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Friday, July 26, 2013

My Airing of Grievances: Big Ten Media Days

Hello everyone, it has been a while. I apologize for the hiatus and promise it won't happen again. At least until the next time, anyway. Lol

So, there is this segment on local Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan in Columbus Ohio called 'Airing of Grievances' with Common Man and Company. It's a call-in segment that allows listeners to air any grievances they may have on-air for 20 seconds, as long as they follow certain guidelines As I am typing this the host of Common Man and Company-- Mike Ricordati-- is ripping his audience a new one because, unfortunately, a lot of them have trouble following the simple guidelines of decency and common sense.

It made me think what grievance would I have called in to "air" had I the opportunity? Really, it's quite simple. During the Big Ten Media days in Chicago, Illinois, when Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer stepped up to the podium, reporters had the chance to ask him any question they wanted. Yet 8 of the 10 questions presented to coach Meyer centered around the recent off-the-field incidences that have led to four players being either suspended or removed from the team altogether.

I understand that this is a big issue, not only for the players involved but also for the Ohio State football team and the university at large. I also understand that, given Urban Meyer's past with the University of Florida, there are many people who believe his coaching philosophy is 'win at all costs.'

Yet Ohio State is on the verge of accomplishing some very distinguished firsts, too. Like being the first team in school history to win a national championship a year after finishing the season undefeated. And the first Ohio State team to win a national championship, and have a player (quarterback Braxton Miller) win the Heisman, too. Finally, an Ohio State victory in the BCS championship would end the Southeastern Conference's current streak in the title game at six.

And all the media could focus on was, as Urban Meyer so eloquently put it, ' the few knuckleheads who were trying to ruin it for the rest of us.' In the words of former Ohio State wide receiver and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter, "C'mon, Man!!" It seriously seemed like they were all waiting for some pearl of wisdom to come from Meyer on why these incidents were happening.

Yet here are at least 8 questions I think that, given the season the Buckeyes just finished, the 'knuckleheads' in the media should have asked:

1. From what you've seen of Braxton Miller this offseason, what appears to be the biggest improvement in his game?

2. With all the trouble it appeared you had at linebacker in 2012, how do you feel about the talent you have on the roster this season in regard to the position? Do you believe there is more or less depth at LB in 2013?

3. You stated in the spring of 2012 that there also appeared to be a 'lack of playmakers' on the offensive side of the ball, especially at the wide receiver position. A year later, how has your opinion changed on the subject? Besides Philly Brown and Devin Smith, obviously, who are guys you believe have the potential to 'break a big one' this season?

4. According to ESPN, you have the number two recruiting class in the nation this year behind Alabama. From what you've seen so far, which freshmen do you see making an immediate impact/starting this season?

5. There were a number of wins last season that were very close, including six games that were decided by 7 points or less. As you look at the schedule, which teams concern you the most this year?

6. Replacing John Simon and Johnathan Hankins this season on the defensive line won't be easy. If there is a guy on this year's team whose effort mimic's Simon, who would it be?

7. The Buckeyes don't play either Michigan State or Nebraska this season. Are you worried that not playing either of these Big Ten 'heavyweights' might allow your guys to get complacent?

8. The SEC has dominated the national title picture for the last half decade. Do you think this year's squad can legitimately challenge an SEC team for the national title?

Granted, he might have been as non-committal with some of the answers to those questions as the ones he was actually asked. But I don't understand why when given an opportunity to ask questions about football, the media insists on asking questions that don't pertain to the field. Especially when many of those questions happen to be loaded anyway (meaning Meyer isn't going to answer it).

In my opinion, Meyer is an individual of the highest integrity and moral fiber. I may be a bit biased as an Ohio State fan, but I am not going to apologize for that, either. And truth be told, he may be trying to be proactive for the sake of his image. But the truth is that most parents would rather send their son to a school where the coach is a disciplinarian than to someone who doesn't care at all.

But I digress. The point is that despite all these issues, Ohio State football is still a team on a mission. And a few bad apples will not sour the hard work the rest of the players have put in. And hopefully come mid-January, this will all be a distant memory--a bump in the road on the way to a championship.

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