Saturday’s Buckeye heart-stopper gave some readers plenty of reason to vent over the difference of opinion in two Press Pros columns…and I assume because they won!
Readership of the two Sunday columns on Ohio State and Wisconsin was brisk on Sunday and Monday, following Saturday night’s 30-23 overtime win at Wisconsin.
As per usual, principal Buckeye football writer Doug Harris was outstanding in his dissection of the win, the pros and cons of how the boys did it…dwelling on a strong second-half comeback that culminated in three touchdowns and a field goal. He made the point that Wisconsin had been a team lying in the weeds, given extra preparation time due to their bye week. He was critical, too, of giving up 313 yards to “Wisky” in the first half; of the Buckeye defense being physically pushed around at the point of attack; of simply being outplayed for too long and tempting fate.
The piece that I penned was a bit different. While giving credit to an abrupt change in defensive scheme in the second half, I also questioned why it took thirty six minutes into the game for the offense to finally play with some swagger and confidence. My summation was, in effect, play calling: Slow-developing sweeps that fooled no one, option reads that Wisconsin read, as well, and too many risky carries by the franchise player, J.T. Barrett. Lose Barrett and you lose the season. What I wrote was simply this. Why try to out-think (scheme) someone when you have the power to simply run over and by them with Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel? Keep the game simple, and keep the football in your own hands? That way you’re not down 16-6 at halftime and you don’t give up 313 yards in 30 minutes.
You’d have thought I suggested doing away with Medicare.
“Why is it that you always find something negative to write about the Buckeyes?”
“You know nothing about football. Why don’t you let Doug Harris write about it? AT LEAST HE’S POSITIVE!”
“Only you could find something to bitch about over a classic win for the Buckeyes.”
Classic? And does that make all those previous wins over Wisconsin (58-18-5), and Michigan (12-1 since 2003) classic, as well…or (yawn) just routine?
Opinions, it seems, really are like noses. Everyone’s got one. Or do they?
Had Wisconsin won 30-23 instead of the opposite outcome I would have heard nothing from such “home-on-the-rangers”… where never is heard a discouraging word.
And God forbid they live in a market big enough to encourage differing opinions about even the good news.
In comparing the two stories, there were no factual discrepancies. What Doug said was true about hanging around to get it together in the second half.
What I said was just as true…that against quality competition a slow start like Saturday’s will often come back to bite you against a team not playing with a freshman quarterback who throws the ball like a show choir tenor.
And yes, winning always emboldens those who take their Kool-Aid through an IV drip. And that’s fine. It comes with this job and it comes in different shapes.
Last year I got the stink-eye for writing that a dropped pass for a winning touchdown by one player was all that stood between a season of hard work and a trip to the state finals in football…a life lesson that few have the opportunity to learn so poignantly.
“He feels bad enough about it,” wrote one, “…without you writing that it’s a good thing.”
Sure, and four thousand others saw it, too. You think they went home under a vow of silence?
A few years ago I wrote about a state basketball title when a player ironically hit a half court shot before the half…and a buzzer-beater at the horn to secure a two-point win. If he misses either shot it’s highly unlikely that the title would have been won.
“You make it sound like we lost,” wrote one. But the story in that case was about the irony of how the title was won, not just the title itself.
Yes, opinions are like noses. We all have them and we all blow them opportunistically. And why let truth stand in the way, anyway, eh?
Final blow: “I bet you and Bruce Hooley will root for Michigan.”
Summation: I don’t root. And for the record OSU and Michigan each beat Wisconsin by identical margins (7 points) on back-to-back weeks. That’s history and that’s fact. Feel free to root all you want. It might make a difference…it might not.
And will I hear from you…if it doesn’t?