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All things pigskin.

1. In just the third meeting ever between the two football powerhouses, Ohio State invaded Norman, Oklahoma, and pounded the Sooners by the score of 45-24. The Buckeyes now lead the series two games to one, with victories last night and in 1983 (24-14) and a loss in 1977 (29-28).

2. The Buckeyes dominated on offense, racking up 443 total yards on 68 plays (6.5 yards per play) and scoring 38 points. The ground attack was especially strong, as freshman Mike Weber rushed for 123 yards on 18 carries (6.8 ypc) and Curtis Samuel provided some big play spark with 11 rushes for 98 yards (8.9 ypc) and a 36-yard touchdown. Quarterback JT Barrett didn't post spectacular numbers (74 yards rushing, 152 yards passing) but he generally made good decisions, protected the football, and hooked up with wide receiver Noah Brown for four touchdown passes (4, 8, 21, and 37 yards). The offensive line got the job done up front (6.4 yards per rush) and allowed only one sack on the night.

3. Oklahoma put up some decent numbers on offense (67 plays, 404 yards, 6.0 average), but they were stymied by four huge plays by the Buckeye defense, three of which came on fourth downs. With 4:34 left in the first quarter and the Sooners facing 4th-and-3 from the Ohio State 33-yard line, QB Baker Mayfield was pressured by Buckeye defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes. Holmes was given a free release by a confused Sooner offensive line and he was in Mayfield's face before the Sooner QB could set his feet. Holmes just missed a sack but he was able to deflect Mayfield's hurried pass to linebacker Jerome Baker, who took the interception 68 yards for the touchdown. The pick six gave the Buckeyes a 14-0 lead and provided them with momentum that the never relinquished.

4. The second huge defensive play came with 6:10 left in the first half. On 2nd-and-4 from the...
It is often said that quarterback is the most important position in football, and possibly all of team sports. If that is the case, then there should be a correlation between good quarterback play and winning, and bad quarterback play and losing. In the table below I show each NFL team's passing stats since the Cleveland Browns re-entered the league in 1999:

NFL TeamCompleteAttemptsComp PctYards Passing---TDs------INTs--Passing EffW/L Record-Win Pct-
New England Patriots6,0479,643.62767,14749520591.61181 - 91 - 0.665
Indianapolis Colts6,2559,873.63470,29550925391.05181 - 91 - 0.665
Green Bay Packers6,0409,624.62867,68151525390.57169 - 102 - 1.623
Pittsburgh Steelers5,3248,635.61760,43639425589.87168 - 103 - 1.619
New Orleans Saints6,43110,163.63371,53150228788.84142 - 130 - 0.522
San Diego Chargers5,6809,121.62362,86742626786.07139 - 133 - 0.511
Denver Broncos5,6969,285.61364,18343826285.97161 - 111 - 0.592
This is the BPRT's recap of the recruiting class of 2016. MD Buckeye's comments are in BLUE; RB07OSU's in BROWN; Smudger's in GREEN; wadc45's in RED; and LordJeffBuck's in PURPLE.

General Thoughts

- Another year, another top five recruiting class for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Offensively, you'd be hard pressed to find a better class in the country, IMO. The OSU staff landed the majority of their top targets on the offensive side of the ball, while also adding great depth to the OL & TE position groups. They also did a great job on the defensive side, adding top talent, but also taking chances on a couple projects. All in all, there's nothing to complain about with this class.

- All in all, this may be the best recruiting class I have seen come into Columbus. With so many players graduating or leaving early and so many spots suddenly open, I will admit that I thought there was a high likelihood that we would be reaching on a number of prospects to "fill spots." But never doubt the Urban, because not only did we fill those spots with elite talent, we unfortunately also had to turn away some great prospects towards the end. We landed some guys who I think are built to be instant impact, as well as some guys with huge upside that can develop into stars here.

- In what is becoming the norm in Columbus, Urban Meyer & Co. bring in yet another consensus top five class. Hitting every position of need & adding depth to those necessary, this class is outstanding across the board. Even when the doubters were questioning whether OSU would be able to finish strong down the stretch, the coaches proved yet again they are as good as it gets when it comes to sealing the deal in January, adding eight...
Notre Dame and the Big Ten Conference


The Big Ten Conference was formed in 1896, and by 1917 it counted as members every major football power in the upper midwest. All except one - Notre Dame.

Notre Dame began football in 1887 as an independent and it has stayed that way ever since despite various attempts to lure them into a conference. But in the early days, before Notre Dame became a brand name in college football, the small private Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana, actually tried to join the Big Ten. Although Notre Dame fit the Big Ten profile geographically, that factor was about the only match with the other conference members, most of whom (Northwestern and Chicago being the exceptions) were large state-operated "land grant" universities. The Big Ten could ignore the "small" and "private" aspects of Notre Dame, as the conference had previously done with Northwestern and the University of Chicago, but many of the powers that be had a serious problem with the "Catholic" element of that university.

The rift between Notre Dame and the Big Ten dates back to at least 1909. Back then, Notre Dame was a considered a "cupcake". From 1887 to 1908, the Fighting Irish sported an impressive overall record of 89-30-9 (.730 winning percentage), but the vast majority of those victories came against a motley crew of high schools, prep schools, medical schools, dental schools, law schools, future D-III programs, and private clubs such as the Illinois Cycling Club and the South Bend Howard Park Club. Against the relatively powerful Big Ten schools, Notre Dame had a miserable record of 10-23-4, with the Irish being outscored 189 to 518 in those 37 contests.

Led by the legendary Fielding Yost, Michigan was perhaps the most powerful program in the country in first decade of the Twentieth Century. Yost took over the Michigan program in 1901, and during his first eight years on the job his team posted an overall record of...
Derrick Henry is the presumptive Heisman Trophy winner for 2015. Henry leads FBS in rushing yards (1,986) and rushing touchdowns (23) despite having a rather pedestrian 5.86 yards per carry average (34th in FBS). Henry's numbers certainly put him in the discussion for the 2015 Heisman, but how do his numbers compare with Ezekiel Elliott's over the past calendar year?

The 2014 Heisman voting closed on December 8, 2014, the day after the CFB Playoff teams were announced. Here's what Ezekiel Elliott and Derek Henry have accomplished since the close of last year's Heisman voting:

Heisman CandidateGamesTotal RushesRush YardsYds/CarryYds/GameTouchdowns100-yard+200-yard+
Ezekiel Elliott143182,1486.75153.425134
Derrick Henry143522,0815.91148.62494
As you can see, Zeke beats Henry in every category except 200-yard+ games, in which each player has four. And Zeke beat Henry in their only head-to-head matchup in last year's Sugar Bowl, as Zeke had 20 carries for 230 yards (11.5 ypc) and 2 TDs, while Henry had 13 carries for 95 yards (7.3 ypc) and 1 TD. Zeke followed up his Sugar Bowl performance with 36 carries for 246 yards (6.8 ypc) and 4 TDs in the 2014 National Championship Game.

However in this year's Heisman voting, Zeke will get no credit for his performances in last year's Sugar Bowl or National Championship Game, which came after the 2014 Heisman vote but were not part of the 2015 season. In reality, he probably got little credit last year for his 20 carry, 220 yard, 2 TD performance in the 2014 Big Ten Title Game. Although that game took place on December 6th, and thus before the nominal close of the 2014...

1. Before I get into The Game itself, I'd like to spend a few minutes talking about The Rivalry. Ohio State has now played Michigan 112 times since 1897. It is a long rivalry. It is a storied rivalry. It has often been a painful rivalry. Along the way, legends have been made, glory has been earned, perfect seasons have been dashed, championship hopes have been crushed. We have seen massive upsets, miraculous comebacks, record-setting performances, ten year wars, snow bowls, shanked field goals, banners torn down, double birds flipped, and so many other memorable moments. But that's all in the past now. It's time to move on.

I have heard so many Buckeye fans say that they want Michigan to be good again, "for the sake of The Rivalry." They say it with longing in their voices. Reverence even. Maybe a touch of pain, as if it really does hurt them that Michigan just isn't quite good enough to beat Ohio State. Quite frankly, I say that it's the stupidest thing I've ever heard, wanting your rival to be good.

In the real world, do you really think that businesses and organizations want their competitors to be good? Does the Board of Directors of McDonalds get together and pray that Burger King will produce better burgers? Does Ford secretly hope that GM will produce better cars? Does Coke want Pepsi to win a few taste tests now and then? Will Hillary Clinton's team be upset if the Republicans nominate an unelectable candidate? Of course not!

Even in the world of sports, this love of your team's rivalry, as opposed to love of your team, seems to be unique to Ohio State fans. I have never heard a Pittsburgh Steelers fan wish that the Cleveland Browns would be good again for the sake of the rivalry. Same thing with Auburn-Alabama, Packers-Bears, Yankees-Red Sox, Harvard-Yale, and every other heated rivalry you can think of. Army-Navy might be the only exception, but those guys will eventually shed blood for each other, they're all...
1. The 21st Century has not been kind to Michigan, especially in The Game. When Ohio State fired John Cooper after the 2000 season, his replacement, Jim Tressel, immediately "guaranteed" a Buckeye victory in the 2001 Game. Although Tressel's guarantee was a bit squirrelly (his actual quote was "I can assure you that you will be proud of your young people in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan"), it was proven true, as unranked Ohio State did in fact beat #11 Michigan, 26-20.

2. In 2002, #2 Ohio State once again entered The Game with a perfect record, this time a program best 12-0-0. #12 Michigan held a 9-7 lead at halftime, and Buckeye fans were saying, "Here we go again...." But Ohio State scored the only points of the second half on a Maurice Hall touchdown run, and safety Will Allen preserved the 14-9 victory with an interception at the goal line as time expired. The Buckeyes would go on to win the BCS National Championship with a 31-24 double overtime victory over the #1 Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl.

3. #5 Michigan got a measure of revenge in 2003, with a 35-21 victory over #4 Ohio State in The Game. Michigan would lose to Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, 28-14, while Ohio State would defeat Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, 35-28.

4. During a rebuilding year, unranked Ohio State knocked off #7 Michigan in the 2004 Game, 37-21. The game was the coming out party for Buckeye quarterback Troy Smith, who had 386 yards of total offense. Buckeye wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. had an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown.

5. Ohio State had a come from behind victory in the 2005 Game, thanks to a last-minute touchdown drive by Troy Smith. The drive is best remembered for Anthony Gonzalez's circus catch in the red zone, but running back Antonio Pittman scored the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds to propel the Buckeyes to a 25-21 win.

6. 2006 was a Game to remember. Both teams entered The Game with...
1. In 1951, Woody Hayes became the head coach of Ohio State and quickly returned the program to prominence. Hayes won three national championships in his first eleven seasons (1954, 1957, and 1961) and also produced a Heisman Trophy winner (Hopalong Cassady in 1955), an Outland Trophy winner (Jim Parker in 1956), and a Maxwell Award winner (Bob Ferguson in 1961). Perhaps more importantly, Hayes was 7-4 in The Game, including a 50-20 blowout in 1961. After Michigan scored a late touchdown to cut the Ohio State lead to 42-20, Hayes ordered his team to play on. The Buckeyes scored a touchdown of their own with 5 seconds left in the game, and Hayes elected to go for a two-point conversion. The conversion was successful, and the 50 points scored by Ohio State remains a team record in The Game.

2. Neither team was very good from 1962 to 1967, with Ohio State posting an overall record of 35-18-1 and no Big Ten championships, and with Michigan posting an overall record of 28-28-2 and a Big Ten title in 1964. Ohio State held an edge in The Game, 4-2.

3. With a young team in 1968, the Ohio State Buckeyes were not expected to compete for a Big Ten championship, much less a national title. However, the Super Sophs went a perfect 10-0-0, including a 50-14 victory over #4 Michigan in The Game (Hayes again went for two late in the game because he "couldn't go for three") and a 27-16 victory over #2 Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes won both the AP and coaches poll titles for 1968, the first unanimous national championship for Ohio State.

4. In 1969, the Super Sophs were one year older and one year better. The #1 Buckeyes cruised through their first eight games by a combined score of 371 to 69 (46.4 to 8.6 on a per game basis). Then came The Game. Led by rookie head coach Bo Schembechler, the Wolverines pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in the history of the rivalry. Although the total yardage was essentially dead even (374 yards for Michigan, 373 yards...
Michigan Sucks!

That would probably suffice for most Buckeye fans, but for the rest of you here is a more complete history of the rivalry:

1. Ohio State and Michigan first met on October 16, 1897. Michigan won that contest by the score of 34-0, but that was just par for the course for the 1897 Buckeyes as the team was outscored 168 to 18 on the season, with seven shutouts, en route to a program-worst 1-7-1 record.

2. The teams next met in 1900, and appropriately tied 0-0.

3. The teams played each year from 1901 to 1912, with Michigan compiling a record of 11-0-1 and outscoring Ohio State by a combined score of 321 to 21 (27 to 2 on a per game basis) with eight shutouts. The lowlight of Michigan's historic run was an 86-0 shellacking in 1902, the most points ever surrendered and the worst defeat ever suffered by the Buckeyes.

4. From 1901 to 1912, Ohio State was a fairly good team, with an overall record of 78-32-11 (.690 winning percentage) and a winning record in each season. However, while Ohio State was building a respectable program, Michigan was creating a football powerhouse with an overall record of 88-9-7 (.880 winning percentage).

5. From 1901 to 1905, the Wolverines, under legendary head coach Fielding "Hurry Up" Yost, posted a record of 55-1-1, outscored their opponents 2,821 to 42, and were awarded retroactive national championships for 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904. In 1905, Michigan began the season at 12-0-0, with each win coming by shutout. In the 13th and final game of the season, Michigan faced the University of Chicago, coached by the equally legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, who entered the game at 10-0-0 with nine shutout victories. Chicago had the only score of the game - a safety - and won by the score of 2 to nil, thereby securing a perfect record and the only national championship in school history.

6. Michigan was a founding member of the Big Ten in 1896, but the Wolverines took a hiatus from the conference from 1907...
The beginning of the season coincided with BuckeyePlanet’s front page refresh, and at that time Clarity put a call out for people who were interested in writing things for the front page. For those of you who have been around for a decade or more might remember that there was a pretty strong team of volunteer bloggers who wrote previews, recruiting updates and special features for the front page. I had always wanted to contribute in that capacity, but I didn’t have the expertise, insider access, or interest in diving deep into statistics that those other folks had and never really had an idea of what I could bring to the table.

In the time that has passed between BuckeyePlanet front page 1.0 and 2.0, the landscape of college football coverage on the internet has changed a lot. Nowadays if you want to write something it doesn’t all have to be news and statistics and interviews. There is room for fun. There is room for irreverence. There is room for somebody who enjoys college football the way I do to have a voice. So, when Clarity brought the new front page to life I wanted to be a part of it.

Making picks for games is just a natural sort of thing that you’d have somebody write if you were launching (or relaunching) a front page like BuckeyePlanet’s. In writing it, I didn’t want to come across as something from a position of expertise, authority or seriousness. There is way too much seriousness in college football. That’s really where the idea to make picks against Poobert came from.

Hopefully you all realized this from the start, but Poobert doesn’t actually make picks. While we do spend a lot of time together in front of the TV on Saturdays, his picks are made by coin flip - heads for home team and tails for the away team. It’s trope that’s not uncommon in picks column - test the experts against randomness, and see if the people who purport to be experts really are experts or if they’re doing not better than guessing.

CollegeFootballNews - a site that used to be awesome ten years ago called their coin flip Clucko the Chicken. Clucko wasn’t really given a voice or a personality - he was just a column in a table - a clever name for a control group in a year-long experiment. Poobert on the other hand is real, he has a personality, and I wanted to expand on that by bringing a bit of that to the column.

As I talked about the idea at the beginning of the season, a lot of people had ideas for things to try. Some of the BuckeyePlanet staff that I discussed this with suggested creating videos and a Twitter account for Poobert. Showing him making picks by having him choose to eat from one team’s food bowl or another was a possibility. My wife wanted to dress him up topical costumes. I started off simply by adding a little dialogue - I would be the half-sincere, half-smartass that I normally am on the forums and Poobert would be alternately naive and condescending toward my picks and explanations. As I mentioned before, I didn’t want to come off as an expert and he was to be my foil. I was fully prepared to lose to him if not overall, then at least occasionally, I was fully prepared to make an ass of myself in the process, and was kind of hoping it would happen. There’s entertainment in that.

It didn’t take long for that strategy to go out the window...