The 1980s Lakers win eight championships in a row and 10 championships in 12 years, pretty much matching the 1960s Celtics.Tim Duncan’s Spurs win 10 titles (and counting), instead of five.Larry Bird wins eight rings — including five in a row — instead of three.LeBron James wins six consecutive championships — two with the Cavaliers of the Central League and four with the Heat of the Eastern League — and is in contention for a seventh this year.The New York Knicks have a mini-dynasty, winning the Eastern League five times in eight seasons from 1993 to 2000.The Oklahoma City Thunder, rather than missing their window, win four straight Western League championships from 2011 to 2014.Karl Malone and John Stockton are three-time champions instead of perennial bridesmaids.The New Jersey Nets three-peat in the Eastern League from 2002 to 2004.Russell’s 11 rings are still impressive, but they’re no longer such an outlier when looked at in this way. Or here’s another method: Instead of assigning hypothetical championships, take away some credit for championships that were won in a smaller league. For instance, if a team won a championship in a 10-team NBA, it would get credit for one-third of a championship in a 30-team league.By that calculation, the Celtics’ 11 championships are equivalent to three or four championships in a 30-team league.3Specifically, they’re worth 3.4 championships. The other dynasties aren’t affected as much. Duncan’s Spurs still pretty much get full credit for all five championships. Jordan’s Bulls get credit for five or six, and the 1980s Lakers about four.You can argue, of course, that the Celtics were so far ahead of the pack that they’d have held on to most of their championships even in a 30-team league. But they weren’t that dominant in the regular season. In Russell’s tenure with the team, they averaged the equivalent of a 58-24 regular-season record. That’s very good — but not much better than, say, Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks over the past 15 seasons. They weren’t even especially dominant in the playoffs! In their 11 championship seasons, Russell’s Celtics won 67 percent of their playoff games. Other NBA champions throughout history have won 73 percent of theirs.The Celtics came through in the clutch, obviously, just about every time it mattered — Russell was 10-0 for his career in Game 7s! But if you’re accused of benefiting from playing middling competition,4The Celtics’ average playoff opponent during Russell’s tenure had an Elo rating of 1570 entering the game. The Duncan-era Spurs have faced playoff opponents with an average Elo of 1639, by contrast. the more persuasive rebuttal comes from blowing your opponents out.One final objection we anticipate hearing from Celtics fans: Isn’t it harder, in some sense, to win a championship in a 10-team league since the player talent pool is more concentrated? In a literal sense, the answer is “no”; it’s easier to win a championship when there are more championships to go around per team.5Consider that if you reduced the entire NBA to just two All-Star teams, East and West, each of them would win the championship about half the time.But it could be argued that the average quality of competition was higher during the 1960s, with just 10 teams or so, instead of 30. Elo doesn’t make too many assumptions about this.6Elo’s implicit assumption is that the quality of NBA competition is fairly constant over the long run but that it can be disturbed in the short run by rapid expansion. I’m not sure it’s a winning argument, however. Consider:In the 1960s NBA, there were still remnants of a racist quota system that limited teams to three or four African-Americans.There were almost no international players in the 1960s, whereas now they make up about a quarter of league rosters.The U.S. population has increased by about 75 percent since 1960.Basketball has become a far more prominent and lucrative sport; in the mid-1960s, the NBA averaged only about 5,000 fans per game. A talented amateur athlete might have opted for another sport before basketball, and it was not uncommon for high NBA draft picks to bypass the league for another option.In other words, it seems likely that the NBA talent pool has grown at least as fast as the number of franchises since the 1960s. The 1960s didn’t even feature particularly great “fundamental” basketball. League-wide free-throw percentages were typically about 72 percent or 73 percent, compared with more like 75 percent or 76 percent now. The Celtics were the best team of their era, but also a product of it, and that era isn’t as rich for NBA competition as the one we have now. WTF, nerds? You’re telling us that this season’s Golden State Warriors, who haven’t won anything yet, are better than Bill Russell’s Celtics, who won eight titles in a row and 11 in 13 seasons?Actually, no. It would be ridiculous to say that. Last week, we released an interactive graphic, “The Complete History of the NBA,” which uses a relatively simple formula called Elo to rate NBA teams. Indeed, it currently ranks this year’s Warriors as the fourth-best team in NBA history, although they may rise or fall depending on how the rest of their playoff run goes. Meanwhile, no single season from the 1960s Celtics dynasty ranks higher than 47th on the all-time list.But Elo’s claim is that the 2014-15 Warriors season has been better than any single season in the Celtics’ run. In terms of long-term accomplishments, of course, it’s not even close. The 1960s Celtics’ competition comes, instead, from about who you’d expect: the 1990s Bulls, the current Spurs dynasty and the 1980s Lakers and Celtics.I’ve thought a lot about how to use Elo to rate sports dynasties. It’s a tricky problem, in part because you have to define when a dynasty begins and ends. Almost all of us would agree, I assume, that Michael Jordan’s Bulls were one continuous dynasty even though Jordan temporarily retired in the middle of it. But what about Kobe Bryant’s Lakers? Should the three titles they won from 2000 to 2002 be considered part of the same dynasty as the two they won in 2009 and 2010?Here’s one fairly simple approach (let us know down in the comments if you have a better method): We’ll define a dynasty as ending when a team’s Elo rating falls below 1500, which is the long-term league average. This is a reasonably forgiving standard, since teams carry over part of their rating from one season to the next. For instance, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Elo rating never fell below 1500 this season even though they started out 3-12.By this definition, Jordan’s six titles do get grouped together. The Bulls’ rating never fell below 1527 even when Jordan was playing outfield for the Birmingham Barons. But Kobe’s five titles are not considered part of the same dynasty since the Lakers’ Elo rating was below 1500 for part of the 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.The longest streak of above-average play belongs to the San Antonio Spurs. Their Elo rating rose above 1500 on Jan. 3, 1998, and hasn’t fallen below it since, a period that covers more than 17 years, or 1,644 games1Regular-season and playoff. and counting. That’s impressive even compared to the Celtics, who had an above-average Elo rating from March 14, 1956 to Nov. 12, 1969. Insanely great — 13.5 years and 1,198 games — but not as great as the Spurs.The 1980s Lakers also had a longer streak (1,363 games) than the Celtics. But maybe, even if the Celtics’ streak was slightly shorter, they were playing at a slightly higher level than those other teams?Not according to Elo. The Spurs had an average Elo rating of 1664 during their streak, as compared with 1634 for the 1960s Celtics. The Lakers’ Elo rating, 1641, was also slightly higher than the Celtics’.We can also assign an overall score to each dynasty by taking a team’s average Elo rating during the streak, subtracting the league-average rating of 1500, and multiplying it by the number of games the streak lasted.2For math geeks: This is equivalent to calculating the area under the curve between a team’s Elo rating and the league-average rating. Overall, this method has the Spurs way out in front — 40 percent better than any other dynasty. The 1980s Lakers are in second, while the 1990s Bulls jump ahead of the 1960s Celtics to place third. (What about the the Warriors? Their current “dynasty” ranks as only the 47th-best all-time. Check back in 2023.)But: the rings! How can you ignore 11 championships?You could certainly develop a dynasty-rating method that puts more emphasis on winning titles. The simple method we’re using in this article gives no special credit for them, which is why — once you get past the canonical dynasties in the top five — it likes teams like the Dallas Mavericks from 2000 to 2012, who won just one title, and the 1990s Utah Jazz, who won none.But there’s something to keep in mind when you consider the 1960s Celtics and their rings. It’s much easier to win a championship in a 10-team league, like the NBA was, on average, when they were playing, than in the 30-team league we have now.Here’s an illustration of that. I divided the 30 current NBA franchises into three “leagues” of 10 teams each:The Eastern League consists of franchises currently in the NBA’s Atlantic and Southeast divisions.The Central League consists of franchises currently in the Central and Southwest divisions.The Western League includes franchises from the Pacific and Northwest divisions.Then, for each season since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77, I assigned a champion to each “league” based on which of its 10 teams advanced furthest in the actual NBA playoffs. When there were ties — for instance, if the last two teams from a “league” were both eliminated in the NBA conference finals — I broke them based on which team had the higher year-end Elo rating. Check out what happens:
Serena Williams of the US serves to Julia Goerges of Germany during their women’s semifinal match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Neil Hall/Pool via AP)LONDON (AP) — Serena Williams has been saying it over and over and over: Wimbledon is only her fourth tournament since returning to the tour after having a baby.“Every time I go out there, I want to, I guess, take a giant step forward,” she said. “Keep taking giant steps, but keep improving.”Williams played a total of seven matches in 2018 before arriving at the All England Club, and she’ll be playing her seventh match in the last two weeks when she meets 11th-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany in the Wimbledon final on Saturday.Certainly didn’t take long for the 36-year-old American to get her game in gear and close in on what would be an eighth Wimbledon title, one short of Martina Navratilova’s record, and 24th Grand Slam trophy in all, equaling Margaret Court’s all-time mark.It was only 10 1/2 months ago that Williams had far more serious concerns.After giving birth to her daughter, Olympia, on Sept. 1, Williams dealt with health complications that included blood clots and led to what she said were multiple operations.“Almost didn’t make it, to be honest,” Williams said shortly after completing her 6-2, 6-4 semifinal victory over 13th-seeded Julia Goerges on Thursday.Serena Williams of the US lifts her leg during their women’s semifinal match against Julia Goerges of Germany at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, Pool)She’s been wearing compression leggings during her matches as a precaution and says she remains nervous.“I mean, even this week, I had a pain in my leg, and I went to the worst-case scenario: ‘Oh, my God, I have a (pulmonary embolism) in my leg,’” Williams said. “I didn’t know I would have such, kind of, traumatic thoughts. Especially now that I have a daughter, I want to be around as long as I can to support her. It’s interesting how that mental recovery is actually taking much longer than I ever expected.”The tennis? That’s come quite naturally, not surprisingly.She was off the tour for more than a year after her Australian Open title in January 2017 — won while she was pregnant, she later revealed. Williams first came back by playing doubles with her older sister, Venus, for the U.S. Fed Cup team in February. Then came her singles return, at Indiana Wells in March, when she won her first two matches before losing to her sibling.Next was a first-round loss at Miami.“I honestly felt I would have done better in some of the earlier tournaments. That was the hardest part — accepting that I didn’t,” Williams said. “I know that sounds weird, but I worked out a lot and I worked hard.”Following another two months away from competition, she entered the French Open in late May, and won three matches before pulling out before the fourth round because of an injured pectoral muscle.Williams rested some after that, not practicing serving at all for a couple of weeks, and was able to ease into things once Wimbledon began because of a draw that allowed her to avoid playing any seeded opponents — or anyone ranked inside the top 50, for that matter — until Goerges, who was making her Grand Slam semifinal debut.Now will come the sternest on-court test Williams has faced: Kerber, a former No. 1 and two-time major champion with a lefty stroke and never-give-up-on-a-ball defense.Williams is 23-6 in Grand Slam finals, and Kerber is responsible for handing her one of those rare defeats, at the 2016 Australian Open. Kerber also won that year’s U.S. Open, replacing Williams atop the WTA rankings right afterward. That was also the year that Kerber reached the Wimbledon final, losing to Williams in straight sets.They’ve played each other a total of eight times in the past, and Williams leads 6-2.After winning her semifinal against Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3, Kerber was asked what she sees across the net when she goes up against Williams.“I see a champion,” Kerber said, “that’s for sure.”
Things That Caught My EyePhilly had it comingPhiladelphia really needed that Super Bowl win. From 1984 to 2017, the sports teams of Boston won 7.7 more championships than expected, those of Chicago won 6.1 more than expected, LA 4.9, San Francisco 4.7, and New York 3.2 more than we’d otherwise project. Prior to winning the Super Bowl, Philadelphia sat on the bottom of the list of North American sporting towns, winning 3.7 fewer championships than otherwise expected. [FiveThirtyEight]Foles > BradyNick Foles finished the game with a quarterback rating of 88.6, completing 28 of 43 passes. Tom Brady came up short, with the purported GOAT racking up a QBR of merely 83.8 and completing 28 of 48 passes. Also, he did not catch a pass, whereas Nick Foles totally caught a pass and scored a touchdown doing so. [ESPN]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?We get this next year, tooEarly numbers are out, and according to the Westgate book the New England Patriots are yet again the favorites to win the Super Bowl next year, with 9-2 odds of bringing home the Lombardi. The Eagles are 6-1, Steelers 8-1, Vikings and Packers 12-2, and at the bottom of the league the Bears, Jets and Browns are 100-1 to win it next year. [ESPN]One punt, many records setThat game was ridiculous for a number of reasons. At 1,151 yards it was the highest combined total yards in any game in NFL history. Tom Brady set the record (505) for most passing yards in an NFL postseason game, and the Patriots scored the most points of any Super Bowl loser. There was one punt! One! [ESPN]It wasn’t just youYes, there was a weird 20 second black out of the broadcast there. Something like a hundred million people collectively stared at a black screen when they anticipated a commercial. NBC came out and declared that it wasn’t a botched ad, but rather “a brief equipment failure that we quickly resolved.” [CNN]The NFL ratings questionOf the 10 players with the best selling jersey in the game, only one made the playoffs without an injury or suspension, and that was Tom Brady, a 40 year old man. This is one area where the NFL lags behind its rival leagues: 14 of the 15 players with bestselling NBA jerseys are healthy, and 13 will probably make the playoffs. [The Atlantic]Big Number8 percentSomething’s changing: The percentage of people who said they’d encourage a kid who wanted to play football to play a different sport that was less likely to cause brain injury has risen 8 percentage points in four years. All told 48 percent of Americans would dissuade a young person from playing the sport, while 49 percent of Americans disagree. [NBC News]Leaks from Slack, Super Bowl Live Blog: gfoster:FOR PUB: I honestly don’t remember a Super Bowl that ended on a Hail Mary attempt.neil:EAGLES WINOMGwalt:For Pub: F— thiskyle:FOR PUB: Now to destroy the city of Philadelphia in celebration!micah:not pubbing thatPredictions NBA Oh, and don’t forgetWill we even have a Philadelphia anymore in the morning? We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe All newsletters See more NBA predictions
*YAC = Yards After CatchSource: ESPN Stats & Information Group Gronk fares worse against more defensive backsChange in key receiving metrics for Rob Gronkowski by number of opposing defensive backs on the field, 2016-18 Opposing DefenseTargets Per RouteAir Yds. per TargetCatches per TargetYAC* per CatchAdj. Catch Yds. per Route Percent change-41.4%14.5%-2.6%-1.4%-37.6% Although Gronkowski’s ability to rumble downfield after the catch isn’t overly affected by facing more defensive backs — which isn’t a surprise when a man of Gronk’s size is facing tiny cornerbacks — and his average depth of target actually increases a lot (meaning he’s running deeper routes), Gronk’s ability to get open and make plays dips significantly when there are fewer mismatches to exploit in the opposing coverage. As a result, Gronk’s Adjusted Catch Yards (a measure of receiving productivity that gives bonuses for touchdowns and moving the chains) per route run are down nearly 40 percent against five or more DBs over the past three seasons. By comparison, the average NFL tight end only sees his Adjusted Catch Yards per route fall by about 18 percent under those circumstances.So in that sense, Ramsey is right. And given how dependent the Patriots are on Gronk’s stat-stuffing, Jacksonville could gain a disproportionate edge if Ramsey and his fellow DBs neutralize the Pats’ big, lovable human wrecking ball. Against the Jags in the first half of last year’s AFC title game, Gronkowski was limited to one catch on three targets, with zero touchdowns (before a concussion took him out of the game for the second half). Not coincidentally, between Gronk’s limited impact and subsequent absence, the Pats barely mustered enough points to pull past Jacksonville and make the Super Bowl.That said, it should be noted that even a Gronk limited by opposing defensive backs is better than just about every other tight end on the planet. Since 2016, Gronkowski’s Adjusted Catch Yards per route against five or more DBs (3.25) was still 30 percent better than the overall average for NFL tight ends (regardless of opposing coverage). To paraphrase Dan Patrick, you can’t truly stop Gronk; you can only hope to contain him. And that goes even for Jalen Ramsey. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is the NFL’s undisputed best at his position, and he might even be the best of all time. Well, OK, that’s according to most football-watchers. Not everyone is buying Gronk’s greatness — and by “not everyone,” I mean Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was considered to be the best in the game last season. In an … ahem, wide-ranging interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes last month, Ramsey had this to say about Gronkowski:“I don’t think Gronk’s good. Let me say — I don’t think Gronk is as great as people think he is.”With the Jags and Patriots lined up to play Sunday, that quote has seen plenty of recirculation. “It motivates you to hear that,” Gronkowski told reporters when asked about Ramsey’s remarks. But there is something to Ramsey’s criticism, even if it means that Gronk can be reduced to merely regular-dominant, rather than ridiculously so.Ramsey’s central critique of Gronk surrounds the way he feasts on linebackers and safeties but isn’t as dominant against cornerbacks. “Any time Gronk has been matched up with a corner, he’s had a very bad game,” Ramsey told Kimes, “and that corner has had a very good game.” This echoed Ramsey’s comments in an earlier GQ story — the guy really made the media rounds last month! — where he said, “I think I match up well against him. Gronk’s never played a corner like me.”As Kimes notes in her story, Gronkowski’s numbers do drop when he is lined up on the outside rather than in the slot. “His catch rate drops from 71 percent to 56 percent,” she writes, “which is lower than that of the average NFL tight end.” Ramsey himself referenced similar numbers from Jacksonville’s analytics department. With more defensive attention from coverage specialists, Gronkowski doesn’t get as many favorable matchups — and unequal matchups are what he thrives against.Using the same key receiving metrics we employed when assessing Falcons wideout Julio Jones’ greatness, here’s how Gronk’s production changes depending on how many defensive backs he has to face (which, presumably, increases the odds he’ll face a cornerback like Ramsey): Five or more DBs18.912.718.104.22.168 Avg. NFL TE-7.2%5.6%2.3%-30.8%-17.6% Four or fewer DBs32.322.214.171.124.2
As part of its Rivalry uniform program, Nike has designed a special uniform with cutting-edge fabrics and technologies (37 percent lighter!) to be be worn by the Buckeyes when they play Michigan, November 21, 2009. This new uniform, inspired by the 1954 National Championship team, are meant to honor Ohio State tradition and accomplishment. They were officially unveiled Monday at the Newport Music Hall for the Beat Michigan pep rally. The team will return to wearing their traditional uniforms after the game versus Michigan.
The Ohio State men’s volleyball team enjoyed a 3-0 victory over Carthage College on Friday, February 19. The Buckeyes won the sets 30-23, 30-23, and 30-19.
2. Can Jordan Hall repeat his performance from last week? How does redshirt-junior Rod Smith figure into the equation?Last week Hall got the start at running back for the Buckeyes, and instead of just filling in while OSU waited for the return of suspended running backs redshirt-junior Rod Smith and senior Carlos Hyde, he put up a career-high 159 yards and two touchdowns. Now, with the return of Smith, the pressure will be on Hall to repeat his performance from last week, or risk losing his spot. SDSU allowed 172 yards rushing last week against Eastern Illinois, so the opportunity could be there for Hall to impress again. 3. Will OSU’s front seven be able to contain SDSU running back Adam Muema?SDSU’s junior running back Adam Muema left the Aztecs’ 40-19 loss midway through the first half because of an ankle injury but is expected to be full-go against OSU Saturday. Muema will still be a focus of the Buckeye defense Saturday, as he finished with 1,458 yards last season to go along with 16 touchdowns. Against Buffalo, the Buckeyes only allowed 73 rushing yards, but the Bulls did not have a back of the quality of Muema. Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier and company will have to slow Muema if the Buckeyes hope to continue their 13-game unbeaten streak. Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State football players warm up before a game against Buffalo Aug. 31, at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 40-20.1. The Return of Bradley RobyEven though OSU coach Urban Meyer would not say whether Roby will start against San Diego State, it is hard to believe the redshirt junior cornerback wouldn’t see significant playing time. The presence of the preseason All-American and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist is much-needed for a secondary that will also see the return of another starter in redshirt-senior safety C.J. Barnett. Roby’s ability to take the opponent’s best receiver out of the game is something the Buckeyes will need once Big Ten play starts in three weeks. It will be interesting to see how much Meyer plays him. 4. Did the Buckeyes learn their lesson after suffering cramps last week?Several key members for OSU, including starting junior quarterback Braxton Miller, left last week’s win over Buffalo at different points in the game due to cramping. With temperatures likely to be in the mid-80s again Saturday, hydration both before and during the game will be important. Meyer called the cramping “a concern” following the win, so seeing if the issue was addressed will be a storyline to watch. 5. Will the Buckeyes get complacent?After SDSU, the Buckeyes are scheduled to face California, a member of a BCS conference in the Pac-12. Although the Mountain West Conference has earned some respect over the past few years, it still does not consistently compare to the Big Ten, Pac-12 or other members of the BCS. With that in mind, the Buckeyes need to focus on the task at hand and not look ahead to next week’s clash with the Golden Bears. If OSU does not keep focused, the Aztecs could come out of the gate quickly and grab an early lead. The game could become more complicated for the Buckeyes if they have to play from behind, so they need to keep their minds on the game at hand.
OSU coach Thad Matta looks on during a game against Penn State Jan. 29 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 71-70, in overtime.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThis is something even Thad Matta didn’t anticipate.Ohio State’s men’s basketball coach went into the 2013-14 season having lost Big Ten leading scorer Deshaun Thomas to the NBA, but with the likes of junior forward LaQuinton Ross and senior guards Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Aaron Craft, the scoring void Thomas left could be filled.But with his team having lost five out of the last six games, even Matta said replacing Thomas has been harder than he thought.“No doubt about that, yeah. I think that simply from a standpoint of Deshaun was the leading scorer in the best conference in the country last year and what the public eye doesn’t see is how guys could play off of him even, and get theirs,” Matta said Friday. “You don’t have that now.”The Buckeyes (16-5, 3-5) suffered their most recent setback Wednesday at home, a 71-70 overtime loss to Big Ten bottom-dweller Penn State (11-10, 2-6).OSU led for a majority of that game and even held an 11-point lead with just under eight minutes remaining. But costly turnovers, missed free throws and big shots by Nittany Lion redshirt-junior guard D.J. Newbill sent the game to an extra frame, and OSU ultimately fell.The lack of a trusted, dependable and go-to scorer like Thomas was evident — as it has been through this recent rough patch — and helped lead to the most frustrating loss of the season to date.With seven juniors and two seniors on the roster, it could be believed that leadership should not be an issue. But lately, the Buckeyes seem to lack the punch late in games to ice victories.“You know these guys, they want to win. As I’ve said this, we haven’t gone into a game and completely taken ourselves out at the beginning. We’re ready to play, we’re fighting. I mean, to me, if there was a leadership element I guess it would be kind of down the last 10 minutes of games right now is where we’re stumbling in terms of making the plays that we need to win the game,” Matta said. “Is that leadership? I don’t know. I think it’s more of saying, ‘Hey, give me the ball I’m going to make the play.’”The loss to the Nittany Lions — the first time OSU lost to Penn State since Matta’s been head coach — prompted a players-only meeting Wednesday, junior guard Shannon Scott said.“We just sat down and talked about what’s going on with the team and how we can change the season around,” Scott said. “We all feel like brothers with each other. We don’t talk badly about each other, nothing like that. We all feel like we’re one big family … We know that some of the fans might not be on our side right now, but we’re not going to let that get to us. We know who we’re playing for and why we’re playing this game that we love. So if we all stick together we’re going to be all right.”The No. 24 Buckeyes — who are set to travel to No. 14 Wisconsin (17-4, 4-4) Saturday — likely will fall from the top 25 rankings after the home loss to Penn State, and Scott went as far to say the team is not deserving of an NCAA Tournament bid right now.“We know we’re not an NCAA team right now — a tournament team,” Scott said. “We’re just playing bad ball. So I think us meeting right now is a great thing for us. Out of all the games that we lost, we were in a situation to win at the end of the games, except maybe one of the games. So us knowing that we can play better ball but that the year is not over though. We know we can turn it around still.”Turning it around will be no easy task, but OSU’s first chance to start making the plays it needs to put games away late and turn the season around is at noon Saturday in Madison, Wis. That’s where the Badgers stomped Buckeyes by 22 points last year.“We’ve put ourselves in position to win basketball games, some greater than others,” Matta said. “But with that said I think we gotta lock in, and we gotta man-up towards the end of the game.”
OSU sophomore wide receiver Noah Brown (80) makes a leaping grab during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Northwestern on Oct. 29. The Buckeyes won 24-20. Credit: Alexa MavrogianisThe Dallas Cowboys selected former Ohio State wide receiver Noah Brown in the seventh round with the 239th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.Brown is the seventh former OSU player selected in this year’s draft. He is the third former Buckeye on the offensive side of the ball to be selected. The big-bodied 6-foot-2, 222-pound wideout was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection his final season for the Buckeyes.In 2016, his redshirt sophomore season and final year as a Buckeye, Brown caught 30 passes, the second-most on the team, for 402 yards, a 12.6-yard average. He caught seven touchdowns.Brown excited OSU fans and impressed NFL teams when he caught five passes for 72 yards, scoring four times against Oklahoma in the third game of the 2016 season. But Brown caught just two touchdowns in the remaining 10 games.Before the 2016 season, Brown played in 13 games, all during his freshman season, but caught just a single pass. In fall camp, prior to his second season in Columbus, Brown suffering a broken left leg that would keep him out the entire season, allowing OSU to use a redshirt.Brown’s 19 reps on the bench press at the NFL combine tied him for the second-most among wide receivers in this draft class.This marks the third year in a row a Buckeyes receiver was drafted. In 2015, Devin Smith and Evan Spencer were taken by the New York Jets and Washington Redskins, respectively. Michael Thomas and Braxton Miller were drafted by the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, respectively, in 2016.Brown joins former Buckeyes running backs Ezekiel Elliot and Rod Smith in Dallas.Brown will begin his NFL career in Dallas on September 10 when the Cowboys take on the New York Giants.
Ohio State said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was named the acting head coach for the duration of the investigation. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignOne question was on everyone’s mind heading into Ohio State’s Sept. 1 season opener: Who will be the head coach running out of the tunnel alongside the Buckeyes against Oregon State?After a Board of Trustees meeting scheduled to share the findings of the investigation of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer neared its 12th hour of deliberation, the answer arrived at Ryan Day — until Sept. 16. In the statement released announcing Meyer’s absence from the team on Aug. 1, Ohio State said offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was named the acting head coach for the duration of the investigation.As a former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at both the college and the pro level, this is Day’s first opportunity as the head coach of any football program. However, he becomes the acting head coach of a coaching staff with two former head coaches as coordinators, associate head coach and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. Both coordinators bring more experience to the coaching staff than Day has, as they each ran Division I programs for several seasons. However, both coordinators have faced controversy in recent years. In November 2017, Schiano initially was set to become the next head coach at the University of Tennessee after helping the Ohio State defense allow an average of 19 points per game. However, with a history of being a graduate assistant and a secondary coach at Penn State from 1990 to 1995, allegations resurfaced about Schiano and fellow assistant coach Jerry Sandusky regarding the latter’s sexual abuse. The Volunteers rescinded their offer, breaking a memorandum of understanding signed by both the university and Schiano. After recording a 26-47 record in six seasons, Wilson was fired as the head coach at Indiana with reports of alleged mistreatment, especially involving injured players. With the stories attached to both Schiano and Wilson, despite the head coaching experience, Day seemed the safer option for a university that was wrapped up in national scrutiny. However, Day’s level of responsibility, even without the change in title, was already increased heading into the 2018 season. After his promotion to the offensive coordinator position in January, Day will lead an offense in the midst of an identity shift: a changing of the guard at quarterback, with redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins taking over for quarterback J.T. Barrett and leading an offense with an established running game and veteran receiving corps. Instead of just the offense, Day has been in charge of Ohio State since the start of fall camp at the beginning of August. Despite the loss of Meyer heading into the season opener against Oregon State, the roster remains the same, with players like Associated Press preseason All-American junior defensive end Nick Bosa and sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins. For the short term, the team is the same, with the same expectations for the upcoming season: a Big Ten Championship with a significant chance at a College Football Playoff berth. Now, knowing what Meyer’s status is going into the regular season, Day and the rest of the Ohio State football program will now focus on the short term.