Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blogger Give and Take: Buckeye Battle Cry

So, we were asked to fill in as the Michigan blog for Buckeye Battle Cry's annual "give and take" discussion leading up to The Game.  Since answering questions is pretty much what we do for a living, we said yes.  Our answers to BBC's questions can be found here.  The staff's answers to our questions can be found below.  All questions and answers are reproduced faithfully, editor's notes at the end.

So, be honest, did you ever think without Braxton you could be sitting here coming up to The Game with a chance to be in the Playoff conversation?
After watching the Spring Game I would say NO WAY. JT was pretty good vs Navy which gave us fans hope and then came the ugly loss against VT. Amazing how this young man has turned it around with such poise and command of the offense. With that being said, I was not even think BIG Championship game and possibly a 3 loss season.

Building off that, what has been the most surprising thing about J.T. Barnett this year?

That the kid just finally got tired of people not knowing that his last name is Barrett? Just Kidding.* The most surprising thing to most people has probably been his production since the VaTech game. He has been a model of consistency, with the exception of the PSU game. I think most people expected there to be more of other players Like Marshall this past week, stepping up and being the offensive leaders. More and more each week we have seen what the confidence of surrounding players and staff has done for him. His production as a RS freshman will go down in the history books as one of the best ever by a QB at Ohio State, including better than the Heisman winner they are honoring this weekend.

Michigan averages allowing 302 yards per game this season, which is amazingly good enough for ninth best in the country.  How many football fields worth of yards will Ohio State put up on Michigan beyond their season average?

When it comes to this game, I think you can throw out every statistical category alive to man. 2013 is a perfect example of that very fact. That being said, I think OSU will still put up it's average 500 yards of offense and score 25+ points. This may have been a different answer had Frank Clark not been dismissed from the team.

Two part question: We know that the Buckeyes opponent in the B1GCG comes down to the Gophers or the Badgers.  1). Who is the better matchup for Ohio State? 2). Which one gives you a better resume for the CFB Playoff, (if anyone actually knows the committee's voodoo)?

1) I think the better match-up for Ohio State would be Minnesota. They've already played one another and despite being -1 in turnovers, OSU eked out a road win. David Cobb had a good day against Ohio State, but I think the rest of their offense can be contained, and that OSU will have better ball security next time around. Minny's defense is good, but it can be had. Let's face it; the last three top-shelf RB's that Ohio State has played (Langford 137; Cobb 145; and Coleman 228) haven't created a comfort zone of defending MGIII.

2) I agree with your assumption about the CFB Committee Voodoo, but let's proceed anyway. I think that Wisconsin brings the CFB eye-candy, should Ohio State play them and win. They've been consistently ranked this season and are still probably basking from the "Melvin Gordonization" of Nebraska a couple weeks ago. Wisconsin would be a better take-down for Ohio State to burnish whatever cred they may have with CFB Committee Voodoo.

Would you be so kind as to make the case for Urban Meyer over Jerry Kill as Big Ten Coach of the Year?  Can you make a case for Urban for National Coach of the Year, especially since he has, amazingly, never won one of the many awards of that ilk that are offered annually?

I respect what Jerry Kill has done. He's been fantastic and has the Gophers in a position that is everything they could have asked for, namely they have a shot to head to Indianapolis next weekend. That said, Kill didn't lose the Big Ten MVP (Braxton Miller) on offense roughly 10 days before his opener and didn't lose one of the best athletes in the league and his, arguably, best defensive player in Noah Spence. Having two players of that caliber being out of starting lineups that contain a lot of freshman and sophomores and still being 10-1 (hopefully 11-1, no offense) would be impossible for even some of the best of the very best.

I remember in the preseason one of our local radio hosts saying how this year is the "learning year" for all the young kids and how, hypothetically, it would be amazing to somehow bottle Braxton Miller and use him in 2015 when all the kids are much more grown up. Well, look at them now. Obviously because of the injury they do have Miller back for 2015 but there's a real debate as to if he should or shouldn't be the quarterback next year because of the way they have developed JT Barrett. It's amazing what they've gotten out of guys like Darron Lee and Michael Thomas. Look no further than the offensive line for a shining example of the work they've done in-season.

What I'm saying is, I think it'll be a shame if he doesn't win Big Ten coach of the year no matter how these last two weeks play out. If they fulfill the goal of beating the team up north and wining the Big Ten championship game, thus being 12-1 and likely in the top 4, I don't see how he can not be national coach of the year. I mean no disrespect to Dan Mullen or any other candidates, but, come on let's be real here. Urban Meyer has coached his you know what off this year.

So, this is an awkward question, but, well...Michigan is, more than likely, looking for a new coach very soon.  As you well know, in the past, Michigan has had some success hiring Ohio State assistants to be their head coach.  People I've read and respect suggest that Tom Herman is a great candidate in waiting, though young.  Assuming he would even take the call, from a Michigan side, sell me on why he'd be a great choice for Our School Up North?

Tom Herman has been successful everywhere he has coached and his offenses have set numerous school records.  At Iowa State he built a very potent offence and they aren't exactly known as a football powerhouse.  In his first year at OSU, Herman took an offense that had been one of the worst in the country in in 2011 into the top scoring offense in the Big Ten in 2012.

This year the OSU offense is still one of the top ones in the conference despite losing Braxton Miller and having to go with an untested JT Barret whose success is also a testament to Herman's ability.  Of course, being a good head coach requires much more than good play calling ability and while we can't judge how Herman will do at managing a program, we know that he can manage an offensive staff and he has been a highly successful recruiter.

And don't forget, he is also a member of MENSA.

Who is the most underrated Buckeye of the Urban Meyer era?  What makes him stand out to you where others miss it?

Have to go with “El Guapo” Carlos Hyde. This is kind of an odd answer since he was The Man carrying the ball under Meyer, but Luke Fickell tried to use a 3-headed running back when he was in charge.I understand Boom Herron needed the bulk of the carries during his senior year, but look at how much better the offense was when Urban rode Hyde and didn't split carries with anyone else except for the obligatory change of pace. His value was under rated in my opinion.

I always enjoy asking people this one: What is your favorite memory from The one where Ohio State lost?

Hmmmm…. There haven’t been all that many of them recently, have there? The two I’d have to point to are the 2011 game in Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines were one overthrown pass from a freshman quarterback away from another loss to the Buckeyes, but celebrated Hoke’s victory like it was the changing of the guard rather than a win over an undermanned team.  What I remember about that is how short the celebration was… we at tBBC had known for about two weeks that there was a head coaching change coming at Ohio State, and when Urban was announced immediately following The Game, you could just feel all the air coming out of the state up north.

The second might not be popular with Buckeye fans, but in 1969 Bo Schembechler led the Wolverines to one of the greatest upsets in the series, and defeated the team that Woody called his best. It focused the Ohio State fanbase even greater, and began one of the greatest chapters in the most heated rivalry in college sports.

*-(This was totally a screw up on my end.  I have a former student with a very similar name and have made the mistake dozens of times this year, I just forgot to crosscheck.)

We thank BBC for having us along this week and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, and a less happy Saturday.

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