Monday, January 5, 2009

Buckeye Fiesta Bowl Diary: Or My Love Affair with Todd Boeckman

In an “ode” (rip-off) to Bill Simmons, CMCR brings you our very first “live” blog during the Ohio State vs. Texas Fiesta Bowl. Will Ohio State once again crumble in the national spotlight? Will Texas show the nation that they deserved to play in the National Championship game? Will I even want to watch the 4th quarter? Let’s find out:

7:30: Watching college football on Fox just doesn’t seem natural. Does Fox even broadcast college football during the regular season? It’s like MTV rolling out the political coverage. Something feels off.

7:32: The commercialism of college football is absurdly obvious – with the Tostito’s logo dominating over Texas’ and Ohio State’s. I’m going to buy my Motor City Bowl sponsored by Alltel jersey tomorrow.

7:34: Don’t you feel that Barry Switzer should be doing cocaine off a hooker’s back right now, wearing a six-gallon hat and shooting guns in the air? Or on his knees thanking Jimmy Johnson for handing him a loaded Cowboys team that even Butch Davis could have taken to the Super Bowl?

7:40: Who names their kid Quan? Are people reaching blindly into a bag of punctuation marks, numbers and letters to come up with their children’s names? I tried it out to see what I would get. I can’t wait to introduce the world to little Tz3’bo-x!. By the way, I wonder what Foot Locker God Shammgod is working at now.

7:43: Colt McCoy is an ugly man. He sort of looks and talks like he has a permanently runny nose. Meanwhile, it was nice of Mack Brown to dye his face a lovely shade of burnt orange in honor of the game.

7:46: There are two guys just sitting in the background of the Fox Studio behind Jimmy Johnson. I hope they’re trying to locate less feminine outfits for the Texas band. Seriously, they look like a bunch of five-year olds dressed by their moms as cowboys for Halloween. Freaking adorable, every single one of them.

7:50: Jim Tressel should be outlawed from wearing anything other than a sweater vest. He has singlehandedly brought the sweater vest back in style. He should consider growing a mustache.

7:52: Pryor “phenom” count: 1.

7:58: It makes me sad that this is the last game Beanie Wells will play for Ohio State. I’ve really enjoyed watching him, however I think his career somewhat of a disappointment given the hype surrounding his recruitment. Obviously, when Beanie is healthy he is dominant. But preseason, Beanie was on almost every Heisman list – and in the end, he wasn’t even invited to the ceremony. I keep hoping a part of him can resist the money and return for his senior season, but I think the chances of that happening are as close to 0% as you can get. I just would like to see the full Beanie experience for one year because I know it would be great to watch.

8:05: Did American Idol really need to add a 4th judge? Couldn’t we have just counted Paula Abdul’s three other personalities and called it a day?

8:08 And we have our announcing team, Tim Ryan and Matt Vasgersian. I love how every broadcast team is a pairing of a former athlete, trying to maintain a foothold in the game, and a nerdy, well-spoken, obviously asthmatic, mathlete.

8:13: You have to feel for Todd Boeckman, who is still a captain of this Buckeye team. Buckeyes’ fans remain supportive of him basically because he gracefully stepped aside and let the Pryor wave roll through (though I wonder how often he curses the fact that he waited around six years for his opportunity, only to be pushed aside without a second thought). I think Boeckman could have successfully started for a number of Big Ten schools this season – including the Buckeyes. Had Beanie been healthy for the USC game, Pryormania may have been put off until next year.

8:18: And on cue, Boeckman at QB, Pryor as a receiver, beautiful play call, beautiful design, I hope we see more of it. Who saw that as the first play of the game? My money (and I’m sure Texas’) was on a Beanie handoff.

8:20: It must be a BCS game because Alex Boone is getting abused already and gets whistled for the hold. Has there ever been bigger disappointment of a supposed playmaker at OSU in recent memory? I think whatever team drafts Boone will be sorely disappointed.

8:22: They say it every game, but Pryor’s speed is illusive. I don’t know how he’s faster than half the defensive players on the field, but I’ll take it.

8:23: Another penalty, four plays in. I’m glad we’re focused.

8:24: An OSU receiver dropped the ball? No way. The Brians have been very disappointing this year. I think they miss some of the comfort they had with Boeckman and his downfield passing abilities, an area in which Pyror is lacking currently.

8:28: Nice 3 and out for the Buckeyes’ defense. I’d like to thank Mack Brown for calling a bubble screen on 2nd and 1.

8:31: Two drives, neither starting with a Beanie run on first down. This is the beginning of a wonderful pattern.

8:32: DeVier Posey is going to be an exciting player to watch over the next few seasons at OSU. I wish Tressel had figured out how to get him involved in the offense more over the course of this year.

8:34: And twenty-two yard run is a shining example of why I’m disappointed that Beanie will be leaving after this season. He could have set all sorts of records.

8:37: A Pryor sack by Sergio Kindle takes us out of field goal range. I wish Pryor would learn to sometimes admit defeat and throw the ball away rather than losing costly chunks of yards in key situations.

8:40: Or does it? A 51-yard field goal attempt from Aaron Pettrey is pure. A good college kicker is a beautiful thing. Buckeyes lead 3-0.

8:46: Colt McCoy just got decked by Cameron Heyward, but completed the 3rd down pass. This up-tempo offensive of the Longhorns could give the Buckeyes some problems in the long run, especially since the Buckeyes like shuffling players in and out.

8:47: Nice open-field tackle by Kurt Coleman. The Buckeyes defense bends a little, but thus far, I’m very impressed with how this team is playing. Maybe not being expected to succeed has lifted the burden off this team.

8:49: Another 20-yard gain for Beanie. I take it back, Beanie could never disappoint me.

8:51: Just as Pryor takes big losses, he gives big gains in a nice 3rd down run. His ability to escape from pressure is amazing.

8:53: And the inevitable Pryor Vince Young comparison. Let’s hope that Pryor doesn’t score a 6 on his Wonderlic and contemplate suicide in a few years.

8:54: Apparently there is a reason kickers cannot consistently make 51-yard field goals. Bad snaps don’t help.

8:58: I never thought 24 was as great a show as everyone made it out to be, but hasn’t it gotten to the point where it’s just sort of a parody of itself? Maybe this is the year Jack Bauer will have to kill a robotic version of himself, by making love to himself dressed in a wig? Can they at least bring back Elisha Cuthbert?

9:02: 3rd and 10, and Colt McCoy completes a pass to Quan Cosby for the first down. Plays like those kill me – 3rd and long and you can’t hold. Sucks the momentum away. At least one play later, Doug Worthington puts McCoy to the turf. More of that please.

9:04: Field goal by Hunter Lawrence makes its 3-3. Colt, Hunter, Quan, … can you find me a Michael on this team anywhere?

9:07: Looked on Wikipedia during the commercial break. Apparently, Elisha Cuthbert is coming back to 24 for five episodes this season. Now, I might have to actually watch.

9:10: This is looking more and more like Beanie’s farewell gift to all of us Buckeyes fans. Is it even possible to take Beanie down with out gang tackling him or forcing him out of bounds?

9:12: The fact that I haven’t had to mention Bryant Browning once yet this evening is only a positive.

9:13: Nice close up on the Gatorade logo, Fox. Got to pay the bills somehow, right?

9:18: Shammgoddammit! I knew I shouldn’t have jinxed the team by mention Browning. That false start is going to change a touchdown into a field goal.

9:20: At least both our kickers have gotten into the scoring column, with a Ryan Pretorius field goal. How about a touchdown boys? On the whole however, a nice 11 play, 68 yard drive, which ate up a large chunk of clock. Is this the return of Tresselball?

9:22: 200 yards and 6 points? I don’t know if I should feel glad to be ahead, or disappointed that we aren’t ahead by more.

9:24: Shaun Lane is hurt. I don’t think there was a special teams tackle made this season by anyone else on the team. I have no doubt that he will be back. Shaun Lane could play on my team any day.

9:26: I don’t have any idea what drinkability is, but I think I would enjoy the commercials more if they were all about detachability. I do know that Bud Light tastes like piss water.

9:28: I see the cart on the field for Shaun Lane. I still think he comes back… rather, I hope he comes back. Shaun Lane may be my most favorite least known Buckeye ever. Him and Antonio Smith.

9:32: The Buckeyes secondary looks very, very soft. I sense a big play coming.

9:37: I don’t know if that’s Colt McCoy’s sister or girlfriend. Wow. Someone should call Brady Quinn and tell him that’s what a sister should look like, rather than some half-bred horse anomaly.

9:38: Thanks again Mack Brown. 4th and 7 and you go for it. James Laurinaitis with the sack. This would be huge if the Buckeyes could use the rest of the clock and put some points on the board.

9:42: I took a break from the half-assed Buckeyes' drive to research the girl sitting next to Colt McCoy’s dad. Apparently her name is Rachel Glandorf (from Baylor University) and she works for CBS affiliate KEYE42-TV in Austin, Texas, and she is Colt’s girlfriend. I should have been a quarterback.

9:44: And we have our big play. McCoy passes 37 yards to Chris …. Ogbonnaya. I suppose his first name is Chris. Somehow the Buckeyes took a perfect opportunity to kill any life in Texas before the half and allowed Texas the chance to score and go into the locker room feeling pretty good about themselves.

9:46: Scratch that – first huge play of the game as Anderson Russell (or Russell Anderson according to Tim Ryan) comes away with an interception at the goal line. 6-3 Buckeyes at the half.

Halftime thoughts: This game has to be going close to perfect in Tressel’s eyes. No turnovers, controlling the clock, and the defense keeping the Longhorns out of the end zone. What is really being shown in the first half is that Texas did not belong in the National Championship. I look for Texas to come out slinging for the big plays in the second half. I just hope Tressel doesn’t play not to lose, as I’ve witnessed too much this season.

10:08: Beanie Wells and 95 yards in the first half. The Buckeyes are 15-1 when Beanie has rushed for over 100 yards, with the only loss coming last year against LSU. Something to think about.

10:10: Good news, Shaun Lane is alright. Though, since he is at the hospital, I’d say a return is doubtful.

10:11: Another 3rd and long conversation by the Longhorns. Awful, just awful.

10:13: It appears that Texas, and Colt McCoy especially, maybe trying so hard to prove that they should have been playing Thursday that they are playing tight. The pass by McCoy over the middle to his tight-end was terrible. The Longhorns can thank Chimdi Chekwa and his pass interference for bailing them out.

10:19: Mack Brown going for it again on 4th down with a fake punt. I guess poor decision-making had to pay off at some point.

10:21: Great open-field tackle by Chekwa. Possibly makes up for the pass interference. Possibly.

10:22: Another fourth down conversion.

10:24: Questionable roughing the passer call on Thaddeus Gibson. This drive is turning sour quickly.

10:25: Longhorns take the lead on a nifty Colt McCoy run. Too many second chances for Texas on this drive. Penalties and allowing 4th down conversions never equal success. Texas 10-6. I just worry that this drive gives McCoy and Texas the confidence back that they seemed to be lacking initially.

10:29: I agree with Tim Ryan after seeing the replay of the Gibson hit. It wasn’t helmet to helmet, it was helmet to shoulder. Unless it was considered a late hit, I think OSU got hosed.

10:30: You cannot win football games completing only 4 passes with your starting quarterback. I want to see more Boeckman, otherwise the Longhorns have no reason to respect our passing game.

10:34: You’d think at this point, the camera operators would be aware that Texas is running a hurry-up offense. I really enjoy catching the end of plays.

10:36: Intentional grounding called on McCoy, on about a 5 second delay. Maybe the Refs were watching on TV and we have the camera operators to thank. Buckeyes need a stop here.

10:38: I really hope Ray Small and Ohio State have put them problems behind them from earlier in the season and that Ray returns next year. Without the Brians around (if Hartline leaves as expected), Small would have a chance to be a big time player next year.

10:41: Speaking of – is Brian Hartline even playing tonight? Maybe Tressel is keeping him out of the game plan in hope that he’ll return for his senior season. Has OSU ever had a more boring tandem at wide receivers than the Brians. I don’t blame Tressel, I forget they’re on the team sometimes too.

10:44: The Defense is looking tired. Tackling is getting sloppy, holes are getting larger, and the tide appears to be turning for the worse. The Buckeyes need a big defensive play to turn this game around.

10:47: "Penalty-assisted" is a good way of describing this second half. Penalty-assisted and pretty much what everyone expected.

10:48: What an awful drive. The team looks like it pretty much just gave up. This has been the hallmark of this squad – failing to live up to its potential and its talent. This next quarter will go a long way to determine the seniors’ legacy at Ohio State. Do they want to be known as underachievers, or do they want to show that they have heart? Texas -17 OSU – 6.

10:52: The frustrating thing about this game is that the Longhorns don’t seem like they are a vastly better team than Ohio State. Texas has played as though they expected to win despite being down, whereas Ohio State has fallen behind and appears to have abandoned all hope. There is an obvious question of leadership with this squad.

10:55: Todd Boeckman comes in and makes a play. I know I’ve been tooting the Todd Boeckman horn all game long, but, if Ohio State wins this game, I bet it will be in large part because of Boeckman.

10:58: Pryor comes back in and makes an awful throw that should have been picked off. At least the Buckeyes managed a field goal, Texas 17, OSU -9. Let’s see if the defense has decided to rejoin the party.

10:59: Glad to see Darryl Dawkins and Vlade Divac are doing well for themselves, staring in a Taco Bell commercial. Was Gheorghe Muresan not available? And score one for the kids. And why isn’t it mentioned more about what an awful deal it was for Charlotte to trade the rights to Kobe for Vlade. Who wants a Hall of Famer when you can have Eurotrash?

11:04: Tim Ryan is correct - the hurry up offense is killing the Buckeyes defense. They look confused and frustrated. Monster hit by Malcolm Jenkins – unfortunate that no one could recover the fumble. Only one pass thrown Jenkins way all game so far. That’s mad respect.

11:13: Ok, here’s my frustration with Beanie – we only ever get a glimpse of him. Beanie limped off the field a little earlier and now is sitting on the bench in crunch time. I wonder if Beanie will ever be healthy enough to be a big time NFL back. Fantastic grab by Robiskie by the way.

11:15: Simple pass by Pryor to Jake Ballard that was poorly thrown. Is that Derek Anderson I see back there? Now, he follows it up with a great run, but I really hope Pryor spends all summer working on his throwing.

11:17: I should have shirts made up – No Mo’ Wells, No ‘Mo Wells. It could have a picture of Maurice Wells falling to the ground at the slightest contact.

11:19: Two huge penalties against the Longhorns, a pass interference and unsportsmanlike conduct. Let’s see if the Buckeyes can use the Longhorns’ mistakes to their advantage and put this in the end zone.

11:20: Boeckman to Pryor. Who had that for the first Buckeyes' touchdown in the game? I knew Boeckman was going to factor into this game at the end somehow. And Pryor skips the 2-point conversion. His throws are horrible. Ugh. I would have kept Boeckman in there for the attempt. However, we have a game again. The Buckeyes are showing signs of life.

11:26: BIG, BIG, BIG 3 and out for the Buckeyes Defense. Does Colt appear shaken again? This is where Beanie is needed – to eat some clock, drive down the field, and set up the game winning field goal.

11:29: Almost a Penn. State déjà vu moment, with the mishandled snap. Thank God Boeckman is
back in the game. And making plays –finding who - the tight end? I vaguely remember him in this offense. His name is Hamby – right? (Just kidding, sorry, sorry).

11:32: This game makes me extremely happy for Todd Boeckman, even if Ohio State ends up losing. He has taken control of this game. And if Ohio State wins, Boeckman goes out a hero.

11:33: Boom Herron touchdown run. Boeckman back in for the 2-pt conversion – and Pryor pushes off for offensive pass interference and pass interference on the defense…. I keep Boeckman back there for the attempt. However, I’m not Tressel and Pryor comes in and surprise, surprise, incomplete pass. Put that one on Rory Nicol though. OSU 21, Texas 17.

11:39: Third and 8 and a penalty that doesn’t matter as Texas converts anyways. Longhorns are driving down the field. And I’m getting nervous.

11:41: Fourth down – catch made – is it a first down or is it the ball game? Tressel is going mad on the sidelines -

11:44: Tressel challenges for the first time all season and losses - this one is going to come down to the wire.

11:46: Cosby - wide open touchdown. Unbelievable. Our defense, which has looked confused all game - caves in once again. I'm in shock. Letting the Longhorns drive down the field and shove it down our throats, it highlighted the problem with our defense all game.

11:50 Boeckman goes down in a heap - enough time for one play. Hail Mary - incomplete. Final Score: Texas -24 OSU -21

Final thoughts: The Buckeyes put up a better display than most people thought they would. Texas arguably could have been in the National Championship game, and OSU matched them play for play. This team has nothing to be disappointed about in the end. I am especially proud of Todd Boeckman coming in and playing as well he did. OSU has a good base to work off of for next season. This loss is not like the LSU or Florida losses. Despite the outcome, I'm proud to be a Buckeye tonight.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for predicting Boeckman would be an X factor and predicting Chimde Chekwa would single-handidly lose the game.

If I played OSU, my gameplan would be, throw to whoever #5 is guarding.

Biff said...

Well done man. Love the Texas band uniform observation.

Texas Transplant said...

I'd like to give myself a pat on the back for my "observations" post and comment: OSU will run, OSU won't pass for shite, OSU defense will slow down UT, and bet the under.

Regarding being a QB to get a girl like Rachel Glandorf: the other option is to just attend Baylor. She looks like every other girl at BU.

Alvaro Espinoza said...

I put in that line about her being from Baylor just for you Tex. I'm glad you caught it.