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Other sports, general interest; any articles that don't fit into football and basketball.

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...
For continued developments, see the main thread.


Talk about a self-made man.

Four days ago, a simple question was posed to a small (but committed) community of Ohio State football fans.

Did anyone among them remember Giovanni Strassini?

Oddly enough, no one did. It was odd because the most readily available information indicated that Strassini had achieved so much in his career. Initial research revealed that he had been a tight end for the Buckeyes from 1973 to 1977, an All-American in both football and baseball, had shared in the 1974 Rose Bowl win over the USC Trojans, was drafted by the Cleveland Browns before leaving the NFL to play minor league baseball, and eventually named to the Ohio State All-Century Team.

Quite a guy. No Chuck Csuri or anything, but still--pretty impressive.

As many former star athletes do, Strassini found a way to generate some discretionary income simply by being himself: showing up at organized events in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, signing autographs, glad-handing. Nothing wrong with that.

Within an hour of the original post, the jig was well on its way to being up. There was no record of him in the available Ohio State football record books. Nothing about his All-American status. Certainly nothing about him scoring that famous touchdown in the '76 Rose Bowl versus UCLA (apologies to Pete Johnson).