Monthly Archives: January 2015

Braxton Miller’s Case to Start at QB For OSU

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Miller has one more season of eligibility at OSU. Photo courtesy: ESPN.

Hello, my name is Braxton Miller, quarterback for THE Ohio State Buckeyes. As you know I missed the entire 2014 National Championship season recovering from shoulder surgery. But you may have forgotten about me, so allow me to reintroduce myself. I’ve won 26 games at quarterback for the Buckeyes. That’s 11 wins away from passing Art Schlicther for first place in school history. I’ve led the Silver Bullets to two victories over “that team up North.” In my three-year career I’ve passed for 5,292 yards and 52 touchdowns, while rushing for 3,054 yards and another 32 touchdowns. I won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year the last two seasons I’ve played (2012,2013). As a Sophomore in 2012, I finished 5th in the Heisman voting. Before the 2013 season began I held nine records in The Ohio State Football History book. These are the reasons why I can lead the Scarlet and Gray to glory one more season. I appreciate the love and support I’ve received from Buckeye Nation over the course of my career and while rehabbing my injury. That’s why I want one more year to bring you my best and end my career on a high note.

O-H! Braxton Miller

This weekend in Ohio Stadium on the field where he made many a highlights, Braxton Miller and his teammates celebrated their 2014 National Championship with close to 45 thousand Buckeye fans. During the rally he told them “we’ve got another year”, suggesting he’ll be back to compete for the starting QB job against J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones.

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Miller told fans on January 24th, “We’ve got another year.” Photo courtesy: yahoo sports.

I love that Miller is staying with the Buckeyes to compete to win HIS job back. It shows leadership and a competitive spirit that has helped him to accomplish what he has on and off the field at Ohio State. If you’re an NFL scout, GM or Coach you have to be impressed that instead of taking the easy route and transferring to another ready-made situation, he has decided to finish what he started in Columbus. What Miller is also showing is a level of loyalty and exceptional character that isn’t seen in highly competitive sports on any level these days. Miller was at the helm of two teams that finished the regular season undefeated, and was a favorite to win the 2014 Heisman and projected Buckeye starter before the shoulder injury ended his season before it began. So in his mind, maybe he believes if he gets the chance he can lead this great group of talent to a another National Title in 2015. Even if he doesn’t, don’t we have to respect and admire the attempt?

(FYI, the letter from Braxton Miller at the beginning of this post was fictional. )

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The Feast Takes Time to Prepare

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This kind of meal takes hours of preparation, commitment and patience, just like God’s blessings.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil;my cup overflows.” ~ Psalms 23:5

Many people are familiar with the 23rd Psalms and recite it when they go through trials and tribulations to give then hope and encouragement to continue on their journey. While as a whole this passage is deep and comforting, today my attention was brought into closer focus to verse five and how it can be used to help us with waiting for God’s timing.

It says in verse five “you prepare a table before me.” I’m assuming that at this table is an epic well nourishing meal, like a feast.

A good feast, whether it be for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or a special occasion takes time. My Mother and Grannie usually start preparing these types of dinners two to three days before it’s to be eaten. This is the kind of feast we should want God to fix up for us after our trials. One that takes time. So if you’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for Him to bring you through something, use the example of a great meal to help you persevere and be patient during the storm. If you want a quick blessing/feast, go to the drive thru, but I can guarantee that’s not the type of feast you want after everything you’ve been through.

Now the other part of this verse that stands out to me pertains to your enemies. We all have them, some of you call them haters; they may not always be evil and vicious, but yet still oppose you. They may be people who didn’t fully believe in your dream and tried to “politely” push you into trying something else or they could be someone who did do something hurtful to you on purpose. However you want to classify them, just like the feast that is being prepared, it will take some time to get them all gathered around the table to see how God is restoring, vindicating, promoting and celebrating you.

Many of your opposers/haters/detractors/enemies aren’t going to come wiling if they think you’re going to be the center of attention, so you have to wait and trust God to do what He needs to do to get them there. Some may only come expecting that they’ll get another opportunity to see you down. So be prepared for the gathering of your “foes” to take time.

I currently believe I’m in this process right now. The Lord is preparing the feast, setting the table and gathering my guests (enemies, haters, detractors).

I have a couple of favorite restaurants. Maggiano’s which is Italian food and Mama Nem’s—which is now closed—a soul food restaurant that put it down like my Big Mamma, Grannie and Mother does it. Like I mentioned early, all these meals take lots of time to prepare. I do not want McDonald’s, Burger King or some other fast food assembly line. I want fried chicken, ham, dressing, baked macaroni and cheese, corn bread followed by red velvet cake or sweet potato pie to cap off the meal. Oh, and I want all my enemies there, not to rub it in their face, but so they can see what God has done for me, because they said it would never happen and they NEED to see what He can do.

So I ask you, what kind of feast do you want? The quick satisfy me now like a fast food restaurant? Or do you want the kind that takes tireless hours of preparation like the holiday meal or that from a five star restaurant? I choose the latter and it’s going to be well worth it.

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Ezekiel Elliott, Your 2015 Heisman Front Runner

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Elliott’s 696 yards, 8 Touchdown post season run has him a favorite to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy.

All this talk that soon to be Junior Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott should shut it down for the 2015 season to avoid injury until he’s eligible for the NFL draft, are absurd. 

With that being said, right now he is the leading candidate for the 2015 Heisman Trophy. He has a once in a lifetime opportunity to win the most recognized trophy in sports.

Sure the voters of the award have been biased towards quarterbacks the last ten to fifteen years, but Elliott, fresh off leading the Buckeyes to capturing the first ever National Championship Playoff by rushing for 696 yards and 8 touchdowns the last three games—setting records in the B1G Championship game, Sugar Bowl and National Championship Game—is the favorite. 

Heisman winners from the past have benefited from a strong finish to the season prior to the one in which they won the award.

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Troy Smith won the 2006 Heisman by the largest margin in history. Courtesy: Columbus Dispatch.

The last Buckeye Heisman Winner, Troy Smith, became the leading candidate for the 2006 award with his standout performances over Michigan (27-37, 300 passing yards, 1 touchdowns; 11 carries, 37 yards, 1 Touchdown) and out dueling another Heisman candidate, quarterback Brady Quinn of Notre Dame (19-28, 342 passing yards, 2 touchdowns; 13 carries, 66 yards) in the Fiesta Bowl by winning that game’s Offensive MVP to end the 2005 season.

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Eddie George won the 6th Heisman Trophy for Ohio State. Photo Courtesy: Columbus Dispatch.

Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner, finished the season before his Heisman campaign strong as well. In the last three games of the 1994 season, George rushed for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns in wins over Wisconsin, Michigan and the 1995 Citrus Bowl loss to Alabama.

Elliot’s very impressive finish to the 2014 Season will propel and keep him fresh in the minds of voters across the country throughout spring practice until kickoff of the 2015 season.

There are some who don’t believe he’s the best candidate on his team. They point to the three quarterbacks that will be competing to start the season under center. J.T. Barrett did finish 5th in the 2014 Heisman voting, Braxton Miller was a leading candidate for the 2014 award before his injury, and we all saw what Cardale Jones did in the three biggest games of the season.

The last fifteen seasons have been difficult for runners to break through. The only running backs to win the Heisman were USC’s Reggie Bush—it was stripped from him due to recruiting violations at USC—and Alabama’s Mark Ingram. 

“Zeke” has everything he’ll need from the offensive system, great supporting cast as well as the marketing genius and prestige of the Buckeye program to help him become the third running back in a decade and a half to win the award.

Just remember this, the twenty-five pound bronze statue is that of Ed Smith—a running back from New York University and professionally with the Boston Redskins and Green Bay Packers—stiff arming his competitors, not a quarterback dropping back to pass. I like Elliott’s chances to bring Heisman Trophy number eight to the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex. 

Oh, by the way, Buckeye running backs have won the Heisman every twenty years since Howard “Hopalong Cassady” in brought the second stiff arm trophy to campus in 1955. Eddie George won in ’95, twenty years after Archie won his second in ’75. The stars are aligned for Ezekiel in 2015.

Silver Bullets Redeemed

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The Buckeyes are back on top. Courtesy: NY Post

When the clock struck triple zero on the scoreboard in AT&T Stadium Monday night, the Buckeyes captured their eighth National Football Championship in its storied history. The road back to the top wasn’t as easy as the team made it look on the field against Oregon. In the mix of tears of joy and pride over the victory, there was also a feeling of redemption. To understand that, you must know the history of the Scarlet and Gray. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. For the Buckeyes it’s been a bumpy ride back to the top. There were heartaches, tragedies, close calls and scandals.

In the 1980’s after Coach Hayes was fired, the Silver Bullets disappeared from National Title scene under Coach Earle Bruce. After making it the 1980 Rose Bowl in his first season—lost to USC, 17-16—Coach Bruce struggled to get the team to double-digit win seasons throughout the rest of his nine seasons. The Buckeyes went 9-3 six consecutive seasons from 1980-1985.

So the OSU powers that be brought in John Cooper, who regained the national spotlight on the program with wins over prestigious programs in Notre Dame in 1995 & 96, the 1997 Rose Bowl victory over Arizona State, the 1999 Sugar Bowl win over Texas A&M and several top 5 finishes. Even with his success, Cooper developed the label of not being able to win the big game by going 2-10-1 in “The Game” and 3-8 in Bowl games that cost the Buckeyes a shot at a couple of National Championships.

In order to get over that hump, former Athletic Director Andy Geiger brought in unknown to most, Jim Tressel from Youngstown State, where he won several National Championships at the I-AA (now the FCS) level. Coach Tressel not only won “The Game”—8-1 versus Michigan—but in year two brought a National Championship to Columbus. The first in 22 years. The Sweater Vest could do no wrong. But, then it did go wrong. Two embarrassing loses in BCS National Title games to Florida and LSU began the chatter that OSU and the Big Ten were inferior to the SEC, and in many experts opinions the PAC-12 and Big 12 as well. You add the Maurice Clarett and Tattoogate dramas and the Buckeye program became the butt of jokes and puns nationwide. Once again, Ohio State was at a low point on and off the field and Coach Tressel resigned.

It was clear the only person to get the program back on track was another coach who revered the man who put it on the map. Urban Meyer. The first pages of his chapter is why the 2014 season is such a fairytale. Coach Meyer inherited bowl sanctions that kept the 2012 Buckeye team from competing for a National Championship with their 12-0 record. The 2013 team ran the win streak to 24 before finishing with disappointing loses in the Big Ten Championship game to Michigan State and the 2014 Orange Bowl to Clemson, that only turned up the volume on Ohio State haters.

But the tone of the chatter has changed now that Meyer just capped off his third season with the best start of any Buckeye football head coach; the Buckeyes are 38-3 in Meyer’s tenure. It’s even changed the way the Big Ten as a whole is viewed.

If Cooper revived the Buckeye program and Tressel restored them to glory, then Urban Meyer has just redeemed the program by not only slaying the SEC giant, but getting the best recruits from all around the country to bleed and sweat in “The Shoe” and bringing the first National Title of the new College Football Playoff to the 614.

What Coach Meyer has done is changed the balance of power that resembles the success of the man he admired and created the Buckeye powerhouse. The Buckeyes have returned to their rightful place, on the throne of College Football.

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Urban Meyer has redeemed Buckeye Nation. Courtesy: Cleveland.com