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Dave Thurman (5:02 pm) @DThurman7

All good things must come to an end.  I'm not much of a philosopher but I have found those words to be true.  And so it is that The Silver Bullet bows out after a wonderful five year journey.

In January, 2008, Drew came up with the idea that we begin a Father-Son Ohio State blog, centered mostly on football.  The Buckeyes had just lost to LSU in the national championship game, and Drew and I were both frustrated with some of the things being written by the national media, to say nothing of silly comments made by a few Buckeye fans via social media.  Drew thought that an OSU blog would be fun, would allow us to vent a little, and be a great way for father and son to share together.  At the time he was in Cincinnati finishing his schooling.  Neither of us had any clue that he would wind up in Arizona for three years, causing us to be separated by 2000 miles.  During that time, working on the blog allowed us to stay closely in touch as we talked pretty much every day by phone.  It also helped Drew stay connected to his Midwest roots and his love for Ohio State.  When he got married nearly two years ago, Drew's wife found out what my lovely spouse already knew: as long as father and son discussed the Buckeyes and had an avenue to share their passionate thoughts, she didn't have to deal with all the ranting.  In that regard, our wives may not be too happy that we are now signing off!


 
 
Drew Thurman (8:21 am) @osusilverbullet

12-0.

On the last weekend in November, under snow flurries and gray skies, the Buckeyes completed the sixth perfect season in the school's history (previous: 1916, 1944, 1954, 1968, 2002). While the result meant a spotless record for the 2012 season, the game definitely was marred with blemishes.

If you were like me, you cringed a lot throughout the game. Penalties, turnovers and poor execution plagued the Buckeyes in Urban Meyer's first Michigan-Ohio State game, and one had to wonder if it some point the culmination of so many missed opportunities would come back to spoil the afternoon.

I mean let's be honest, there seemed to be plenty of frustrating moments. There was Philly Brown's muffed punt. There was the roughing the kicker penalty. There was Denard Robinson's 67 yard touchdown scamper. There was the sack and missed field goal after getting to Michigan's 4 yard line. There was Braxton's fumble deep inside Michigan's territory. That's just the tip of the iceberg too. It was a would have, could have kind of game, and teams just don't win those. At some point all those shortcomings are supposed to come back to haunt you.

Unbelievably they didn't.

 
 
Corey Andry (12:31 pm) @CoreyAndry

Last Saturday’s matchup between Texas A&M and Alabama presented me with a slight conundrum as an LSU fan. Of course, like most fans of SEC teams, I love to gloat over the conference’s five consecutive BCS National Championships. Furthermore, I understand the benefit that each SEC team receives from such a streak.

However, knowing that LSU’s most hated foe was the SEC’s best, if not only, shot at a national title this year, I was forced to choose between SEC supremacy and my hatred for Alabama. Ultimately, I chose SEC supremacy but to no avail. “Johnny Football” and the Aggies pulled off a great win over the Tide and left them on the outside of the national title picture… for now.

So what are the SEC’s chances of a sixth straight national title?

I don’t believe a one loss SEC champion, whether it is Alabama, Florida or Georgia, has chance to edge out any of these top three teams should they remain undefeated. Thus, the only chance for an SEC national title is that two of the top three teams lose.

#1 Kansas State seems like the least likely to stumble. The Wildcats have passed some significant tests with flying colors and really only have one more left. This week they play a bad Baylor team. Then they will have two weeks to prepare for #15 Texas at home. Texas has the offense to give themselves a chance in that game, but with a lackluster defense, odds are slim that Texas could go into Bill Snyder Stadium and actually beat Snyder himself. Chance of losing – 20%

#2 Oregon seems most likely to stumble. The Ducks have rolled over pretty much everybody with that Lamborghini offense including three ranked opponents. However, their last two games might be their two biggest tests with #16 Stanford in Eugene this weekend and then #16 Oregon State in Corvallis on November 24th, where the in-state rivals will get a chance to shoot down the Duck’s title hopes. Don’t forget that Oregon will also have to play a PAC 12 championship game against either UCLA or USC. Chance of losing – 55%

#3 Notre Dame, as I have said all year, could fall to anyone. Their two remaining games include a less than mediocre Wake Forest at home and a west coast trip to Los Angeles to play USC. Wake Forest should be a none threat, but Notre Dame is more than capable of shooting themselves in the foot. The USC game seems like a dream dasher waiting to happen. Matt Barkley’s senior year has not been anything it was supposed to be, but a game against Notre Dame at home on prime time national television is a great chance to redeem some of that. Notre Dame should be very wary of this game. Chance of losing – 35%

Should two of these three teams lose, the one loss SEC champion will almost assuredly slide into the #2 ranking. Chance of an SEC team making the title game – 30%
 
 
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My B1G Game of the Week: #6 Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Zach Clark (12:44 pm) @Zach_TSB

Saturday: 

Northwestern (+7) [7-3] vs. Michigan State (-7) [5-5]

2011 Records: Northwestern 6-7 and Michigan State 11-3
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: ESPN2/WatchESPN
Prediction: Northwestern 13 – Michigan State 24

With Northwestern dropping its last 3 out of 5 and Michigan State losing its last 3 out of 4, both teams enter Week 12 looking to turn things around and end the 2012 season strong.  Despite the Wildcats’ impressive 7-3 record, they are surprisingly .500 in B1G play and face an elite 11th ranked (points against) Spartan defense on Saturday at noon.  Mark Dantonio may have his flaws as a head coach, but I strongly believe that two weeks preparation for an average Northwestern offense provides ample time for Dantonio and a tough Spartan defense to effectively game plan for Wildcat playmakers Kain Colter and Venric Mark.  I see a close game early, but the Spartans surely covering the 7-point spread.

Iowa [4-6] vs. #23 Michigan [7-3]

2011 Records: Iowa 7-6 and Michigan 11-2
Game Time: 12:00 PM Eastern
Channel: ESPN/ESPN 3D
Prediction: Iowa 10 – Michigan 34

Coming off heartbreaking 3-point losses to both Indiana state powerhouses (Indiana and Purdue), this deflated Iowa team should extend their 4-game losing streak to 5 in Ann Arbor this Saturday.  The Hawkeyes have consistently ranked in the 100’s for points scored, and they now sit at 104th in the country, averaging 20.8 points per game.  The lone bright statistic Iowa ranks well in, points against (29th), is more of an indicator of B1G offensive mediocrity than Iowa defensive dominance.  The Wolverines, on the other hand, have won 5 out of their last 6, all with effective backup quarterback Devin Gardner.  Despite Denard Robinson’s status yet again being unclear for Week 12, I fully expect Michigan to roll over the Hawkeyes at home. 


 
 
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Aaron Craft started 2012-13 in top form
Dave Thurman @Dthurman7 (9:26 pm)

And Then There Were Four:  While the Buckeyes didn't play this past weekend, you have to believe that most of the players watched some of the other top teams in the nation with interest.  Of course, both Alabama and Louisville left the realm of the undefeated, meaning that only four BCS teams are still unblemished: Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Once again it is a reminder of how hard it is to go through a year without a loss.  I don't care which conference you are in or who you play, it is really difficult to navigate through an entire year without stumbling at some point.  

Of course the big news heard round the college football world was the Alabama loss, as they were defeated at home by Texas A&M.  Although everyone knew the Aggies can score points behind boy wonder Johnny Manziel, nobody thought they would beat a team that some felt was good enough to play in the NFL.  Personally, I am thrilled when an SEC frontrunner takes it on the chin, and it would make me very happy to see a BCS National Championship Game without a team from the $EC, but I'm not holding my breath.  There's still a lot of football to be played, and the powers that be love those southern teams.

Some Buckeye fans were upset that Ohio State didn't move up in the AP rankings this week, with both Alabama and Georgia, at 9-1, rated ahead of the Buckeyes who check in at 6th in the poll.  Honestly, considering how weak the B1G is this year, and how soft our pre-conference schedule was, I can't complain.  But if OSU were eligible for a bowl this year I'm sure I would feel differently, and would be lobbying to see "our" boys get to the National Championship Game!

So what are the odds of Ohio State winding up perfect in 2012 like they did 10 years ago, when they finished a magic season at 14-0?  A few weeks ago I would have said this squad had about a 1 in 25 chance, but the odds have gone up following two well-played games versus Penn State and Illinois  Still, Wisconsin and Michigan both present tough challenges, and the Bucks may need to play their two best games of the season to finish 12-0.


 
 
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Drew Thurman (3:53 pm) @osusilverbullet

The Buckeyes hit the hardwood for the first time this season tonight, taking on Marquette on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC. This opportunity is about much more than basketball for both squads, and Thad Matta and Buzz Williams both made it clear that this trip will also give their players a deeper appreciation for the military. In fact, the 4,000 seats that have been set up for the game will mostly be filled by military personnel, making this is very unique experience for all those involved.

Still, at the end of the day, this spectacle is about basketball. A year ago in the Carrier Classic, the first time this sort of event was attempted, both North Carolina and Michigan State struggled greatly offensively. One would imagine a similar type game for these two teams tonight. Besides playing outside and being in such a unique environment, both the Buckeyes and Golden Eagles will take the court with much different teams than they had a year ago. The Buckeyes lost guys like Jared Sullinger and William Buford, who were a big part of the run to the Final Four. Williams' Eagles are now without Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder, the Big East Player of the Year. Those two combined for 35.8 points and 11.9 rebounds per game last year, and helped lead them to the Sweet Sixteen. They'll also be without sophomore guard Todd Mayo, who was declared academically ineligible this week. So, needless to say, both teams will be looking for an identity tonight.

While it is tough to predict exactly what this matchup will look like when the dust settles and how these teams will look on a national stage in game one, here's what I'll be looking for tonight.


 
 
Drew Thurman (5:27 pm) @osusilverbullet

If you haven't noticed, the Buckeyes aren't the only ones taking advantage of the bye week. Things have been a little crazy for our staff, and thus the blog has been a bit slow this week. We've got plenty coming your way the rest of the week though, including lots of basketball coverage.

Enough about us though. There's plenty of action going on in Buckeye Nation, so let's get to it.

Miler's Heisman Hopes

Even though the 2012 Buckeyes are unable to play for a National Championship, B1G Title or even a bowl game, that won't keep the players and coaches from being able to grab awards and postseason accolades. In fact, one of the most intriguing stories has been Braxton Miller's Heisman chances.  With 1,753 receiving and 1,166 yards rushing for a combined 27 touchdowns, Miller is definitely looking at a chance to make it to New York. Currently ESPN has him in 5th:

 
 
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Dave Thurman (9:17 am) @DThurman7

If you like easy wins, power running, and good defense then Saturday was a very good day as a Buckeye fan.  For the first time since the Miami (OH) win in week one, the team put away an opponent considered to be well below Ohio State in terms of talent.  Think back to games against UAB, Indiana, and Purdue, in particular, and the frustration most of us felt due to OSU playing at the level of the opposition.  In spite of being undefeated, there is no doubt that this squad has not played well against "lesser" competition.  But Saturday, the team came out with an attitude, and took the fight to the (un)Fighting Illini, overwhelming them with power football.  On the heels of a big win at Penn State, it is obvious that the 2012 Buckeyes are getting better, and go into what may be their two toughest games on an upswing.

We could probably stop right there, because there isn't a great need for in-depth analysis of this game.  It was an old fashion butt-whoopin, with OSU winning the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball.  However, less isn't always more, so I'll take time to mention a few things that stood out to me:

El Guapo Wants 1000

Carlos Hyde is running harder every week, and while he may not have the greatest vision or moves, nobody can fault #34 for his effort.  Saturday he rushed for 138 yards on just 18 carries, scoring three times.  In spite of missing two and a half games due to injury, Hyde now has 738 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012, and seems determined to put together a 1000 yard year.  It won't be easy, with Wisconsin and Michigan left on the schedule, but don't bet against "El Guapo."  It is fun to watch him put his head down and run with reckless abandon, and his yards after contact are especially impressive.


 
 
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Penn State got Shaziered!
Dave Thurman (9:27 am) @Dkthurman7

Confession is Good for the Soul: Confession time.  I picked Penn State to defeat the Buckeyes last Saturday in a close one, as I thought the injuries, poor tackling, and life on the edge would finally catch up to OSU.  I admit my lack of faith in a team that has consistently found a way to win, and in that way, has somewhat mirrored the Ohio State team of a decade ago, that wasn't pretty but always came out on top.  But then again, I do live by the adage, "There's no such thing as a disappointed pessimist."

In many ways I think the PSU victory was the best of the season, and was the product of good coaching, teamwork, hard-nosed effort, and help from the referees (okay I threw that last one in dripping with sarcasm due to all the crying by Penn State fans and bloggers).

Champions that were identified by Urban Meyer at his Monday press conference were three offensive linemen (you can guess which ones but I'm assuming one isn't Marcus Hall), Jake Stoneburner (who has responded to a heart-to-heart a couple weeks ago), Evan Spencer, Carlos Hyde; and, Braxton Miller who was the offensive player of the game.  On defense only two guys graded out as champions, Ryan Shazier (who had a monster game) and Bradley Roby and they were co-defensive players of the week.  Although he had no catches at PSU, Devin Smith took home special teams player of the game for his work as a gunner on the punt team.  Meyer called Smith "the fastest player on the team", a fact Roby may wish to dispute.  In addition, Adam Griffin was awarded the scarlet short for extra effort in Saturday's game.

Meyer was noticeably tired at the Monday press conference but was effusive in his praise of what he called "a special team."  He gave a nice shout our to Chase Farris, who he said is "on fire", praising his development since his move from defensive line to offensive line.  He also mentioned how much improvement there has been from Zach Boren since his mid-season move to linebacker, but in typical Meyer fashion moved from compliment to challenge, saying he was disappointed that Boren didn't grade out as a champion, noting he has to get better.  For me that is the essence of what makes Urban great.  He walks that fine line between lifting players up with positive praise, and challenging them to dig deeper and get better.  And he seems to know when each is needed most.

 
 
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Fickell has been a controversial figure.
Drew Thurman (3:33 pm) @osusilverbullet

From the moment Urban Meyer was hired nearly a year ago, he talked about assembling the best coaching staff in the country at Ohio State. This was music to Buckeye fans' ears, as Tressel's staff was mostly anonymous to the college football world outside of Buckeye Nation in his final few years. 

Urban backed up that talk as well, aggressively taking well thought of coaches from around the country and paying them salaries not previously seen at Ohio State for assistants. It was a move that in the right direction for the B1G as well. Going into this year, the conference ranked fourth in assistant football coach compensation, behind the SEC, Big 12 and ACC. 

Still, we all know that it isn't the salary that makes the coach, it's the on the field product. So how is Meyer's new staff doing? 

Well, the 9-0 record would suggest this newly compromised staff has done their jobs very well. As a whole this group easily gets an A. Individually? Well, let's dive in a take a look: