Written by Grant Edgell | 22 November 2011

B1G.jpgThe 2011 college football season has played out like a low budget film - upsets are reigning over the Big XII and Pac-12, the Big East and ACC are acting like the Big East and ACC, the SEC is currently holding a firm grasp on the top three spots in the BCS, and the Big Ten is supplying exactly zero contenders in the national race.

For years Ohio State has taken the blunt end of the “why don’t you carry your weight in big bowls” argument, and ugly back-to-back National Championship Game losses didn’t help our side of the debate. But fans like to pour it on, ignoring the two BCS victories the Buckeyes have brought home to the mid-west to finish off the last two seasons. Now the same fans who spent recent years arguing that Ohio State didn’t give the conference a good name nationally are the ones who are reveling in the Buckeyes’ demise.

The funny thing about it is that now, while Ohio State is suffering through their worst season in a decade, nobody else is stepping up to carry the torch. Nobody else is putting their stamp on the national scene to represent the Big Ten in a manner they expected Ohio State to. Is Ohio State then to blame for the fact that the highest ranked team in the conference is two-loss MichiganState at #14?

Wisconsin came into the season heavy favorites to win the conference title and even poked their ugly heads into the national conversation for a few weeks before falling on their faces in East Lansing and Columbus on back-to-back Saturday nights. They had high hopes and a full Hollywood roster: Barry Alvarez as the proven, seasoned Producer; Russell Wilson as the shiny new leading man; Montee Ball blowing shit up; Bret Bielema ready to supply the cheesy one-liners. This was the season for the Badgers to take over the top spot and carry the conference right into the Grammy’s. Unfortunately Wisconsin wasn’t ready for Hollywood and the rest of the Big Ten is still trying to work out their roles within a Buckeye-less 2011.

We’ll help them out. The quotes are just too easy…

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Written by Jeremy Birmingham - Eleven Warriors | 21 November 2011


Urban Meyer




Urban Frank Meyer was born in Ashtabula, Ohio on July 10th, 1964.
As a kid, growing up in Ohio, Meyer did as most kids in Ohio did – he loved Ohio State.  He wore #45 as a defensive back at St. John’s High School in Ashtabula, homage to Archie Griffin. He was a talented athlete whose football career nearly was washed away as his proficiencies on the baseball diamond would lead to Urban becoming a 12th round pick in the 1982 MLB draft. A shortstop, Meyer struggled to adjust to professional pitching, hitting .146 for his three-year minor league career in the Atlanta Braves farm system.

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Written by Grant Edgell for Buckeye Grove | 21 November 2011

This article was originally published on November 16th, 2011 at Buckeye Grove

The Ohio State football team is reeling. It's four days removed from another conference loss, this time at the hands of the unranked Purdue Boilermakers, and have basically seen the door closed on any realistic hopes they had of a 7th straight Big Ten title. They're goal right now is simple: get better.
I have no doubt the ongoing turmoil has contributed, as has the development of first year head coach Luke Fickell, but the structure is there and the talent is there, yet the struggle has been well documented.

Ohio State basketball is another story. The Buckeyes are as hyped as any team in recent Ohio State hoops history, currently sit No. 3 in the nation behind only North Carolina and Kentucky, and are coming off a big early-season win in the Schott against 7th ranked Florida.

But the reality of the situation is - the two teams are not that dissimilar, just headed for different results.

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Written by Mali Buckeye - The Buckeye Battlecry | 20 November 2011


Tony Dungy 




The pride of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Tony Dungy has Midwestern and Big Ten conference roots. Born in Jackson Michigan, his career at Minnesota saw him at quarterback, a position that didn’t transfer as he moved to the NFL and got his first opportunities as a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His NFL career wasn’t extensive; his tenure with Pittsburgh was only for two seasons, he played one for San Francisco, and was a practice squad member of the New York Giants.

Following his career as a player, Dungy returned to Minnesota for one season as their defensive backs coach, before going back to Pittsburgh for a DB coaching position with the Steelers; a role he held for two years until he was elevated to the Defensive Coordinator for the vaunted Steel Curtain. I hope we didn’t just lose all of the Buckeye fans who also follow the Bengals or the Browns. He took a two year move back to the defensive backs coaching realm, with the Kansas City Chiefs, before returning to Minnesota to lead the defensive staff with the Vikings. It was after three seasons in Minneapolis that he was given his first head coaching position, being named the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Under Dungy’s leadership, the traditionally woebegone franchise turned their reputation and outlook around, becoming regular playoff contenders behind a tenacious defense. Ah, the Tampa Defense… Tony Dungy’s legacy.  Commonly called the “Tampa Two”, (God, I love that edition of Sports Illustrated) the defense has been adopted by a number of programs across the NFL, and has an aggressive reputation and schematic foundation that has been successful at the highest level. The distinctive aspect of this defense is a middle linebacker who can not only aggressively play the run, but also can get to a deep middle drop in coverage- the ideal candidate is the Bears Brian Urlacher, a converted safety in college. This allows for corners to play closer to the line of scrimmage and attack the run knowing they have coverage behind them. For more information on this, check out Brian Billick; I think he knows what he’s doing.

In spite of Tampa Bay’s successes on the field, Dungy was terminated after yet another loss in the NFC playoffs- he was the only coach in Tampa Bay history to be terminated with a winning record. The following year, Jon Gruden won a Lombardi Trophy with Dungy’s team and defensive scheme. Dungy finished his pro coaching career in Indianapolis, where he was able to pair an aggressive defense with the Peyton Manning experience and dominate the conference (alongside the New England Patriots). In 2007, Dungy let the Colts to a Super Bowl victory, becoming the first African American head coach to achieve that milestone. After later setting the milestone for most wins by a Colts coach, Dungy stepped down a few seasons later. He’s currently an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night In America”, and I hope he tells Faith Hill I said “hello”.

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Written by Stan Masarik | 20 November 2011

DPoAmidst the swirling rumors of an Urban Meyer coaching deal, the two injured programs of the Big Ten met on the field of battle. Before the game we saw the sportsmanship between the two teams in an entire team handshake. In essence, that is the true meaning of this weekend between Ohio State and Penn State. Without the presence of two of the Big Ten's most storied coaches, it had come down to a battle of the interims.

This game also marked the return of DeVier Posey. Although his catches for the game was the most this season for a Buckeye receiver, it wasn’t enough to lift the Buckeyes over the surging Lions. The Buckeye defense showed an inability to consistently maintain any type of run defense. Without LB Andrew Sweat to help anchor the defense, it allowed the Nittany Lions to utilize their wildcat offense and ultimately control the field.

This game has pretty much sealed the Buckeyes fate concerning any type of Big Ten championship hopes or any remaining hopes for Luke Fickell to maintain the head coaching position.

As Braxton Miller continues to grow, I expect the coaching rumors to do so also. We can just hope Braxton grows more than the rumors. Next stop, Ann Arbor.

*Editor's Note: Stan Masarik is a Cleveland area Firefighter/EMT by trade, a guest blogger by choice, and an Ohio State Buckeyes fan by birth. This is the forth edition of his weekly Sofa Thoughts here at Buckeye House Call.

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Written by Grant Edgell | 19 November 2011


Jon Gruden




Jon Gruden is a coach’s son, a firey competitor, a Super Bowl champion, and he’s #3 on our Top Ten Most Wanted list of coaching candidates to replace head coach Luke Fickell at the conclusion of the 2011 football season.

Gruden attended Clay High School in South Bend, Indiana while his father, Jim Gruden, served as an assistant on the Notre Dame staff. Assuming he wouldn’t see the field much if he played with the golden domers in college he passed up the opportunity to attend Notre Dame and instead enrolled at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio before later transferring to the University of Dayton where he was the back-up quarterback from 1982 to 1984.

Fresh out of college, Communications degree in hand, Gruden jumped head first into coaching as a graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee in 1986. After one season in Knoxville he accepted the position of quarterbacks coach at Southeast Missouri State where he remained for two years leading up to taking over as offensive assistant and tight ends coach for the University of the Pacific.
Gruden came back east in 1991 to become the wide receivers coach at Pitt, but his stay was short. After just one season in Pittsburgh Gruden’s father Jim set up an interview for Jon with 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren who was so impressed with Gruden’s football knowledge at such a young age that he hired him as one of the original “quality control” coaches the NFL had seen.

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Written by MaliBuckeye - The Buckeye Battlecry | 18 November 2011


Bob Stoops


Like our #9 Candidate (and our former Head Vest In Charge), Robert Stoops has connections to Youngstown Ohio, graduating from Cardinal Mooney, where his play for his father led to a scholarship opportunity from the University of Iowa. As a Hawkeye defensive back, Stoops earned accolades that included an all Big Ten award under coach Hayden Fry.

Following his career as a player, Stoops remained at Iowa as a defensive graduate assistant, which was followed by a brief tenure at Kent State before returning to a major program- as assistant to Kansas State defensive guru Bill Snyder. Stoops would soon be named co-defensive coordinator for the Wildcats, and his aggressive defensive style helped shape the attitude of KSU teams for several years.

Fresh off of a demolition to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the national championship game, the Florida Gators reached out to Stoops and named him defensive coordinator; a role that he held for two years (including one national title with Florida). Again, his defensive aggressiveness and attitude, in addition to his focus on forcing turnovers created a reputation for defensive excellence that many would say exists at Florida even today.

In 1999, Bob Stoops was named to the head coaching position at the University of Oklahoma, a position that he holds today. In just his second season, his Sooners upset Florida State to win the National Title. His teams have won seven Big-12 titles, and he holds an 8-5 record over rival Texas.  The Sooners, under Stoops, have appeared in 8 BCS games, including two title appearances.

Interestingly enough, while Stoops cut his teeth as a defensive guru, his teams are now most known for high powered offense, including the 2008 team that set the record for being the highest scoring team in college football history, behind the second Heisman trophy winner in Stoops’ tenure.
He has also developed an impressive “Coaching Tree” of sorts, with assistants who have gone on to lead numerous programs: Mike Leach (TTU), Mark Mangino (KU), Mike Stoops (UAz), Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Kevin Sumlin (Houston), and IU’s Kevin Wilson.

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