Tag Archives: Troy Smith

“Buckeye Nation Seeks Redemption”

Ohio State Super Freshman, Jared Sullinger (pictured above), will be scoring early and often in helping lead the Buckeyes deep into March Madness this year.

2007 was the year of the Gator in College sports.  And really it could have been called the year of the Buckeye.  Two dates that will forever live in infamy in the eyes of all related to the school that sports the “Best Band in the Land (Ohio State)” are as follows:

January 8th, 2007–  On this date, a heavily favored Ohio State team was downed by a Florida team that featured a lethal quarterback tandem in Chris Leak, and some freshman named Tim Tebow.  The Buckeyes were the best team in the country all year and fully expected to ride their horses, Ted Ginn Jr. and Troy Smith to their first National Championship since 2002.  Sadly for Brutus and the Buckeyes, Florida demonstrated the amazing speed of the SEC and dominated Tressel’s team 41 to 14.

April 2nd, 2007– A few months after the BCS National Championship massacre, Ohio State was led by 2 outstanding freshman in Mike Conley Jr. and the ultimate big man (who calls himself a chameleon on commercials), Greg Oden on the basketball court.  The Buckeyes were looking to redeem themselves from the embarrassment that Gator Nation had laid on them a few months before on the gridiron.  This was the Buckeye’s chance to reign on the Gator parade.  Florida was the defending National Champs that had returned all 5 starters and were the heavily favored squad.  Donovan’s team featuring the likes of Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Lee Humphrey, Al Horford, and Taurean Green did not disappoint.  Ohio State once again suffered a defeat and was once again number 2.

Fast forward to 2010.  Both basketball programs appear to be back at the forefront of the College Basketball stratosphere.  Florida is ranked number 10 in the country and appears to be the favorite to bring home the SEC.  Ohio State is ranked 5th, and look to be a major contender to bring home the Big Ten title despite the loss of last year’s National Player of the  Year, Evan Turner.

I know it goes unspoken, but you better believe the Buckeyes are looking to extract some revenge on their Southern rival.  This is a rivalry that has really kind of flown under the radar.  Yes, I realize that Ohio State got a little redemption when they handily defeated the Gators in December of 2007, but neither team was ranked at the time.  Both teams were in the rebuilding phase.  Well now both teams are ranked again and looking to make a run at the Final Four.

This is the first major showdown of the season.  And boy should it be a doozy.  Florida features a squad led by Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker, and seniors Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons.  This team is experienced.  This team has speed.  This team can shoot the rock.  And you better believe that Coach Billy Donovan has them ready to play on a night in and night out basis.  Plus Kentucky no longer is the super squad of a year ago.  Though they are tough, the SEC will now have to go through the Swamp.

Ohio State is a team that I have been saying for some time now will be one of the last team’s left dancing come March.  I will not stop talking about this squad any time soon in that they were a major pick that I spotted over a year ago.  They have the perfect mix of experience and talent.  They returned 3 senior starters and 1 junior starters.  Plus they brought in a phenomenal freshman class which features many players off of the same AAU team.  Freshman like Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, and Jordan Sibert are ready to make a major impact now.  And honestly, Sullinger and Thomas could easily be 1st team All Big Ten performers this year and be players of the one and done variety.  Thad has been to a championship game as mentioned earlier.  He is accustomed to winning and playing deep into the tournament.  Well expect this team to have a major shot at being the last one standing.

Look for Ohio State to Gator Chomp the Gators tonight in the first big time matchup of the season.  This Buckeye team is the real deal.  Could 2010/2011 be the year of the Buckeye?

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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“The Magical Mystery Man”

Troy Smith, pictured above, was the last Buckeye to bring home the Heisman Trophy. Could Terrelle Pryor bring the prestigious trophy and a National Championship to Columbus this year?

Who is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this year?  Who is the man garnering all the accolades in publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, and USA Today?  Who is the leader of a team expected to have a great shot at capturing the National Championship and bringing back national respect to the once proud Big Ten?

Who is, Terrelle Pryor, Mr. Trebek.

Well the journey for the 21-year-old phenom began in a little place called Jeannette, Pennsylvania.  The kid took the whole state by storm with his amazing football and basketball prowess.  It was the beginning of an astonishing roller coaster that could only occur in this day and age of amazing social media and unlimited sports coverage.  Ironically, Pryor originally committed to play basketball at Pittsburgh under Jamie Dixon.  Yes, the kid had his choice of pretty much any school in the country for basketball as well.  But eventually, it was known that Pryor would be playing football at the next level.  And he still hoped to be able to do basketball as well.  The lucky schools that made his Final Four list were Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, and Ohio State.  By the February 6th signing day of his senior year, he was still not ready to sign, and made the country wait for the “Decision” before “The Decision (Lebron).”  On March 19th, of 2008, he signed to take his talents to the Horseshoe, the house of Jim Tressel.

Since March of 2008, I cannot remember a College Football player in my lifetime have higher expectations placed on his shoulders.  People were already clamoring for the Buckeyes to bring home multiple National Titles during Terrelle’s “stay” in Columbus.  I mean nobody expected Pryor to stay a Buckeye the full 4 years, and figured he would be the number 1 pick in the NFL Draft following his junior year.  And frankly, that expectation remains the same as he gets ready to take place under center for his junior season.

The amazing thing to me is.  This kid has been criticized more than any player in the country over the past couple of years.  He has been called a underachiever.  A guy who was blinded by the hype.  A man who could not play quarterback at a big time program.  Fans clamored for a position change for the kid.  Fans said that either him or Tressel had to go.  Things came to a fevered climax following the Buckeyes embarrassing loss to lowly Purdue in the 7th game of the season last year.  Pryor had appeared to have gotten worse over the course of his time in Buckeye Nation.  He needed a pep talk from Brutus the Buckeye.  And I will admit, after watching the kid play multiple times, I did not know if he could ever be a pro style quarterback or lead the Buckeyes to a National Championship.

Tressel kept Pryor under center.  And little by little fans began to regain confidence in the kid.  He really did not put on any big time performances.  Sure he played a solid game at Penn State, but no games where he lit up the stat sheet.  The Buckeyes still managed to win a 5th straight Big Ten title and were on the prowl for their first BCS Bowl victory in some time.  Pryor finally answered the cynics, putting on arguably the best performance of his College career and helped lead the Bucks to a Rose Bowl victory over Oregon.

Want to know what Terrelle’s stats were last year?  He had a 56.5% completion percentage, while tossing for 2,087 yards.  Also he had 18 TDs versus 11 INTs.  Want to know what Greg McElroy’s (Alabama’s returning senior QB) stats were?  He threw for 2,508 yards, with 17 TDs and 4 INTs.  He had a completion percentage of 60.9%.  How about Kellen Moore (Boise State’s returning QB)?  Moore tossed for 3,536 yards with 39 TDs and 3 INTs.  Also he had a 64.3% completion percentage.  Lastly, how about Case Keenum, the returning starting quarterback at Houston?  The kid threw for an outrageous 5,671 yards, with 44 TDs and 15 INTs.  His completion percentage was 70.3%. And these are all just QBs returning on teams that were ranked highly last year.

So as you can tell, comparing Pryor’s stats to returning QBs does not make the kid stand out by any means.  Sure he is more of a dual threat than any of these guys, and rushed for way more yards than all of them combined.  But there is something about this kid.  There is something about this Terrelle guy that has made him stand out to people for years now.

It is not arrogance or a sense of entitlement.  Just an air of confidence about him that is unquestioned.  Maybe the best way to describe it would be “swagger.”  Whatever it is, he has made believers out of the country.

So I am honestly not sure why many are billing him as the favorite to bring home the Heisman.  But I will admit, I am sold as a believer on this guy.

And it is still an enigma to me why.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze