When the names “Ohio State” and “Florida” are included in the same bowl game, the stakes are usually quite large. This year, that is not so much the case as the 6-6 Buckeyes take on the 6-6 Gators in the Gator Bowl on Monday, January 2nd.
Ohio State Football
The Ohio State Buckeyes played one of their worst games in years on Saturday in Miami. The offense was nonexistent and the defense was on the field for far too long in a 24-6 defeat.
The loss plunged the Buckeyes out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in nearly seven years. They came in to the game ranked #17 after a close game against Toledo, but the loss to Miami was enough for them to drop out of the rankings.
With future sanctions looming over the Ohio State football program, the Buckeyes are beginning to feel a backlash when it comes to recruiting.
Already top Buckeye recruits who would have normally gone to Ohio State are now deciding to play football elsewhere. This is only the tip of the iceberg for Ohio State when it comes to top recruits shunning the Buckeyes. Ohio State’s turmoil has now opened the door for every Big Ten team to get recruits who would have normally gone to Ohio State.
Here is an early look at Ohio State’s top recruits who have decided to play somewhere else.
Within the past week, a pair of investigative reporting pieces have been released relative to two college programs I follow closely.
The first was Mike Fish’s piece on ESPN.com about the ties between A-HOPE, the Indiana Elite AAU program, and IU basketball, which interests me as both an alumnus and a native Hoosier. The other was George Dohrmann’s Sports Illustrated report on Jim Tressel’s pattern of willful ignorance and potential violations within the Ohio State football program, which I follow as a condition of my residency in Ohio.
Whatever your feelings are about either of these schools or teams, what struck me most was the contrast in both the quality and factual content of the reporting as well as the conviction of each writer in the aftermath of their stories.
This whole Jim Tressel scandal has really opened up a can of worms in my own head. I tweeted about it a decent amount last night and woke up thinking about it this morning. My first thought about the whole story is why the hell am I spending so much time reading about and thinking about Jim Tressel when there are clearly much, much more important things to be reading about and thinking about?
I suppose I don’t really have a great answer to that question, except to say that, well, I just care – whether I “should” or not. And I always will care. From the moment I was born, college sports were an integral part of my life, and they have remained an integral part of my life to this day. So I am naturally curious about this story in myriad ways, both for how it will affect things on the field and, more importantly, what it says about college sports on the whole.
It is way to early to tell how Tresselgate will affect the college football season next year, but if I were to whittle down my complicated gut reaction to what this says about college sports as a whole into one sentence, it would be this: the gray area in big time college athletics has never been grayer, and it gets more shaded (shady?) by the year.