Coming into the game against Iowa Saturday, Ohio State had two missions in order to keep pace for a potential spot in the BCS title game: win and win impressively enough to sway voters.
Well, one out of two ain’t bad.
The good news for the Buckeyes is that they were able to pull away from the Hawkeyes courtesy of a 24-7 advantage in the second half, posting its 19th straight win by the score of 34-24. The not-so-good news was that half came after OSU looked positively underwhelming in falling behind the visiting Hawkeyes 17-10 after two quarters of play.
Head coach Urban Meyer has preached that his team can only control what they do and is focused solely on the next opponent, not BCS implications. Meyer and his charges, though, are not only battling its next opponent on the field but fighting perception off of it: the perception that the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule was pastry-soft and the conference slate is not far behind. And that, simply put, the Buckeyes just aren’t that good of a football team despite the fact that they are on a historic run of wins.
The way OSU played in the first half did nothing to help the perception. Neither did Northwestern, one of the so-called quality wins for the Buckeyes this season, going down in defeat a third straight game.
The stark reality for Ohio State is that, even if they run the streak to 24 straight, they would fall behind the SEC championship game winner… and an unbeaten Oregon… and an unbeaten ACC champion in the BCS title-game pecking order. That’s the situation facing OSU, regardless of if anyone connected to the program wants to publicly acknowledge it.
The man at the center of a storm not of his creation has spoken.
Elysee Mbem-Bosse, or someone with access to his Twitter account, sent out a string of disturbing and threatening tweets Monday night that seemed to be directed at U-M head football coach Jim Harbaugh. Even as U-M’s athletic director expressed concern for a player who left the football program in mid-November, the University of Michigan Police Department had already confirmed that they had launched an investigation into the social-media threats.
At a coaching clinic in Detroit Thursday night, Harbaugh for the first time (somewhat) addressed the threatening tweets seemingly directed at him by a former player. From the Detroit News:
It’s a serious matter,” Harbaugh told The Detroit News. “I’m confident our administration and university officials will take the proper steps and are taking the proper steps.”
Harbaugh was asked if he felt threatened by the tweets.
“That’s all I’m going to say about it,” he said.
He issued the same response when asked when he became aware of the tweets.
Mbem-Bosse, who appeared in 12 games at linebacker the past two seasons, has not been arrested or charged as of yet in connection to the social-media threats. Even in the face of a police investigation, the Twitter account attached to Mbem-Bosse, which he marked private before switching it back to public, has remained defiant and continued to direct unnerving tweets at his now-former head coach.
Not surprisingly, Nick Saban is taking a measured approach to what could potentially be a volatile situation within his football program.
In an interview that was posted Thursday, Averion Hurts, the father of two-year starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, stated that, if his son fails to beat out Tua Tagovailoa for the starting job, he would “be the biggest free agent in college football history.” The intimation, of course, was that Hurts would transfer if/when he lost the competition.
As it turned out, the Crimson Tide head coach was previously scheduled to meet with the media later on in the day, after the piece had gained some national traction. Predictably, Saban was asked about the quotes attributed to the elder Hurts.
In answering the queries, Saban stated that he had met with the father this past weekend in what he described as “a very positive meeting.”
In the article in question, Averion Hurts stated that, while “Coach Saban’s job is to do what’s best for his team… my job is to do what’s best for Jalen.” Saban’s response? From al.com:
At the end of the day, everybody has career decisions that they have to make. Nobody knows what the outcome of this situation will bring. We don’t want any player not to be able to fill their goals and aspirations in our program here. We don’t want that for any of our players. Jalen’s dad has always been very positive and supportive in every conversation that I had.
So I’m not really concerned with what somebody else chose to write because I’m always sort of use the personal communication that I have with our player, Jalen and his family when necessary. And I have a lot of trust and respect for those folks. And I don’t think there’s an issue or problem from my standpoint.
Hurts has taken the majority of first-team reps this spring as Tagovailoa has been extremely limited because of an injury to his left (throwing hand) that has, thus far, required two different surgeries. Tagovailoa will not participate in the annual spring game this Saturday, and Saban has refused to give a timeline for a decision on a starter to be made.
The most successful head coach in Rutgers program history could be making his long-awaited return to the program. Sort of. Greg Schiano, now Ohio State’s defensive coordinator, could potentially be one of the members of the Ohio State coaching staff that makes a visit to New Jersey this summer for a football camp run by Rutgers.
The East Coast Elite Football Camp will be held on June 1 for high school juniors and seniors. Ohio State’s coaching staff will be a special guest for the camp, leading many to suspect Schiano will be one of the star attractions for the Rutgers camp.
It is worth noting Rutgers head coach Chris Ash was previously the defensive coordinator for Ohio State before accepting his first head coaching gig with the Scarlet Knights. Schiano was hired by Ohio State to fill the vacancy on the coaching staff as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. With Ash making it his professional mission to build the Rutgers program using the lessons and strategies learned under Meyer at Ohio State, it seems only natural to invite Urban Meyer and his staff to New Jersey to work a football camp. Not only would this be a tremendous selling point for high school juniors and seniors (thus, potential recruits), but the Rutgers staff can benefit from working alongside Ohio State’s coaching staff, which is among the best in the nation.
Schiano turned a dreadful Rutgers program into a competitive program in the Big East over a span of 11 seasons. During that time, Rutgers played in six bowl games, and won five in a row over a six-year span. In 2006, Schiano coached Rutgers to a No. 12 ranking with a record of 11-2. After a 9-4 season in 2011, Schiano accepted the job with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but a two-year stint in the pros was all Schiano would have before eventually returning to the college game after a two-year break.
Penn State’s spring game on Saturday could be a coaching matchup of James Franklin vs… James Franklin?
Noted Franklin impressionist and Penn State alum Keegan Michael-Key will be attending the Penn State spring game this Saturday. The school also announced on Facebook Michael-Key will be a special guest coach for the game. You can bet the actor will tap his inner Franklin for at least a little bit for some comedy on the sidelines.
Michael-Key has made himself visible around Penn State the past few years with his impressions of Franklin during football meetings and on ESPN’s College GameDay. The similarities between Franklin and Michael-Key are so good that even the head coach of the Nittany Lions has had to tell some people it’s not him they see on TV sometimes.
With any luck, perhaps we’ll get our first glimpse of the newest addition to the Penn State spring roster, Hingle McCringleberry.
Penn State’s spring game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. this Saturday.