This loss stings

Written by :
Published on : November 29, 2016

 

 

This one still stings. It’s going to sting for a while. Probably until next November.

 

It’s now been three days since The Game, and I’ve barely been able to bring myself to leave the house ever since. The sick feeling in my stomach is eerily reminiscent of feeling I had on a certain Tuesday night earlier this month. It’s like if you ate some really bad food and you were about to be sick, and just at the moment you were about to spew that grocery store sushi all over whoever might be unlucky enough to be within your blast radius, Mike Tyson came up and punched you in the stomach, then you got hit by a city bus. You could say I’m a little salty.

 

 There was some rage on the sideline.

 

Before I dig into the reasons for my unremitting saltiness, let me get one thing clear. In the end, the only thing that matters is the final score. Ohio State won. Michigan lost. For the better part of The Game, the Michigan Wolverines were the better team. Anybody watching could plainly see that for three-plus quarters, Michigan’s top-ranked defense had the Buckeyes figured out. Then it all came undone. In the end, the loss is on Michigan and no one else. Two interceptions and a fumble by QB Wilton Speight on the OSU 1-yard line showed that the Wolverines signal caller was still affected by a shoulder injury that kept him out of the Indiana game, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. The Wolverines had every chance to win, and they didn’t. The only thing history will truly remember is the final score. 30-27 OSU in 2OT

 

That doesn’t mean that Michigan, their coach, their players or their fans don’t have ample reason to be angry after the game.

 

In his post-game press conference, Michigan’s head coach, Jim Harbaugh, relentlessly attacked the officiating. The Big Ten has since reprimanded him and fined the school $10,000. I’m sure the athletic department will be crippled by such an extreme penalty. Who cares, the conference had to do something about the post-game rant I suppose. What they didn’t do was own up to the fact that the officiating in this game was aggressively skewed in Ohio’s favor at worst and very suspect at best. Michigan finished the game with 7 penalties for 59 yards, a seemingly reasonable total for an emotion filled matchup against a hated rival. Ohio State finished the game with 2 penalties for 6 yards. That’s ridiculous. In a game featuring two of the best teams in the entire country, there’s no way the penalty count should be that lopsided.

 

Does that face look impartial?
                                                                    Does that face look impartial?

 

The Big Ten should be ashamed for refusing to even comment on the officiating and for making a situation like this possible in the first place. The crew that was chosen to call this game have suspicion, ineptitude and conflict of interest written all over them. One of the zebras, Dan Capron, was disciplined by the Big Ten back in 2002 and not allowed to ref another game the rest of that season. Why is that guy on the field for the biggest game of the year? The other two officials, Kevin Schwarzel and Bobby Sagers Jr, both reside in Ohio. That doesn’t seem like a bad idea to the Big Ten? Hell, Schwarzel was barred from calling The Game in 2006 because of the question of his Ohio residency. It makes no sense to risk the integrity of the conference’s most important game into question. And that is exactly what has happened now.

 

I’m not saying that the game was rigged, but it looks suspicious enough that it warrants a closer look. Especially when the calls were so one-sided. Michigan had every chance to take this game out of the refs hands, and they didn’t. That can’t be denied. But why does it seem like officials always seem to have such an impact on the final scores of football games. From college, all the way to the NFL, referees, the supposed stewards of the game, always seem to be at the center of some controversy. It’s time that the governing bodies at all levels of football start to take this problem seriously. If all of the technological tools available were employed, there would never be a question of where the ball was on the 4th-down play. Michigan lost to Ohio State, but when there are these clouds of uncertainty surrounding the outcomes of games of this magnitude, we all lose.

 

 


Michigan Wolverines are storming towards OSU and the College Football Playoff

Written by :
Published on : October 10, 2016

 

If you didn’t watch the University of Michigan Wolverines road win over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers then you missed one of the more lopsided games in the modern history of college football. I say modern history because if you count the entirety of college football history then you get things like coach John Heisman’s (they named a trophy after him) Georgia Tech team beating up Cumberland by a score of 222-0 in 1916. That’s an insane score in which Georgia tech racked up 978 rushing yards and 32 rushing TDs while not bothering to pass the ball a single time. You know, cuz it was 100 years ago and people didn’t do crazy things like pass the ball or allow black folks to play.

 

Now that we are done with that little history lesson, let’s get back to this century and talk about just how good the Michigan Wolverines are this season. After a tight 14-7 win last week against #8 Wisconsin that wasn’t fully decided until a late interception by All American CB Jourdan Lewis, the Wolverines left Ann Arbor for the first time this season to play Rutgers. The Wolverines came into the game as 30 point favorites, which seemed pretty fair considering Rutgers had just gotten their asses handed to them by #2 Ohio State to the tune of 58-0 in The Horseshoe. What unfolded in New Jersey on Saturday was even more brutal than anything the oddsmakers in Vegas could have dreamed up.

 

 The boys are killing everyone in their path.

 

When all was said and done, the Michigan Wolverines had beaten the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 78-0, their largest margin of victory since they beat the Chicago Maroons 85-0 in 1939. There was not a single position or group on the Wolverine roster that failed to get in on the action and it seemed like they were playing their 5th stringers by the time the Scarlet Knights gained their first of two total 1st downs late in the 4th quarter. It was Rutgers worst defeat since the year 1888, and it has to have them second-guessing moving to the Big Ten from the AAC three years ago. They are now the official punching bag of the conference with a 1-10 record and it’s becoming increasingly obvious they don’t belong.

 

The Scarlet Knights will be seeing Jabrill Peppers their nightmares after gaining just 39 total yards against him and the dominant defense that he leads. It was like nothing I’ve ever witnessed. The offense chipped in 9 rushing touchdowns including 2 from Peppers, who was playing QB in the wildcat formation. He has now lined up at 12 different positions so far this season and his coach Jim Harbaugh, seems to think he is the best candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He had another amazing punt return touchdown that was taken off the board for a block in the back penalty. With 74 total rush yards, 2 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss, and a QB hurry, I’m beginning to think coach Harbaugh is right about his Heisman chances. But more importantly, he could have a legitimate chance to lead the Michigan Wolverines to a win in Columbus and a trip to the College Football Playoff.

 


Not to overlook some of Michigan’s upcoming opponents, such as Iowa and Michigan State, but the Wolverines have already seen their toughest test until OSU with Wisconsin last week. And it seems to have been proven so far this season that this Jim Harbaugh coached Michigan Wolverines football team comes ready to play every single Saturday. They do what they are supposed to do and they dominate the teams they are supposed to dominate. There’s still a lot of football to be played but it looks an awful lot like Michigan and Ohio State are destined to be undefeated and playing for a spot in the playoff when they meet at noon on November 26th.

 

For the first time in a long time, it looks like the Wolverines will go on the road and give the Buckeyes a run for their money. I’m not saying they will win, but they do have arguably the best defense in the country and the most versatile and electric playmaker in the country in Jabrill Peppers. When you have that, combined with a run game that can pound the rock and a quarterback who has shown improvement as the year progresses, anything is possible.

 

Things are back to the old order in the Big Ten, with Michigan and Ohio State a head above the rest. Both teams are looking for a playoff birth but with both residing in the east division of the Big Ten, only one will be headed to the conference championship game, which means in all likelihood, only one will be headed to the playoffs. Jim Harbaugh, Jabrill Peppers, and everyone else in Ann Arbor hope that they do enough against the Buckeyes to make sure that it’s the Wolverines making their first ever trip to the dance.

 

 


Joey Bosa and the Chargers both screwed this up

Written by :
Published on : August 27, 2016

 

 

After the most recent collective bargaining agreement was finalized, most people thought that it would be the end of rookie holdouts. And for a few years those people were correct. That’s until the San Diego Chargers drafted the 2014 Big Ten Defensive player of the year, Joey Bosa, out of OSU. The situation between the team and Bosa has deteriorated to the point where the two have taken to the media to bash the other side and try to gain sympathy from the public. But how did we get here?

 

When the Chargers drafted Joey Bosa with the 3rd overall pick this past spring, the team and the fans thought that their pass rush had finally found the boost it has needed. Instead, Bosa has yet to practice with the team and has indicated that he is willing to sit out the entire season and re-enter the draft next spring. This all seems so puzzling when you consider that the NFL now has set salaries for rookies and the big holdup is minor details regarding the signing bonus and the team’s ability to recoup that money should they cut Bosa. As it stands now, Bosa is the owner of the longest rookie holdout since the new CBA went into affect. And it’s not even close.

 

 

Many people, including the Bosa camp, will say that the Chargers are being cheap. They’re probably right. The Chargers want to break up the signing bonus on Bosa’s guaranteed $25 million contract and include offset language. Both of these things are somewhat unprecedented for a 3rd overall draft pick and the reality is that it’s a pretty insignificant point to be holding up the contract on a player that could have contributed early and often. The team is being stubborn and once again showing the world why they are a second-rate organization in the NFL. But they also have all of the leverage, so you can’t really blame them for refusing to be pushed around by some snot-nosed Buckeye hotshot.

 

As a rookie, Joey Bosa should be learning the ins and outs of the NFL. Game speed and the skill of his opposition will be like nothing he saw in the Big Ten. The fact that he is missing out on all of this could be detrimental to his development. He has no power in this situation and if he really does sit out the entire season, it seems unlikely that he will be drafted as high as he was this time around. Some teams might consider him to much of a headache to deal with, or maybe they will be scared that a year off of the football field eroded some of his skills and conditioning.

 

 

The Chargers may have their reputation tarnished, but they never were much of an appealing destination for players to begin with. At the end of the day, the Chargers will still be an organization that is worth millions, even if it is run like garbage. Joey Bosa on the other hand, stands to lose out on millions of dollars. If he comes back from a year off of football and looks like Maurice Clarett did after he went from top prospect to slow, fat trash monster in his year off of football, then he sure is going to look stupid.

 

Both of the parties are probably at fault here, but only one has the chance to be ruined from it and that is Joey Bosa. It’s probably too late to repair the relationship between the two but it’s not too late to make something out of Bosa’s rookie season. The Chargers will still be a laughing stock among NFL Front Office’s no matter what, but they are used to that. They won’t bend and because of that Joey needs to sign the next offer they give him, even if it isn’t as good as the last one he so stupidly turned down. His livelihood could depend on it.

 

 


From Michigan to Ohio State: An Ode to My Favorite Rival

Written by :
Published on : November 27, 2015

 

 

Dear Ohio State,

 

 

It’s that time of year again where our respective student bodies cram into stadiums, bars, and living rooms across the nation. The air is peppered with smells of pizza, hot dogs, and the ever-present stale aroma of weeks old Natty Light. Ah yes, The Game, as it so condescendingly known to our lesser rivals, is upon us. No longer must we shake our fists to the sky and threaten each other from afar as if we were easily provoked world leaders on the brink of war. Now we get to meet face to face. Finally, our frustrations and joys from an entire year of football can be honed into three plus hours of drama right in the heart of our nation. Will we return to work with our shoulders hung low, or will we breathe new life once again as the victors for another 364?

 

Man-drinking-water

         Not actual photo of ScoreBoredSports office life

 

Aside from all of the animosity, however, it is also a time to be thankful. With Thanksgiving still close behind in the rear-view mirror, one can almost forget the things that we should be thankful for. So, Ohio State, while I savor the month’s worth of Thanksgiving leftovers scattered across my refrigerator like buried treasure, I would like to reach out my turkey-leg free hand and say that I am thankful for you. I know fellow Wolverines, I know. This doesn’t seem right and, frankly, writing it out on the page gives me pause but I have to acknowledge what the famed school down south brings to the table. For it is their presence on the other side of those hallowed sidelines that makes this rivalry worth it. Red vs. Blue. Woody vs. Bo. Slytherin vs. Gryffindor. No matter which way you slice it, we were meant for each other from the very start. By the way, that start in 1897 resulted in a 34-0 shellacking from Michigan, but I digress.

 

Draco-vs-Harry-draco-malfoy-vs-harry-potter-7684972-1023-584

                                                    Ohio State vs. Michigan

 

Just think about all of the memories we have shared together. Who could forget Desmond Howard’s famed Heisman pose? Or what about the legendary #1 vs. #2 match up in 2006 where the Buckeyes barely escaped and advanced to the National Championship game? And you DEFINITELY can’t give thanks and remember all the good times without being reminded that we once thought these two jokers were good enough to coach our teams. But what truly makes the stories even better is the fans. Every Michigan and Ohio State fan has a story or experience related to The Game. I can tell you about the joy I felt rushing the field when Michigan finally won in 2011. I didn’t care that it was a supposed “off year” for Ohio State. I’ll never forget feeling the Michigan field underneath my sneakers. On the flip side, I can also tell you what it was like to hear the echoed silence of the Big House when Ohio State obliterated us during my freshman year. At that point (2008) we were pretty used to losing but that didn’t make it hurt any less.

 

This upcoming Saturday is just the next chapter in our story. Today, we find ourselves both coached by madmen. Men who represent their alma maters with an intensity and dedication to detail that will make the game itself into a massively televised chess match. We have the spirits of Bo and Woody back, with all the bells and whistles of old. We have our old rankings back. We have the fire of the greatest rivalry in football burning as bright as it has in years. We have pride, bowl games, and, yes, maybe even playoffs on the line. That is, of course, assuming that Christian Hackenburg plays like the 1st round QB a lot of us hope he is because a certain SOMEONE couldn’t beat Michigan State without their QB but, again, I digress.

 

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                        Don’t let the smiles fool you. They’re both clinically insane.

 

See you Saturday Ohio State. I’m happy that it’s you guys I get to hate.

 

 


For Michigan State, it’s College Football Playoff or Bust

Written by :
Published on : September 19, 2015

 

The college football world took a much anticipated trip to the great state of Michigan last weekend. ESPN decided to broadcast SportsCenter live from Ann Arbor for Jim Harbaugh’s home coaching debut at his alma mater. Since Harbaugh took the job this past winter, much of the attention in college football has been focused towards Michigan as they try to revitalize one of the most glorified programs in the history of college football. While most believe Harbaugh is the perfect coach to get the job done in Ann Arbor, Michigan no longer has the fortune of only having to look South to find their big competition. There is a potential bigger threat some 60 miles Northwest—yes the once thought “Little Brother” has grown up in East Lansing, and he goes by the name Sparty.

 

Sparty himself.

 

Following the SportsCenter broadcast last Saturday, ESPN’s College Gameday kicked off its show live from East Lansing, as Michigan State vs Oregon was the featured game of the week. Part two in a scheduled home-and-home series between these two teams was again expected to have College Football Playoff implications and both teams are expected to compete for a championship in their respective conferences. Last year in Eugene, Michigan State surprised many by hanging with, and in fact leading, Oregon through three quarters of the game. That was before eventual Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the high powered Duck offense began to dominate a tired Michigan State defense on their way to a 19-point victory.

 

Oregon would go on to lose in the NCAA Championship game vs Ohio State, while Michigan State would end their season with a Cotton Bowl victory over Baylor in one of the greatest games of the 2014 season. Heading into the 2014 season, Spartans coach, Mark Dantonio, certainly had his eyes on the inaugural playoff, and while there was no doubt some disappointment when they didn’t make it, it was far from a failed season. Especially when you consider that the only two losses the Spartans had were against the two teams competing for the National Championship.

 

The team celebrates the Cotton Bowl victory over Baylor to close out last season.

 

The bar has been raised in East Lansing significantly. Under Dantonio, Michigan State has won eleven or more games in four of the past five years. They have dominated the in-state rivalry against Michigan, winning six of the last seven. They’ve also appeared in two conference championship games (winning one), and have turned what used to be known as a “basketball school” into a strong, well-rounded athletic program.

 

Heading into this season, Michigan State came in ranked 5th in the nation, and again have their eyes on the playoff and some higher expectations, but first focused on some familiar faces that stand in their way. Having both Oregon and Ohio State on the schedule again, Michigan State knew a win against at least one of those opponents would be necessary if their dreams would eventually come to fruition. On Saturday, the Spartans helped their playoff chances by beating the Ducks and bumping themselves up one spot, to #4 in the polls. I think if Michigan State were to have finished the season 11-1 last season, they would have made the College Football Playoff, and that if they finish with that record this year, they will make the playoff.

 

They’ve already beaten the Ducks, but there’s work to be done yet.

 

Outside of Ohio State, there doesn’t seem to be any clear-cut favorite or obvious choices to win any of the Power 5 conferences like in past years. For that reason, I don’t expect many teams to finish undefeated, if any. In recent years, Alabama, Florida State, and Oregon all seemed like shoe-ins for their conference. This year, all three may not even get to their conference championship games because there seems to be a lot more parity, and I think it’s a good thing. I think Ohio State goes undefeated, and potentially a team like TCU or Baylor could as well, (they play each other at the end of November) but that could be it.

 

Ohio State is the only remaining ranked team the Spartans have to play as of right now. The Spartans do still have a couple potential trap games in Ann Arbor and at Nebraska but Michigan State should be undefeated (10-0) heading into Columbus on November 21st. Provided Michigan State can keep that game reasonably close, say within a couple of touchdowns, the “little brother” from East Lansing could be punching a ticket to the Playoff for the first time. With Oregon already out of the way, I think Michigan State needs to be playing in college football’s Final Four on New Year’s Day.

 

The prize that the Spartans have their eyes on.

 

The past few years, Dantonio and company haven’t gotten the attention and respect they probably deserve up in East Lansing. Often taking the backseat to Ohio State and hated rival Michigan, the Spartans always seem to fly a little bit under the radar but Dantonio pushes on, getting them closer to the pinnacle, slightly raising the bar each year while ensuring that the brand is strong. Conference champions, they’ve been there and done that. A Rose Bowl victory, been there too. New Year’s Six? Yup, did that last year. There’s one big step left, and the Spartans control their own destiny the rest of the way. It’s a funny thing about expectations, when you have them, it means your team is pretty good, but when you exceed them, it means you’ve done something great. The College Football Playoff, it’s all Michigan State has left, everything else Spartan fans have already seen.

 

 

 


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