Wrapping up the weekend that was in the Land of 10, football and hoops…
The Point After
So 31-0 got a lot of run, as you’d expect. Get your bell rung in the College Football Playoff semis, the Waffle House bubble doesn’t stop at throwing dirt on your grave. Oh, no. They form a conga line over it.
Let ‘em dance.
Because here’s a set of numbers pertaining to Ohio State football that hasn’t gotten enough juice the last 10 days:
As in, two national championships.
Urban Meyer has led teams to 12 bowl games. The Buckeyes coach has only lost three, counting that mugging at the hands of Clemson at the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
After each of the other two postseason defeats, the 2007-’08 Capital One Bowl to Michigan, and the 2013-’14 Orange Bowl to Clemson, a funny thing happened.
Actually, the same thing happened.
In both cases, the very next season, Meyer won it all. Two bowl losses, followed by two titles.
You just made the bear mad.
“Ohio State is not used to this,” Meyer told reporters after the Fiesta Bowl. “I’m not used to this, and we will not get used to this. That’s not going to happen again. So we’ll get things worked out. We will become a good passing team. We will. Next year.”
It wasn’t a boast. It was a warning. A fair one. A reasonable man advising that a storm was coming if the beast was provoked. It reminded us of that bit in the opening credits sequence to the ‘70s cult classic “The Incredible Hulk” in which Bill Bixby tells the nosy reporter to keep his distance, or else:
Urban Meyer is angry.
More embarrassed, but close enough.
Change was promised, and change is here. Tim Beck is out as offensive coordinator, former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, who used to push the buttons for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, is in. Former San Francisco 49ers assistant Ryan Day was added to the mix.
A Clemson loss has shown Meyer the light before. In the offseason before the spring of 2014, it was about fixing the defense. The team that lost the Orange Bowl gave up 1.92 points per drive to Football Bowl Subdivision, a total which ranked 44th in the country.
The ’14 bunch allowed 1.58 per drive, a jump to No. 18 nationally, en route to winning the whole shebang.
Don’t make him angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
Columbus, however, just might freaking love it.
Who’s dancing in the NCAA tourney this week, according to BracketMatrix.com
As of Jan. 8:
- Wisconsin (13-3) — 5 seed
- Minnesota (15-2) — 6 seed
- Purdue (14-3) — 6 seed
- Maryland (14-2) — 7 seed
- Indiana (11-5) — 8 seed
- Northwestern (13-4) — 9 seed
- Michigan State (11-6) — 10 seed
- Michigan (11-5) — 11 seed
On the bubble:
- Illinois (11-5) (listed on 24 of 46 mock brackets)
Noses pressed against the bubble:
- Nebraska (9-7) (listed on 7 of 46 mock brackets)
- Ohio State (10-6) (listed on 4 of 46 mock brackets)
One man’s rolling Big Ten Player of the Year ballot
- Caleb Swanigan, F, Purdue (18.3 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 3.3 Win Shares on Sports-Reference.com)
- Ethan Happ, F, Wisconsin (13.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 3.0 Win Shares on Sports-Reference.com)
- Nate Mason, G, Minnesota (14.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.9 apg, 2.6 Win Shares on Sports-Reference.com)
Way-to-early Big Ten bowl projections for 2017, just because
- Ohio State — College Football Playoff
- Penn State — New Year’s Six Bowl
- Wisconsin — New Year’s Six Bowl
- Michigan — Outback Bowl
- Michigan State — Holiday Bowl
- Northwestern — Foster Farms Bowl
- Nebraska — TaxSlayer Bowl
- Iowa — Pinstripe Bowl
- Maryland— Armed Forces Bowl
- Minnesota — Quick Lane Bowl
Fake Bo Pelini tweet of the week (presidential edition)
PLEASE HATE JAMES MADISON WITH ME THIS WEEKEND pic.twitter.com/01YpW5izEF
— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) January 7, 2017
3 games coming up we’d absolutely pay to watch
- Indiana at Maryland (Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN). Earlier this month, Nebraska went into both giants’ houses — and won. Which program gets its mojo back first?
- Minnesota at Michigan State (Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET, BTN). Since the Spartans stunned the Gophers in the Twin Cities, Goldy hasn’t looked back. After winning in West Lafayette, grabbing a road pelt in East Lansing would be huge for the Fighting Pitinos.
- Purdue at Iowa (Thursday, 9 p.m. ET, BTN). Nothing comes easy in Iowa City, where the Boilermakers haven’t won since December 2011.
Fake Bo Pelini tweet of the week (Roll Tide edition)
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RECORDS:
— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) January 7, 2017
The takeaway number(s)
As in, the millions of television homes that tuned in to the 2017 Rose Bowl between Penn State and USC, making it the most-watched bowl game on Jan. 2, according to SportsMediaWatch.com.
In fact, of the bowl week that started Dec. 26 and ended on Jan. 2, postseason games involving Big Ten teams were the most-watched bowl game on each particular bowl day — save for two.
The No. 1s: The Quick Lane Bowl (Maryland, 3.019 million) on Dec. 26; the Holiday Bowl (Minnesota, 4.046 million) on Dec. 27; and the Orange Bowl (Michigan, 11.461 million) on Dec. 30. The Foster Farms Bowl (Indiana, 2.628 million) and Pinstripe Bowl (Northwestern, 2.425 million) were Nos. 3 and 4 on Dec. 28, unofficially, while the Fiesta Bowl (Ohio State, 19.237 million) wound up being barely pipped by the Peach Bowl that preceded it (19.344 million) for the top slot on Dec. 31.