A Lesson In The Rivalry
Updated: Mar 3, 2018
This week's This and That: a new recruit has a lot to learn, another sequel with higher stakes, time for NFL gym class and an idea the NCAA shouldn't sweep aside.
YES, It's STILL a Rivalry
Jeremy Ruckert isn't just a tight end recruit for the Buckeyes, he's THE tight end recruit. I'm not just talking about this OSU recruiting class either. He was the number one high school tight end in the country. How good is he? Urban Meyer called him the best tight end he's ever recruited. We all know Urbz usually is not given to hyperbole like that, so when he hands out such lofty praise to a player, I tend to believe what he's saying. Because of the Buckeyes' lack of depth at the position, many think Ruckert can earn more than token playing time this fall.
While there's a lot of buzz about potential playing time for the 6-foot-5, 238-pounder from Lindenhurst, New York, he has, unfortunately, created a lot of buzz off the field for a comment he made last month while in Hawaii for the Polynesian Bowl, a high school all-star game. During an interview with Brandon Huffman of 247 Sports, Ruckert was asked about the possibility of playing someday against a Michigan recruit, who was his teammate at the game. He said, "I don't know why they call it a rivalry. I think we've won the last (six) in a row and (13) of the last (14). So I don't see it as a rivalry." Wait.....WHAT??!!!! I'm sure Meyer and his players cringed when they read this (I certainly did), and I'm equally sure the top recruit in the state of New York was told to BE QUIET. You can bet Jimmy Wolverine already has that quote hanging everywhere his players look.
Michigan fans know all too well what can happen when someone from your favorite college
football team say things like that. Karma can easily happen, and you know what they say about karma. Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr won five of his first six meetings with the Buckeyes from 1995 through 2000. The sun was shining bright on Carr; after regularly beating his biggest rival and leading the program to its first national championship in decades, Wolverine fans were eating out of his hand. Any Ohio State fan, who remembers that time period, had the experience of a Michigan fan coming up to you and asking, “Hey, wanna know who my favorite college football coach is? Guess! Go ahead and guess!...It’s John Cooper HAHAHAHAHA.” Yeah, Carr was arrogant, Wolverine fans were arrogant: they thought those days would never end. Sometimes, when a coach or athlete gets a little full of himself like Carr was, they tend to think they can say whatever they want. During that time period he happened to make a statement about how he considered Michigan State the Wolverine’s biggest rival, not Ohio State. Maize and blue fans ate up their coach’s “dis” of the of the Buckeyes. Well, not long after Loveable Lloyd made this statement from his ivory coaching tower above the Big (Out)House, some guy wearing a sweater vest and sipping milk showed up in Columbus to coach the Buckeyes and said, “We’re going to kick your butts.” You know what? That’s exactly what happened. Led by Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes won six of the next seven meetings against the abrasive Carr. After Loveable Lloyd had Wolverine faithful believing he could walk on water during those first six seasons, he finished with a losing record against his not-biggest rival and left stunned fans singing to themselves, “Those were the days my friend, we’d thought they’d never end.” Yep, karma (with help from The Vest) put an end to the maize and blue cabaret. You don’t mess with The Rivalry.
Yeah, He's Fast III
In my last few blogs, I've updated you on Buckeye cornerback Kendall Sheffield's successes competing for Ohio State's indoor track team. A week after setting a school record of 6.63 in the 60-meter dash, Sheffield ran a 6.68 and finished second at the event at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. The Buckeye thinclads (I'm so sorry for using that word, but my cousin is going to love it) won their first Big Ten indoor championship since 1993. Sheffield has now been part of two conference championship teams in about two and a half months.
What? No Dodgeball
The NFL Scouting Combine, the league's version of gym class for potential draft choices, begins Thursday (March 1st) in Indianapolis and runs through Sunday (March 4th). There will be wall-to-wall coverage of guys in shorts and tank tops who will run, jump, lift weights and do some fun looking drills. The only thing missing is a game of dodgeball, which would be far more interesting to watch. Gym class, folks. Announcers will excitedly tell us that so-and-so has probably really helped himself by squeezing out that extra hundreth of a second in the shuttle drill. Trust me, it's nothing more than gym class. Teams, who put way too much stock into what players do over the four days, instead of actually believing what they see on game film, end up drafting players like Jabrill Peppers in the first round (Really Sashi Brown??!!!.....REALLY???!!!!). It's boring to watch and boring to listen to analysts discuss. It's just gym class.
What's One More?
The NCAA awards championships in 90 sports, including those such as rifle, skiing, bowling and beach volleyball. So, why not add two more and capitalize on the popularity of men's and women's curling in the Olympics? That's right, NCAA curling. I promise you it would generate more revenue and interest than a lot of other collegiate sports. Can you imagine the atmosphere at a Ohio State-Michigan match complete with a packed house, cheerleaders, pep band and drunk frat guys with their shirts off? Curling could be the next big thing for the NCAA. Weekly rankings, bracketology, controversy over who gets left out of the NCAA tournament, after committee members tell you your school is very close (yes, that's a direct reference to something else). I'm telling you NCAA curling could take off in popularity. It will never happen, but it's a nice thought.
Spring practice is just around the corner. Next time I'll give you a few things to keep an eye on leading up to the Spring Game on April 14th.