Dave Thurman

Today is the big day for Drew as he is to wed this evening in Mesa, Arizona at 5 PM local time.  His bride to be is an Arizona State grad but he has already converted her to wearing scarlet and gray.  He may not be happy with me for this, but as a proud father I thought I would let you know of this joyous occasion, and seek your thoughts and prayers.

Of course in the midst of a crazy week we have been lax in updating the site, but I will try to get back at it next week as Drew enjoys the beaches of the Dominican with his new wife.

Dave Thurman (9:08 pm)

Hail to the Chief: With it being President's Day (which has kind of become a neglected holiday in our nation), and with Ohio State football on my mind (which is always the case), I thought it might be fun to compare Buckeye coaches to US presidents. There have only been four OSU head coaches in my lifetime, so that is as far back as I'll go:

Woody Hayes - Although his middle name was Woodrow, Hayes bore no resemblence to Woodrow Wilson.  Truth is he probably compared more to General George Patton than anyone else.  But I have to pick a past president I'll go with Richard Nixon.  Both were smart, volatile, likely to use profanity, and both had to step down in disgrace but managed to greatly restore their tarnished image before their deaths. 

Earle Bruce - I think Earle reminds me most of Harry Truman, because both told it like it was and didn't mince words.  While Truman will never go down as the best head of state in history he usually made you smile and did a solid, if not spectacular job.  I think the same goes for Earle, whose popularity grew after he left "office".

John Cooper - Got to go with Jimmy Carter, here, and not just because they were both southerners.  Actually, I think Jimmy Carter is one of the nicest men to ever sit in the oval office, but wound up in over his head and wasnt too effective.  I guess I feel the same way about Coop, though he did have a couple of years when he came real close.  In the end, though, he never seemed like the right fit for the job.

Jim Tressel - What if the Senator were instead the President?  You guessed it - he would be Ronald Regean...conservative, solid, effective, likeable, and with the ability to move you through his speeches. And some day we'll look back and say, "Man, I wish we had a guy like Jim Tressel at the helm again!"

Hoops Concerns: It isn't time to push the panic button just yet Buckeye fans.  Sure, it would have been nice to hold onto the lead at Wisconsin, and to beat a Purdue team we massacred a few weeks ago, but I can't say I was surprised with either loss.  Most good teams have a hiccup at some point, and often it is towards the end of February.  Besides, it took nearly superhuman play from Jordan Taylor and E'Twaun Moore to defeat the Buckeyes.  But there are a few concerns, in my opinion. 

Dave Thurman (10:34 pm)

I'll admit it - my favorite time of the year is September through November, followed closely by the week of the bowl game (always after Christmas in the Tressel era) and then the push to Signing Day in early February.  In other words, Buckeye football is my greatest obsession, and as exciting as basketball has become during the Thad Matta regime, I still miss Ohio State football.  If you are like me, don't despair, as there are some very compelling story lines about to be written in the next couple of months, and I want to briefly highlight them by asking some important questions that should soon be answered:

1) Will the Ohio State basketball team finish strong, win the Big Ten title, and make a run at the National Championship? This has been a very special team, which possesses everything but depth.  There is senior leadership, youthful enthusiasm, strong post play, a heady point guard, good outside shooting, and terrific defense.  Using multiple weapons, Thad's boys have carved out a special place in Buckeye lore, but they need to finish strong.  Unless they tank down the stretch, the team will win the Big Ten regular season title, but it remains to be seen if they are a good tournament team.  Can they continue their domination at the Big Ten Conference Tournament in Indianapolis the second week of March?  And, can they make a solid run at the Big Dance later in the month?  Honestly, as strongly as this squad has played all year, anything less than a Final Four appearance will probably be a disapointment. 

2) Can Jared Sullinger wrap up Big Ten and National Player of the Year awards?  Sully has been even better than advertised, and I think it is a foregone conclusion that he will be named the Big Ten and National Freshman of the Year.  Who else is even close? But the truth is, he has a real shot at some even bigger hardware.  A picture of consistency, Sullinger is averaging 17.8 ppg, 10 rpg, and 1.4 apg, while shooting .564 from the field.  In the Big Ten his competition for Player of the Year will come from two players: Purdue's JaJuan Johnson (20.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg), who is an offensive machine but not as potent on the other end, and Wisconsin's Jon Leuer (19.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 apg) who is a pretty complete player, but may be upstaged by teammate Jordan Taylor who is finishing strong and may throw his name into the hat.  I like all of these guys, but would give the nod to Sully based on the fact that OSU has the best record. 

The Spartans enter The Schott tonight for the only meeting between OSU and MSU this season. Izzo's crew is trying to jump start a run towards the NCAA Tournament, after losing five of their last seven games. They will be playing be out desperation, while the Buckeyes will be playing with a vengeance after dropping their first game of the season. Should be an interesting matchup...

The game tips at 9 PM Eastern Time, while the LiveBlog starts 30 minutes before.
Family Feud is a feature where Dave and Drew throw their opinions in on various Buckeye football subjects, which many times are quite opposite. This edition takes a look at some of the hot topics in Buckeye Nation including the spitting incident, rankings, and the 2011-12 football season.

1) What is your reaction to Jared Sullinger's allegation about getting spit in the face by a Wisconsin fan? What do you think about Bo Ryan comments about the incident?

Dave: I am fed up with fans who are out of control whatever the venue, and I have visited enough places to see some pretty reprehensible stuff - including from some "so called" Buckeye fans.  However, Wisconsin has the reputation for having the most obnoxious fans in the Big Ten, and for years football players have told stories of what they have been forced to deal with on the sidelines.  It is time for the Wisconsin administration to do something about the situation and quit looking the other way.  Bo Ryan showed himself to be completely classless, and instead of trying to rein in the student body he merely enabled them to continue their bad behavior.  Say what you want about Bob Knight but he would have been on a mission to find out who had been involved and make sure they never attended another game.  I hope the Buckeyes destroy Wisconsin when they come to Columbus, and I can honestly say that at this point the Badgers have become public enemy number one in my book. 

Drew: I totally hear where you are coming from. While the incident itself is pretty reprehensible, I'm more bothered with the reactions since Saturday. Bo Ryan had every opportunity to show some sportsmanship and express his disappointment with the possibility of this happening. Personally, if I am him, I'm apologizing to Sullinger for this happening, and conveying that I hope that it didn't take away from a great game with a great atmosphere. Instead, Ryan has drawn Sullinger's credibility into question for the fans and media to see. A very similar reaction is being expressed by Wisconsin fans all over the web. Sullinger is being called a poor loser and liar, and many seemed convinced that this would have been caught on camera if it really happened. I agree with Alex from 11W, that I hope nothing like this happens at Ohio State, and if does, Buckeye fans can handle things in a much more classy manner.   

2) The Buckeyes fell to No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 3 in the Coaches poll, your thoughts?

Drew: Rankings honestly mean very little to me in college basketball. Unlike the ridiculous BCS, college basketball at least allows teams to settle it on the court. I get more worked up about NCAA Tournament seeding than I do mid-season "power rankings." With that said, it is comical how in love the media (namely ESPN) is with the Big 12. Ironically, Kansas showed they weren't able to handle the No. 1 ranking against a very mediocre Kansas State team. Let's hope this helps the Buckeyes gain some respect for what they have accomplished this year. I'm not holding my breath though. 

Dave: I figured it would happen and it might be good for the team, but it probably isn't fair.  The team has one bad four minute spell against an excellent opponent in a tough place to play.  In my book OSU is still number one, but I'm glad to let Kansas have that bullseye on their back (note: after I wrote this the Jayhawks promptly went out and spit the bit, losing to Kansas State).  However, there is no way a three-loss Texas team should have leaped the Bucks as occurred in the coaches poll, but it is what it is.

All eyes will be on the Buckeyes this afternoon as they head into the Kohl Center to take on the Badgers. Under Thad Matta, Ohio State is 0-7 on the road against Wisconsin, making this matchup even more enticing. It will definitely should be a war, and the toughest test this team has faced yet. Join us we take it all in!

The game tips off at 2 PM Eastern Time, with the LiveBlog starting 30 minutes before...
Drew Thurman (5:31 pm)

Like him or hate him, Knight knows his X's and O's. Besides his talk about his wife's basketball days, this really is a great segment. If you missed it on SportsCenter early today, check it out...
Dave Thurman (8:42 pm)

If there is one constant in major college sports it is the fact that coaches can never rest on their laurels in recruiting as it is a 365 day a year job.  With the 2011 class in the barn and rated in the top ten by pretty much every recruiting service, Ohio State coaches set their sights on the next group of players who are in the midst of their junior year of high school.  Although there are many areas that will be focused on, I feel there are three positions that are especially crucial, which I would categorize as priorities for the class of 2012:

1.  Offensive Line - Unless you have been marooned on a deserted island the past few years you know that this has been the area in which the Buckeyes have struggled the most in the Tressel area.  I put some of the blame on Jim Bollman who has not maximized the talent he has had at his disposal, and all you have to do is look at the pro draft the past few years to see that OSU linemen have been consistently bypassed by NFL teams. 

The past few years have featured a number of misses on big-time prospects that Ohio State hoped to land, guys like Josh Jenkins, Seantrel Henderson, Matt James and Aundrey Walker.  However it is not just missing on some of the elite players that has hurt, but the fact that the coaching staff has not offered a lot of scholarships, and thus has not signed a large enough volume of offensive linemen.  The class of 2011 was supposed to be different as Tress and company offered a number of in-state players early in the process, receiving verbals from three of them, along with Brian Bobek from Illinois.  But when big Drey Walker opted to head west to USC, combined with the transfer of Same Longo, it left the Buckeyes thinner than expected again.

That's why this year is so important.  Even though the class of 2012 is not expected to be particularly big you have to believe the coaches are looking to bring in five quality players here, and they are off to a good start. Already they have verbals from tackle Kyle Kalis, considered the best linemen Ohio has to offer next year, and guard Jacoby Boren, whose big brothers have worked out pretty well in scarlet and gray. 

So who else is being targeted by the coaches?  Let's start in state where three names seem to be rising to the top: Vandalia's Taylor Decker (6'8", 275)  who projects as a tackle; Cleveland Heights' Kyle Dodson (6'6", 315), also a tackle prospect; and, Kent Roosevelt's Ryan Anderson (6'4", 312), who is considered to be a guard at the next level.  None has received an offer yet, but that could change soon.

Out of state Ohio State has offered two players: Chicago Simeon’s Jordan Diamond (6-6, 290) and Jonah Pirsig (6-9, 295). from Blue Earth, Minnesota.  It would seem the coaching staff is looking at both as tackles.  There are a number of other national prospects being checked out, but thus far just two offers.  In my opinion, OSU has not cast a wide enough net in the past when it comes to linemen, and I hope they don't duplicate that mistake this year, but offer a number of prospects.  Anything less than five solid players will be a disappointment. 

Drew Thurman (11:49 pm)

Some ESPN love. Well, typically The World Wide Leader in Sports seems to be out to completely tarnish all things scarlet and gray, but apparently a few of the writers didn't get the memo. In Bruce Feldman's latest piece ranking the best redshirt freshman in the country, Roderick Smith finds himself on top of the list.

"Look out -- there is another tall Buckeyes running back talent with a track background set to give Big Ten defenses nightmares. This Smith, no relation to colleague Robert Smith, to whom the young Smith bears resemblance, is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound bruising back who had to wait for a few weeks into fall camp while the NCAA approved his transcript, which made the coaching staff's decision to redshirt him easier.

"However, by the time bowl practices began, Smith had wowed a lot of his teammates with his work at practice. With Brandon Saine graduating and Dan Herron sidelined for five games to open the season, Smith, who some around the program compare in style to Beanie Wells, is a very strong option for Jim Tressel."

Also getting some play on ESPN is Luke Fickell, who made their list of best recruiters in the country.

"Although Ohio State is an easy sell and one of the elite programs in college football, recruiting to the Buckeyes is still a difficult chore in today's college football world. It takes hard work and a daily grind. That's what Fickell had to do in landing Grant as well as a trio of other linebackers to Columbus. He also reeled in South Florida standout Jeremy Cash (Plantation, Fla./Plantation). "

Fickell consistently finds himself on these types of lists, which makes it so surprising that no one has snatched him up to take over the reins of their program. With his work grabbing players outside of the Midwest and Stan Drayton joining the staff, the future looks very bright on the recruiting front.

Dave and Drew Thurman (8:38 pm)

It's a tradition here at The Silver Bullet for us to break down all the players in the incoming class and give you our two cents. We are a few days late getting it out, but hey, it's better late than never. Enjoy...

Michael Bennett (DT, Centerville HS)

Dave: This talented big guy has me very excited because OSU has had trouble getting elite defensive linemen in recent years.  Bennett actually played more on the o-line in high school and is very good there but the Bucks are counting on him to be a devastating defensive tackle.  He is explosive and has quick feet, and I look for Michael to earn playing time right away.  Has star written all over him!

Drew: Bennett has tons of accolades coming in. Not only was he one of the top rated defensive lineman by all the national recruiting services, but was a Division I All-Ohio and USA Today All-USA team selection. That's not even to mention his presence in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. I think all of that speaks for itself. All I will add is that I think he is a superstar in the making, and may even see the field very early in career.

Brian Bobek (OL, Inverness, IL William Fremd HS)

Dave: Another player that is pretty much guaranteed to be in the two deep from day one due to lack of depth.  However, that is no slam on Bobek, an excellent lineman who is slotted to take over center when Michael Brewster leaves but is talented enough to slide down the line to other spots if needed.

Drew: Bobek was a huge get in the class, and honestly, the only offensive lineman that doesn't appear to be a long term project. Like Bennett, Bobek also played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, while also being named a Parade All-American. The guy is a very solid prospect, and his video shows you why he is one of the best centers in the country. He has very quick hands, which is crucial at the center position, while also showcasing quick feet and great lower body strength.

Tommy Brown (OL, Firestone HS)

Dave: There is nothing wrong with bringing in a big kid each class who is a project, and I think Brown qualifies.  He is smart and works hard, and you can't teach size, so I have hopes that Tommy will be able to contribute down the road, but it may be later rather than sooner.  He is the only player in this class recruited to play tackle so the coaches need him to develop.

Drew: Brown is the only offensive lineman in this class who projects to the tackle spot at the next level. At 6-5 320 pounds, the guy has incredible size, and of course, power. He has work to do in terms of technique and footwork, but Brown definitely has lots of potential. The nice thing is that he is enrolling in the spring quarter at Ohio State, which could put him ahead of the curve.