Good day, Our Honor Defenders. I hope you had a better week than the Sugar Bowl officiating crew or the Clemson defense. I had a very interesting week, starting with a trip to the 2012 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. While the game was a lot more DERPy than I’d hoped, I can’t say I was too surprised with the performance. The Gator fan that sat next to us was a pretty chill dude, but I can’t say I enjoyed most of Florida’s fandom. On the plus side, I partook of much barbecue and beer before the contest, so at least some of my senses were satisfied, even if Ohio State’s offense and special teams hurt my eyes. Anyway, it was my first time attending a bowl game in all these many years, and it’ll be Ohio State’s last until after the 2013 season, so to me it was still worth the 90-minute trip up I-95.
For now we’ll focus on our basketball team and football recruiting. Sully and company have a big trip to Iowa City tomorrow and I’ll have the preview for that game posted later today for your post-lunch work avoidance. Here’s a hint though: I’m a little nervous about this visit to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Puckeyes will take on Bowling Green this weekend in the last series before facing TTUN twice next week, including outdoors at Progressive Field in Cleveland in the Frozen Diamond Faceoff. That should be HAM-tastic. And now for the incredibly awkward transition into today’s Five in the Hive:
Penn State gets their man: Bill O’Brien. Wait…what?
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was spreading the news that New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien will be the successor to Joe Paterno. According to Mortensen, Penn State will make the hire official on Saturday. The news of his hiring broke on the same day he reportedly interviewed for the position. O’Brien is pretty much an unknown. Perhaps he’s best known for screaming at Tom Brady on the sidelines recently after an interception. There’s no telling what he’ll do to Matt McMoxie. Now O’Brien will be forced to either bail on New England’s playoff run or split time between two jobs during the critical recruiting period leading up to national signing day at the beginning of February. If the Pats make it to the Super Bowl, he could be with New England until after signing day. The angst of Penn State fans was quite visible on Twitter. At this point it’s too soon to tell how this hire will play out, but it’s a curious one at the very least, considering how long it took, the timing in regards to recruiting and when O’Brien will get out of New England, and the lack of name recognition. Had Twitter been around when Jim Tressel was hired, I’ll bet the butthurt from OSU fans would have been legendary. That’s not to say O’Brien will be the next Tressel, it’s simply a comparison of what the fans wanted and what they got. What do you think of the hire?
Craft in Cousy Top 20
The ever-dreamy, cherub-cheeked wonder that is Aaron Craft has been named one of 20 finalists for the 2012 Bob Cousy Award, given annually to the nation’s top point guard. The list, which features two other B1G point guards, will be pared to the final 10 next month. The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame has put the decision in the hands of a selection committee made up of coaches, media members, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Craft crack the top ten, but it will be hard for him to win without dazzling offensive numbers of past winners, such as Kemba Walker, Acie Law and Dee Brown. Still, Craft’s defense has turned a lot of heads and he is getting a lot of love around the country. The other 19 finalists are: Pierre Jackson (Baylor), Shabazz Napier (UConn), Ray McCallum (Detroit), Seth Curry (Duke), Erving Walker (Florida), Scott Machado (Iona), Casper Ware (Long Beach State), Peyton Siva (Louisville), Trey Burke (TTUN), Dee Bost (Mississippi State), Phil Pressey (Missouri), Kendall Marshall (North Carolina), D.J. Cooper (Ohio), Zack Rosen (Penn), Ashton Gibbs (Pitt), Scoop Jardine (Syracuse), Damian Lillard (Weber State), Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin), and Tu Holloway (Xavier). You know who has our vote. #TeamSwoon
Oddo Named CCHA Rookie of the Month
Freshman forward Nick Oddo was named CCHA Rookie of the Month for December. Oddo’s five points on three goals and two assists gave him a point per game in a 4-1 December for Ohio State, which climbed to No. 2 nationally. All three of Oddo’s December goals came within a minute of a goal by the opposing team, keeping momentum from swinging the other way. In addition to his complete trolling of opposition goals, Oddo won more than 60% of his faceoffs and was a +5 player for the month. The frosh has nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 18 games this season and is tied for eighth among CCHA rookies with six points in conference games. Oddo and his teammates travel to Bowling Green today for a pair of games against the Falcons, tonight at 7:05 and Saturday at 5:05 p.m.
#AllAlabamaEverything and other recruiting news
While about 40 Alabama verbal commits in last night’s Under Armor All-Star Game were still playing, the Crimson Tide racked up a number of additional recruits with live in-game announcements. Cyrus Jones and Landon Collins were among those who spouted the abominable “roll tide” on national television, and in the latter’s case it was not a move that promoted family harmony. Collins’ mother was visibly upset with her son’s decision and when asked about it she proceeded to troll him on national television with a “geaux Tigers!” cheer. I’ve honestly never seen that before. It should be interesting to read oversigning.com over the coming weeks since everyone and their brother seem to be committing to Nick Saban.
26 verbals and NSD is a month away
In other all-star news, Noah Spence was a one-man wrecking crew on an overmatched Black squad, camping out in the White team’s backfield, sacking the quarterback multiple times and pressuring one throw that turned into an interception. Spence looks quick off the line and should become a legitimate force when he gets to Columbus.
One of my favorite Gator Bowl memories captured on film (by me):