It’s been a tumultuous few weeks here in Big Ten country, and much like most of you out there, it still hasn’t fully hit me that Ohio State will not be taking the field this fall. The Buckeyes had a real legitimate chance to win a national title this season, as evidenced by their No. 2 ranking in yesterday’s AP Poll release, and it becomes just another bullet point on the long list of reasons — both serious and superficial — why the year 2020 will be forever known as one of the worst in recorded history.
However, at least in my mind, the thing that has made the lack of OSU football so much harder is the fact that the ACC, Big 12 and SEC all plan to play this fall. Are Ohio State fans really going to have to watch teams like Alabama and Clemson compete for a championship while the Buckeyes sit at home?
Well, it seems increasingly likely that the answer to that question is actually no. At the time the Big Ten pulled the plug, there really hadn’t appeared to be any reasons to do so just yet. Fast forward two weeks, and...
Six days after classes began, the University of Alabama's main campus in Tuscaloosa has recorded more than 500 coronavirus cases, what the university's president calls an "unacceptable rise." https://t.co/v5NOp6mFlk— CNN (@CNN) August 25, 2020
UNC doubles coronavirus positivity rate within 2 weeks of classes reopening https://t.co/ug4dTUM5KW— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 25, 2020
BREAKING: NC State Athletics has announced a temporary pause for all athletic-related activities after a cluster identified within the program.https://t.co/l24o3gdBfH— Pack Pride (@PackPride) August 24, 2020
It appears as though sending college kids back to campus during a global pandemic while politely asking them not to be college kids is not exactly working out. It seems each new day brings with it a new COVID outbreak at a large university, and as more and more schools move totally online — UNC, an ACC school, has already shut down campus — it becomes harder and harder to justify continuing on with college athletics, especially if the NCAA wants to keep up its amateurism racket that claims football players are just normal students.
So, while the trio of P5 conferences continue to soldier on with their fall football seasons for now, I have my doubts that we will see any form of college football in the next few months.
With all that doom and gloom out of way, let’s get to today’s Ohio State-specific headlines.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Ohio State offers 2022 linebacker, top-50 shooting guard
(Dan Hessler, LGHL)
When all else is bad, just know that Ohio State recruiting is still very good! The Buckeyes maintain a slim lead over Alabama for the No. 1 class in 2021, but I have a strong feeling that lead will be growing this Thursday around 5 p.m. (see the end of Dan’s article for a hint). Ryan Day and his staff are also hitting the trail hard in 2022, offering yet another big linebacker target on Monday.
24 Club: John Cooper’s winning ways and long Novembers
(Jim Baird, LGHL)
John Cooper coached 13 seasons at Ohio State, winning 111 games in that span with three Big Ten titles. However, Cooper’s Buckeyes had adopted a concerning trend — an annual disappearance at the end of the season. His OSU teams went 2-10-1 against Michigan during his tenure, and put together just a 3-8 record in bowl games. After an 8-4 season in 2000, Cooper was let go, opening the door for a guy named Jim Tressel.
Column: Where are your parents?
(Meredith Hein, LGHL)
I've seen some slander across the internet in regards to Randy Wade’s Big Ten protest in Chicago. People seem to think he went there to fist fight Kevin Warren and demand the reinstatement of the fall football season, when in reality he just wants answers — like the rest of us! These parents care about their kids and their football careers, and to this point the Big Ten still has had no clear indications of what happens next. Can you really blame these parents for just asking for some communication and a little transparency?
From around the gridiron...
On Tuesday, the Associated Press released its preseason All-Americans. The list was compiled as if every player, including those who opted out before their conference cancelled, were playing as normal.
Ohio State has a trio of All-Americans this “season,” with both Shaun Wade and Wyatt Davis being named to the first team and Justin Fields named to the second team (Trevor Lawrence is the first-team QB). In total, 23 of this year’s preseason All-Americans will not take the field this fall, including 11 first-teamers and 12 on the second team.
Fellow notable Big Ten honorees include Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth and Micah Parsons, Purdue’s Ronale Moore and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, among others.
BREAKING: Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard top AP preseason All-America team that includes 23 who won't play this fall.— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) August 25, 2020
Read more from @ralphDrussoAP >> https://t.co/Mn43DjKCS1 pic.twitter.com/ReFLyXfnQS
J.K. Dobbins will be sorely missed in Columbus. The Baltimore Ravens got a good one.
As previously mentioned, the biggest area of focus right now within the Big Ten is what comes next. The conference had six months to plan out how to have a successful fall season, and they failed miserably. They now have four months to try to make a plan to play in January, and they cannot afford to wait. Ohio State beat legend Tim May discusses the latest on spring football plans in his newest podcast over at Lettermen Row.
Big Ten kicking around spring options https://t.co/dG8KlSPNMy— Lettermen Row (@LettermenRow) August 25, 2020
In the meantime, let’s check in on how things are going in the conferences that are still scheduled to play as of today...
Holy cow. Lincoln Riley won't say which position group it is, but says he had one group essentially wiped out -- all but one -- by a COVID test. He said it's a position group that needs "multiple" guys on the field together. #Sooners— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) August 25, 2020
Former Ohio State assistant Luke Fickell has done a phenomenal job at Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to a 22-5 record over the past two seasons. Yesterday, the program made its first ever appearance in the preseason AP Top 25, coming in at No. 20. His efforts are being recognized accordingly, as the school has extended his contract through the 2026 season.
The extension pays Fickell $3.4 million a year starting with the 2020 season through 2026. All of the extension is funded through private donations & fundraising, according to UC athletic director John Cunningham & the UC Board of Trustees. #Bearcats— Justin Williams (@Williams_Justin) August 25, 2020
More soon @TheAthleticCIN.
From everywhere else...
Socially distanced Oval? Socially distanced Oval.
New ⭕val vibes. Welcome back, Buckeyes! pic.twitter.com/iyZiEU6Uxe— Ohio State (@OhioState) August 25, 2020
The Detroit Lions cancelled practice on Tuesday to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake that occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Former Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker was one of three Lions players to address the media at the protest. Decker and his teammates expressed the desire to use their platform to spark change in society.
Now Taylor Decker.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) August 25, 2020
“We’ve been able to have some real conversations as a team. ... Just to hear the pain, the fear that the people I love are going through, it’s not OK.” pic.twitter.com/VPyPdFu1oI
Matt Patricia points to something Taylor Decker said, about how football is about people from all over the country and all walks of life, different beliefs, pushing towards one goal. "Why isn’t that like that everywhere?"— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) August 25, 2020
Major news from overseas as one of the greatest soccer players in the world is looking for a new home. I think he’d look pretty good in that Columbus Crew black and gold, tbh.
Breaking: Barcelona confirms that Lionel Messi has told the club he wants to leave. pic.twitter.com/5P4riZQ9hi— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 25, 2020
Dunkin’ Donuts is all of us. Something about “uh oh spicy!” makes me laugh every time.