven’t been at Ohio State and most football playing schools — regardless of size — for generations. So, if we want to blame the powers that be for another missed opportunity to have actually had a real season of college football this fall, ask why some version of bubbling wasn’t implemented.

I trust Smith and the players and coaches when they said that OSU’s testing and contact tracing protocol worked, but clearly that wasn’t enough for Big Ten presidents. It’s too bad that NCAA and conference administrators were never willing to truly explore every possible option to keep seasons going as scheduled.

There’s nobody better than OSU’s video team:

Big Ten commissioner on season unraveling: ‘I need to learn from it and get better at it’

Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports

I have been pretty vocal on Twitter, pushing back on the narrative that new Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is to blame for the conference canceling fall football. There is a lot of crap that he is responsible for — and needs to answer for — but canceling the season was not his decision. He might have advised the university presidents to make that call, but he works for them, they are his bosses. So, the responsibility for that decision lies on them.

Now, for doing a piss-poor job of communicating to the universities, teams, and public, that’s on Warren. For taking over a week to provide any semblance of an explanation, that’s on Warren. For having literally no plan on how teams should plan or move forward, that’s on Warren.

I am all for holding people accountable, but we just have to make sure that we are holding the right people accountable for the right things.

We love you, Bucknuts, but speak for yourself!

‘Fourth-and-inches every day’: How the 2012 Buckeyes led to Mike Vrabel’s Titans

Joe Rexrode, The Athletic (paywall)

This is a great read for Oho State, Titans, and football fans alike.

Former Buckeye Damon Arnette is making a big impression in his first NFL camp:

Speaking of Damon, very few trash talk like a Buckeye DB.

Pat Elflein and Jalyn Holmes Switching Positions for Minnesota Vikings

Adam Prescott, SI: BuckeyesNow

This headline is really confusing, since Pat Elflein is an offensive lineman and Jalyn Holmes is a defensive lineman. I guess this is what happens when we let tech bros gut a once venerable publication.

From around the hardwood...

Utah’s Mike Conley back in bubble after birth of son, could play Friday

Associated Press

Imagine having the year that Mike Conley is having: won the ESPN H.O.R.S.E. title, had a son, and got back to the Disney bubble in time to lead his team in the NBA playoffs? Mike might be the only one having a good 2020.

From everywhere else...

Thom continues to reap what he’s sown.

After the Cincinnati Reds placed long-time broadcasting legacy Thom Brenneman on suspension last night, FOX Sports did effectively the same today. Despite being the No. 2 NFL play-by-play man for the network, he will be sidelined for the upcoming season. To be honest, I imagine that he will end up losing both jobs permanently pretty soon.

And now for something completely different...

Batfleck is back, baby!

The upcoming Flash film will reportedly feature the ever-popular Flashpoint storyline, which sees Barry Allen race into various realities. So, having both Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton appear as Batmen in the movie makes sense.